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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

3 Data-driven topics to choose for your blog

The topic of crafting a viral topic is always a heated argument amongst different groups of content creators. There's an issue here that is apparent, we use a lot of our intuition when making these decisions. What we feel our readers may like does not necessarily mean that our readers feel the same way.

Instead of relying on our own personal tastes, we should let our audiences dictate what are the topics they want to read -- or else we risk publishing content that is irrelevant to our audience group.

Here's our suggestion on how to choose topics for your blog using data-driven methods:

(1) Find out what already works for you

You need to first tag your blog posts to identify clearly between the types of posts you are putting for your readers. You'll need to track the performance of your posts and to do that you'll need to decide on a performance metric to measure against. Options such as page views, time on page, subscribers gained, etc. are amongst the few measures you can rely on.

(2) Ask Sales about your customer's pain points

Sales always consult with your customer's on a daily basis and they are most familiar with your customer's actual needs and and pain points. Collaborating is the best way to identify what are the likely topics your readers may relate to as potential or existing customers.

(3) See what works for your competitors

The probability of your competitors having similar audiences with yours is high. This means their popular content is likely to be popular for you too. Once you've discovered their popular content, try to ask yourself how you can improve their work. It's important to provide your own unique view and opinion on the topic and new insights to your audience.

Get EVERWORKS Web Hosting now for collocated hosting now. Start creating high quality content for your readers without worrying about technical computer jargon. Find out more now.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Kuala Lumpur 2017 Sea Games Stadium and Venues

It's been 16 years since Malaysia last hosted the Sea Games. The opening and closing ceremonies are going to be held at the National Stadium Bukit Jalil. In addition to the National Stadium, 32 other venues will be used, where mostly will be spread over the Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Putrajaya regions, with 2 other regions further away with 1 in Langkawi and another in Terengganu.

image credit: Sport Stardom

For transportation both Grab Car/Taxi and Touch N Go are the most convenient ways you will be able to travel quickly and easily to all Sea Games locations. Some locations are easily accessible by public transport (you can use your Touch N Go), but for other locations that is difficult to access to using public transport the ever popular Malaysian ride hailing app Grab is reliable, affordable, and widely used in Malaysia.

The closest station to the Bukit Jalil National Stadium is the Bukit Jalil LRT Station, which you can access on the Sri Petaling Line (Line 4 on the Rapid KL Klang Valley Transit Map).

Important links:

Keep up with the latest news on Kuala Lumpur 2017 through their official website here.
You can follow the latest happenings on the games through their official YouTube channel here.

For emergencies call 999

This connects you to the fire and rescue departments, police, maritime enforcement agency, civil defense department, and the hospital.

Weather in Malaysia is expected to be cloudy with rain. Do bring along umbrellas, and plenty of water to keep hydrated. It's also good to keep a bag ready for you to change into clean clothes when needed.

All in all enjoy the Sea Games, and welcome to Malaysia :)


If you're a local business that is looking to take this opportunity to reach out to your existing customer base you can do so directly by using SMS Marketing. Here are 10 reasons why you should, how to run an sms campaign, and how to run a successful giveaway using sms, or if you'd like get in touch with us and we'd be happy to discuss how we can help you.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

5 Questions to Ask Before Creating a Marketing Budget

A smart marketing budget is one of the most important things you can do for your business. However, a lot of small companies are afraid of it.

A small business owner recently brought up in a conversation saying that he wants to bring his business to the next level. Not knowing what the next level meant I asked him him to elaborate further, which he responded that he wanted more. After further probing I found out that he wanted more clients who could spend more money with him and that he wanted to do it in a profitable way.

Now the conversation was starting to become productive with a strong statement of intent, because there was a well defined objective. Our conversation after was heated and there was a sense of connection until the topic of budget was brought up. This is something all business owners / managers hate to hear.

There are multiple perspectives on having a budget. A bad perception on a marketing budget would be that having one would promote wastefulness. That is far from the truth.

An intelligent budget is the most important thing you can do for your business. It's as good as creating an action plan that would guide the actions required to accomplish an objective moving forward. It is important to figure out how to spend the marketing budget as much as figuring out how to do marketing.

