All posts by davidsoxman

When Your Phone Rings Does Your Cash Register Ring Too?

TelephoneAre phone calls the life blood of your business?

It’s not true with online-only companies, but brick-and-mortar stores can live & die by the phone call. I have a client who claims that he can close one sale for every four phone calls versus closing one sale for every ten “contact me” forms completed on his website. Wow, that’s a big difference and I learned that he didn’t know exactly how many phone calls he was getting or whether they could be considered legitimate “leads.”

My client uses for managing leads and deals that are in the sales cycle and at various points of closing. Even though his website has a “leads-to-forms” application that automatically puts completed forms into Salesforce, phone calls that turn into leads must be manually entered by the sales people. He was very disappointed that his reports would only show a few phone calls per month. Knowing the difference in close ratios for phone calls, he was desperate to see more calls coming in.

I was introduced to a marvelous service called IfByPhone by a colleague who indicated that it might be very valuable to me. Was he right, or what?

I spent some time researching this service. Essentially, IfByPhone provides, among many services, call forwarding to your main business telephone number. When someone searches on Google for instance, your PPC ad or organic listing is displayed. If the searcher clicks on either, they are taken to your website page, however, and this is pretty cool, IfByPhone presents a unique, dynamic telephone number, which if called, is used to track that searcher’s call all the way through to completion. If the searcher calls within 60 minutes of viewing your webpage (and unique number), IfByPhone can report on the keyword phrase the caller used to find you. In addition, you also receive the caller ID in reports that can be generated “on demand.”

Imagine what you can do. You know who called and when; you know, in most cases, for what they were searching; and you know the length of the call (did they talk with anyone or just leave a voicemail). Not only are you able to see if the salespeople are putting leads into Salesforce, you’re able to accurately determine which keywords and phrases are generating the most calls and can then alter your SEO or PPC strategies accordingly.

I would think that the energetic salesperson could also use the caller ID information to place a “cold” call, knowing in advance where their interest lies. That’s about as warm a “cold” call as you can get.

This has been incredibly helpful for my client. He feels better informed and that he now has a better handle on what kinds of phone calls he’s getting as well as the accuracy of his Salesforce management system. We are also using the keyword data provided to improve conversions through SEO and PPC.

So, does your business rely heavily on the phone call? If it does, you may want to consider IfByPhone.

I’d love to know your thoughts.


DIY YouTube Videos May Not Be The Right Choice

You’re the kind of person that prefers to talk to people face to face. You have more success when people can actually see you in person.  Your storytelling improves so much more when your listener can look in your eyes. Video is the perfect fit for you to tell your stories and YouTube makes that so much easier.  Of course, being the “roll up your sleeves” kind of person you decide, heck, I can do my own videos and post them myself.

Well, here’s a list of reasons why you may want to reconsider doing your own YouTube videos. Certainly there is an argument to having something out there that looks way too polished and therefore not honest, but it’s worth at least considering the alternative of having someone help you with your videos.

  1. Your “brand” is what people perceive you to be. When an individual is looking at you to provide them a product or service, TRUST can be a huge factor in that decision process. A professionally produced video shows you to be a professional at what you do. People want to know they are dealing with a company that won’t cut corners on the products or services they provide. A DIY video adds an unnecessary risk that a potential customer may get the wrong idea.
  2. People absorb information in different ways. I like to augment what is being said and shown on video with written text. These graphics can help cement your message and help some people with their recall. Some folks will respond to the written text coupled with hearing you say it. Do you know enough about editing video to be able to seamlessly incorporate text and graphics into your videos?
  3. Editing video can take time. Will you have the time to learn and execute something you do not do on a regular basis?
  4. Having someone to “direct” you can bring out the best in you and how you tell your story. During the DIY recording, you may not notice certain things that you do or expressions on your face that can send potentially negative messages. Maybe it’s the way you roll your eyes, or the way you look up to remember what you wanted to say. It’s been said that when people look up, they may not be telling the truth. These subtle nuances can get magnified under the camera’s eye.
  5. Do you have an impartial ear that can tell you whether your message is pertinent, interesting, understandable and worth coming back to see more?
  6. Were you aware that anything longer than about 2.5 minutes, unless it is really attention getting, will not be viewed? The idea is to get people to come back. If they perceive that “oh, the last video I watched was so long,” then not only will they not come back, but they won’t share your video with their acquaintances.

Some people will tell you that it doesn’t matter, that the quality of the video can be bad and you can still get you’re point across. I guess it would depend on what product or service you sell. If it’s a commodity, then that’s probably true. If on the other hand, you need to make sure you come across as someone that knows what they’re doing, maybe DIY is not a good choice.

