Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Get Your 2010 Digital Strategy Going Now

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December 17, 2009

Take a Tip from Restaurants on Email Marketing & Social Media

If you've got a business that requires getting the word out to customers on a daily or weekly basis, using email marketing with social media can lead to a winning combination. One industry that can thrive on this type of combination is the hospitality industry and specifically restaurants. Because of the "up-to-the-minute" nature of these three marketing vehicles, it's perfect for this perpetually changing business. Let's take a look at some great examples.

Email MarketingPicture 13

You are probably using email marketing to announce chef specials, menu changes, special events and parties and send emails weekly or monthly. Too many restaurants don't keep up with their customers during the year, then start jamming emails out to them in the holiday season for large parties and events. Remember, events happen all year long so you'll need to stay in front of them at all times. Email is also a great way to build your social media lists. To build your Twitter list make sure you tell your email marketing recipients in your emails to follow you on Twitter. Include a link to let them know they'll be able to get your daily specials, then watch your Twitter list grow! You also might want to include a message in your bill holder to sign up for your email list AND follow you on Twitter.

TwitterPicture 11

I bet if you run or work in a restaurant and run daily specials, one of your top telephone requests is "What type of soup do you have today?", or "What are your specials?". This can be maddening especially if you're busy. Twitter to the rescue! This is a perfect application for 140 characters.  One important note: keep your Tweets to 10-20 characters less than the 140 characters allowed on Twitter. This will allow for others to ReTweet your post. Then your message will get in front of new people who might also end up following you.

FacebookPicture 8

If you have daily specials that won't fit into Twitter's character limitations, you can include a link to your specials or post them on your wall on Facebook. You can also use the "events" feature to post special pairings and tasting events. And have the chef post that she just went to the farmer's market and is preparing something special for the evening with a picture of the dish.

You don't need to have a restaurant to put these great ideas to work for your business, especially if you've got things that change a lot on a day-to-day basis. This is a great way to combine all of these great things to get more business coming in your door.

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Dawn McGee

Very true Sara - people do need short, concise pieces of information that is relevant to them. However, I don't necessarily agree that email marketing is old fashioned. Maybe for companies that have always been on the bleeding edge of technology and marketing, but not so for many of my customers that are just starting to be comfortable with marketing themselves through social media. I've got some examples of how I blend the old and new on my website - www.FreeToBeConsulting.com (forgive the shameless self-promotion :) )

Posted by: Dawn McGee | December 28, 2009 at 12:45 PM


How does social media help with sales and conversions. I have been tweeting and posting on FB for over a year and still yet to get a sale from it. Any suggestions?

Posted by: norma | December 28, 2009 at 12:17 PM

Jay Summers

Everyone is in a hurry to try and leverage social media to meet business needs. But sometimes the simplest approach is also the most effective option. Many people would still instinctivley check the company website for updates, so why not also have a section on the restaurant's website for "today's specials"? Only a minority of patrons are realistically going to follow a restaurant on twitter or check their Facebook page for updates. A company website is still the most practical passive method to provide information for searchers, and email is still highly effective for reaching people with proactive communications. Social media has a ton of potential, but for business purposes the ROI is still highly questionable compared to more established (albeit less sexy) traditional methods. If you’re a small business owner with limited time and resources it makes sense to stick with what works first and foremost, and then pursue more experimental initiatives when/if feasible.

Posted by: Jay Summers | December 28, 2009 at 11:37 AM

steve bell

Great info for any business, however most restaurants do not collect their clients information and THAT is by far the worst mistake.

I suggest all restaurant owners take their business to new levels by utilizing this and making new customers loyal customers!

Posted by: steve bell | December 28, 2009 at 11:04 AM


Are there any email templates in VR that allow us to integrate social media links on the sidebar or at the bottom?

Posted by: ISF | December 28, 2009 at 09:11 AM

Sara Martin

I would like to agree by saying that no industry can flourish unless it provides customers with their updated services. Indeed social media tools can play a significant role to thrive an industry. People keep looking for news and informative content online. What you need is just aware them about “what’s new you have”. Somehow email marketing is old fashioned now. People don’t have sufficient time to read an email nowadays they like to spend few moments to get acquainted with latest trends through tweets and other social ways.

Posted by: Sara Martin | December 17, 2009 at 08:45 AM

Friday, December 18, 2009

Google In Discussions To Acquire Yelp For A Half Billion Dollars Or More

Google and Yelp are in advanced acquisition negotiations, we’ve confirmed from multiple sources. And while the deal isn’t done, we’ve heard that it’s very likely to close. The price is supposedly at least $500 million.

Yelp was founded in 2004 as a way to let users leave reviews on local businesses. Comscore puts worldwide traffic at nearly 9 million monthly unique visitors, and it has been growing fast – the company says it’s real numbers are more like 25 million monthly uniques.

Yelp has whispered that 2009 revenues will be around $30 million and are expecting $50 million or so in 2010.

Yelp last raised venture capital in early 2008 from DAG at a $200 million pre-money valuation, we’ve heard. They’ve raised a total of $31 million over four venture rounds.

