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Tag - customer retention

Case Study: How Digital Marketing Took a Business to the Next Level

Having an effective digital marketing strategy is central to creating a successful and recognisable brand in today’s digital age. With so many markets in a state of flux, being able to pivot in real-time to adapt to changing market needs is one of digital marketing’s key benefits.
SolarQuotes is a company that used digital marketing to do just that. The company helps Australians buy solar power for their homes and business.
Finn Peacock, CEO and Founder, started SolarQuotes with just $500 for Google Ads using the free wi-fi at his local public library. The company’s website now contains over 17,000 reviews of solar installers, solar panels and inverters.
Thanks to a strong digital marketing strategy, SolarQuotes now turns over about $3 million per year. While still a small business, there are several valuable lessons brand owners can learn from SolarQuotes’ success.
Invest in Valuable Content.
To build those first Google Ads, SolarQuotes needed something to advertise. Over time, the company has built up an arsenal of articles, blog posts and practical tools to help its users navigate the solar market.
These types of articles aren’t just general information about the industry, they contain useful and actionable advice and tools for their audience. You can read about how a specific product like The Sonnen Battery has an unclear warranty or about how leaders in the industry, like Tesla, are faring.
These articles highlight the key thing your content needs to perform well both organically and with paid ads: real value for your target audience. Don’t get too excited though—it’s not enough to just provide value. Your content must end up in front of the right eyes.
Leverage PPC ads wisely.
For SolarQuotes, these paid ads came in the form of Google Ads. There are many other options, like working with advertising technology that re-targets prospects, or social media ads that find a home for your content in already built niche audiences.
The SolarQuotes team has spent six years building up their Adwords account into a “highly optimised machine,” and therefore can rely on their ability to successfully target the market.
That initial $500 I told you about earlier—that went towards design, coding and the cost of clicks.
Peacock explained his strategy to The Sydney Morning Herald:
“I put up the website, tested the concept and when it looked like it had legs, I started spending on the credit card.” His next outlay was around $3,000 on advertising. “I only did it after I was confident that I would get a return,” said Peacock.
These Google ads helped him drive traffic to his website, but once these audience members were there, he had to figure out a way to keep them there.
Grow your Audience and Keep them Happy.
The company kept their audience with organic (in other words free) strategies. In addition to its website, SolarQuotes has several social media channels for which they have built a pretty robust following.
Their Facebook (26,000 likes), Twitter (791 followers with tweets every day), Google+ (423 followers), RSS, YouTube and Pinterest accounts all work toward distributing their content and allowing them to engage with their highly-active audience.
Build Media Relationships.
They didn’t just stop with content. SolarQuotes developed a mobile strategy that would allow them to harness the power of technology via apps.
The company featured several ‘Current Solar Incentive’ apps on various media websites like The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times, Weather Zone and more. They didn’t just talk about their product either, they grew their audience by talking about their success story, and putting a face behind their brand.
Customer Testimonials
Most importantly, SolarQuotes saw huge digital marketing success with their customer testimonials.
Their website features numerous testimonials from real customers and includes a blog that focuses solely on solar panel issues that customers may experience.
These testimonials and articles help build trust with new prospects that find SolarQuotes on the web and drive more leads for their business every day.
SolarQuotes’ success makes for a great story, but it isn’t unique. Businesses across the world are finding success by taking their digital marketing strategies to the next level.
There is one thing you can do to ensure your digital marketing success—ensure that the content, messaging and media coverage you promote is valuable to your audience. It’s through them that your business will inevitably grow.

Why Email Marketing Runs Rings Around Social Media

Just like the fashion trends, marketers tend to change their mind about email marketing, particularly when it’s compared to social media.
It’s a case of: RIP email marketing. Wait, it’s alive! No, it’s actually dead. Hold your horses, it is ALIVE! What’s going on?
As a team that works with email marketing every day, we believe quality engagement and sales leads can still be generated through email. As long as it’s done well, of course.
I know what you’re thinking, how dare I turn my nose up at social media; it’s the way of the future, it’s going to solve world hunger and have your babies! It will wake you up with a skinny latte every morning.
Don’t get me wrong; social media can be an important part of your marketing if it makes sense for your business. But don’t put it ahead of email marketing.
Where’s the Proof?
You want evidence that email marketing is the digital performance king? Here are a few figures:

Email marketing acquired 40 times more customers than Facebook and Twitter combined (McKinsey).
72% people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media (Marketing Sherpa).
Email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search and social (Monetate).
For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI (Campaign Monitor).

