Budget Season is Upon Us

It’s that time of year when you need to be in front of your Facility and Property management prospects for next year’s budgeting process.

Organizations with traditional, calendar year budgeting cycles typically launch the number crunching merriment from July to November.

Like your business each company is looking for ways to grow next year’s revenue, improve their services and enhance their customer experience.  Part of that process typically includes reviewing existing contracts and finding ways to either lower costs or improve and expand the quality of the service that was delivered.

Facility Managers, who follow traditional budgeting methods, typically do a year to date review of facilities expenses in November and contrast actual expenses from January through October to a budget created 12 to 18 months earlier.  This analysis confirms the 2012 budget assumptions and lays the groundwork for 2013 budget inputs to the organization based on corporate growth objectives.

With the goal of improving financial accountability and higher service levels Facility and Property managers can utilize this time to review potential new vendors, rebid existing contracts and generally be on the lookout for service providers that can make a difference in their facilities visibility and performance.

If you are a service provider now is the prime time of the year to protect your installed base of customers and launch campaigns to capture new deals from your competitors.  Given that it is mid-August today and vendor selections and bids need to be completed no later than mid-November you have approximately 12 weeks from today to maximize your exposure to the world of FM’s and Property Mangers.

A few suggestions on how to do that are shown below.

  • Step up your attendance at association meetings and luncheons
  • Develop an email campaign targeting FM’s and PM’s
  • Enhance Your Website and SEO
  • Call clients for referrals

Engage LMI360 to maximize your exposure with the right contacts

That’s right.  LMI360 has a process that will move you to the front of the line to bid on new service delivery contracts.  Give us 30 minutes for a phone/web conference and we’ll show you how you can take full advantage of this Buying Season.

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Monitor the Web for Key Business Intelligence

google alert app sphere

Would you like to subscribe to a free service that automatically cruises the web searching for keywords that are relevant to your business, your competitors and your customers?  It turns out to be relatively easy and FREE!

Google alerts, http://www.google.com/alerts , offered by Google, automatically notifies users when new content from news, web, blogs, video and/or discussion groups matches a set of search terms selected by the user and stored by the Google Alerts service.

Notifications can be sent by email, as a web feed or displayed on the users iGoogle page.

Google Alerts only provides content from Google’s own search engine.

Users determine the frequency of checks for new results. Three options are available: “once a day”, “once a week”, or “as it happens”. These options set the maximum frequency of alerts and do not necessarily control how often they will receive alerts. Alerts are sent only if new content matches the user-selected search terms.

google alerts monitor

The first option, for example, means they will receive at most one alert email per day. The “as it happens” option can result in many alert emails per day, depending on the search.

Google also made alerts available as RSS feeds.  Contact LMI360 to learn more about how to put Google Alerts to work for your business.

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Powerful Email Subject Lines

I recently read and interesting blog posted by Carrie Kuempel with VisibleGains tracking how presidential candidates backed by millions of dollars in consultants and technology are using email on behalf of their candidates. Carrie signed up to receive email from the Republican primary candidates and figured it would be interesting to see what subject line techniques they use to get people to open the emails.

The results were interesting showing a very informal approach to communications as summarized below.

  • simple language
  • one to three words max
  • mostly lowercase
  • written as you might to a friend
  • insider references

Below is a representative list of subject lines used by candidates

email subjects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is often a great temptation to write lengthy email subject lines explaining how much benefit the reader will get by opening and reading our content.

The curiosity factor of short, crisp and business casual titles seems to work significantly better.  Who wouldn’t want to open an email with the subject line of Wheaties?

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How do I keep track of all my Links?

Links Girl2If you are like most companies your business depends on internet links and lots of them.  Links for your website,  LinkedIn account, Facebook,  Flickr, Google, Yahoo,  Twitter , You Tube Video’s, Blogs, hosting accounts, and on and on. 

They build up over time and what seemed simple to remember becomes lost and fuzzy recollections of  “where did I put that link.”   I try to keep an Outlook contact for each of my accounts with the login and password.  But when it comes to links to specific documents or files associated with that account the plot thickens.

It would be nice if there was a public area where I could keep all the links I usually refer to people.  Someplace where I could always find them.  So why not post the links in a blog that I can always refer to and update as new ones are added.  We’ll maybe. 

So below are the public links that I’m always looking for.  It may take me a while to find them but next time I’ll know where at least some of the LMI360 Links are!

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3 Secrets to Writing a Great Blog targeting Facility and Property Managers

Business_Week_blog_business_cover_350Is it a surprise that you should be blogging for your company these days?  As this business week headline proposes Blogs will change your business. 

So if you buy that, and assuming you’ve made the growth curve to understand the many values of writing a blog for your business, and also assuming you’ve already written the 3 blogs that immediately sprung to mind to write, how do you continue to find good blog material day in and day out?

Secret #1: Put yourself in your prospects shoes. What would a facility or property manager want to know about my business? What should they know that they might not know? What types of related information about the marketplace, the economy, even the weather and many other things would be of value to them. Some of the idea sources we use are shown below.

