Tag Archive for 'Marketing'

AppGratis: Great Success!

I recently reached out to the fine folks at appgratis.com to see if they could help get some exposure for Copy2Contact for iPhone. I’m very glad I did.

If you’re not in the know about AppGratis, you’re missing out! It’s free app for your iPhone that gets you one free app per day. But not just any app… the AppGratis team works with developers to offer apps for which you’d normally have to fork over some hard-earned cash. This means you’re getting great premium apps you might not otherwise try, for nada.

The AppGratis team told me they were looking to promote more utility and productivity apps, so Copy2Contact would fit right in. After discussing a bit about how things would work, we decided on a date and set things in motion.


What happened next was quite a show, at least from my perspective. AppGratis has worldwide reach, so the promotion started in the wee hours of the morning (I’m in the Eastern US time zone). I awoke to a tangle of error messages and problem reports. Our web server had crashed at 3am due to all the traffic they were sending our way.

The app distribution is handled by Apple’s servers, but people new to Copy2Contact were impressed and using the Tell A Friend feature at an astounding rate, putting a load on our server that it was simply not set up to handle. I could hardly believe it, and the day was just starting.

I reached out to the folks at qwk.net, who handle our dedicated hosting, and they were able to add resources to the server and get it back to full capacity in what can only be described as “lickety split”. Those guys are geniuses and I highly recomend their services to anyone needing business web hosting.

The rest of the day of promotion was uneventful. A few support requests came in from people with questions, and even a couple people telling us how much they like the app. It’s always nice to receive those kinds of messages.


When the dust had settled the next day, I had a chance to look at the numbers. This is where things got really interesting. As a result of the AppGratis promotion, we had well over 230,000 new people try Copy2Contact! And it turned out the promotion didn’t even run in the US or Italy due to scheduling conflicts. AppGratis has a pretty impressive reach!

Even more interesting is that the AppGratis folks said that the results were better even than they were expecting. This speaks both to how great Copy2Contact is but also says people are craving useful utility apps for their mobile devices (a fairly new category for the AppGratis guys).

Bottom Line

Now, how does this affect our business bottom line? That’s a more complicated issue… Giving people something for free doesn’t directly generate a single dollar of revenue, but the idea is bigger than that. Obviously we benefit from the exposure, which is hard to get these days with all the marketing noise out there. We were also hoping that new users of the iPhone app would go back to our web site and buy the PC version of our software, but interestingly, not a single one did!

So in the short term this netted the company zero $, but I think in the long term we’ll be better off having more people knowing the Copy2Contact name. We’ve always found it challenging to make people aware of the concept and this kind of thing helps a great deal. And though we don’t get access to these new users directly in order to market other products to them, we did have about 200 sign up for our mailing list and we can occasionally push messages out to the app when we announce new products.

We’re hoping to repeat the AppGratis promotion with their US user base, and it will be interesting to see if the results differ. Top countries in the first round included Brazil, Spain, Germany, and Mexico, where Copy2Contact is not as accurate. Since it works best with US, UK, and Western European contact information, their US users may like the app even more. I’ll write again when we have some results there.

Overall, thanks, AppGratis!

Go Fire Yourself

You have your own business, you’re in control of everything, and you answer to no one. You’re living the American Dream. But you want to be more successful. Your business simply isn’t growing like you wanted. Odds are, you have fallen into the trap that countless small business owners are already in – you are doing too much and not doing it well enough.

If I had an employee who wasn’t producing the results I wanted, I would replace him with a new contractor. If you’re not producing the results you want for your business, logically the only solution would be to fire yourself.

Step back for a second and truly consider what you bring to the table. No one, literally, no one, can do everything that goes into building a growing business. At least not as well as it could be done. You need to figure out where your strongest assets are and stop doing all of the things that you aren’t good at and eat up your time. So what are you good at?

I’m a Good Manager

Most good business owners fall under this category. As the boss, you need to manage your team just like a football coach manages his. You never see Rex Ryan throw on some pads and throw a football. That’s not his job. Good managers should manage and delegate well, not do the work of the people they manage. Certainly many small business budgets are prohibitive but with the wealth of contractors available, there are truly very few businesses that can’t afford to invest in assistance in any field.

I’m a Good Developer

Many online business owners are developers who created their very own application or service. But just because you made your own product with your own sweat and tears doesn’t mean you are the best person to run the business end. Developers don’t always make good managers and rarely make good marketers or sales people. Developers need a partner even more than they need employees or contractors. You should work on the technical side of things and let someone else worry about the sales, management, and marketing.

I’m a Good Marketer

Marketers don’t tend to make good CEOs. Maybe because so many people think they are good marketers. Marketing is both a crucial piece of the puzzle but also a very small one. It takes up a lot of time but is useless without the right business or product in place. Marketing is a skill, not the basis of your business, which means you need someone to take care of the really important stuff while you spread the word.

I Just Want to Have My Own Business

Too many small business owners fall into this category. They just want their own business for the sake of having their own business. That’s a fine aspiration but if you don’t have the skills or the drive to run your own business, you don’t want to be a CEO, you just want to be an investor. Look at the TV show “Shark Tank“, the sharks don’t run all of those businesses, they just buy a chunk of the company and count the profits. They may even own the majority of the company and have someone else run everything. If you fall into this category, then it’s definitely time to fire yourself.

Staying in Touch With Clients For Repeat Sales

We all know it’s easier and cheaper to keep an old client than to find a new client, so why aren’t you doing everything you can to make sure your clients are satisfied and to keep your business name on their minds?