More Numbers
Picture a full cup of rice as the number of emails sent out every day. In comparison, daily posts on Facebook and Twitter would be just ten miserable grains. That’s because email has almost three times as many user accounts than all social media channels combined (MailMunch). That’s 2.9 billion emails all up.
In the same breath, every single web search made on every search engine every single day is just 1/100th of daily email traffic.
Too many marketers are too busy chasing the latest Google algorithms and keyword magic bullets that they’ve neglected their email marketing strategy.
Quality Over Quantity
You’ve now seen email’s reach and the amount of traffic it has compared to social media platforms. If you’re thinking traffic doesn’t mean much and a small quantity of well-targeted marketing aimed at quality traffic will nail larger amounts than a couple of hundred shotgun pellets sprayed at random; you’re right. That is precisely why email trumps social media for quality and quantity.
MailMunch compared the performance of email and social media marketing in an interesting way. Let’s assume you have 2,000 people on an email database, 2,000 Facebook fans and 2,000 followers on Twitter. Based on industry averages, this is the exposure/engagement your target market would have with your messages:

435 people will open your email
120 of your Facebook fans will see your update
40 Twitter followers will see your tweet

But it gets worse. Here are the average click rates by channel:

Email marketing: 3.57%
Facebook: 0.07%
Twitter: 0.03%

Email is Personal
You thought Facebook was the most personal medium? Think again.
First, consider the above stats and comparisons. Second, the majority of people don’t go to Facebook for 1-on-1 online conversations; they open their emails.
The inbox is like the Holy Grail – people guard it highly and once someone allows you access it means that they’re interested in you or your offering on some level.
Email Gets More Attention Per Customer
You are more likely to get face-time with your leads if you use email, not because they’re hanging around their inboxes more than their Facebook pages or searching Google, but because email makes room for repeated contact.
In fact, it’s ‘invasive’ contact. It’s right in their mailbox, and that’s very different from posting a status update or tweeting which can get lost in the tsunami of online content.
Provided your content is worth reading, your customers and prospects are more likely to take a minute to open that email.
Email is a Transactional Medium
People expect to receive offers in their inbox, so their tolerance levels are a little higher than on social media where they just want to be, well, social.
Through email, you can train customers to expect offers from you while imparting value and positioning yourself as a thought leader. In turn, customers will start to look forward to receiving your emails.
And since you can make unlimited contact with them over time, you are significantly more likely to catch them when they are ready to buy.
Image Source: Shutterstock

The Console Wars: PS4 vs Xbox One

Remember Contra, the 80s 2D commando video game that was the best thing that’s ever happened to Nintendo? Or Super Mario, who made us believe that princesses were real and eating vegetables will really make us grow?
 