  • Look at related group discussions on LinkedIn and related associations and trade magazines
  • Google Search your industry and your services to find out what others in your industry are talking about
  • Use quotes from Business Journals, Magazines and Industry Journals
  • Follow discussions and presentations of Industry Leaders

Secret #2: Set an engaging title and makes your points briefly. Blogs are generally a few paragraphs with links to deeper information to those that are especially curious or knowledgeable. Make the most of your few paragraphs with attention getting pictures, bullet points and highlighted information. Most importantly spend a few minutes playing with title ideas that will capture reader interest.

Secret #3: Make it valuable to the reader. You don’t have to invent the information. Quite often there is great value in consolidating information or bringing disparate facts together to be considered as a whole. However you do it, make sure that you are creating a valuable and interesting information feed so that people will subscribe to your ongoing content.

At LMI360 we write dozens of blogs each month for both our clients and ourselves. We try to make a long list of possible blog topics and then begin to sort them by interest and viability. If you are ready to blog and would like a hand please contact us for more free information.

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How To Optimize Your Website To Get Noticed By More Facility And Property Managers

Blog Girl

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How do I get noticed in a sea of competition?

Perhaps you’re a janitorial company. You did a Google search for “Janitorial” and found 11,900,000 results. How on earth can your website ever distinguish itself & attract visitors? That task can seem more than a bit challenging.

It may be a better situation than it first appears:

  1. Those sites don’t offer exactly what you do in your geography. You and your team are specific & unique.
  2. Few people search for generic terms like “janitorial” Instead, they’re looking for something more specific.
  3. A good chunk of you competition doesn’t pay attention to optimizing, promoting, or updating their websites. If you do those things, you’ll have the advantage.

Getting well-ranked, and easily found, for the search terms most important to you is very achievable. And, by doing that, you’ll get more of the right kind of visitors – the ones who were searching for just what you have to offer, in your geography.

Here are four basic steps to success on the web

1. Figure out your niche: Keywords & Meta Tags

What makes you unique? What do you offer, where do you offer it and which words & phrases are important to your site? What might someone looking for a service like yours be searching for? For example if you were promoting your musical talents: you’re not just a “band.” You’re a jam band, an Oregon bluegrass band, an indie folk-rock trio, a Southern California rockabilly band, or a contemporary jazz quartet.

Identification of your niche, keywords & key phrases, and using that information to get visitors to your site, is the foundation of a successful website. Everything else grows from it.

2. Build an effective website through SEO Strategy

After you’ve identified your site’s focus, you’ll want to build a website that effectively gets that message across to your potential visitors, and to the search engines. Doing so will make it much more likely that your site will be found, and well-ranked, by Google, and consequently, by those searching for what you’re offering.

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization,” and is the process of creating a site that runs efficiently & is friendly to search engines and humans alike. If you’re building a new website, you’ll want to incorporate SEO strategies right from the outset. But an existing site can optimized at any time. And don’t forget your content! Be sure to have relevant, value add content that is continually updated for your visitors.

3. Get quality links to your site

Links are critical to your success for two primary reasons.

  1. People will click on them & discover your website.
  2. Search engines consider the quantity & quality of links to your site a primary indicator of its importance.

You can get links from a variety of places – directories, other websites in your field, friends, and from your site’s visitors. Web directories are a good place to start getting links. After you’ve optimized your site and developed your link back strategy you’ll be ready to submit your site to the directories.

4. Be persistent!

Never stop promoting, updating & adding to your site. Keep it fresh, and stay in tune with the specifics of your focus within the industry.

Add new content at least every month. For example, an article, review, or whitepaper download, a few photos, or some news. Announce events on your website such as trade shows, association golf outings, team member changes as soon as you know about them.

If your site’s updated often, visitors & search engines alike will be much more likely to return to see what’s new or changed. People are more likely to bookmark your site. Another great strategy is to drive potential and current customers to your site by sending out a newsletter once a month that entices with valuable content.

And, when the search engines see that you update your site regularly, they’ll give you more attention too.

For more information on how to better position your company online, contact info@lmi360.com

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A Great WEBSITE to Kick Off 2012

Web GraphicMore and more your prospects are researching their vendors and service providers on the web.  Todays’ great websites need to be more than a static reflection of your corporate brochure with a page to read the executive bio’s and contact us.  They need to help us generate business.

Along those lines one of the web searches I did for this blog was for “best websites”.  Interesting that after 3 paid results by Web Design companies the next on the list was the top 100 websites.  That site is an example of a website that appears to have been designed by a small child.  Aside from it’s poor design quality it does provide valuable information and lists great sites like Google, Amazon, Yahoo, CNN and others.  

Over the last 10 years what it takes to have a “GREAT” website has evolved.

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Eight things to consider for a GREAT WEBSITE in 2012?

  1. A professional looking design
  2. Valuable information that someone looking for your services needs to know
  3. Additional Valuable information that can be downloaded
  4. Up to date constantly changing information:  Blog, Press Releases, News, Site Updates
  5. Data capture forms:  Newsletters, Special Interest Areas, eBooks, and others
  6. SEO optimized key words and meta tags to improve your organic search results
  7. Links from sites that are complimentary to your business
  8. Links to your Social Media marketing activities

There is no doubt that what it takes to have a great website will continue to evolve over the years.  That is why your website is a never ending work in progress.  

