Marketing for 2014

by Cinda Baxter on November 11, 2013

in Marketing

A few things to keep in mind as you plot and plan for 2014….



What’s your line…?

by Cinda Baxter on August 16, 2013

in Marketing

They say the first impression is everything. That holds true for email campaigns…over and over and over again.

Gotta get it right.

Click on the image to see it full size in a new screen.

The Opening Line


Think outside the (moving) box

by Cinda Baxter on December 11, 2012

in Local, Marketing

Back in my retail days, I had an upscale gift and stationery store, surrounded by a very, very exclusive neighborhood. One of the largest real estate offices in the Twin Cities metro was located upstairs, providing an interesting opportunity—offer special pricing on items suitable for closing gifts, then appeal to realtors as their go-to source. Sadly, the idea flopped—agents in that particular office preferred to spend as little as possible on clients, regardless of the windfall (they’d gush about selling a $1.8M home, then balk at the idea of spending $25 on the requisite closing gift).

Cross that idea off the list.

Then replace it with a better one.  [click here to continue…]


This morning, a respected friend forwarded a link, pointing to an online petition to abolish EdgeRank on Facebook. You know—the evil monster that’s devastated the visibility of most Pages in their fans’ news feeds.

I “get” why people are upset and want change—admittedly, I’m one of them. The 3/50 Project’s FB page has been hit as hard as anyone else’s. We have more than 92,000 fans, yet far fewer than that ever see us in their news feed. Faaaaaaar fewer.

More typical Pages (audiences under the 92,000 count) average between 8%-12& on most posts. Seriously. One-tenth of their hard-earned audience.

Paid posts might hit slightly higher numbers, but upon closer inspection, frequently include a disproportionate percentage of viewers from South America, India, and Eastern Bloc countries. Not exactly the target audience they were investing in.

So yes, I abhor the impact of EdgeRank, but…I also understand why it’s necessary.  [click here to continue…]


When’s the best time to post on FB?

by Cinda Baxter on October 29, 2012

in Facebook, Marketing

An interesting infographic drifted across my virtual desktop today, detailing when the best times are for a Page Admin to post on Facebook:


(Courtesy: Pandemic Labs. Click graphic to englarge)

Like everyone else, I’ve been tracking results on my own Facebook page—specifically, that of The 3/50 Project—with slightly more colorful results that what the graphic above shows:

• Posts that run in the evening garner more/faster interaction, but the attitudes tend to be less positive (sometimes verging on snarky and argumentative)

• Posts that run during daylight hours tend to garner more reasonable, more thoughtful responses; the level of positivity is considerably higher

• Posts that run in the 8:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. block seem to reach more small business owners than at any other time of day; their responses are typically the most detailed and focused

• Monday tends to be slower than Tuesday through Friday; Saturday is a toss up, depending on time of year. Sunday’s a black hole most weeks.

• Funny graphics get forwarded. A lot.

• Promoted posts don’t build the audience, regardless of when they run

• Letting one’s personal/real life slip in now and then solidifies the human connection (if you’re on our FB page, you might recall when I suddenly had bats roosting by the door to my deck…?)

• Pinning posts does have an impact, provided the pinned item is a graphic (quick read, quick smile, quick “like” kind of stuff). Text pins aren’t as effective, by a long shot.

So, what’s your experience been? Please share in the comments.


Does your business understand the newbies?

by Cinda Baxter on August 20, 2012

in Marketing, Real World

Attrition is part of the customer landscape, which means always keeping on eye on the next generation coming up the ranks. How well do you know them? Or, more accurately, how well do you understand them?

The Mindset List is the brainchild of Tom McBride (Keefer Professor of the Humanities) and Ron Nief (Public Affairs Director) at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin. Annually updated in early August, it provides reference points for faculty as they welcome incoming freshmen, reminding them how different the world looks through a new generation’s eyes.

If you’re a small business owner offering consumer goods and services, the list might be a good reference point for you too.

Or at the very least, a fascinating read.

Check it out here.



What makes a website valuable

by Cinda Baxter on August 14, 2012

in internet, Marketing, Web

The sections of a local business’s website that consumers find valuable:

List of prices: 65%
List of services: 55%
Contact information: 43%
Physical address: 42%
Driving directions: 24%
Customer testimonials: 17%
Photos of the business: 15%
Links to the company’s social media profiles: 5%

So what’s it all mean?  [click here to continue…]

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Take that, Amazon.

by Cinda Baxter on July 5, 2012

in Marketing, Real World, Technology

Just in time for Independents’ Month, Deloitte releases the results of their “mobile influence factor” study, created to gauge the impact of mobile apps on in-store purchasing.

Buckle your seat belts, brick and mortar owners. The news is good:

  • Mobile devices’ influence will grow to represent 19% of total store sales by 2016, amounting to $689 billion in mobile-influenced sales.
  • 48% of smartphone owners surveyed say their phone has influenced their decision to purchase an item in a store.
  • Among smartphone owners who used their phone during their last trip, 37% used a third-party mobile shopping application, and more than one-third (34%) used a retailer’s mobile application.
  • Among smartphone shoppers, the percentage who use their phone for shopping varies by store category, from 49% in electronics and appliance stores to 19% in convenience stores and gas stations.
  • Once consumers start using their smartphones for shopping they tend to use them a lot—typically for 50-60% of their store shopping trips, depending on the store category.

Did you catch the bold section?

…37% used a third-party mobile shopping application…

Proof positive that The 3/50 Project’s LookLocal mobile app is on the cutting edge of a growing trend (the primary reason we chose mobile over older, less effective web-based search sites).

Downloading LookLocal is free. Using it is free. Getting listed is free.

Welcoming new customers? Priceless.