How Can You Capitalize on Coupons Delivered by TV to Your iPhone?

How’s this for innovation? As reported by MediaPost, IntoNow will use SoundPrint technology to allow viewers to tag TV commercials with their mobile devices and receive coupons.

Pepsi MAX has already signed on. It works like this: During a commercial, consumers can press a button in the software application and receive a digital coupon for a free 20-oz. beverage.

IntoNow is a software application that you install on your iPhone. Just tap the green button when you’re watching, and IntoNow will identify the show. The idea is that as users discover new shows, they’ll discuss their favorites with friends through their social networks.

Share With Your Friends on Facebook and Twitter

With the app, consumers connect with their Facebook friends to share their favorite shows and movies. They can also share programs with their followers on Twitter. Then they can add shows and movies to their Netflix DVD Queue. Finally, they can find out all the details, ratings, previews of popular shows on IMDb.

How Can Your Small Business Capitalize?

This, it seems to me, may eventually have implications for small businesses in the digital age. Customers may soon come to you with coupons they got from watching a TV advertisement.

To take advantage, you might encourage your customers to install the IntoNow app on their phones, then reward them with a bonus for using a coupon and ask them to share your offer with their friends.

I don’t know how this is all going to play out. I’m just thinking.

Email Wins the Popularity Contest

A survey by ForeSee Results confirmed the continuing strength of email. As reported by eMarketer, the study found that more consumers subscribe to retail emails than follow retailers on social sites, and the desire for discounts may be even stronger among email subscribers.

Read that again: “the desire for discounts may be even stronger among email subscribers.”

Make no mistake, email marketing is a powerful tool for small business.

Last week, I wrote about the popularity of ‘Daily Deal’ emails. But there’s also big opportunity for you to develop your own database of customers and email them on a dedicated schedule. In other words, make specific offers to customers and clients who have purchased from you in the past.

In addition to offering discounts, educate and inform with news and advice. By doing so, you’ll reinforce your following, further establish your expertise and attract business from loyal customers.

Too often, small businesses get caught up in a day-to-day reactionary mode – responding to immediate demands. And, of course, you’ve got to respond.

But don’t forget to develop your sales pipeline. There are customers that want to hear from you regularly – weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.

A few of the top platforms for email management:
iContact
ConstantContact
AWeber
MailChimp

Email marketing is very cost-effective. Program subscriptions start as low as $10-$15 per month for 500 subscribers. iContact offers a free edition for very small businesses. Some of the providers will post your email to your Twitter and Facebook pages.

Whatever you do, don’t make a decision on price alone. Choose the software that offers the best solution for what you want to accomplish.

And, by the way, ask your customers to forward your email to their friends.

Bye, Bye Yellow Pages. Hello, Local Search

Google Places

If there was any doubt that the move is on from print Yellow Page books to online Local Search, this should end it.

BIA/Kelsey reported this week that the Yellow Pages Association has changed its name to the Local Search Association. Explaining the reasoning, the new organization’s president cited a recent study that found that internet search is the most used local medium. Consumer research is no longer “Yellow Pages centric.”

The emphasis of the newly formed association will be on local search, and public policy focus will shift to concentrate on the interests of internet companies.

Two questions for small business owners to consider about marketing:

  • Why do you continue to spend thousands of dollars every year on Yellow Pages ads?
  • Why haven’t you focused your energy on developing your presence in online local search directories?

I’ll put it this way:

  • Yellow Pages are expensive. Local Search is free
  • Your customers aren’t using Yellow Pages. They are using Local Search.
  • You don’t measure returns from printed Yellow Pages. You can track results of local search.

The place to begin is with Google Places. If you haven’t registered, do it right away. Fill in all the information completely. Then keep it updated. This will most likely be your introduction to prospective customers.

Then go to getlisted.org. Enter your business name and zipcode, and click “Check My Listings” to “see how your business is listed at Google, Yahoo, and other top local search engines.”

Getlisted.org will generate a “Listing Score,” which “approximates how effectively your business is taking advantage of free listings at the major search engines.” Most likely, your score will be below 50%. Shoot for 100% if you want to dominate search results.

You can register for hundreds of directories at once with Localeze or Universal Business Listing.

Now, get busy!

P.S. If you don’t have a website, better think about getting one – soon.