President Obama was on hand for the ground breaking at the site of the future Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Get a sneak peek of The National Museum of African American History and Culture which was approved by the Smithsonian Board of Regents in 2006, and the new building is scheduled to open to the public in 2015.
A recent 2012 MasterCard study projects the global prepaid opportunity to reach $822 billion by 2017, but card issuers are faced with a major challenge right now when it comes to customer service. Because of regulation and competition, the margins they earn per transaction are going down, while volumes are rising. The Durbin Amendment, for example, has stalled plans by some big banks to enter this space – because it’s viewed as simply less profitable than other products. On the other hand, prepaid issuers don’t necessarily have brick and mortar places to maintain, so they have a slight advantage over the bigger, full-suite banks.
“Prepaid providers will need to keep a sharp eye on the ball relative to product pricing, regulatory pressure, and consumer behavior,” says Madeline K. Aufseeser, senior analyst with Aite Group. “Programs with high-cost structures will suffer, and new entrants will need to make huge marketing investments to acquire consumers quickly.”
One thing is certain – cost of service per transaction has remained constant in prepaid, so issuers are looking for viable solutions to control service costs to maintain and improve profitability.
One way to control costs is to grow customer adoption of digital channels – both online and mobile. But how do you get the mass of prepaid customers to use your digital channels for self-service? Many prepaid customers are not accustomed to going through transactions regularly and may use their card infrequently and are less familiar with available digital channels. Unfortunately, many prepaid programs have digital channels that are far behind those offered by national banks. So assuming many of your prepaid customers are unaware of, or not using your digital channels, what’s the best approach to change their behavior?
The answer is to offer them something simple and exciting– like a personalized, prioritized list of things they need to know or act on at any given moment. More often than not, a customer may need to be made aware of something when they log into their account – its not always that they know the problem – “did I forget to pay my phone bill this month”, or “why did my cable bill double this month”, or “is my spending trending into potentially dangerous territory”. Instead of requiring the cardholder to search through transactions and ask the right questions, Personetics provides the user with “need to know” information upon login as well as steps to solve the potential problems. This type of interaction is totally new – focusing on the customer’s best financial interest – and provides such a delightful experience that it will help adoption, and more frequent use, of online self-service channels.
Instead of requiring the customer to understand every aspect of your digital channels, Personetics searches through their transactions and provides the user with a proactive intelligent service at the onset of each interaction. It builds trust and increases customer stickiness, both of which have been proven to add to your bottom line.
I’m going to share some of my top insights into how businesses can fully leverage the Facebook platform and turn it into one of your most valuable marketing channels.
First and foremost, advertising is a must on Facebook to reach your customers and prospects. The good news is that when done right, it is really cost effective.
I almost always recommend encouraging followers and those trafficking your page to voluntarily share their direct contact information, so that you can build lists of prospects and customers that you can re-market to when you see fit. This can be done a number of ways, but always involves creating a custom page to capture contact and lead qualifying information. The incentives can obviously vary – from monthly give aways, to discounts, to access to valuable information – like a white paper or research report. Even if you don’t have a new product or service to offer your lists each week or month, it is very beneficial to share relevant information that you think they would be interested in to keep you top-of-mind.
So now that you are attracting the right people to your page and building a remarking list, and generating good followers, how should you communicate with them? The lists can be emailed when you have something important to share, but you also need to remain very active in your Facebook news feed. Industry research shows that 96 percent of fans never revisit the fan pages once they’ve “liked” them and you can expect that only about 20 percent of your followers will see your posts at any given time, but you can increase that number by varying the types of posts you share and with targeted advertising.
Of course some of your posts may be self-promoting, like sharing new products or describing new services, but most should not. Did you know that posts that spark interactivity from your followers or content that goes viral – where followers share the link to their followers – jumps much higher in your followers’ news feeds, and thus is much more likely to be read by more people, including your followers? That metric is called “impressions” and Facebook relies heavily on this variable in an algorithm that hides content it thinks your followers probably aren’t interested in – posts with low impressions.
So to get to the top of each of your follower’s news feeds when they sign into their Facebook accounts, which many do at the beginning and end of each day, you should try to create content that will get the most impressions or interaction. Think about things that are related to the common interests of your followers – maybe its home improvement project ideas for a hardware company or best practices and success stories for software company. A good ratio to use is Pareto’s 80/20 principle when creating content. Keep 80 percent of your posts on common interest topics that are more likely to spark interactivity and 20 percent focused on your products, service or brand.
Feel free to ask your followers questions in posts too. And it always helps to get visual – share exciting images and videos. Be inspirational – share good stories. Try to mix it up and remember: the businesses with the best content on Facebook win.
Contact us today to learn more about how your business can leverage Facebook to grow or Tweet me at #Facebook4Business.
About the Author:
Jon Stotts of www.eXprtMedia.com has 14 years experience managing marketing and communication programs for various types of companies, including technology and financial services focused companies. He has spent much of his career managing multiple external agencies and has extensive experience working with all types of technology firms, international companies looking to increase business in the U.S., venture and private equity-backed companies, publicly traded companies and mergers & acquisitions. Stotts holds a degree in journalism from Georgia State University and an MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University.