Great companies with Great websites budget for ongoing website development as a standard part of the annual marketing budget.

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2011 IFMA Charity Golf Tournament

IFMA Golf CollageLMI360 was pleased to participate in the 2011 IFMA Charity Golf Tournament hosted at the Biltmore Resort Links golf course.  This is one of the best golf tournaments in Phoenix with IFMA sponsors attending each hole with gifts, food, drinks and other other pleasant surprises.

This is the 6th year of the tournament and it has been fully Carbon Neutral for the last 3 years thanks to EcoAid.

IFMA GOLF TOURNAMENT 2011 (80)This year  the tournament sponsored the Habitat for Humanity and an ASU IFMA Student Chapter scholarship.  Record raffle and Mulligan sales raised over $5,500 for the group.  In addition most players brought cans of food in support of the Community Outreach Community. 

IFMA GOLF TOURNAMENT 2011 (52)There were also unlimited Hole in One Prizes on the five par 3 holes.  Unfortunately, no one was able to collect the $25,000 prize this year. 

We look forward to this fantastic event each year and hope to see our many business partners and friends back again next year.

IFMA GOLF TOURNAMENT 2011 (59)

IFMA GOLF TOURNAMENT 2011 (78)

IFMA GOLF TOURNAMENT 2011 (70)

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7 Secrets to Maximizing your Trade Show Success

WWP2011A trade show can be a large marketing investment for companies and it is often difficult to gauge specifically what we got for that large marketing spend.  In addition, there are countless hours of preparation, setup, tear-down, staff flights, hotels and meals. 

A typical investment example is shown below:

  • 10 x 10 Booth – $10,000
  • Booth Furnishings – $5,000
  • Booth Graphics & Technology – $5,000
  • T&E – $10,000
  • Shipping – $2,000

Total:  $32,000

Considering how much we spend to attend the show it’s surprising how little thought goes into maximizing our success and return on marketing dollars spent.   There are two primary reasons that we attend shows.  One is brand recognition and the other is sales.

A show is a terrific “impending event” and can provide a sense of urgency to purchase plus the excitement  of new products and services to generate new leads for the company.

In our experience most companies pay their money to attend and then HOPE that prospects will stop by the booth and eventually purchase something.

At LMI360 our experience  has been that this approach has very limited success and most shows do not produce the number new opportunities to justify the large expense of the show.

To insure that the money you invest in the show provides the maximum number of new sales opportunities LMI360 developed a program based around 7 steps to help you get the most leads and sales opportunities from a show.

  1. Pre-show target account list development.   Determine in advance the target prospects and current customers we want to engage for new business opportunities.  Develop an email/phone database to be used for both pre and post show lead generation.
  2. Pre-show email marketing campaign.  This campaign should include several emails to our target list focused on building excitement for the event and encourage prospects to stop by the booth or other special events.
  3. Pre-show phone calls.  Call prospects and customers to follow up on the emails and see if it would be possible to set a specific time for them to stop by the booth to meet you or a key executive.
  4. Merge new leads from show with pre-show target account list. 
  5. Post-show follow up email campaigns.  Create an information package for the following:
    1. New leads from the show
    2. Target accounts that said they would attend but didn’t
    3. All other target accounts
  6. Post-show follow up phone calls and appointment setting.
  7. Monthly nurturing email campaign to entire list.

These 7 secrets will net you big payback from your large show investment.  They require as much planning and implementation as all the details in putting a show together in the first place. 

LMI360 can help you pull it together.  Let our outsource marketing and inside sales team cast the net for your next show.  We’ll make sure you get some immediate new opportunities and also stay in contact with your prospects for future opportunities.

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Maximize Your Email Opens

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At LMI360 we send out and track thousands of emails every week for our clients.  Informed thinking was that Monday and Friday were generally bad and that best results would be for emails sent Tuesday – Thursday, preferably mid-morning or mid-afternoon to avoid early morning crisis and lunch time activities.

We decided to do some A/B testing with a few of our clients to gain understanding of the open, click and response rates that you see when sending at different days and different times.

A few months ago, we split our list into four parts and tested Tues 8AM, Tues 1PM, Wed 8AM, Wed 1PM, Thu 8AM, Thu 1PM (all Pacific time zone, so Eastern regions would have seen it at 11AM, 4PM etc. respectively).

Results:

  • Tues 8AM: Open 17.22% CTR 2.5%
  • Tues 1PM: Open 17.4%  CTR 1.74%
  • Wed 8AM: Open 15.57% CTR 2.7%
  • Wed 1PM: Open 15.63% CTR 1.47%
  • Thu 8AM:  Open 17.76%  CTR 2.14%
  • Thu 1PM:  Open  18.22% CTR  1.85%

Our takeaway is to email as close to Tues 8AM as possible to maximize the # of folks who see our message while getting a high CTR.  Also interesting to see that in general, Tuesdays and Thursdays have higher open rates, afternoons have higher open rates, and mornings have higher click through rates.

We plan to revisit this regularly to track the trends in email marketing success.

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