Incorporate the Senses to Grow your Business

The 6 Senses
The 6 Senses

By Angela Stringfellow

To create brand loyalty, you want your customers to connect emotionally with your
product or business. So you provide stellar customer service and offer top-of-the-line products. But how about adding some new tactics to your marketing arsenal and going after your customer’s five senses?

Appealing to the Senses

Although this may seem like a new strategy, years ago the makers of PLAY-DOH and Crayola Crayons gave their products distinct smells. As adults we still probably recognize both scents, and each evokes childhood feel-good memories.

According to an article published by brand-consultancy company Lippincott 95 percent of human communication is unconscious, and 80 percent is non-verbal. That’s why the senses can illicit such strong emotions. In fact there are some universal truths behind some of the strategies companies use.

  • People perceive the fragrance of vanilla as nurturing, while the aromas of leather, wood and wool make them think “traditional.”
  • The color white is typically considered pure; blue is the most common favorite color.
  • Muzak and other instrumental music typically are associated with happiness, activity and surprise.
  • Women typically say premium fabrics are fine and light (silk); men, on the other hand, agree premium fabrics are fine and heavy (wool).

See Me, Hear Me, Touch Me, Feel Me

One of Lippincott’s key customers, Citizens Bank, worked to create a heightened experience for its customers. The bank redesigned its lobby to feel friendlier, more casual and more approachable by using particular colors, shapes and textures for its décor and furniture. In addition, they piped in music that was specifically orchestrated to ensure “cross-generational” appeal. The six-hour playlist is fed into ATM vestibules at higher levels to ensure customers are greeted when they enter.

Retail apparel giants Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch both entice customers into their stores through the senses. Cologne is diffused not only throughout the stores, but generally can be recognized several storefronts away. In addition, employees reportedly spray the clothing with the cologne, so buyers are reminded of their experience long after they’ve left the store. Loud music works makes the stores feel like a nightclub, so the store’s target audience (tweens, teens and young adults) feel sexy and trendy while they’re shopping. Feeling good about themselves stimulates them to buy more. (Caution: know your clientele. Some consumers may be turned off to a brand if the scent associated with it is overbearing.)

Other companies rely on touch and smells that encourage relaxation and comfort. The Westin Hotel plush white linens and bed comforters have led to the chain’s identification with “luxe” accommodations The chain also infused the hotel’s public spaces with the scent of white tea, and the hotel’s signature scent has garnered compliments from guests and inspired a successful line of bath and body products.

Incorporating the senses into everyday business isn’t difficult. Scads of research can help you understand the psychological responses regarding sight, smell, touch and taste. But the steps you take don’t always have to be scientific. Perhaps you come across a picture that makes a smile. Chances are, your clients will smile too. If you feel glowing candles refresh your space, your customers will probably agree. Find music that engages your patrons appropriately. Whether you own bike gallery or a bakery, let those who come in to shop try out your products. Encourage them feel the textures of the siding or paneling they are about to install, or silkiness of the Egyptian cotton sheets.Most decisions are based upon emotions. If you can reach a customer on that level, your chance at success is much higher. When you stimulate the emotional centers in the brain, you’ve mined gold.


Editor’s Note: This article is brought to you by AnyMeeting, the completely free web conferencing and webinar service. Use AnyMeeting for your next online meeting.





How to Host a Social Media Contest to Build Links to Your Site

Social Media
Social Media

By Jamie Highland,

A contest taking place in social media can be the perfect way to increase the popularity of your website and to bring up the number of high quality links that you have.

Social media provides so many marketing opportunities that it is difficult to list everything in detail. A contest may be the perfect way to increase your traffic and to get quality links to your website.

Holding a fun and successful social media contest is an easy task, as long as you do your homework in advance. Getting prepared and knowing how to carry out the campaign is essential for its success.

Determine Your Goals

Before you plan anything else, you should have an idea about the goal of your social media campaign.

