Relationships Drive Business

Strengthening Customer Engagement to Propel Your Business

Did AmEx Big Break Drive Revenue July 20, 2011



Well, the voting (for 2011 AmeEx OPEN’s Facebook Big Break for Small Biz) is over. What a ride for all the finalists. Winners are announced on July 25, so we have to wait to see who won. Bummer. BUT…impact long term to the businesses that made the Top 10 is happening anyway. All that effort and all the website hits video view should help the businesses, even if they don’t win the contest.


What will the exposure created by the Facebook Big Break do for Distinctive Gardens business? Even if they don’t win, the publicity and exposure from being a finalist is nothing to sneeze at. Lisa and I tried to figure out how to measure the impact.


Overall we decided that beyond than winning the contest ($20k is a BIG deal) the goal is to drive brand awareness of Distinctive Gardens which could be leveraged to drive revenue growth long term.


The real challenge was deciding what we could track that would measure that.


We decided to on revenue, and a group of stats that indicate an increase in interest in the garden center that could be precursors to revenue.

Here’s what we decided to track:
  • Foot traffic
  • Retail Sales * – excluding landscaping and maintenance revenues.
  • Facebook Fan count
  • Website traffic
  • Design Inquiry count
  • Newsletter email count
To get a baseline, Lisa measured the indicators for 2 weeks before the release of the Top 10 Finalist videos. Finalists had all agreed to keep their selection secret until the moment the videos were made public on YouTube, midnight July 5. So she used the 2 weeks before that as the “before” baseline.
*Retail sales numbers – Garden center sales revenues is heavily cyclical. July is typically the 2nd slowest month of the year, planting is done, people are vacationing and it’s blisteringly hot in Illinois. So Lisa is measuring total sales from a 4 week period mid-June through mid-July last year vs. this year. That will measure any short term spike in sales. She’ll take another measurement Mid-June through end Sept to track longer term increases during traditionally busier time periods.


“How do we isolate and attribute shifts in foot traffic, sales, design inquiries the BB (Big Break) exposure?”

This is tough. And it’s tough for any form of advertising or promotion. Does Coors Light really know how many more cases of beer they sell specifically because someone saw a Superbowl commercial? No. The ad team takes credit for any increase in sales, sure. But it could be because they also started distributing in a bunch of new stores, or in a county that had been dry.  Or because it was unusually warm in January so people were in  “warm weather, let’s have a beer” mood. Or maybe they got their tax return arrived and they celebrated. There are always plenty of uncontrollable and uncorroborate-able factors.


Can you think of any other factors she could measure? Leave us a note in comments.


7 types of QR Codes and 5 Ideas for Using Them July 14, 2011

Filed under: Ideas — Carla Bobka @ 9:47 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Today’s post is another in a series on mobile access for your business from Bob Watson of Digital Eye.


QR codes (short for quick response) are one of the newest ways to share information quickly with people’s smart phones or tablets. If this is your first encounter with them, here’s a little more on how to use them.

We’ve just scratched the surface on how to use them. Here are some ideas.

7 Types of QR code access:

  1. Access a URL
  2. Prepare a pre-loaded SMS text message to be sent to a specific number
  3. Download a vCard into your phone’s address book
  4. Initiate a phone call to a given number
  5. Prepare an email
  6. Insert an event into the calendar
  7. Deliver text or GPS coordinates


5 ways to make use of them to grow your business.

Collect more Fans — Put a QR Code window slick on your storefront to send passers-by to your Facebook page.
Make your business card interactive — try a code with your web address, LinkedIn profile or some of your contact information in vCard format.
Here’s how to find us — print a code containing the URL for a Google Maps page to your business on your brochure. They can get instant directions to get to you from their present location.
How are we doing? — A table tent at a restaurant linking a diner’s smartphone to a feedback site is a great way to gather more and accurate information on customer satisfaction. New research has found that mobile network activity spikes at lunchtime when we get out of the office and take a break from the grind.
Scan here for more — Does your product compete with others on the same shelf at retailers? Get noticed with a QR Code on your in-store display that sends shoppers to get more information on why they should buy yours.

Get yourself a reader app for your smartphone, like ScanLife, i-nigma or BeeTagg. With this on your smartphone or tablet, you’ll find the QR Code to be one of the fastest and most convenient means of accessing information and interacting with your device.

Where the code takes people is vital. You want them to have a good experience.

