A Parade of Consumers: Mardi Gras Marketing

mardi-gras

Once a year, New Orleans becomes the center of attention in this country. Mardi Gras has developed a reputation as one of the largest parties in the world, and businesses outside of the Big Easy do whatever they can to create a Mardi Gras experience to capitalize on potential revenue. Your business can also reap the benefits of this day, with little more than a few simple tweaks in menu and/or atmosphere.

For example, if you run a restaurant or bar, you can best prepare for Mardi Gras with a menu that mimics traditional New Orleans fare. Cajun spices, crawfish, shrimp, and jambalaya can make up a pretty satisfactory specials menu, and offering drink specials would not be a bad idea as well. In fact, if your business wants to take things a step further, host a masquerade ball. The best costumes can get beads, which can be exchanged for free drinks or appetizers. In addition, add some live music to the event, and give local jazz and funk acts an opportunity that they might not otherwise get.

Restaurants and bars may have more of a selection available on their Mardi Gras menu, but they are not the only businesses that can reap the benefits. Bakeries can also grab their piece of the pie (or more apporpriately, cake). Aside from all of the dishes mentioned earlier, one of the staple foods of Mardi Gras is king cake. A king cake is a pastry that usually has purple, green, or white frosting on top of it, with a plastic figure baked inside. If your bakery makes a king cake, you will be known as the go-to spot for Mardi Gras house parties.

Finally, if your business is not serving food or drink, you can absolutely still get into the spirit of Mardi Gras! You can add a Mardi Gras theme to your GiftFly gift card designs, and you can dress up your business for the day by strategically placing yellow, green and purple streamers around your business.

If you have not yet signed up with GiftFly, what are you waiting for? It is the most effective way to sell your gift certificates on your website. Join the parade of merchants who have signed up with us, and get in on that revenue today!

How to Promote Your eGift Cards for Valentine’s Day 2015

How to Promote Your eGift Cards for Valentine’s Day 2015

Valentine’s Day is all about love and let’s not forget, gifts. Can you believe the average annual Valentine’s Day spending is over $13 Billion?! Cut yourself a piece of that pie by effectively promoting your products and services to your customer base and beyond. Today we’re going to talk about eGift cards in particular because an eGift card is something your business can add in seconds to sell more on this special occasion and year-round.

For businesses, Valentine’s Day is a day to cash in on specials and offers to entice customers to purchase their gifts through you, especially gift cards and gift certificates. Need some new ideas for promotion? Here’s how your business can sell more gift cards on Valentine’s Day:

Offer eGift Cards

Before you start promoting for Valentine’s Day, you’re going to need to setup the essential tools to assist you in adding these extra sales. Go ahead, sign up your business with GiftFly for free and you’ll get access to the fastest & easiest eGift card platform created especially for the small business owner. Don’t worry, we’re here if you need a hand setting up your card designs and gift card page. Once you’re signed up, start customizing your GiftFly page and eCommerce-enable your site by adding the custom widget.

  • Design your virtual gift cards
    • Upload any image or logo for unlimited designs, choose Valentine’s Day themed backgrounds to give your customers options to send their loved ones
  • Customize your GiftFly eGift card page
    • Upload your logo and color codes to match your branding
  • Add the eGift card widget to your website
    • Select the color code and embed onto any page within your website. Let us know if you need help.
  • Add the Facebook tab to your Facebook page
    • Move the tab to the front of all other tabs so fans can easily see you offer eGift cards. Watch this video tutorial for assistance.

Now you’re ready to promote. You can market your new eGift cards anywhere by simply adding the link to your unique gift card page! Unleash your creativity to design beautiful cards and promotions.

Email Marketing

If you have a customer email list, now’s the perfect time to announce that you have special eGift cards for Valentine’s Day. You can schedule an email blast today through Feb. 14 since your eGift cards are available for purchase 24/7 and are sent instantly via email, which makes it a perfect option for last-minute and long distance gift-givers. Fun fact: Did you know that there are an estimated 4 to 4.5 million college couples in the US in a non-marital long-distance relationship? Adding GiftFly allows anyone, anywhere in the U.S to send a gift card to your business from the comfort of their home, even when your business is closed. This will bring in revenue that you simply would not be able to get with a plastic gift card or certificate.