Do you want to get high quality links to your website only? Are you also looking forward to increased brand recognition and a bigger loyal audience? Your goals will show you which strategy will be the most efficient.

Deciding on the goals will also give you an idea about the best social network for the needs of your campaign. A video contest on YouTube may be a good option but you will probably see better results from hosting a competition on another social network. Take the time to come up with a strategy to make the entire process easier.

Stimulate Game Participants to Link

A YouTube video contest is the perfect way to get links to your website. Still, many other options are possible.

A Facebook photo contest or a game that makes people share content with their friends may be even better. It has to be catchy, it has to be fun and it needs to provide the right kind of stimulus for people to take part in the game.

If it looks like a mere promotional attempt that is 100 percent product or company targeted, you will be losing some of the potential participants before the game even starts. Internet users today are very used to marketing methods and they will ignore you if you try to fool them.

Here is an example of a good campaign. You can have a quiz carried out in a popular social network of your preference. Once the quiz is completed, you can provide participants with additional information for each question that is coming from your website.

This strategy works because people will be learning something new and interesting. At the same time, you will be increasing brand awareness and creating high quality links to your own content.

Provide Game Participants with the Right Award

People will be stimulated to participate in your game only if you provide them with the right kind of stimulus. There needs to be an award of some kind. If you are asking people to help you, you definitely need to be giving something in return.

Choose an award that is somehow connected to your business. It does not have to be something overly expensive but try to refrain from being cheap. The campaign is carried out a single time and you can afford several nice and fun gifts.

While the game is taking place, you should be monitoring and analyzing results. If anything appears to be inefficient, you need to be ready to do changes on the spot. This is one of the biggest advantages of internet – you can change a campaign element, as soon as you notice that it is producing mediocre results.

Let User Votes Influence the Winner

Create a page for each contest finalist and share the pages through social media. Mention that users can vote for their favorite entry and the entry with the most votes wins. If voting is only one of the criteria, then mention other factors that will determine the winner.

Allowing voting will generate natural links to those pages on your site as participants will be spreading the link around so that they get more votes. Other sites like contest blogs will also link to your site on their own.


Editor’s Note: This article is brought to you by AnyMeeting, the completely free web conferencing and webinar service. Use AnyMeeting for your next online meeting.


AnyMeeting Gets a User Interface-Lift

AnyMeeting User Interface
AnyMeeting User Interface

AnyMeeting has improved its user interface to enhance your in-meeting experience.  Start or enter a meeting, and a notice will appear with details on that particular meeting, along with a handy help menu containing information relevant to your status as a meeting host or attendee.  You will also notice that the meeting control bar has moved to the top of the screen where it can be easily seen and accessed.  Everything you need to manage your in-meeting experience as a host or attendee is right in front of you.

Simply hover over an icon on the tool bar and a short description of that tool will appear below.  Click on the icon to start or stop that feature.  Hosting or attending, managing your meeting has never been easier.

Stop Clutter from Costing You

Cluttered Desk
Cluttered Desk

By Joshua Zerkel, Custom Living Solutions

Have you ever met someone with a messy desk or cluttered office that uses it as a way to demonstrate how busy or important he or she is? Having a visual indicator of what’s going on can be helpful, but there’s a point where it starts getting out of control and begins to take a toll on you and your productivity. There’s no need to wear your clutter – whether physical, digital, or schedule-related – as a badge of honor. Clutter has real costs – and in order for you to stay productive and sane, it’s important to recognize those costs and look for strategies to overcome them.

Clutter costs you opportunities. When you attend a networking event, what do you do with the business cards you collect? If you’re like many of the people I work with, you spend lots of time networking, meeting people, and collecting their cards – only to get the cards back to your office, put a rubber band around them, and never follow-up again. How about the phone leads that you receive and write down on whatever scrap of paper happens to be around (and then proceed to quickly lose)? If these end up as piles on, around, and under your desk, you’re losing out on opportunities. Instead of cluttered piles of information, develop a system for follow-up so that you can take action on those important contacts.

