How to Show Customer Appreciation

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we would like to take a minute to say just how thankful we are for all the clients we've had over the last 20 years. We could not have done it, nor would we be where we are today, without each and every one of you. Thank you for the great partnerships! Keep being awesome.

While it is great (and encouraged!) to let your clients know your appreciation this time of year, don't let the holidays be the only time your customers hear it. It is important that you show your appreciation all year long. Strong businesses are built on strong relationships. Showing your customers just how much you appreciate them is a surefire way to maintain their business and loyalty. Not sure how to express it? We've got you covered. Here are three ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Provide sales or special offers:

If you are a B2C company, offering discounts or exclusives to your customers is bound to excite them. Consider providing exclusive or limited edition items to Rewards members, customer appreciation sales, or coupons/promo codes for your store. Our friends at Door County Coffee have really nailed this. They invite their customers to enter in product giveaways and promote sales codes for their customers to purchase their products at a discount.

If you run a B2B company, consider offering referral bonuses to your customers. If they send other businesses your way, offer your clients a percentage off their next purchase or their next service.

Give them content and/or materials to help them succeed:

At DMI, our clients are so much more to us than just a sale and we want them to know it. If you look at your customers with dollar signs in your eyes, or if you are constantly crunching their numbers, your relationship will never flourish. When you work to truly further their success, and not just to make a profit, you can develop a very positive partnership.

For example, our Account Executives often suggest Social Media and Marketing tips and tricks to our clients "on the house" (we also never charge to talk with your AE). By giving advice such as "only post teasers to an article on social media and a link to your website," we can help them develop strong content to boost engagement, grow their following, and drive traffic to their site.

Recognize them on social media:

In our very digital world, there is no better way to give or receive props than on Social Media. When you send a shout out to your customer, you build a stronger relationship with them, you provide them with free advertisement to your followers, and start a conversation with both audiences. Social Media is great not only for giving deserved accolades after an achievement, but is also a great way to promote any upcoming events they have.

We recently promoted an event on our Facebook page that two of our clients had collaborated on. By sharing the Old Glory Honor Flight fundraiser at Polly's Pumpkin Patch, the reach for both organizations was expanded to people who may not have known about the event or what either organization does in the community.

Thank you again to our clients for all the incredible partnerships. We are excited for them to continue growing!

We'd love to know - how do you show your customers your appreciation?

Five Elements to Include in Your 2016 Marketing Budget

As we near the end of the calendar year, Marketers and business owners everywhere are putting together their budget for 2016. If budgets are created based solely on what had been done the previous year, or on what has been successful in the past, components crucial for marketing success can be left out or forgotten. Especially considering that the marketing scene changes every year. We have the most important things to consider for next year’s Marketing budget.

1) Responsive Design

Transitioning your website into a Responsive design is a necessary move for 2016. In April 2015, Google started placing a high value on Responsive design. Translation: websites that are Responsive will receive higher search rankings than sites that are not.

The way your customers use your site should be considered here as well. Every day, more searches are being done on mobile than on desktop. As of March 2015, the number of people browsing the Internet from only mobile devices (11.3%) surpassed those who are online only via desktop (10.6%). If your users have to keep zooming or scrolling to read your content, they will abandon your site to find one that is easier to read on their mobile device.

If you have questions about converting your website to a Responsive design, DMI has a team of web experts who would be happy to answer them for you!

2) Social Media Plan

It is important now more than ever to not only have a social media presence, but to also have a successful strategy for your business. Using social media as part of your online Marketing strategy is the easiest way to communicate your message to the most people and drive traffic directly to your website. Updating your social media plan for 2016 will be a big win for your company.

If you are not currently taking advantage of Facebook campaigns (boosted posts or promoted page ads), it is absolutely something to consider. Using these options, you can target the exact audience you want to reach. Your ads’ audience can be filtered by age, gender, location, and interests. With the ability to choose your budget and the duration of the ad, you are still in control of your own content.

If you are looking to grow your social media following and broaden your audience, DMI has a socially-savvy team happy to help!