Those video games were our best friends, and Nintendo and Sega were the only Japanese words we needed to know.  Today, there are more gaming options for children, and wannabe children, to choose from. Consoles have also evolved into virtual reality. Notably though, after all these years, our society’s love for video games has not died. And with this, more companies continue to supply our demand for virtual entertainment.
Over the past years, several gaming platforms have emerged. Even social media sites now offer games online. Facebook has introduced a number of online games that have been hits, greatly helping their digital marketing strategy. However, in recent years, only two companies have really stood out in the platform competition: Sony and Microsoft.
Both companies have announced that they will be releasing their next generation gaming consoles, namely the Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One, by the end of the year. Debates have since swirled as to which system is better, we take a look to see what it takes to make the best plea for customer retention or even acquisition.
PS4 vs Xbox One
Specs
For heavy gamers, specs will always be a strong persuasion for them to bag the item. According to TechRadar, both consoles run “very similar” eight-core processors made by AMD. Graphic Processors are also said to be similar and are also created by AMD, although from experience, Sony has never failed in this part.
The PS4 and the Xbox One also have Blu-ray/DVD optical drives, cloud storage, motion control capability, web connection and live streaming, among others.
Bundle Device Add-ons
Microsoft has announced earlier that it will include the Kinect in its console bundle. The device works as both a motion controller and a camera. However, Xbox One will fail to include a headset in the package.
On the other hand, Sony has cut off its PlayStation Eye and PlayStation Move in the console bundle to make the price cheaper. According to TechRadar, the PlayStation Eye and Move bundle will be sold separately at $59.  However, IGN also noted that Sony will include a wired mono headset to optimise gameplay.
Game Titles Available
Several game titles are already confirmed to be released in both platforms, including 2K Sports’ NBA 2K14. However, to make the battle a little more interesting, both camps will have games that are exclusive to each console.
A perfect example of great content marketing, the PS4 will carry the titles Killzone: Shadow Fall, Infamous: Second Son and The Order: 1886; the Xbox One users can exclusively play Halo, D4 and Forza Motorsport 5.
Price
If anything, price is one of the main bass for choosing a console. Too bad for Microsoft, but Sony beats them hands down in this category. Microsoft has tagged its next-gen console at US$499.99, while Sony was too genius to make the PS4 $100 cheaper at US$399.99.
 
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Is Samsung’s S4 a Disappointment?

The smartphone battle is almost reminiscent of World War II: bombs thrown at both sides of the opposing camps and each one working on artillery and armor that can blow off the other. And much like any warfare, each battalion is working towards only one goal: power.
 
As for the smartphones battle, power is that of a bigger market share. A bigger bite in the pool of consumers means more money!
This has exactly been the story of mobile phone manufacturers Apple and Samsung. Over the past years, the two companies have been on each others tail, trying to push the other off the running for the top spot in the smartphone market race. They have taken strides to work on customer acquisition and customer retention in the hopes of knocking off the competition. Their best effort, however, in winning this battle is by releasing new and more technologically forward devices.
Apple has led the smartphone battle for some time before Samsung took over the lead with its greater range of smartphone. Using a distinct digital marketing strategy, the South Korean company has led the race by offering the market a distinct handset for every price range and demographic. However, it seems that Samsung is following the footsteps of its rival.
Is the Galaxy S4 Samsung’s Achilles’ heel?
Samsung released its newest flagship smartphone, Galaxy S4 earlier this year, and so far it was received with open arms. Everyone in social media was raving about its new features, and the electronics manufacturing company continued to provide consumers with updates and highlights of the phones features on both Facebook and Twitter. However, the sales didn’t reach expectations.
According to Bloomberg, Samsung’s operating costs for three months which ended in June was at 9.5 trillion won ($8.3 billion). While this may post great numbers, it still fell short of the 10 trillion won that was originally estimated for the brand by more than 30 analysts. This also caused the stocks of Samsung to drop the most in a single month.
Now, investors are worrying whether Samsung has already reached its peak and are now on their way down. However, a Samsung share-holder doubts this analogy.
“Is Samsung’s smartphone story now over? Not quite yet. Its growth is indeed slowing due largely to disappointing sales of the S4,” Jung Sang-jin, fund manager at Dongbu Asset Management and Samsung share-holder, told Reuters.
“Yet I think Samsung has some exciting stuff up its sleeves. The problem is no one is sure whether these products can really wow investors and consumers.”
Low-end the New Trend?
Reports also say that Samsung is not solely to blame for its slump, but that the market is already changing. According to, the high-end market is slowly becoming saturated and fewer consumers are choosing phones for their specifications as opposed to their price. The report also noted that a new niche in the smartphone market is slowly emerging, with users preferring low-end smartphones.
“This has typically been an area where Samsung has not been quite so successful,” IT Pro Portal wrote. “A growing demand from China for low-cost smartphones puts a little pain on Samsung’s profit margins.”
With all these in mind, Samsung should return to the drawing boards and get its mobile marketing strategies in full swing if it wants to keep its crown as smartphone leader.
 