Clutter costs you money. Buried in those piles of paper on your desk could be an unpaid bill, or an offer for a credit card at a lower interest rate than you’re paying right now. Even though those items are “somewhere,” if you can’t find them and act on them easily, clutter has taken a toll – often in the form of late fees, higher interest, or missed deadlines. I’ve worked with quite a number of clients who have plenty of money in the bank, but have consistently been paying bills late (and incurring fees) because they simply can’t put their hands on their bills, don’t have a system for paying them regularly, and forget about them. Create a strategy so that you’re always on top of any documents that could have a financial impact on you or your business.

Clutter costs you stress. Even though clutter, disorganization, and lack of productivity can cost you money and may force you to miss out on important opportunities, it has an even bigger, more far-reaching consequence in your life: stress and overwhelm. Now, it’s true that there are some folks out there who seem to function well when there’s a cluttered environment – and if that’s you, great. But what I know from working with my clients over the years is that a cluttered environment, lack of systems, and nowhere for your eyes to rest in your space can create almost paralyzing amounts of stress, lack of focus, and a sense of generalized business overwhelm. Make a plan for how you’re going to tackle each area of your space or each system that you need to create, and then follow it step-by-step to get unstuck and relieve yourself of clutter-related overwhelm and stress.

What are some of the ways clutter costs you? Sound off in the comments below.


Editor’s Note: This article is brought to you by AnyMeeting, the completely free web conferencing and webinar service. Use AnyMeeting for your next online meeting.

Webinars vs. Conferences

Webinar vs. Conference
Webinar vs. Conference

By Angela Stringfellow

Delivering value to consumers through free information is a marketing tactic popular among both small and large businesses. These days, marketing executives have a number of good options to do just that, via social networking, webinars, podcasts and conferences.

Webinars and conferences provide the most interactive formats for delivering larger quantities of information to consumers. Some are fee-based, while others are offered free as a way to generate prospects or build an email marketing list.

When deciding between a webinar and conference, there are a few factors to consider.

  1. Webinars are often cheaper to deliver. Services like AnyMeeting offer the ability to host free or fee-based webinars, but in either case, usage can be free for the business. Conferences, on the other hand, require facility rental, audio-visual equipment, refreshments and other incidental costs.
  2. Conferences can be more interactive for attendees. Conferences offer one advantage over webinars: An interactive nature. Webinars allow attendees to ask questions via Twitter (with a hashtag), through comments or other means. Conferences, however, offer facilitators the opportunity to have attendees work in small groups, deliver presentations to the group as a whole and otherwise interact with other attendees.
  3. Webinars are convenient. Attendees tend to gravitate toward webinars due to ease of attendance. Attendees can attend a webinar from the comfort of their own home or office, as long as they have a reliable internet connection or phone line. Conference attendees often must travel, racking up pricey hotel and airline fees as well as sacrificing time away from their families.
  4. Conferences provide camaraderie. Attending a webinar doesn’t allow for professionals to interact with one another, sit next to each other and network with other industry professionals the way a conference does. A webinar can mimic this benefit to a lesser extent using a chatroom or Twitter hashtag to allow attendees to communicate directly with one another.
  5. Conferences have a larger environmental footprint. Not only are conferences more expensive, but they carry a larger environmental footprint. A conference room can be expensive to maintain, including electricity, supplies and refreshments. A webinar doesn’t require paper handouts, as all materials can be delivered electronically.
  6. A free webinar is more likely than a free conference. Due to delivery costs, conferences are rarely offered free of charge to attendees. Facilitators must cover their costs, and even if the fee is nominal, it doesn’t beat a free ticket. Minimal operating costs allow businesses to provide free information more readily to consumers and professionals.

There are many variables to consider when deciding which format to use. Whether a webinar or a conference is right for you depends on the nature of your industry, the material you’re presenting and how important face-to-face interaction is in conveying important concepts.