3) SEO

If there is one thing that Google likes to do, it’s keeping Marketers on their toes. Search is constantly evolving, i.e. Panda and Penguin updates that have occurred recently or will be happening soon. As such, Marketers and SEO experts must stay up-to-date with current changes and algorithms to ensure successful search results. Maintaining your site to stay in line with these updates is a must for 2016.

If you have questions on how to keep your business at the top of search results, DMI’s Marketing experts would love to chat with you!

4) Showcasing business online

Ok, so you’ve got your website primed for optimal search results. Now how do you stand out from your competition? One option is to showcase your building through Google 360 View/Business Tours.

This feature is a 360° view virtual tour of your business, of both the interior and exterior of the building. This gives your customers, or potential customers, an insiders’ view of your business. It is shown in search results, Google Maps and Google+.

Why is showcasing your building an important piece to consider for 2016? One in five searches are about businesses in specific locations, and most users will research a company or product online before a purchase. Additionally, companies using Google 360 View have seen an increase in engagement and a 20-40% increase in business. 

If you are looking to have an edge over your competition, DMI has a Marketing team ready to help you out!

5) Video

We have become an increasingly visual society, as evidenced by the huge success of platforms like YouTube, Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat. The Millennial generation is a heavy influence of these successes and is growing as an audience. Keeping up with your audience and knowing how and where to reach them is crucial to your success.

Incorporating video into your Marketing strategy is highly encouraged for 2016. In 2014, the amount of videos in Facebook’s Newsfeed increased by 3.6 times year-over-year. Videos have the highest engagement rate of any kind of content on social media and allows for a better understanding of the message. The use of video shows an increase in users’ understanding of a product by 74%. 

If you need help with any of your online Marketing efforts, we'd love to connect with you!

The Power of Your Website to Build Brand & Increase Sales

Your brand's website is more than a pretty face (maybe it isn't even pretty?  Let's talk.).   Rather, you can use your web presence to build your brand and customer base.  However, this is an intentional process and will not happen on its own.  Read that sentence one more time if you need to, we don't mind.

If you're ready to sink some time and thought into brand building process, you're ready to begin!

What is the goal?

Firstly, let's set the tone for what we're trying to accomplish.  The goal is to make it as easy as possible for customers to approach you and purchase your product/service or to support your cause.  Now, more than in the last decade-plus of online commerce, customers are looking for amazing service and quality products and they want to build relationships (we've all moved beyond the low-cost provider).

>> Regardless of the industry your brand serves, you can use your online presence to build your business.  <<

1.  Begin with existing customers/supporters

How can you increase your SERVICE, QUALITY and RELATIONSHIPS with current customers/supporters?  Today's interactivity makes this easier than ever.  Some ideas are more appropriate depending upon your industry.  Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Tweet them a message
  • Send a personal video Thank You message
  • Begin an email list (only email when you have something to say)
  • Create an online survey to gain insights
  • Start a podcast (even if periodic)
  • Blog
  • Have a Facebook contest
  • Share behind-the-scenes photos
  • Send an ecard on special occasions
  • Offer a coupon
  • Answer frequently asked questions online
  • Respond promptly to emails and phone calls
  • Think about the customer process and make one piece better, easier, simpler for customers

2.  Expand to potential customers/supporters

The goal of your online (and offline) efforts should be to make the transition from potential customer to customer as seamless as possible.  How is this done?  By increasing awareness of your SERVICE and QUALITY as well as building RELATIONSHIPS.  Noticing a trend?