Here are the 5 questions you to ask yourself before creating a marketing budget for your small business.

Q1: What are my needs?

Analysis: Do you need more leads? More sales? More people to know about your brand (also known as brand awareness)? With those goals in place you'll be able to better grasp the task at hand and to determine the actions you need to take moving forward.

Q2: What are you currently paying to obtain your sales?

Analysis: In running your day-to-day business we need to find out how much you are currently spending to obtain clients or to get people to know about your brand. If you have sales representatives the cost of their labor and benefits will be set against your new sales. On the other hand if you have a storefront in a prime address you are perhaps spending more than you need to for foot traffic.

Q3: How fast can you afford to grow?

Analysis: If you make RM 1,000 for every RM 5,000 in sales and you determine that you are willing to spend 20% on each lead for a sale, that's RM 200 you can afford to pay. Now you can ask yourself how many clients like that are you able to buy? (You can learn how to calculate your minimum and maximum ad spend budget here)

Q4: Am I able to take that risk?

Analysis: Marketing is testing. There is no way for you to know if you will indeed get 10 clients if you spend it and ultimately risk not getting any clients at all. There's always an apparent risk that you may not get the ROI you are looking for when you are marketing your business.

Q5: How do I minimise my risk?

Analysis: Before starting on your marketing journey and spending all of your money, even with you knowing that there are apparent risks involved with marketing, you should come to expect that you might fail. With a marketing strategy in place you are able to determine your maximum daily spend and you can therefore test in micro spends and hopefully it will lead you to your final objective.

Start your journey with SMS Marketing, it's cost effective and its delivery rate is 100% and direct to the consumer. Find out more information here.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

How to calculate your ad budget?

Advertising is important, but before you pour all your money into spending for ads, you should figure out how much you should spend. Often a complex and abstract problem can be undone by wrapping step by step actions that move towards a working solution.

Remember this isn't a 100% sure fire guaranteed way to work for everyone, because advertising is an art more than an acquired technical competency. Know what you're spending on and have control over the actions to understand and adapt, and with technology this can be done quick - saving you time and investment dollars.

You must be wondering, this is the first time you are doing advertising and the thought of spending money with no guarantee of return scares you. Your business till this date has relied on networking and word-of-mouth. Big competition use ads frequently, and you have an inclination to try with a small ad campaign, but you worry that it will cost a lot of money.

Q: Where do I start?

A: The first thing you could do is to calculate your minimum and maximum budgets. What this does is by giving you a minimum and maximum limit for spending on your ads.

Step 1: 

Use 10% and 12% of your projected annual gross sales and multiply each by the markup made on your average transaction. The formula is as follows below:

Minimum budget = 10% of projected annual gross sales x markup made on average transaction
Maximum budget = 12% of projected annual gross sales x markup made on average transaction

Important note: Do not confuse markup with margin. In our calculation we use gross markup and not margin. For example: You sell a t-shirt for RM 150 and your cost is RM 100 your markup would be 50% (1-[150/100] = 0.5). Your margin, however, is only 33.33% (50/150 = 0.3333). Most retail stores carry a markup of approximately 100%, but more expensive products and services typically only carry a markup of only 10% to 15%.

Step 2: 

Deduct your rent from both the minimum and maximum budget.

Step 3: 

The remaining minimum and maximum budget represents your allowable amounts for the year.

At the end of this step you might have learnt that you've spent your ad on expensive rent or that you should have done a lot more advertising.

Here's a working example so you can grasp the concept above:

Assume that my business is projected to make RM 1,000,000 in sales this year, I have a profit margin of 25% and my rent is RM 30,000 per year (RM 2,500/mth x 12 mths). The first thing to do is is calculate 10% and 12% of gross projected sales, which is RM 100,000 and RM120,000 respectively.

Second, we must convert margin to markup. RM 250,000 is gross profits (25% x RM 100,000) and the cost incurred to the business is RM 750,000 (RM 1,000,000 - RM 250,000). Dividing the gross profits by the cost incurred to the business we are able to find that the markup would be 33.33% (RM 250,000 / RM 750,000 = 0.3333).