The most common form of the QR Code links to a website, so it’s extremely important that your content displays properly on a mobile device


  • Graphics and text should be large enough to view in a single column, and any scrolling required should be up-and-down only.
  • Buttons and links should be large enough and far apart from one another to ensure easy touch navigation
  • Flash presentations should be eliminated or converted to mobile-friendly formats like javascript.


Sending your customers to a page that they have to zoom in to see with small buttons and missing content can turn your good intentions into inconvenienced customers.


Start off by getting familiar with QR Codes from the user’s perspective — download an app (or several) and experiment with the ones you find everywhere today, and think about how you can take advantage of them to grow your business.


In the meantime, scan this one to show how much you like Social Pie on Facebook!

What ideas do you have on how to make use of one of these things? Leave a note in comments.


Favs This Week – April 25 thru 29, 2011 May 1, 2011

People ask me how I keep up on changes happening on social platforms. It is hard for sure. There’s no way to read everything, there’s just too much information.

Below are things I’ve read over the prior week that have struck me as important or influenced my thinking. You’ll see the link and 1 sentence about what struck me in the post. Take a closer look if something sounds interesting.

Thanks to Duct Tape Marketing for the idea.

This week:


The Do’s And Don’ts Before Leaving Your Job – First off 36% of people planning to change jobs? That’s a big number. But the main point here is your last impression, how you finish your last 2 weeks makes one hell of a difference. I have first hand experience with this. Both when I quit and when my position was eliminated. You may not get to control when you exit, but you can control how you exit. Do it well.

Watch Email Campaign Results on a Map in Real Time With WorldView – It is amazing what we can learn about customers when we realize that they are real people at the end of those email addresses. This new technology let’s you watch who is responding and pinpoints their location on a map. It’s like reality TV on your monitor.

Royal Weddings over Time – Yes, I watched the wedding. I’m an unapologetic girlie, girl. These pics of other famous royal weddings are beauties. Beyond the beauty of the event, it was fantastic to see two women (Catherin and Pippa) who were so comfortable in their own skin. Even when on such a big stage. Snaps to them! And I pray my own daughters find the same degree of poise.

This last site moved me, nearly to tears. It is a Facebook page cataloging the personal items found strewn about the south after the April 27th tornado outbreak.  The first post I saw was a pic of a zip-top bag holding a baby tooth. The piece of tape on it said “Blyth’s first tooth.” Look through the Photos tab. It is an album of displaced memories. There are pics of found objects, the name town they were found in and how to reach the person who found it. There are baby pics, graduation pics, wedding and prom pics, burial announcements, canceled checks, precious love notes from the ’50s, vacation pics, even an Xray found in someone’s yard. It is a scrap book and time capsule of southern life. Amidst all the loss and confusion, I suspect this Page will help people heal and make feel more connected to the people around them. They are all in my prayers.


Have a great week.

If you missed last week’s, you can find it here.



Homeland Security: Your Facebook Friend April 23, 2011

Terrorist threats will now be posted to Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes. When appropriate.

The Department of Homeland Security has announced that one way they will inform the public of terror alerts is by using social media. They will only bother with the biggies – Facebook and Twitter.

Take the word to the people, where the people spend their time. What do you think? Read more from the Associated Press article here.

Personally, I have a lot of questions.

Overall, I think it is potentially a good idea. AND it needs to be carefully planned. Otherwise it will nuts. Or invisible.

First question:  How? Here’s what I mean. On Facebook I get updates from friends in my newsfeed. Do I need to be a friend of Homeland Security to get that update? (I’d hope they would consider me a friend without my opting in.)

Maybe there will be an update window pop open as soon as I log into Facebook:

“Please read this important message from the Dept. of Homeland Security:  Terror Alert Elevated. Travelers through U.S. airports are asked to be extra vigilant from May 5-6. Click here to tell your friends.”

Do you suppose it will pop up on my phone when I open my Facebook mobile app? Hmm…

Now Twitter. Do I need to follow @HomelandSecurity so I get the tweet? Problem #1 – That user name doesn’t exist. People use it; they just type it in. But it isn’t anyone’s account.

@DHSJournal exists, and it is a verified account for Department of Homeland Security. The account has 32,698 followers. But honestly, if I saw a tweet like “@DHSJournal Travelers be cautious in US airports May 2-4” I don’t think it would register with me as a terror alert. Maybe they could let @LadyGaga know. She has 9,489,232 followers. That way her people could talk to the people.