On the odds of the deal happening – one source says its 80% likely. Not signed, sealed and delivered, but past the term sheet stage.

Google is building out their own directory of local businesses with its Place Pages, which can be accessed via Google Maps and local search. They are encouraging local businesses to put Google-branded stickers in store windows and recently added their own ratings summaries to business profiles. Yelp, of course, already has all of this data, along with a growing and active audience of consumers who are used to finding (and rating) businesses on Yelp.

For their part, Google is clearly on a shopping spree. They recently acquired AdMob for $750 million, and were in the running on the LaLa acquisition. Expect lots of deals to be announced by them over the next three months.

Google image

Website: google.com
Location:Mountain View, California, United States
Founded: September 7, 1998
IPO: August 19, 2004

Google primarily provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of tools and platforms including its more popular… Learn More

Yelp image

Website: yelp.com
Location:San Francisco, California, United States
Founded: July 1, 2004
Funding: $31M

Another company founded in 2004 by two former PayPal employees, Yelp is a local reviews website covering almost 40 states. Users write and read reviews about anything from their favorite hole in the wall… Learn More

Information provided by CrunchBase

Wow, this appears to be a formidable combination on the local front.

Posted via web from Randy's Stuff

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Online's Native Language

ESPN Toshiba

From Ad Age:

“To help sell Toshiba TV sets and laptops, ESPN worked with the Japanese company to create advertising that illustrates specifically how ESPN fans could use those products…. a greater number of marketers have discovered, it helps to have the media outlet that brings viewers to the screen — whether it be TV, computer or mobile — helping to craft the message. Indeed, while Toshiba in the past has relied more on ads that are somewhat serious in tone, working with ESPN resulted in commercials that take a humorous approach, mostly because the audience seeing the pitches reacts well to that sort of execution.”

It’s hard to imagine anyone knows an audience as well as the content creators at the TV networks, web publishers or magazines that attract and engage with those audiences every day. As more publishers help advertisers learn to speak the native languages of their audiences, it turns up the heat on agencies, who have historically played this role, as well as smaller publishers, who don’t have the scale to convince marketers that it’s worth the extra work to build a custom solution.

Who knows better the language spoken by the local news audience than local news content providers - I would submit no one.

Posted via web from Randy's Stuff

Monday, October 5, 2009

Toyota Is ‘Grasping for Salvation’

Toyota Says Company Is ‘Grasping for Salvation’ (Update1)

By Kae Inoue and Yuki Hagiwara

Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest automaker, is “grasping for salvation” as it predicts a second straight annual loss, President Akio Toyoda said.

“We have to listen to our customers and make better cars,” Toyoda said in a speech to journalists in Tokyo today. The 53-year-old grandson of Toyota’s founder became president of the Toyota City, Japan-based carmaker in June.

The automaker is one step away from “capitulation to irrelevance or death,” Toyoda said, citing a study of how companies fail. Toyota has forecast a record loss of 450 billion yen ($5 billion) in the year ending March after the worldwide recession pummeled car demand.

The company has gone through the phases of “hubris born of success,” “undisciplined pursuit of more” and “denial of risk and peril,” according to Toyoda, who cited Jim Collins, the author of “How the Mighty Fail.”

The company will sell about 7.3 million vehicles this year, Toyoda said, compared with 8.97 million in 2008. Toyota’s sales plunged 28 percent in the first nine months of this year in the U.S., traditionally its most profitable market.

“Business fell off a cliff,” said Paul Heaton, who manages $500 million in Japanese equities at Pyrford International Ltd. in London. “This has really shaken Toyota.”

Yen at ‘Severe Level’

The yen’s 7.4 percent gain against the dollar in the third quarter also eroded earnings from exports.

“The yen is at a very severe level, and just increasing sales won’t make Toyota profitable,” Toyoda said today.

A U.S. lawsuit and the company’s biggest recall in the nation have added to Toyota’s woes.

The carmaker said this week it plans a recall involving 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles because of a defect that may cause floor mats to jam down the accelerator pedal.

Last month, Toyota’s request to seal a U.S. lawsuit by a former in-house attorney, who claims the carmaker destroyed crash data, was denied by a judge who said the suit was already “irreversibly” public. Bloomberg L.P., the parent of Bloomberg News, filed an ex parte request in the case asking that it not be sealed.

Toyoda said the 72-year old company, established by his grandfather Kiichiro Toyoda, will “need to groom young people to be making cars for the next 100 years.”

“The salvation for the company isn’t me,” he said.

Toyota shares fell 3.7 percent to 3,380 yen in Tokyo trading, compared with a 2.4 percent decline in the Topix index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kae Inoue in Tokyo at kinoue@bloomberg.net; Yuki Hagiwara in Tokyo at yhagiwara1@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: October 2, 2009 04:58 EDT

Wow, not sure what to make of this. Is this corporate leadership and governance the likes of which are fairly rare, particularly on today's Wall Street, or is this truly a 20th century industrial giant gasping for 21st century air?

On a lighter side...the contextual ad served up with this story was for Mercedes Benz.