Finally, we multiply both 10% and 12% projected gross sales with the markup to see our adjusted  minimum and maximum ad spend budget, which is RM33,330 (RM 100,000 x 33.33%) and RM 39,996 (RM 120,000 x 33.33%) respectively. From these two budgets we must then adjust for rent leaving us with the final adjusted minimum and maximum ad spend budget of RM 3,330 and RM 9,996 respectively.

Most advertising / sales reps will sale put a ballpark figure of 5% to 7% of gross sales to be the "correct" amount for advertising, but don't believe it. It isn't possible to put a 1 size shoe fits all percentile without taking into consideration the markup on your average sale and cost of rent.

Reasoning can be placed that an expensive rent can be translated as good visibility in a good location, requiring less advertising compared to an affordable location. This is fair judgment and should be weighed against the calculation above to justify rent as a form of advertising.

The formula above is a metric I use to measure how the business should prepare its overall ad spend budget and taking into consideration the markup and rent expenses it will incur. Good luck! :)

Once you've worked out your ad budget pull your campaign together. Here are some additional resources to give you inspiration on how to move forward How to run a SMS Campaign for you restaurant and How to conduct a SMS Giveaway.

If you're looking for a partner for SMS Marketing drop us a mailer.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

How to conduct a SMS giveaway - Chipotle example

Driving engagement with your fans is the buzz of the marketing world right now. A 1 way passive interaction between the advertiser and the receiver doesn't generate the best return on ad spend as the world is in demand for more. Competition among advertisers is fierce and there is a greater need to stand out from the crowd.

A giveaway is common, but running a giveaway campaign through sms marketing is not common in Malaysia.

Do note that there is a basis for my perspective in running a giveaway through SMS marketing, mobile penetration in Malaysia is at an all time high, 144.8%, and more marketers should take advantage of this channel.

Here's an example, our friends at Chipotle finished their Great Dorm Giveaway, which allowed students to enter the SMS giveaway by texting DORM2 to the SMS short code 888222. The SMS giveaway gave the chance for students to win a Chipotle catered party for 100, in addition to a $1,000 Target gift card.

Runners up would receive a Chipotle catered party for 20 and a $25 Target gift card. When fans texted “DORM2” to 888222, in order to enter the SMS giveaway, they received the follow text message response, asking them to respond YES to confirm that they were a student at a participating college. This drove student engagement with Chipotle a marketing objective that drives brand awareness, and recognition amongst its customers.

Giveaways are common to drive brand recognition for brands and to introduce increased engagement with customers that are already passively participating with your brand. This introduces an action layer that encourages customers to interact and actively participate with brand based activities.

Want to learn how you can employ this for your business too? Learn more here.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Here are 10 reasons why your cafe should use SMS marketing

Owning a cafe is great, but you're more often than not making a small percentage of potential customers within a certain distance radius. You've got a great location and business is now moving at a predictable pace. Driving more new walk-ins to your cafe is tough because marketing efforts in different locations aren't driving back the return on ad spend you're expecting. Here's a perspective, why not target existing customer databases that have already interacted with your store, but don't return often enough.

Either these customers are unaware that you've put in effort to provide them with special offers and deals, or these customers came to you out of the spur of the moment and impulse entry decision to give you a try. To better ensure that these customers keep coming back you'll have to remind them and a great way to drive repeat customers are through SMS marketing.

"Here are 5 reasons why your cafe should be considering SMS marketing as part of your ad spend."

1. The big boys are doing it, you're missing out if you don't. 

Subway, Pizza Hut, Papa Johns, and more are doing it to keep their customers informed.
Helps build a loyal customer base.

For example: Taco Bell launched a mobile marketing campaign in an effort to develop another channel to communicate with their most loyal customers. To subscribe to the Taco Bell mobile marketing campaign, customers texted “TBIC” to 30364. To incentivize customers to opt-in, Taco Bell offered a free Frutista Freeze, with the purchase of any food item, after a customers opted-in to the mobile marketing program. The restaurant’s mobile marketing campaign was promoted to customers through traditional media such as radio, television and print, generating 13,000 opt-ins within the first five weeks.

