Friday, July 13, 2012

Understanding the Superstitious is Smart Business

Friday the 13th is associated with many elements of superstition; black cats, spilled salt, broken mirrors...but business performance? Many would say no - but in fact, a reported 9 percent of Americans are superstitious about the ominous calendar day and studies show that $800 million to $900 million in business revenue is lost on days like today.

We know that baseball players are superstitious about their favorite bat or pair of socks but business men and women have their own 'lucky' traditions. Whether it's that favorite suit for an interview or reading their horoscope before selling stock - it may seem irrational but according to Stuart Vyse, professor of psychology at Connecticut College, these actions are understandable, especially in times of economic uncertainty.

"In the business world, there is a tremendous amount of randomness in the market and people seek ways to gain control over these events, even though they can't," he says. "What you wear that day, the coffee that you drink--these things can't affect the outcome of the day's business, but people engage in this [behavior] to feel like they've done every possible thing to manage the outcome."

Although Vyse isn't a proponent of irrational behavior, he acknowledges that there are certain psychological benefits, such as more confidence and a sense of comfort, linked to superstitious rituals. "Crazy or not, you feel better having done [them]."

How can Lucky Numbers Work for Business?
You might not believe or buy into supersition but as a business - you need to takes steps to  mitigate losses on days like Friday the 13th. Plus, you can capitalize on positive superstitions.In the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Block and Kramer point out that some successful marketing campaigns based on the number seven, considered lucky in Western cultures, can draw positive attention from customers.

Icelandair, for example, ran a promotion allowing customers to add on excursions for $7 each, provided they booked by 7/7/07. Another was Wal-Mart's "Lucky in Love Wedding Search," which granted seven couples a free wedding ceremony and reception for 77 guests on the lucky date. "That campaign was very successful," Kramer says.

Acording to, hundreds of millions of dollars are lost on Friday the 13th because humans are naturally risk-averse. Although it's not always done consciously, there's a tendency toward less decision-making, Block says. "People don't do as much shopping and don't leave the house--and there's less flying." But by simply making people aware of superstitious behavior, it can bring out their more rational side, reminding them it's just an ordinary day.

Home store Crate & Barrel, Kramer recalls, ran a "Lucky You" campaign on Friday the 13th. "They played off the superstition and got people to come out anyway." Because consumers are not always aware of the extent to which they rely on superstitions, this is perhaps one model that businesses can follow.

Kramer concludes that it's important for business owners to be aware of any superstitions held by their target market. "Then they can both capitalize on [this knowledge] as well as avoid mistakes."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Taking a Vacation from Your Business

It's summer time! It's hot and the kids are out of school which means its prime time for a vacation right? If you are a business owner or entrepreneur, taking a vacation from your business might be well deserved but tricky...even downright near impossible. But we believe in vacations and we believe in you so here's 5 ways to get a break from your business without sending it into a downward spiral.

1. Split Week Trips
Many self employed business owners complain that taking a whole week off adds more stress to the vacation because they are constantly checking email and voicemail. The solution might be splitting your time off between two weeks. For example: Taking off Thursday and Friday of one week and then Monday and Tuesday of the next. Most business owners can manage taking two business days off in a week because you have three days to cushion the blow. Use your first set of work days to prepare to be gone and then use the next week to catch up. This 'illusion' will also look better to vendors and clients because it doesn't 'feel' like you were gone very long.

2. Schedule Business Time
If you just can't get away entirely, plan out your trip to include a day where you have some free time to handle business. Your family might be bothered if you are always checking your email so schedule time on one or two days to handle all emails and voicemail calls. We mean it when we say "Schedule." Limit the amount of time and stick to it! It's a good idea to let your business associates or clients know that you will only be available at that time. Once the time is up...even though it may be tempting to answer another email...walk away. This will ensure that you prioritize what you do during this designated business time.

3. Designate a Temporary Assistant
This may be very difficult for some business owners to do but it can be an extremely valuable strategy...expecially if you don't already have an assistant. If you have employees, pick your most responsible person and ask them to act as your assistant while you're away. Pay them a bonus for extra time spent if appropriate and spend a few hours each week prior to your trip discussing certain tasks that you need them to manage. Most of the time, it can be as simple as designating this temporary assistant to respond to any messages or phone calls with a personalized vacation message.

4. Schedule Ahead
Most of the time, business owners bend over backwards to operate within their customer's time frame however, when you want to take a vacation, you need to actively plan your time. Tell clients and associates that you are unavailable for scheduling on the week you want to take off. Everyone from doctors to contractors to Donald Trump does this type of planning and you can too.

5. Find a Dead Zone
Our last option is for those business owners who don't have the self control to say no. If you cannot say no to your smart phone or laptop while on vacation then your best bet is to find an area that doesn't have cell phone covereage or wireless internet. Use the time to work on your self control so that you can manage your time more effectively.

Believe it or not - It's not healthy to work all of the time. Yes, your business might be all YOU but that is only because you have structured it that way. Take control of your time and energy, acknowlege that you need a break and make it happen! You will be ten times more energized to get back to work if you truly got your needed time away.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Educate Your Customer - A Failsafe Marketing Strategy

It's a less publicized strategy but educating your customer is an effective marketing tool that should be a part of any business makreting plan. Marketing is an essential element of running a successful business and the key is to do it better than your competition. When creating your marketing strategy - especially for a small business - every dollar spent needs to produce!