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When Will Apple Release its new iPhone?

 
It’s that time of the year again: the time people await the release of the next iPhone.
 
For non-Apple smartphone users, this is when they assess whether the upcoming device is good enough for them to make the switch; and for Apple users, this is when they salivate endlessly at all the rumors circulating about the new iPhone.
iPhone users may very well be one of the most loyal of fans. Some even say that “once an Apple user, always an Apple user.” This may be because of the user friendly interface that the consumers have come to love; or the almost perfect size and shape it has always been known for; or the ever-growing hoard of features and applications that are available on the device. Regardless, its customer retention strategy has been pretty commendable.
Now, rumors have been swirling that Apple isn’t looking to release one new device this year, but two. According to reports the Cupertino, a California-based company is looking at a new way to approach the market and work on building a better relationship with consumers.
Latin Post reports that two new Apple iPhones will be headed for the market before the year ends, and so far not one of those devices have been confirmed. Published news articles say the two new devices will be an iPhone 5 successor and a low-cost iPhone.
The new iPhones
Apple has continued to keep mum about anything and everything stirring up within the four (or more) corners of its tech lab in Cali. No word has been said about the new devices, nor is there any confirmation on what the new smartphones will be called.
However, a number of websites, as well as social media, have been throwing out names of the upcoming devices.
“According to recent reports, Apple will release the successor to its iPhone 5: the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6,” wrote the Latin Post. “Additionally, a budget Apple phone will allegedly be released as well. It is expected to be called the iPhone 5C or the iPhone Lite; some also say it will be the real iPhone 6.”
The probable iPhone 5S is expected to be packed with the new Apple operating system, the iOS 7. It is also reported to carry a more powerful A7 quad core processor, as well as additional features to optimise security, including a fingerprint sensor.
A closer look at the iPhone Lite
The iPhone Lite is said to be Apple’s attempt at customer acquisition. As statistics prove, Samsung has been leading the mobile market for years now, because of its more budget-friendly devices. With the new iPhone Lite, Apple aims at attracting more users for the iPhone.
While Apple has no word on this yet, a China Labor Watch report revealed that a manufacturing plant in the country is already working on the devices. The phone will carry a plastic back cover that will make its production cheaper, and its tag price cheaper too.
“Today’s work is to paste protective film on the iPhone’s plastic back cover to prevent it from being scratched on assembly lines,” a Pegatron worker noted on the report. “This iPhone model with a plastic cover will soon be released on the market by Apple,” added the report.
With all these information, it does seem that Apple’s campaigns this year is to gain more users by releasing two iPhones.
 
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Featured Images Courtesy: 1000 Words / Shutterstock.com
 

Smartphone Use to Quadruple by 2018

Smartphones are now a necessity, and funny as it may seem, most of us have more than one of these gadgets: one for work and one for play.
 
Smartphone Subscription and Video Content
According to a report by Reuters, the number of smartphone subscribers in the world could multiply by four times in the next five years.  Ericcson, the world’s largest mobile network equipment supplier, also notes that because of the growth in users, mobile networks will also experience an incredible increase in data usage.