What do you think?


Can’t a Toothbrush Just Be a Toothbrush?

In their constant effort to out-innovate their competition, toothbrush manufacturers have just gone too far. The bristles of the brush are not just bristles, but “rubber massaging arms” designed to stimulate the gums. The arrangement of the bristles is to maximize the ability of your brushing to get into every nook and cranny of your mouth. Your life is improved because we took the time to arrange these bristles in just such a way. Who’s job is it to come up with this stuff?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a big believer in oral hygiene and take it very seriously.

Granted, from a marketing perspective, it is always good to be improving your product, but this has gone too far. Now the handle is “ergonomically” designed to fit your hand better. Now I don’t know about you, but even though I brush three times a day, I don’t spend more than a couple of minutes in this process. Why in the world does the handle need to fit my hand better, when its total daily use is 6 to 8 minutes? Do they really think that a more comfortable handle will make me brush more times, or longer each time? And all these fancy designs mean that now your toothbrush doesn’t fit into the hole of your toothbrush holder. They’ve actually made it less comfortable and more of a hassle.

Now many of you may say, David, is this really a battle worth fighting? Aren’t there more important marketing issues you should be addressing with your blog?

My point is this: Once all of the toothbrush manufacturers jump on the “ergonomic handle” bandwagon, then what choice will I have? I can’t not buy a toothbrush. Somewhere, there needs to be a consumer’s voice that says, quit improving something that doesn’t need improving.

Or, maybe I’m just in that kind of mood.

What are your thoughts?


Being Treated the Right Way

I continue to appreciate the great creative coming from the folks at Ebiquity in their TV ad campaign for Discover Card’s Late Payment Forgiveness. Using the concept of “we treat you like you treat you,” we see various individuals who, like anyone reading this, failed to get a credit card payment off in time to post by the due date. As an alternative to the irritating practice with most credit cards who charge a late fee, raise your APR, and lower your limits, Discover offers forgiveness if you use their “It” card.

What makes this enjoyable to me is the way it’s done, with the customer service person who looks, sounds and talks just like the customer calling in. Here’s an example:

There’s so many messages going on here:

  • First, wouldn’t any one of us prefer talking with a customer service representative who is just like us, who gets us? Duh.
  • Secondly, forgiveness for being a human and making a mistake is always in good taste. We’ve all been on the wrong end of bad customer service.
  • Thirdly, these ads are always good for a laugh.
  • Fourthly, it’s easy to recall these ads and what they’re about – awareness of Discover Card’s new “It” card.
  • Lastly, there is unlimited variations that could be used, keeping the campaign fresh and new for a longer period of time.

As I have said on many occasions, good, solid creative can make the difference in an ad campaign’s success and long-term viability. Good marketing will always win out.

Can you think of other ad campaigns that you’ve enjoyed?

I’d love to hear,


“Everything is On Its Way to Somewhere”

John Travolta says this in the 1996 movie “Phenomenon” when he realizes he has a very short time to live but is not afraid of what the future will bring.

This got me thinking about some of the amazing changes I have seen in my very short time on this planet. I was watching the 1988 movie “Big” with Tom Hanks. At one point, he is working on a computer, putting together a new product launch and marketing plan. He pulls out a 5.25 inch floppy disk and inserts it into the computer, providing the computer with the necessary program to execute the file he is working on. Wow, that seems so long ago, when computers didn’t have a means of permanently storing programs on a hard drive, no point and click, no color displays!

I love predictions about what the future may bring. Maybe that’s why I was always a “Star Trek” fan, because that show was all about predicting what future technology would be like.

We are moving so quickly into the future. Mobile devices, and for that matter, all devices we use daily, will have more capabilities than we can imagine.

Aaron Goldman, writing for “Search Insider” predicts what our world could look like in his article 2022: A Search Odyssey” as he quotes from Peter Morville’s concept of Ambient Findability. Here is an excerpt from that article.

“…as Morville surmises, it won’t be long before RFID allows ‘products, possessions, pets, and people [to be] all rendered into findable objects.’

Consider what happens when objects are not only findable but can communicate with each other…

…As an example, he cites a scenario in which the phone ringing alerts the stereo to lower the volume so that a man can take a call from his sister about their mom’s recent health issues. The man’s Web ‘agent’ (i.e. Siri) then looks up a treatment, identifies a local specialist, cross-references the doctor’s ratings and acceptable insurance plans, and books an appointment.”

Isn’t it fun to imagine that world, where so many interconnections our brains process now, almost without us thinking about it, will be handled for us. This will leave us free to focus energies on that next step, because, everything is on its way to somewhere.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.