The other thing is, we’ve seen hoaxes on Twitter. Big ones. Remember the boy who supposedly floated away in a homemade aircraft. The one that looked like a Jiffy Pop pan? I sure hope Twitter execs are in on how this is going to work.

So far I haven’t seen any details about how it will work. I’ve got my fingers crossed they are working on that.

Do you have any ideas on how to do this in an effective way?  Drop me a note in the comments section.




A Digital Shrink March 15, 2011

Filed under: Ideas,Resources — Carla Bobka @ 5:06 am
Tags: , , ,

Dan Zarella has developed a tool called TweetPsych. Dan has a strong reputation for his scientific analysis of trends impacting social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and blogs. He’s a stat machine.

TweetPsych compares a Twitter users tweet stream attributes to the “average” tweet stream so you can (hopefully) learn a little bit more about what a person takes time to push out into the universe via Twitter.

It tells you things like: This user Tweets about learning and education 27% more than the average user. This includes Tweeting about school as well as self-teaching activities.

Of course, the analysis is only as good as the algorithm behind the analysis.

When I first saw it, I thought it looked pretty cool. Think about how you could use it:

  1. Before you go to a meeting you could analyze the tweet stream of your client to see what is important to them.
  2. You can use it to analyze your own tweet stream to see if your tweets, over time, are reflecting your overall Twitter strategy.

Then I put my own Twitter handle in and hit analyze. Boy was I surprised at a couple of findings.

Money – I tweet about money 78% more than the average user. Hmm. That was a big surprise (not as big as the sex surprise, more on that later.) As I think back on some of my tweets and retweets, I do occasionally tweet about economic developments, jobless rates and small business. Maybe Dan counts those within the overall category of money.

Sex – Dan’s tool says I tweet about sex 26% more than the average user. Bull. I can assure you I do not tweet about sex. Not mine or anyone else’s. I probably have never typed S-E-X into Twitter. I’m a 46 year old mother of 2, come on. Seriously. This makes me think the whole thing is a crock of huey.

Learning – I tweet about learning or education 27% more than the average user. That makes sense. I aim to help people use social media effectively.

Now onto the areas when I under perform the average user.

Constructive – I tweet about constructive behavior 3% less than the average user. This includes creating and building things and indicates an interest in development and creative processes. Hmm, I don’t really get that one.

Anxiety – I tweet about anxiety 6% less than the average user. That’s good.

Media – I tweet about media and celebrities 53% less than the average user. True, I’m not part of the Beiber/Kardashian patrol.

So my overall impression is to take it with a grain of salt. That said, there will be more of these applications coming down the pike. More attempts to learn about the people at the helm of the keyboards that produce the content on the web. We want to know each other, and tools like TweetPsych are attempts toward that. TweetPsych may or may not be a good tool. But the desire to know one another is definitely a good thing.

Tell me what you think.  Have you given TweetPsych a whirl? What do you think?



Facebook Changes Business Pages February 11, 2011

This afternoon Facebook rolled out some major changes to Business Pages. They look different. The act different. It ROCKS.

Here’s a picture highlighting the visual changes. The functional changes for admins are things clients have been asking for endlessly. Take a tour of your Page in Preview mode. Get used to the changes, dig through it. Decide if you want the changes early or if you want to wait until March when Facebook hoists them on you. You only get the new admin functions if you take the new look. No pick and choose.

Happy digging.

When you look at the new layout there are lots of changes. Stuff you know is moved. Take your time and enjoy!


Everybody Celebrates February 8, 2011

Facebook is a great place to share honors and accomplishments. Your fans will be thrilled for you and so will family and friends.
When you have a Facebook Page and you personal profile it can be confusing when you think about where to share first.  I believe in simple, so here’s what I recommend.
Share on your Page first. Then hit the share button on that post and tell your friends and family. Here’s what happens:
  1. Your fans find out.
  2. You don’t have to switch screens to share with your friends and family.
  3. Your friends see a picture of you next to your post, and they see that you have a business Page.
Believe it or not, at least some of your family has no idea you have a business Page. Actually, some of them probably have no idea what you do for a living. By posting in the order of Page/profile you help them understand that stuff a little bit better. Once they do there’s a chance they will help spread the word about your business.
Keep in mind this is for news and events that are worthy of sharing with both groups of people. Not every post to your business Page is worth sharing with your profile. Be judicious in what you make show up in your friends and family newsfeed.
What do you think? How do you share when you have news that’s so great you want everyone to know?