Smartphone users will increase dramatically due to the continuous campaigns and advertisements about new technologies being made available to the public.  Ericcson notes that from 2012’s 1.5 billion, subscribers in the world will reach 4.5 billion in 2018.  This figure is also greater than the company’s 3.3 billion forecast last year.
Just as well, because of the close relationship between smartphones and the Internet, mobile data is expected to shoot up as well.  Ericcson, who is also a leading supplier of high speed networks, notes that data traffic will also multiply by as much as 12 times in 2018. This will also push mobile networks to invest on high-speed Internet systems if they want customer retention.
According to the report, one of the leading reasons for the growth in mobile data usage is because of the online video content that is made available to portable devices users.  Nowadays, people can watch movies and even TV on their smartphones and tablets.
“Video makes up the largest segment of data traffic in networks, and it is expected to grow around 60% annually up until the end of 2018,” Ericsson told Reuters.
Reuters also noted that so far, data traffic has already doubled from the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period this year.
What does this mean for the Business sector?
While this news can be interesting for the common consumer, it could be the biggest light bulb for you and your business.  Acknowledging that the Internet is the future, your brand or service can take advantage of mobile marketing that are pressed into mobile websites and applications.
Also, since smartphone subscribers often use their devices to check their emails, or even have their mails “pushed” into their phones, your brand can take this opportunity to utilize email marketing.  Just imagine the global reach you will have if you take advantage of this digital marketing strategy.
Ericcson admits that it is investing heavily on video technology to utilise the growth in this market.  And just like Ericcson, you can also take advantage of this opportunity to grow your brand and your revenue.

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iPad Mini 2 now $100 Cheaper

It seems like Apple has already thought of and developed everything perfect in the gadgets world.  Is there anything that this multimillion dollar company hasn’t developed yet?
 
Roll out the checklist and see how the Steve Jobs established electronics company has turned the world over with their expialidocious communication platform and inventions.

It may seem that Apple has achieved more than any other electronics company has in the past decade or so, however there is actually something that the Cupertino-based company has failed to offer all these years: budget-friendly gadgets.
Yes, of course we acknowledge the fact that Apple has one of leading technologies packed in their devices to optimise performance; and these absurdly—and often creepy—artificial intelligences don’t come cheap.  But if other companies can create more affordable devices, why can’t they?
Well, my friend, dreams can come true and Apple might just have the answers to our prayers.
In a recent report by Citi Research, Apple could be releasing a new iPad Mini 2 that costs less than $250.00 – almost $100 cheaper than the current first generation mini.
“Supply chain checks by Citi’s Asia-Pac Technology Team suggest a mixed shift toward Apple’s older iPhone 4/4S.  And with our expectation of a low-end iPhone slated for September launch, followed by a sub-$250 iPad mini, we expect this trend to persist,” Citi’s Glen Yeung wrote in a note to the company’s investors.
But is this idea even plausible? Or is this just another online strategy to get people hooked and expecting of the iPad Mini 2, only for our bubble to burst come release day that it is still on the $300 mark?
Well, here are a few reasons why it could work and why it wouldn’t work, then you be the judge!
Why a $250 iPad mini 2 could work?
Apple is looking at Customer Retention. Over the past years, the Cupertino, California company has created a sizable following of its products—people who wouldn’t purchase anything but an Apple. But since then, a number of gadgets and devices have already swarmed the market offering at-par items for a lot less. You can get a Kindle Fire HD for only $214, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 for less than $300. So why stay with Apple, eh?
Why it could be a hoax?
Apple looks at improving, not downgrading. Almost all of Apple’s devices now carry a retina display. With this, the iPad Mini 2 may most likely get one for itself. And if it does, then it is less likely that the device will drop price when it just upgraded its specs.
To be honest, we couldn’t really decide whether it’s true or not. While we hope the iPad mini 2 will be a lot cheaper, we can’t really be certain until we see campaigns about it already. Until then, we expect social media to be exploding about everything iPad Mini 2.
 
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Apple Mulls at Exchange Plan

Hey you, Apple fan!  Got your eyes on the new iPhone 5?
 