Posted via web from hoffmanrandy's posterous

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sharing is the new advertising

Traditional media pay walls are a large gamble with the odds going against it with each passing month. While Rupert Murdoch rails against the parasite aggregators, sharing from social sites will find pay walls nothing more than a dead end on the information highway for the people you care about most - your readers.

Ben Straley makes an interesting (albeit, non-objective) argument regarding this emerging world of sharing. And no worries, it's not behind a pay wall.

Posted via web from hoffmanrandy's posterous

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Competition

Bankruptcy Plan Calls for Philadelphia Papers to be Sold to Local Investors
SPECIAL REPORT: In the Wake of Rohde Kidnapping: A 'Secret' Controversy -- When Missing Journos Are the Story
'St. Pete Times' Publisher Steps Down: 'Team' Will Replace Her
Murdoch's Compensation Down to Paltry $18 Million
'Seattle Times' Photo Helps ID Seattle Amnesiac
Two Minnesota Weeklies to Merge
Two Big Canadian Chains Reach Distribution Agreement
Rupert Murdoch's News International to Fold 'thelondonpaper'
Journalism Online Signs First Non-Profit Org
What Ever Happened to Jayson Blair?

| This week's top stories



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Operator of Salt Lake City Papers Starts Real Estate Brokerage Firm

By E&P Staff

Published: August 19, 2009 10:42 AM ET

NEW YORK The company that operates The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News has formed a real estate brokerage firm dedicated to sellers.

MediaOne Real Estate will act as a full-fledged real estate firm charging a flat fee of $2,000 instead of a typical commission of 3%, reported Lesley Mitchell in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Area real estate firms are none too pleased by the move, despite the fact that if a buyer contacts MediaOne Real Estate they will be referred to another broker. "The frustrating thing is that we're now competing with a company that we're paying to advertise with," Ryan Kirkham, president of the Salt Lake Board of Realtors, told Mitchell, adding he expects some realtors to pull advertising from the papers.

To which Brent Low, CEO and president of MediaOne, the joint operating agency of the two papers, responded that not many brokers are advertising in the newspapers anyway.

MediaOne Real Estate will help sellers promote their properties and give them exposure in the daily papers.

E&P Staff (jsaba@editorandpublisher.com)




Back to Advanced Search

Real estate advertising going south for newspapers....no problem. Just start your own.

Posted via web from hoffmanrandy's posterous

All Business Starts With A Community - John Battelle's Searchblog

As Mr. Battelle states in his post, this pic tells you just about everything you need to know about succeeding in the digital age.

Posted via web from hoffmanrandy's posterous

Friday, August 14, 2009

Google Reader (232)

Just a little Friday humor. No offense intended.

Posted via web from hoffmanrandy's posterous

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Twitter 101 for Business — A Special Guide

Check out this website I found at business.twitter.com

Local business and Twitter makes some sense.

Posted via web from hoffmanrandy's posterous

Friday, June 26, 2009


8 word searches are up 34,000% since 2004, according to Hitwise

Posted via email from hoffmanrandy's posterous

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Bigger Boat? Yeah, we can do that.

I've been in media all my life. Mostly in media sales. Mostly in television media sales. I like TV. But as we all know, the TV we grew up with is changing. What is it going to look like going forward? Well, while I think Doc goes a little over the top in this article below, I think it's pretty spot on. (Warning, it's not a short read)

Doc Searls Weblog · We’re gonna need a bigger boat

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

TED Blog: A bold plan for mass adoption of electric cars: Shai Agassi on TED.com

What could this guy do with the bailout money we gave to GM?

Posted via web from hoffmanrandy's posterous

Journalism Online

Check out this website I found at journalismonline.com

This seems like an ideal model for hyperlocal reporting. I know that is not their primary intended market. But it may be the better market for their solution.

Posted via web from hoffmanrandy's posterous

Great Weekend

nice weekend here in Vegas

Posted via email from hoffmanrandy's posterous

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Twilight of Interrupted Marketing

The models of advertising we use today are still effective. But their effectiveness is diminishing and will be slowly replaced by engagement. Dave Jackson outlines it well below.

MediaPost Publications Moving From Interruption To Involvement 03/11/2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bailout Bank Blows Millions Partying in L.A. - TMZ.com

I'm a golfer and have participated in a smaller version of the type of event highlighted in the link below. But in today's environment, I'd say the PGA Tour has some sponsorship challenges ahead. Multiple news outlets have picked this story up. CNBC is running this story as I write this post.

Northern Trust is responding with the typical: This is an important part of our worldwide marketing effort. Hmmm, Mercedes, The Beverly Wilshire, Chicago and luxury food are going to be hard to justify as "normal marketing" on the heels of layoffs and bailouts.

Also, it's interesting that TMZ broke this story. Where was the LA Times? And then the Times will wonder why readers find them less relevant.

Bailout Bank Blows Millions Partying in L.A. - TMZ.com

Are We Happy?

We can't change today's headlines, but perhaps a temporary change of perspective will help. See the link below.

The Technium: So Amazing, But Nobody is Happy