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want your piece of 150 Billion?

Deregulation Of Sports Gambling Is Giving The Power To The States The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, on Monday, May 14th, in favor of repealing the 1992 federal law that essentially bans individual states from commercial sports betting. Nevada will no longer be the only state to allow wagers on the outcome of a single game. The major sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and the NCAA) have all given their varying levels of concern as to how this ruling may incite corruption through match-fixing. I’ve read and heard lots of emotional arguments from sports fans on both sides of this issue. The talking points include references like “The 1919 White Sox”, “Pete Rose”, “March Madness”, and don’t forget how Biff’s character in the movie “Back To The Future 2” corrupted an entire town with the money he won placing illegal bets according to his “Gray’s Sports Almanac”.   Predicting the increase in corruption derived from the deregulation of sports gambling is as sure as the Philadelphia Eagles winning back-to-back Super Bowls. It all depends on who you ask. The more important question (at least to people on the business side of this playing field) is what will happen to the estimated $150 Billion in illegal wagers Americans make each year? Business opportunists and state legislators alike are scurrying to control and develop their “chip in the big game”. Does your business want to start taking bets?   Are you ready to become “The House”? Here’s your strategy: Create/develop your website to accommodate online sports betting - First, the software. Take your time choosing the online gaming software that best fits your needs. Pick a provider that has a lot of experience with the online gaming industry; more specifically with launching online sportsbooks. Pay attention to how much control you are allowed throughout the entire process from design to post-launch. In general, find a software provider that offers most of these features: An advanced gaming management systemLarge coverage of your specific betting marketsAccess to a large selection of betting gamesA customizable front endPayment options that offer multi-currency supportAccessible and knowledgeable customer support Next, consider exactly what you want to include in your online sportsbook for your customers. What software provides the best “look and feel” for the user? You may want to include additional features such as chat rooms, statistics on players, bonus structures for members, or tournament play. How will your players get paid? You want to ensure that you choose a payment system provider that can quickly and easily make transactions. Offering multiple payment options increases convenience for your customers. Your provider should include complete payment processing, integration with all major e-merchants, and fraud protection.      Time to make it all legal! You need to obtain the proper gambling license for your desired jurisdiction in the country and/or state you want to set your business. Specific requirements for these licenses are yet to be determined, as online betting laws are currently being developed on a state-by-state basis. Your gaming software provider may also offer licensee options if you don’t want the hassle of obtaining a license outright. Most importantly, your website’s design has got to look good! It’s one of the most important factors for players when choosing between similar betting websites. Keep it simple and don’t overload pages with unnecessary graphics or videos that may slow down your website. If loading times are too long, players will pick up and move on. Also, make sure your web pages integrate seamlessly with your database. Create an app to accommodate online sports betting - Develop an app that mirrors your websites’ user experience and increases convenience for your customer. Factors important to betting app users: Domestic and international sports coverageLive betting optionsFast odds postsResults of all matches in real timeSign-up and reload bonusesExclusive bitcoin bonusesStatistics for each gameChat roomList of most successful playersQuick and easy depositsDeposit limitsCredit card and e-wallet cashier options  Create a targeted marketing strategy to advertise to the right person at the right time when they are likely to place a bet online - You’ve built your online sportsbook, making sure every function of your website and app maximize your customers’ experience. Now you need to find and register your players. To maximize your search, your marketing needs to predict and interact with your customer when they are “in the betting mood”. The days of simply running ads in desired demographic market areas, then waiting for customers to show up, are long gone. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops have made the internet a pervasive part of Americans’ lives. Your potential customers’ daily use of the internet creates millions of data points that can be harvested and organized to create an ultimate consumer profile. The technology that fields data of this specificity is unlike anything we’ve seen in the past. The questions of who, what, where and when can be answered in real time. Once established, these profiles can be used to market to your customers at any time they’re interacting with information relatable to your services. For example, if a potential customer is searching online for odds in the NBA Championship game, a sponsored ad for your site can be run as a banner on the search page and on that person’s Facebook feed simultaneously. The more your consumer interacts with your brand the more the new technology learns your customers’ habits and delivers catered messaging at the most opportune moments. In addition, the unique profiles created from your customers’ interactions can be used to market to other people with similar internet behavior. Your marketing moves from programmatic to predictive, the most effective marketing to date. There are a limited number of providers that offer this type of software. Up until 5 years ago, these marketing tools were unaffordable for smaller start-up businesses. Choose a provider with a good track record of running these type of campaigns.  Now place your bets. ​

The Biggest Opportunityon social media-Linkedin 

Build your network strategically.LinkedIn has many different users and some may surprise you in their specific areas of expertise and knowledge. Make sure to be strategic when growing your network so that you can get the most value out of it. Make smart decisions when accepting and reaching out to other usersDiversify your contacts where need be Try to genuinely connect with your network.Post content that relates to your business goals, current industry trends, and the things you find interesting whenever possible. If you post regular content more often your network and onlookers will better see your profile and get to know you through the lens of what you post. Post regularlyActively engage by participating in groups and threadsLike, comment, and share thought-provoking content Let your network know you’re a credible source.A LinkedIn profile showcases you and your personal brand. The profile you create is your public resume and should represent your achievements and individual strengths. Credibility is important. Keep information as up-to-date as possibleBe honest when describing your job experience and skill set This is the biggest opportunity on social media. Don't miss out on this untapped resource.    