AnyMeeting Launches ‘Meet and Win’ Contest

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA–(Marketwire – Feb 3, 2012) – AnyMeeting, the completely free web conferencing and webinar service, today announced a new contest for its customers. Each time users hold a meeting during the month of February, they will be automatically entered in a drawing to win a new Kindle Fire.

The more meetings that users have, the more chances they have to win. To be eligible for entry, each user’s meeting must be at least 10 minutes long with two or more participants. The contest will run through February 29th, when a winner will be chosen. See the complete press release on MarketWire.

Meet and Win in February

Web Meeting

Want to win a Kindle Fire? All you have to do is hold an online meeting using AnyMeeting in February and you will automatically be entered to win. The more you meet, the more chances you have to win. You will receive one entry into the drawing every time you partcipate in a web meeting in February. To be eligible, meetings must be at least 10 minutes long with 2 or more participants. Start a meeting…

Top 6 Social Media Platforms for Entrepreneurs

Social Media
Social Media

By Anna Brown, Vendio Free Online Store

‘Social Media’ has been the hot buzz-word of the past couple of years, and it shows no sign of slowing down. The truth of the matter is, in a fast-paced world full of electronic communication, a blog or Facebook page is the new second storefront. You have to make yourself known, draw customers in, and create relationships all in a virtual world. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the old adage of ‘Location, location, location!’ Being in the right place in the right way is essential to attracting customers and growing your business.

Below we’ve listed some resources you should be sure to take advantage of – including some you’ve likely never heard of. There are ways to connect with customers, but also ways to network and connect with other business owners so you can network, ask questions, and get engagement.

To connect with customers:

1. Facebook This is the mega-mall of the internet. Almost everyone is here; customers and businesses alike, and you can easily put up a brand page for free and begin communicating with potential customers. The key to leveraging Facebook properly is communication. This isn’t a TV advertisement; it’s a virtual relationship and that makes a big difference in your strategy. If done correctly, you can build a huge and loyal following here.
2. Google+ The newborn competitor to Facebook, Google+ is growing rapidly and now allows brand pages. To make a splash here, get in early and set up an authentic, clearly branded page that allows Google+ users to see who you are and what your product is. The advantage is that Google+ isn’t yet as saturated as Facebook, so it’s much easier to get noticed.
3. HootSuite You may not have heard of this one, but it’s a gem of a resource. As you manage your social media presence, it’s important to know what’s happening across multiple platforms. HootSuite allows you manage your profiles, schedule tweets and messages, analyze your traffic, and track mentions of your brand. An all-in-one dashboard, it will make managing social media much less hectic.

To connect with fellow entrepreneurs:

1. Dreamstake A networking site with over 4,000 members, Dreamstake describes itself as “a business accelerator” and helps small business owners build strategy, business plans, and find funding. There are many groups, forums, and events that you can participate in to connect, learn, and grow your business.
2. LinkedIn A well-known professional networking site, LinkedIn has an extensive profile page and is a great resource for connecting with others in your industry or area of interest. You can join groups that fit your business or needs, which will allow you to get to know others, provide suggestions, and work out resources or referrals.
3. Twitter No list is complete without mentioning Twitter. Although the message length is small, this actually benefits you because you have to get down to the basics of your message. You can track your industry, find out what others are doing, find potential clients, and even follow your competition! This one is often a cross breed of building relationships with fellow entrepreneurs and customers. Depending on your industry, your customers could be spending time on this social network as well.

The social media world can be very overwhelming. The key is to focus on just a few platforms to start with, and then build and branch out from there. No business starts by opening 100 stores, so don’t feel like you need to be on every platform right away. Like all good businesses, you will grow and gain followers over time. Just relax and have fun with it!


Editor’s Note: This article is brought to you by AnyMeeting, the completely free web conferencing and webinar service. Use AnyMeeting for your next online meeting.