Education is Your Foundation

Although many marketing guru's might spout that ROI and target audience are the main focus in your business strategy - educating your customer should be your centerpiece. Educating your client is one of the best ways to increase sales and turn one time sales into long lasting loyal customers. Many times, when people are considering buying a product - they know little about it which makes them less likely to buy on impulse. They don't know if the price is realistic, if the product is reliable, if the quality is an industry standard - this kind of uncertinty makes a customer feel uncomfortable about the purchse.

Be a Teacher of Your Business

Believe it or not but sales and teaching go hand in hand. A teacher in a classroom wants you to learn the material to be able to pass the test (for example). A salesperson (or business owner) wants you to learn about the product to see why this purchase is ideal. So if a customer is interested in a product or service and someone takes the time with them to show them the features and how they compare to other similar items - a customer will begin to feel more confident in their decision to purchase. The more the information is balanced and informational (rather than just a 'sales pitch') the more likely you earn their trust and loyalty. Guess who they will come to for information in the future? You, their expert!

Educate About Your Product or Service

This is a no-brainer! Make sure your customers know about what you offer and how you can solve their problems. Often, missed sales occur when a customer doesn't know or understand your product or service.


How do you do this?

• Advertising
• Blogs
• Website
• FAQ's
• Cross-selling
• Point of sale offers
• Direct mail to current customers

Educate About Your Business

This is one aspect that often gets overlooked in marketing but can be just as important as educating your customer about your product or service. The relationship your customers have with you and your business is emotional. 

Customers often ask themselves...

• Do I trust this business?
• Is the staff knowledgable?
• Does the company stand behind their product with a warranty?
• Is this company the best place to get this service?
• Do I feel good about supporting this company?

If you're still unsure about how important this aspect of marketing is then consider this: If you are looking at two identical products at the same price - who do you go with? Have you ever paid more money for a product or service because you like the company or owner. Everyday, people choose to pay more or shop exclusively with brands because they like the company as well as the product (examples: Macy's, Nike, Pepsi, Budweiser and Apple). If it works for them - it can work for you too!

Go Beyond Your Field

While you are educating customers about your business and your company (in ways that solve their problems) think about also educating them in related subjects. For example: If your business is selling appliances, it would be helpful if you understood home construction or remodel budgeting. Something as simple as providing referral business information or a pamphlet discussing related topics will continue to establish trust with your customer. You aren't directly selling them anything by offering this information so this solidifies that you are trustworthy and have their best interests at heart. Imagine how often they will think of your business when talking to their friends and family as well.


Is is often said that knowledge is power - think of educating your customer as a marketing strategy that empowers your customer. The more they know, the more power they have to make a decision and well as share what a helpful expert you are!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Social Media Snapshot: Twitter for Business

According to"It took Twitter three years, two months and one day to reach our first billion Tweets. Today, there are over a billion Tweets sent every three days. These Tweets represent conversations related to almost any topic imaginable."

That's a lot of people talking!

So How will this help you?
• The conversations happening on Twitter offer businesses a wealth of information about current and potential customers.
• You can quickly and easily see what people are saying about your brand, your product, your competitors and industry in a few clicks. It's like having the world's largest focus group at your fingertips!
• It's REAL-TIME interaction - you can watch it happen or you can jump in there and get your brand involved in the NO COST!

What you NEED to KNOW...
There are a couple of things you should familiarize yourself with to safely navigate the Twitter universe...

140 CHARACTERS - its a magic number...and it's the maximum length for all tweets (aka messages)

MENTION - Precede a Twitter username with an @ symbol and they will be notified that you have mentioned them in your tweet. (Example: "We love our new client @susanjones")

RETWEET - When you want to share a tweet - click the retweet button below it to send it out to your followers. Again, people are notified when you retweet which helps establish camaraderie.

MESSAGE - Think of this as something similar to email. Privately tweet a message to a user with a DM or direct message.

HASHTAG - Hashtags (like Mentions with the @ symbol) involve a # symbol before a word or phrase (no spaces). Think of a hashtag as the them of your tweet. Users can click on a hashtag to find other tweets with the SAME hashtag. (Example: " Now offering an #extendedsale of 50% off")

Twitter is on the GO!
You might have noticed a lot of people walking around with these things called smart Well mobile technology is a MAJOR craze that is changing how people connect with businesses. This means you NEED to be accessible in the mobile universe. One of the easiest ways is TWITTER!

• Twitter's mobile aplications make it easy for people to connect and read your tweets from their smart phone, tablet or blackberry.
• People can subscribe to INSTANTLY receive your tweets to their phone - very cool!
• Tweet from ANYWHERE - this means you can get your information out without sitting at your desk computer.

Need a Widget?
Twitter offers follow buttons and widgets that allow for live streaming of tweets right on your website. Once you place them on your site - you don't have to do a thing! Visitors will see what is happening right from your site on your twitter feed. This is great if you want to tweet during a live event or sale.

Promote your Tweets, Trends or Yourself
Twitter offers several options for advertising on Twitter. This is recent option for businesses so we recommend getting more familiar with Twitter advertising directly.
Click here to check out their site.

If you're still not convinced that Twitter is a viable social media platform for your business - we have one final point to make. Twitter is all about REAL-TIME information which is something that search engines (Like Google, Bing, Yahoo & more) really LOVE! This means search engines will prioritize results from a website like Twitter over normal websites. Don't you want a piece of that action?

Qlixite will setup and manage your Twitter account for you