>> This step assumes you have a website and that it is mobile-responsive.  If not, focus your efforts here first. <<

Here are a bunch of ideas, categorized:

Build Out Your Website

  • No PDFs - if you have valuable info, put it on a webpage
  • Address common questions on your website
  • Have a Contact Us form and check the email address it sends to regularly
  • Maintain website info - if it is out-dated, get rid of it
  • Add photos of staff, if relevant (remind customers there are actual people behind your brand)
  • Create a Completed Projects section then, set your calendar to regularly update it
  • Add a few testimonials
  • Link to your social media accounts (if brand-related)
  • Set up Google Analytics to track visitors, pages viewed, etc.
  • Only add info and web pages that ADD VALUE to the customer, if not, get rid of it

Step Up Your Communication

A website is a great start, but there are a number of ways to continue to gently welcome web traffic as customers.  The first step here is to think about an action you want potential customers to take that you feel with increase their sense of your brand's SERVICE, QUALITY and RELATIONSHIP.  A few examples might be:
  • Watch a welcome video
  • Take an online tour
  • Fill out a Contact Form
  • Download a white paper
  • Sign up for the email list
  • Purchase a product
  • Schedule a tour

Calls to Action

The last step here is to create Calls to Action throughout the website that encourage web visitors to perform one of the actions listed above.^^  If you're convinced the welcome video is a great way to help visitors learn about your brand (RELATIONSHIP), remind them gently to view the video.  Do so on different pages in different areas.  

When web visitors perform the Call to Action, be sure to collect their email address.  Why?  So you can continue the conversion with an email or follow up phone call.

"Dear XX,
Thank you for taking the time to view our Welcome Video.  I'd love to send you a brochure about our brand's offering.  It contains information on our brand as well as pricing.  If you'd like the brochure, simply email me back."

Take Aways

If all of this song-and-dance sounds familiar, that's because it is.  This is the very same way we build relationships offline (friendships, a first date, etc.)  We get to know someone and then extend the conversion through dinner parties, meetings, emails or phone calls, etc.

Now, we're simply using technology to extend the relationship experience to a much broader audience--one with global reach.  Email, social media, texting, websites and a variety of media help brands build relationships with people they would never come across in their day-to-day lives.  

The steps we take as we get to know someone, slowly revealing more information about ourselves or simply sharing who we are, is the same we should take as a brand.  

Note, there are many people behind every brand.  And, there are many people who are helped by many brands.  Brands and businesses and companies and industries all serve people.  Therefore, our interactions should always be mindful of the person on the other end of the transaction.

In your efforts, think about communicating your brand's SERVICE and QUALITY and work to build RELATIONSHIPS through a variety of actions online and offline.  The result will be a stronger brand and that leads to stronger sales.

If the ideas and tips sound like something you'd like to act on, but you're not sure where to start, we'd be happy to lend an ear to discuss a path forward for your brand.  

^see what we did there?  

Best of luck as you build your brand!

The *Why* of Web Design

Life moves at the speed of light, it seems. Meetings, commitments, travel, family and friends all have our attention, and it’s a constant stream of movement. Often, we must remind ourselves to stop and ask an important question: “Why?”

Web Design is no different. There are features and apps and content management and blogging and social media and, if we’re not careful, we’ll careen from one to the next without ever stopping to ask “Why?”
Why add a new feature to your website? 
Why update the design?  
Why social media?  
Why add an “under construction” page?  
Why create an app?  
Why enter into a new social media website? 

If you’re about to do anything to your brand’s website, social media or online presence, be sure you know the “Why?”

Some good reasons to move forward:

  • This feature will bring value to my customers 
  • This information will help customers make a decision 
  • This action will build positive relationships with my audience 
  • This update will strengthen our brand 

 Some reasons to pass on a project:

  • There is some white space we’d like to fill
  • Everybody else has this feature/app/presence
  • We aren’t ready to launch, but should put something online
  • This is how we’ve always done it 

The Effects of “I don’t know why,” Syndrome 

Maybe you’re too busy to be troubled with “Why?” Maybe you’ve always done things a certain way. Whatever the case may be, if you don’t stop to evaluate the “Why?” you may be left with:

  • Indecision
  • Uncertainty
  • Desire to chase flashy objects and features
  • Erratic projects, initiatives and work
  • Difficulty explaining the project/initiative
  • Low return on investment
  • Loss of business 

 You’d never get into your car if you didn’t have a destination. Otherwise, how would you ever know if you’ve arrived? The same is true of web projects. Are you meeting goals you’ve set? How will you ever know unless you first set the goals?