Some of the best advice ever for marketers and business owners is to use social media to go to your customers – don’t expect them to come to you.
Why do we as marketers spend so much money trying to get our customers to us? Yes, certainly there are core programs, lead generation, direct marketing, sales collateral, public relations and Websites that we have to maintain, and in-person shows may be integral to your business, but frankly social media has changed the way the world works. We can now target customers and prospects where they already spend a bulk of their time — on Facebook.
account. How many of these people are your customers and prospects? A lot. The fact is, we as marketers have never had these types of channels before to reach our target audiences, and amazingly, when done correctly, simple social solutions can be the most cost effective way to communicate with your audiences directly.
Social media accounts for 18 percent of people’s time online and studies have found that many people start and end their day surfing Facebook. The average Facebook user spends almost 7 hours hours a month on the site. How much time do you think they spend a month on your site, or reading your emails? They probably don’t spend 7 hours in 12 months, let a lone one month! Why fight that battle, when you can win the war? Be smart – go to them, don’t expect your customers to come to you.
eXprtMedia can help you find your customers on Facebook and other social channels, turning these into viable, cost-effective marketing platforms.
Contact us today to see how we can help – jon@eXprtMedia.com or Tweet us at hashtag #SimpleSocial.
Learn how www.eXprtMedia.com Simple Social media services can help you drive your business forward by using the most cost-effective communication channels to speak directly with your customers and prospects. We help all types of businesses with strategy, content creation, custom pages, monitoring and generating followers.
We have a team of experts with decades of experience running social media, marketing and communication programs for all types of companies. We also have a dedicated staff of professional, US-based social media monitors and moderators that can respond to your followers immediately in a professional way – on message – to turn followers into customers.
Marketers and business owners often ask how much they should allocate towards social media. It’s a great question and it totally depends on your type of business. Large companies with major brands already invest heavily — up to $10K or even $20K a month employing dozens of internal people and external agencies to leverage these channels, but what about the small to medium sized businesses or the cost constrained organizations? You don’t have to break your marketing budget to make social work.
In a BtoC model or promoting enthusiast brands, something like Facebook could be used as your primary marketing platform — to find and communicate directly with your customers and prospects. Twitter and Pintrestcould also be important. Restaurant owners know the value of Yelp and other online ratings sites. All types of businesses need to actively manage their images, generally, across multiple social platforms. The good news is that you can cross promote the various platforms and encourage your followers, once you’ve secured them on one to follow you on another, with the proper incentives.
Social Media Marketing Hub and Spoke Infographic (Photo credit: DigitalRalph)
In some B2B scenarios, you may want to leverage LinkedIna bit more, but shouldn’t ignore Facebook. That’s the number one mistake I am seeing right now. LinkedIn has 180 million users while Facebook has well over a billion. Ninety percent of adults in the US have Facebook accounts. B2B marketers need to find their customers, and their customers’ customers where they are already spending time, and, empirically, that has been proven to be Facebook. With the right help, B2B companies can build targeted audiences, improve perception and brand value, and influence sales on the Facebook platform. You can do this by driving fans and followers to higher return assets, whether that be another social site or directly to content on your organization’s Website. Ideally you should capture contact information directly in this process, so that you can re-market to these people as you see fit.
In both cases, the costs of running fully integrated social media programs is much less than most expect. Here at eXprtMedia we have monitoring and moderation solutions that start at $400 a month. We can fully manage your ad campaigns for a couple hundred dollars a month, plus a percentage of overall ad spend. And we can even help you create the right content for each platform, or manage that process fully for you.
Of course we customize each engagement, but in most cases, B2C or B2B, our most successful clients are spending between $1,200 to $2,000 a month and seeing stellar results — growing audiences by hundreds or thousands a month and, if lead capture is a priority, we can capture lead information to immediately impacts sales.
Of course when compared to other marketing programs, like trade shows, direct marketing and PR, social media is cheap, but don’t underestimate the value it can provide for your brand and business — cost is certainly not an indicator of quality in this case. Social just happens to be the best value for now, if you know what you’re doing.
Contact us today to see how we can help – jon@eXprtMedia.com or Tweet us at hashtag #SimpleSocial.
Are you ready to step into social media, but not sure where to start? It can be challenging enough just to set up accounts, let alone project the right image. And simply having social media accounts doesn’t mean anyone will know you’re there…
Small to medium sized organizations are disadvantaged when it comes to competing in today’s marketplace — most don’t have the resources to hire fulltime social media and public relations staff. Large companies have teams of people dedicated to new media channels. Wouldn’t you like to level the playing field?
And companies aren’t the only ones interested in growing their online presence — individuals need to build their own brands too. From personalities to artists, writers, technical and business consultants and more — all want to expand their perception and reach. Aggressive social media strategies can help.
eXprtMedia & Marketing
Webtreats Matte Black Social Media Icons (Photo credit: webtreats)
– and we can help you generate the right followers with intelligent, targeted campaigns.
We combine proven publicity and advertising tactics to get your message in front of the right people — your customers and prospects. The media and advertising world has changed. Isn’t it about time you figured out how to leverage new social media platforms?
Start today with an accelerator package to get the ball rolling, then continue with ongoing interactive support. Contact us today to get started. Packages start as low as $400 a month.