2. Get to more customers. 

Papa Murphy’s launched a mobile marketing campaign pilot with the goal being to bring more customers to their Kansas City locations. By using in-store signs, tent pop-ups, and an online opt-in form to advertise their new mobile marketing campaign, the restaurant was able to build a 16,000 person mobile customer database. Mobile marketing promotions such as a $5 Chicken Bacon Artichoke pizza generated redemption rates of more than 9 percent, while deals like a $5.55 taco pizza on Cinco De Mayo generated redemption rates of 11.5 percent, and half-off pizzas generated redemption rates north of 12 percent. The highest redemption rates Papa Murphy’s saw was with a $5, 3-topping pizza, which generated a 17.9 percent redemption rate. The mobile marketing campaign has since expanded across 26 other states, and is estimated to have more than 100,000 mobile subscribers.

3. Increase repeat customers.

A 16-store franchise of Subway restaurants in the New York region launched a mobile marketing campaign to increase repeat business with their customers. The program was advertised in-store with various forms of marketing collateral, and on local radio and television as the “My Subway Mobile SMS” program. The franchise after a few months had generated a database of 5,000 customer mobile phone numbers. During this period, the Subway franchise sent out 13,000 mobile promotions, averaging a 9% redemption rate, which was significantly higher than the 1% redemption rate Subway experienced with their direct mail campaigns.

4. Find a channel that stands out better than channels that don't

During a 15 month period, Pizza Hut U.K. setup geofence locations within a half-mile radius of each of their 340 Pizza Hut locations. During this period, Pizza Hut found the mobile marketing campaign was on average 142% more efficient in increasing incremental sales than other marketing channels, and 4.4 times more effective than TV ads, and 2.6 times more effective than online ads.

Carl’s Jr. sent out a mobile offer to customers on May 14, 2013. The mobile offer was for a $6 burger combo for only $2.99. Not only did this mobile offer get a 19% redemption rate, the fast-food chain generated $14 in new sales for every $1 they spent on this campaign.

5. Increase store traffic.

Dunkin’ Donuts ran a mobile marketing campaign in the Boston area, encouraging customers to opt-in to mobile offers. The mobile marketing campaign was advertised on local radio and through mobile internet ads. This resulted in 7,500 consumers opting in to receive Dunkin’ Donuts mobile offers. After the first mobile offer, 17% of recipients forwarded or showed the offer to a friend, 35% considered themselves more likely to buy lattes and coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts in the future, and Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the Boston area experienced a 21% increase in store traffic.

What if you're cafe is only a 1 cafe operation?

Don't sweat it because a Papa John’s Pizza franchise in the U.K. ran a three week mobile marketing campaign, sending a mobile offer to their 8,1000 previously opted-in customers that offered customers any Pizza, of any size for £6.99 (pickup) or £8.99 (delivery). This one mobile offer increased sales for this franchise during the three week period by 33%.

Find out how you can increase sales and repeat customers. Get started with a campaign now.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

How to run a SMS Marketing Campaign for your restaurant? Subway case study

Marketing is important for your restaurant business, regardless of whether your business is small, growing, or large. In your ad spend you'll have integrated into your strategy a variety of channels in your mix, but one that is often overlooked is SMS campaigns. SMS campaigns are extremely targeted. Think of it as an email newsletter, but any notice or information you communicate out to your customer group goes direct to their phones as long as there is a phone line. Just a note, if you're in Malaysia the penetration rates for mobile phones is at an all time high, 144.8% (Malaysian Digital Association, 2016).

So for those who have read thus far, here's the gist of it. Your restaurant needs customers to be reminded that you have special offers catered to their needs, what better way to inform them then to give them a reminder that they'll be sure to notice. Here is a case example of Subway the fastest growing food franchise to learn how we can apply SMS Marketing to your restaurant business in Malaysia.