The “Why?” of web design is more important then the “How?” because logistics can always be worked out later.

If you’re at a point where you need to nail down your “Why?” block off a time to commit to brainstorming by yourself or those most vested in the initiative. At the end of the session, you’ll know full well if it’s an initiative you should continue with or if you’re simply chasing windmills. 

We’d prefer you leave that to the works of fiction.

4 Lessons from Apple on Running Your Business

Looking to improve your business?  Finding a mentor in biz and in life is difficult to do.  A brand should always be challenging itself and growing.  Successful stories are essential in showing us the direction we should go.

If you're in need of a mentor, check out some of the secrets to Apple's success and how they can translate to you:

1.  Know what you do best; do it better than anyone else

Whether you're a restaurant or a tech startup or any brand in-between, this absolutely applies!  It is so easy to add new products or services because there *may* be money, or a market, or opportunity there.  But if a brand is pushing themselves out of their core competency, they may be risking too much for perceived new income.

An example:  Ever head of a Mexican restaurant that sell hamburgers and chocolate shakes?  And cheese cake?  Maybe people say they'd like to see it on the menu.  Maybe the chef does make a good cheese cake.  But before adding anything new, scrutinize if it is within your brand's true identity.  Or are you simply stretching to become all things to all people?

Lesson from Apple:  Apple creates products products within only four categories:  computers, phones, tablets and personal devices.  That's it.  They're not creating high-tech blenders or calculators.  They know what they do better than anyone else, and stick to those categories.

2.  Be customer-centric

This adage works whether you're selling a product or a service or a little bit of both.  The economy is shifting away from consumers who are entirely price conscious.  Consumers want to get a great price, but they're willing to spend more for a top-notch experience.

An example:  Say you are a clothing boutique that has a solid base of loyal customers.  Why not branch out and seek ways to further serve them?  Maybe partner with a high-end hair salon for loyalty rewards?  Or, find a great niche shoe store that would be a great fit with your customers.  Find a way to go above and beyond and make your customer's experience something to remember.  Have you thought to ask your customers how you can improve?

Lesson from Apple: Apple was the first to come out with computers in different colors.  Apple was the first to come out with an MP3 player that was so-very-much-more.  The tech behemoth tries to envision what their customers would want and then go a step or a leap past those expectations:  always go one better.

3.  Listen to the public; but don't become a slave to them

It is important to listen to what your customers and the public in general, say about your product or service, or a product/service in the same category as yours.  Though you should never become always-shifting and changing as public opinion morphs.

An example:  We'll journey back to the Mexican restaurant that serves hamburgers and shakes.  Maybe they had a few customers that claimed they would like to see these on the menu.  Maybe other Mexican restaurants are going in the same direction.  Before adding items that are not in your core competency to your line-up, a lot of soul-searching is required.  Is this the best decision in the long run?  Is this the best representation of our brand?

Lesson from Apple:  Prior to every product launch, news outlets love to interview people to find out what they'd like to see in the new iPhone or iPad.  Some of the suggestions make sense.  Some are obviously way too out there.  For example, an infrared camera to see in the dark.  Or, apps to control household appliances.  Maybe these things will be important in the future, but right now, they would be features very few would use and value.

4.  Price for value

Pricing of a product/service is always a difficult subject.  The best route is to price for value, whenever possible.

An example:  Sales are booming at your marketing firm, though you've had a few comments that pricing could be lower.  After all, your competitors offer lower prices.  And free coffee mugs.  It is important not to get caught up slashing prices.  If your customers see the value of your offering, then price should not be their primary concern.  There will always be a lower-price option out there.  If they are beginning to think about pricing, maybe it's time to reevaluate the level of value you are giving.

Lesson from Apple:  While there is a flurry of low-price competitors in the marketplace, Apple's products remain priced for value.  Many people complain about the price of a new phone, but Apple has a strong grip on marketshare across all of their product categories.