Every customer wants to be treated like they’re cared about, and not like just another email address on a list. You want to make sure that every customer is satisfied with your service and knows about any new products, services, or deals that your business may be rolling out. At the very least, you want them to remember you next time they need your service.


Sometimes, it’s enough to just check in on a customer or client’s satisfaction. “Are you happy with our service? Do you need anything else? Okay, I’m available whenever you need.” Don’t just let a person do business with you, make sure they are satisfied enough to come back or recommend you to their friends. You shouldn’t be satisfied with a one-time buy. You want to get the most out of every sale.

I bought a small piece of music equipment a few months ago from a company called Sweetwater that I found on Google. It was a small purchase and I had never intended to use them again, but just to buy and get on my way. Then, AJ called about my $8 order. He wasn’t trying to upsell me or get me on a list, he just wanted to make sure I got what I needed and that I know that if I ever need anything else, he knows a lot about that stuff and can help. He then sent an additional email when the order was shipped and another when the product arrived (with a thank-you note from AJ). I was never going to use them again but because of the way they treated my tiny $8 order, you better believe I’ll use Sweetwater again if the opportunity ever comes up. I feel very comfortable reaching out to them.


Just in case I forget about Sweetwater, they remind me of their existence, their products, and current deals with a monthly email newsletter. Though you have probably heard of the importance of email newsletters already, their relevance can’t be overestimated.

If you are a business, you need to collect the names and information of your customers. Use that info to tell them what you need to tell them. You have a direct line to every customer who gave you their email address, phone number, or even mailing address.

If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of a regular newsletter, remember that they’re not blog posts: they don’t need to be sent out at specific times every couple of weeks. A few months ago, I purchased “Louis CK: Live at the Beacon”, a stand-up comedy special that he released himself online. He has sent me only one email since, and when he did I knew it was something important about him and his business that he wanted me to know. Because he sent just one email in months, it was way more effective than frequent, regularly scheduled newsletters that I usually just end up unsubscribing from anyway.

The goal of the newsletter is to tell your past clients what they need to know, not bother them with filler.

Social Media

More and more focus on social media means you have an additional outlet available to reach your customers. Whether you use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+ (or all 4), ask your customers or clients to follow you. Don’t just use it to promote, be useful and helpful. The beauty of social media isn’t that it offers a chance to market directly to the consumer but the ability of the consumer to interact directly with you and your business.

Using The Right Tools

MailChimp is arguably the best email list tool out there and its users are very satisfied. It’s very easy to use and requires very little time to figure it all out. Simply create your list, customize your template, and start a campaign. The best part of the service is the result tracking features that tell you who is opening, clicking, Tweeting, and coming back for more. Accounts with under 2,000 and 12,000 monthly emails are free but larger accounts start at $10.

Another good option and old standard is Constant Contact, which does both email and social media campaigns.

For better control over your social media outreach, consider a tool like HootSuite, which allows you to see your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, FourSquare, and other accounts all in one application. They provide great analytics and offer a free account for up to 5 social profiles. The Pro account for unlimited profiles, message scheduling, and better integration costs $10 per month.

5 Tools To Get The Most From Your Social Media Efforts

Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are quickly becoming a big part of nearly every business’ marketing strategy. While they make a great addition to every company’s toolbox, it can be difficult to manage multiple accounts across multiple platforms and quantify the results into something more meaningful than the number of retweets or likes that a post received. Here are 5 tools to make your social media efforts more productive, efficient, and trackable.

HootSuite: HootSuite is one of the most popular and powerful social media tools out there because it allows you to manage your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and FourSquare accounts all in one place. The app also provides in-depth customizable analytics reports on all your profiles, allows your entire team to access the accounts, and lets you schedule updates for more optimal times. If you are going to only use one social media tool, this is the one to try.

SproutSocial: SproutSocial is the main competitor of HootSuite and offers a more powerful management dashboard that is especially helpful for marketers managing many different profiles. The app allows you to publish posts to multiple profiles, gives you in-depth analytics on your efforts, helps you find highly targeted customers, gives you full control over your team’s permissions, track keywords and trends, and measures your “customer engagement.”

Wildfire: Wildfire is a quickly growing social media suite that recently became part of Google. It allows you to manage and design all your social media pages, publish and schedule messages, create and manage social media ads, and monitor their comprehensive analytics. What really makes Wildfire stand out, however, is their Promotions platform. Wildfire allows you to easily launch a sweepstakes, coupon, contest, quiz, trivia, or group deals to generate word-of-mouth, capture new leads, and ultimately sell more products. The app gives you a ton of control over the promotion and branding but is very easy to set up and monitor.

Social Mention: Social Mention is a very simple tool that allows you to see who is talking about you and your company. Simply type in the name and Social Mention will bring up a full dashboard of stats. See how strong your social media message is, see the ratio of positive to negative mentions, see who is talking about your brand repeatedly, the range of your influence, top keywords your name is associated with, and see all of the pages and profiles on which you are being mentioned.

Klout: Klout is a very popular tool that allows you to measure your “influence.” Klout assigns your brand a Klout Score based on an algorithm that involves more than 400 different signals from seven different networks. Among them are your Facebook mentions, likes, comments, subscribers, wall posts, and friends, your Twitter mentions, re-tweets, list memberships, and replies, your Google+ comments, +1s, and reshares, your LinkedIn title, connections, recommendations, and comments, and foursquare, Klout, and Wikipedia power. When using social media, it can be hard to quantify how much success you are having but the Klout Score might be a great way to quantify how much reach and influence you have.