Trending: Twitter is NOT Dead

Twitter is alive and well in the eyes of users all over the world. A constantly updating machine, with real-time information about businesses, pop culture, and world trends, it should definitely be on your list of top social media forums to have and use. Creating a Twitter profile for your business and advertising on the site allows you to connect with potential consumers in a very personable way.
A big trend on Twitter is the growing amount of video that has been produced, distributed, and consumed by Twitter users. Video views on the site have skyrocketed to about 220 times more views on video-focused content since last year. Engagement by users in the form of tweets with video content being liked and/or retweeted is up as well (https://business.twitter.com/en/video-on-twitter.html).
Video content is expected to grow in terms of the volume being produced, but shorten in the overall length. Videos give the power to the user so that they can create and share media through mobile devices and different platforms quickly and effortlessly. Video-focused content truly lets your company’s mission be showcased effectively and in a way that gets the consumer involved.
Types of videos that are expected to take over the Twitter and social media scene in the upcoming year:
• Native: Anyone can produce, edit, and distribute an original video to share it at any time. This could be a way to showcase something specific about your business to viewers.

• Live Streaming (with Periscope in regards to Twitter): Real time recording of an event or promotion as it happens from the first-person perspective is shared with the public through video content. This can be a novelty because it can be shown once, but you can decide to keep it around after video recording has ended.

• GIFs: Give a snippet of an idea related to your brand and can be translated across many platforms.
Twitter will be the social media forum to watch and could help your business grow in terms of getting your brand name out there, actively communicating to your audience, and getting your content flowing through new video content.
Contact us to see what video solutions are possible for your business today!

Is your websiteproviding the best roi?

 "Our website is on the card, but don't go there. It's really bad." It's funny how often I hear these words. As a website designer, it's difficult for me to comprehend how any self-respecting business owner could let their most valuable marketing asset fall into such a state of disrepair. But then again, not everyone spends every day learning and practicing marketing and building websites. I've realized that it's simply an issue of education. So listen up, because you're about to learn something. Let's talk about your website. You may not know this, but your website is your main marketing hub. Much like "all roads lead to Rome," all marketing channels lead to your website. You can try to cut it out of the equation, but even then you're only making things harder for yourself. Done properly, your website actually amplifies the effect of all your other efforts. From cold calling to open networking to mass mailings, you'll see much higher conversion rates with the right website design, as well as numerous other less-tangible benefits. Think of it like a multiplier. You've already spent money on other channels, and you want to improve your ROI. A bad website design would have a multiplier of less than one, meaning that you'll actually close less business. But a great website can have a huge multiplier! Let's talk about some of the main ways a great website design can supercharge your marketing.  A great website design increases conversion Conversion should be the key of any website, and your design is going to be a huge part of that. A great website builds immediate trust with your visitors. You will immediately be perceived as high-quality and legitimate. Conversely, a bad design can make you seem out-of-touch, cheap, and more than a little shady. Not exactly what you want when you're trying to sell to someone. Properly designed pages present your content in a way that makes it easy to follow along with and more effective. If broken down properly, you can have large amounts of information presented and have your visitors actually read it. As long as your content is good, this is huge for conversion. A modern design improves the user experience across devices, especially mobile ones. A huge percentage of website visits are now on mobile devices, and people will leave immediately if the site doesn't adapt properly. Additionally, if you target younger demographics, you don't really have a choice but to make your site mobile-friendly. That's almost all those Millennials use!  A redesign can have the best ROI of any marketing effort A website is an investment. While the initial cash expense may be higher than some other options, a good website should last many years with minimal maintenance. And it has fantastic ROI. Since most people will end up at your website before ever buying from you, it absolutely needs to be high quality. Otherwise you'll find yourself struggling to make your sales process work. You could get a million people through the door, but if they all turn away upon seeing your website, that's wasted potential. The right site will close all of your deals for you. It should push potential clients over the edge and turn them into customers. And for most businesses, a new website is less costly than just about anything else with that kind of ROI. And remember, it multiplies the effect of your other marketing. The more you're already investing elsewhere, the more important (and beneficial) it is to have a fantastic website design.  E-Commerce performance can improve dramatically When your entire business consists of your website and getting sales through your online store, the website design is more important than ever. It needs to be as easy as possible for visitors to find the products they are looking for and check out with them. The right website and user interface design is critical. Once you've made your store as efficient and possible and maximized conversion, you can further optimize by using Social Boom's AIM tool to determine the demographics of the people who are actually buying your products. This information is invaluable. With this demographic information, you can further optimize your site to target those individuals. You can even use it to target them in all other areas of your marketing, which will get even more people to your site.  The right website improves your public image and brand Let's face it: your website is essentially the public face of your business and brand. Even if you have a storefront, it's likely that more people are going to your website than your store. Having a great public image can help with things you might not expect. The following are all benefits you can look forward to after a quality redesign: You'll get more referrals, as people are more proud to share you with people that trust them. You are more likely to get backlinks from other denizens of the web, which results in better search engine placement, and more traffic. And that, in turn, can lead to even more backlinks. It's a snowball effect! You'll be filled with a sense of pride about your brand. You'll actually want to share it with people!  A website redesign is very often a great choice, but it's not for everyone For the right website, nothing can beat the incredible multiplying power of a simple redesign. However, it's possible that it's not for you! If your site still has a quality design, there's probably no need to redesign. Just because your site is a couple years old doesn't necessarily mean it needs to be redesigned. Your efforts might be better spent revamping the content or analyzing your visitor flow to maximize its effectiveness. Likewise, very small businesses with no budget, or those with a 100% offline sales process (as long as it's working) may need to take a look at their situation and do some analysis before making the decision to invest in high-end website design. But if your site is out-of-date or out of brand, and especially if you're struggling to get a good return on your marketing efforts, then you should definitely look into having your website redesigned.  THANK YOU to guest blogger Brian Johnson (Owner of PageCrafter) for writing this blog post! You can learn more about Brian’s business, PageCrafter below! https://pagecrafter.com 