Want to buy it but your budget just won’t allow it?  Feeling helpless, hopeless and frustrated?  Well, don’t swim in self-pity, it’s not yet the end of the world and besides, Apple has one big announcement for you.  According to reports, the Cupertino-based company will soon allow trade-ins.  Yes, you heard that right, my friend!  The people from Apple have heard our prayers!
In an aim to push customer retention, Apple fans can now get the newest iPhone at a fraction of the cost by trading in their old Apple phone and getting a discount on the iPhone 5.
In a report published by Bloomberg, the new service will be implemented in Apple stores this month. Sources who asked not to be identified since Apple has yet to confirm the news, say that the electronics company has already partnered with Brightstar Corporation, a mobile-phone distributor, for this new program.
With this new mobile marketing strategy, Apple’s new CEO, Tim Cook, hopes to lure consumers to get its newest iPhone offering. This is a move to revive the dying sales of the once biggest company in the United States, and even the world.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Apple’s shares have been bouncing back and forth from the top spot against oil company, Exxon, since 2011.  However, Apple started soaring high from January 2012, peaking at around August-September of 2012 and only slumped back down to second place against Exxon at February-March 2013.
Just as well, Apple’s smartphone market shares haven’t really zoomed up since its unveiling of the first generation iPhone in 2007.  With this, it’s not hard to think that Apple’s campaigns aren’t really working for the company.  But this may all change once the iPhone trade-in program starts.
However, Apple isn’t the first to start this program, sites and stores like Gazelle, Best Buy and Radio Shack have been doing it for some time.  The first two even offer this as an online strategy, where you can start the trade-in process over their websites.
“The biggest challenge for us has been to change consumer behavior.  It will be great to see Apple jumping into it.  We expect them to put the brand and marketing behind it and lift consumer adoption,” Gazelle CEO Israel Ganot told ABC News. “There is an insatiable demand there.”
While people like you are still waiting for Apple to officially confirm this new program, you may try checking out these other sites that offer the same service:
• Best Buy. This retailer will allow you to trade-in your smartphone, as well as a range of other devices. You will receive an electronic gift card for the trade which you can then use when you purchase a new smartphone.
• Gazelle. The site has been around since 2007. It might be one of the easiest trade-in services since everything is achieved online.  Gazelle will give you an online offer for your gadget.  If you agree, you ship it to them and then you get paid by cheque, Amazon gift card or PayPal.
 
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Twitter for Business Re-Launched

Twitter has re-launched its business site, Twitter for Business, with a new look and some new content.
 
The social media’s business site, originally launched in 2011, is meant to help business owners build a successful online presence by learning how they can integrate Twitter into their operations and marketing efforts.
The site provides users with tutorials on practically everything they need to know including the basics like opening a Twitter account to building a community, to the more advanced ones like how to use Twitter Ads self service function.
For those who are still having second thoughts on working with Twitter, the site also has a wide variety of business success stories made possible by Twitter, arranged by the type of industry and the size of the business.
Much of the content of the new site is similar to the original Twitter for Business webpage launched by the online platform in December 2011, although the new site is now more organized and easier to browse through.
How Twitter can Help Your Business
Unless you have been living under a rock, you should have at least probably heard of Twitter. This micro-blogging site and online social network lets users send real-time messages of up to 140 characters which are now known as Tweets. Like many social networks out there it was originally intended for communication between friends and acquaintances, but businesses were quick to realize its potential as a business tool.
Because you can see what others are tweeting, this becomes a good way to monitor or keep track of when your business is mentioned. You can also read the conversations where your business was mentioned to know what is being said about your business. This provides an excellent (and legal) way to gather data that can be useful for formulating strategies for customer acquisition and customer retention.

And with 200 million people all over the world exchanging around 400 million Tweets per day, gathering the information you want should not be that hard. 

But this is just one aspect, you can also advertise with Twitter.  The social media site touts to be able to send your ads to the people you think will be more interested in it. A targeted  concentration of content marketing to the right people based on your chosen demographics, rather than a spread ad campaign to a wide group of individuals, so to speak.
Twitter Hoping to Overtake Facebook
Despite having over 200 million people a day use their service, Twitter is still behind the undisputed social networking leader, Facebook, when it comes to business adoption. A study suggested that business owners were more likely to choose Facebook over Twitter, a fact that Twitter wants so badly to reverse.
This site re-launch is the latest in a series of recent innovations by Twitter to make it more attractive to small business owners. Just last January Twitter added its new Vine App, an application that lets you capture short movies (6 seconds or less) and share them with others. It has also launched an analytics tool for Vine so you can tell who is watching your videos and a new application programming interface so advertisers can easily manage their ad campaigns with Twitter.
A new tool that generates business leads is also reported to be in the works.
 

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