We bet you never thought you could draw so many parallels between your brand and Apple.  The tech giant has a lot to teach us about doing business smarter.  We just need to take the time to listen.

5 For Friday featuring iOS 8, IPO fortunes and a vote that may have been influenced by social media.

Five quick links you don't want to miss before your weekend.

1.  iOS 8 is Here

What's so great about iOS 8?  We've come across a collection of links on the web that might show you why it's the bees-knees.  Here's how to become an iOS 8 Master.  Feel like 007 with these Secret Features of iOS 8.  And 25 Reasons iOS 8 is better than iOS 7.  Hope these tips make you feel more at home with the updated operating system.

2.  DIY Credit

Home Depot's security breach of over 56 million credit cards is on a larger scale than last year's Target security snafu.  Somebody tell them they need more than a hammer and nails to secure their credit card transactions!  Be sure to take some time to see if there is any suspicious activity on your card if you shopped at the Depot in the last year.

3.  An IPO to Dream About

Alibaba's IPO this week was hugely successful, raising $21.8 billion and a price per share at $68.  That's better than a genie in a bottle!  The stock sale could signal that the Chinese Internet industry may become the largest in the world.

4.  Social Media Informs Voters

Scotland's vote this week to possibly secede from the United Kingdom is the fruit of an era where the Internet helps to inform and convince voters.   Integrating technology in a more meaningful way since 2007 really paved the way for the referendum vote.  Imagine if Braveheart used Instagram and Twitter.

5.  Inspiring Your Weekend

Here's a quote from one of our hometown favorites.  Have a great weekend!

We'd love to connect with you on Facebook.

7 Sources of Content for Your Small Business Website

Finding inspiration for your small business website is not as scary as that blinking cursor on your blank Word document.  Take a quick look at your small business and you'll find more web-worthy information than you imagined.   Here are a few places to check out:

1. Your Past

Your small business is working hard every day.  Don't forget that you're creating and producing and moving forward along the way.  Display that hard work on your website.  Showcase your products or services or the effects of your products and services for the world to see.  The proof of your biz is in the pudding.  And people want a taste!

2.  Your Future

Things are happening all the time at your business.  People want to know.  Whether it's via a company blog, Facebook updates on your website or an Instagram feed, your brand's future is a great source of content for your small business website.

3.  Your Salesforce

Whether you have a sales team or if you are a team of one, salespeople are a great source of website content.  Every day customers and potential customers are asking questions.  Create a small answer bank on your website of the most common questions and their answers. 

4.  Make It Easy

Visualize your small business website as a pathway to your front door.  Every piece of information and assistance you can lend can help a customer along that path, making it easy for them to walk through your door.  What insights and information can you make available to help potential customers along?  What can you offer to make it easy to purchase from your brand?  Maybe a free sample.  Maybe a free consultation.  Maybe a slideshow about how your product or service will make their life better.  Make it easy for them to walk through the door and purchase from you!

5.  Directions and Hours

Nothing is more frustrating than heading out to shop or getting around to making a phone call and not reaching the person you intended.  At the very least, provide basic information about your business.  Where are you located?  What are your hours?  How do I get to your door?  At the very best, you could provide contact details for all of the employees at your small business.  Again, make it easy to do business with your brand.

6.  Show Us Behind the Curtain

Many of us revel in the deleted scenes and outtakes from our beloved DVD collections.  Brands are finding out that their customers are just as captive as an audience.  What does a team brain storm look like?  How high up did you have to hang an outdoor sign today?  How happy is that couple that you just took engagement photos of?  Your small business is an expert in your field.  So, show us!

7.  Don't Forget Your Off-Line Marketing

If you've spent money on a great new brochure, put it on your website.  There are amazing online options that make flipping through a brochure or catalog as enjoyable as real life.  Did you just put up a clever billboard in town?  Take a photo and add it to your Instagram or Flickr feed.  If you are spending money on marketing somewhere, put it online and maximize your money.  


If you need a little help or a lot of help on your small business website, we'd love to connect with you!