CONVERSATIONAL COMMERCE #CONVCOMM RULES IN 2016

Conversational Commerce

Let’s start by defining what conversational commerce is. Conversational commerce, #convcomm, involves users interacting with businesses through media and chat apps like Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Talk. It is a term coined by Chris Messina the man behind Uber and he has publicly announced that 2016 will be the year where conversational commerce will come of age.



So how does it work? Conversational commerce combines commerce (an interchange of goods or services) and customer service. No more browsing and searching but be able to get your order done during a conversation. “Smart cards” are used and inserted into the conversation to help you complete the order and the payment process.



The idea behind #convcomm is that most users now spend a large amount of their time sending messages via chat apps and on social media. In 2015, the number of users on messaging apps had surpassed those of social media networks. Why not integrate businesses into these apps? Uber and Lyft have now integrated with Facebook Messenger and SnapChat is expected to be the next app allowing businesses to unite with the messaging platform. This allows users to save time by no longer needing to switch apps, search services and enter payment details over and over again. Millennials are attached to their devices and conversational commerce brings the shopping experience where they’re already spending most of their time: messaging and social media apps.



What does this mean if you own a business? Get ready to have conversations with your customers. #Convcomm allows an opportunity for businesses to provide convenience and build relationships with their customers!

EMAIL MARKETING VS. DIRECT MAIL MARKETING

What is the best way to reach customers? Email or direct mail? This is a constant discussion we have with new prospects and existing clients alike. In our opinion, email is a far more effective way to gather leads and lock in sales. Here are some reasons why email marketing is a great option for your business.



1) Cost and Time Effective – Email is cheap and in most cases free with options like Chimp Mail. If you want to reach a large number of people, this is a fast and cost effective option. Not only are you able to reach your audience quickly, but they can also reply within minutes; compared to days or weeks with traditional snail mail.



2) Email is a great way to get quick insight from your clients. People love to share their opinion and in the marketing world email is a great way to ask your audience what they want and get quick answers!



3) Email is trackable. Unlike snail mail, with email you can analyze information such as open rate, clicked links and conversation details. This can be extremely helpful as you grow your business in order to see what is really working to engage your audience.



As with everything, there can be some down side to email. Gathering good lists can be hard and the environment can be overwhelming with spam flow. Emails also need to be relatively short which can limit creativity. When starting off don’t be afraid to use both email and direct mail at the same time to see what works best for your business.



Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering what is best: Is your communication time-sensitive? Are you working with a budget? How much information do your prospects require? Do you already have a good mail list for one method or both? Have you asked your current customers to join your email list? Are your customers online?



If you are considering a direct mail campaign, or doing email marketing, we would be more than happy to go over the pros/cons (relative to your business) with you in person.

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10800 Normandale Blvd., Suite 300, Bloomington, MN 55347​

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