Subway announces to their customers that they can get deals sent directly to their phones. This is followed by campaign graphics that introduce the benefits of signing up to be on Subway's list.

Not pictured in the screenshot above is Subway’s abbreviated text messaging terms & conditions, which are as follows: Msg&data rates may apply. Max 10 msgs/mo. Msgs may be auto dialed. Consent not required to buy goods/svcs. Only available for smartphones with a data plan. For help, text HELP to 782929. To opt-out, text STOP to 782929.

To see Subway’s full text message terms & conditions, click here. If you prefer to opt-in on your mobile phone to receive Subway weekly text message offers, and receive a free 6-inch subway sandwich, text “OFFERS” to Subway’s dedicated vanity short code – 78292. Did you know that Subway’s vanity short code 78292, spells out “SUBWAY” on a mobile phone’s dialpad? It’s true, try it on your own mobile phone. This is added branding for your restaurant. After submitting your mobile phone number and zip code to receive Subway text message offers, you’ll be redirected to the following page.

This page tells you that to start receiving Subway text message offers, you first need to reply to the confirmation text message sent to your mobile phone from their SMS short code 78292. As you can see from the text message below from Subway’s SMS short code 78292, Subway requires you to reply “Y” to confirm that you want to opt-in to receive Subway’s weekly text message offers.

Why does Subway require you to reply “Y” via text message, after you enter your mobile phone number into their web form? Not only is this required by the MCMC Malaysia, it protects Subway from sending text message spam. How does it protect Subway from sending text message spam?

Here's a scenario, what if in Subway’s web form I accidentally typed in (206) 334-4011, when my actual mobile phone number is (206) 334-4012. If Subway automatically opted-in the mobile phone number (206) 334-4011, without requiring them to reply “Y”, every text message offer sent to that mobile phone number from Subway would be considered text message spam.

That’s why it’s critical that before you opt-in a customer’s mobile phone number, you confirm with them that it is in fact their mobile phone number, and they want to receive your text message offers.

When you reply to Subway’s opt-in confirmation text message with “Y”, you receive two text messages in return. The first text message you receive is the coupon for your free 6-inch subway sandwich, and the second text message is welcoming you to the text message campaign. As you can see from the text message below, the welcome text message from Subway is customized based on the subscriber’s zip code.

To redeem your coupon for the Subway 6-inch sandwich, you have to click on the link. When you click on the link, you’re taken to the following mobile website, where you can redeem the mobile coupon. It’s worth noting that below the “REDEEM” button, Subway instructs you to only press the redeem button during the purchase process in the presence of the cashier. You’ll see why Subway tells you this in the next mobile screenshot. So after you’ve clicked the “REDEEM” button, you’re presented with the following pop-up on the mobile website.

Subway warns you that the coupon you’re about to access will expire within 5 minutes, so it’s best to be at the cash register at your local Subway before clicking “CONFIRM”. Once you do click the “CONFIRM” button, you’re present with your subway coupon, as you can see below. You’ll notice that there’s a 5-minute timer on the Subway coupon, which expires the coupon after it runs out of time. It’s also interesting to note that the coupon specifically tells customers that if the timer hand is not moving, the offer is not valid.

Why? This is to prevent you from taking a photo of the mobile coupon and trying to redeem it. In a photo, the timer hand would not being moving. What does it look like when the Subway’s mobile coupon is expired? See below. Why does Subway do this with their mobile coupons? The reason is to prevent mobile coupon fraud. In mobile marketing, coupon code fraud is when a coupon specifically for new mobile subscribers is used by customers that never opted into the mobile marketing campaign, or used by the same customer multiple times.

To prevent mobile coupon code fraud, Brands like Subway will limit the usage of each mobile coupon, either by using unique one-time usage coupon codes for each mobile subscriber, or in the case of Subway, they’ll limit the time that the mobile coupon is visible to the customer. One of the best parts about Subway’s text messaging campaign is that they’re advertising it everywhere, including in a commercial! Below are some of the examples of Subway advertising their text messaging campaign to customers.

If you're interested to run SMS campaigns like Subway for your restaurant find out more here.