Here’s an example of an email promotion you can design to send to your customers promoting your eGift cards:

valentine-email-promo

 

Social Media

Use your social networks to spread the word about your Valentine’s Day offering. Be sure to include images to help your posts stand out amongst all the updates and other promotions. If you have a strong Facebook or Twitter following, run a special discount for your fans, i.e. 10% off Valentine’s Day eGift cards, which you can setup in your GiftFly dashboard to give consumers an incentive to buy & send your cards. To give your post added impressions, go ahead and boost it on Facebook to get more eyes on your offer. When customers send a GiftFly via Facebook, they will share the news with their network, further increasing your reach and impressions.

In-store Promotions

Prior to the special occasion, promote your gift cards in-store. Print custom signage to display in your window and at the register to let customers know you offer eGift cards online. When your business is closed, a passerby may notice your signage to learn that you now offer eGift cards and can look for you online to purchase a card.

You can also include a message in your customer receipt or attached to their receipt promoting your eGift cards. For example, “Send Someone Special an eGift in Seconds – Visit Our Website for Details.”

GiftFly provides your business with all the tools you need to create, sell, track and promote your virtual gift cards. Get started today as it’s not too late to start promoting for Valentine’s Day and as always, feel free to reach out to GiftFly if you need assistance.

 

Add eGift Cards

 

Sources: Valentine’s Day Stats, Long Distance Relationship Stats

Big Game Theory: Marketing for a Football Game

Big Game Theory: Marketing for a Football Game

Sporting events are one of the best ways that people will be attracted to your business. People love to gather together, watch their favorite team compete, and enjoy an atmosphere with similar rooting interests. One thing that we have always talked about on the GiftFly blog is being different. To get more customers, you need to offer something that your competition is not. Every bar and restaurant has a score box pool. Doing simply that is not going to bring you the revenue that you want.

What will get people in the door? We will start with one word: PROMOTION. No one will come to your business if they do not know that you are offering something to them. Get signage out in your storefront, email everyone on your list, and make sure that the word is out: You are having the event of the century, and it should not be missed. That is your message, and drumming up interest will bring in your business.

The Importance of Social Media Listening

The Importance of Social Media Listening

As we have said in previous blog entries, social media is the trend that savvy marketers are chasing currently. We have given you some basic strategies for social media marketing, and told you how to prepare your marketing strategy for the coming year.

 

However, social media is more than just posting content and seeing what sticks. To truly be an effective social media marketer, you need to listen as well as you speak. The language that you use is important, but you also need to find out what people are saying about you. You need to know if your messages are resonating with your targeting audience. Luckily, there are many different platforms that are available to you. With social media listening platforms, you can identify a target audience, find out if they are responding to your messages, and engage them accordingly! You can also schedule social media so that the most people can see you at the right time, and sift through topics that are relevant to your business, and join in an ongoing conversation. We have chosen two sites that we think are particularly helpful, and we will highlight them now.

hootsuite-horizontal-blackHootsuite is perhaps the most well known social media listening tool, and it has brought itself to the top of the list of a reason. Hootsuite is an all-in-one platform. With Hootsuite, you can see all of your brand’s social media feeds at once. You can reply to all of your consumers in real-time, or save your responses for future use. As far as analytics are concerned, you can track your message reach and engagement to find out what is working. Your audience can be broken down by age, demographic, and location. With all of these in hand, you can determine influencers, and appropriately target the market that you want to sell to. In addition, Hootsuite has a task management component to it. As the lead user, you can assign permissions to other users, assign and delegate tasks, and ultimately approve content before it gets pushed out to the masses. Hootsuite encompasses all facets of social media listening, and it is incredibly valuable to your social media presence.

 

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If you are looking to see how you stack up against your competition, or if you are just looking for information pertaining to your particular field of interest, Social Mention is something that you should absolutely have in your arsenal. Social Mention provides alerts for keywords that you put in, and provides you with the amount of people that are tweeting. In addition, it gives you the Twitter hashtags with the most engagement, users that are commenting at the most frequent rate. More importantly, it gives you an outlook into the sentiment of the comments that are being written. You can find out what is getting positive, negative, and indifferent reviews, and capitalize on what is trending.

 

With these two platforms, you will be able to effectively listen to your audience and find what works. From there, the rest is up to you. With the information that you will mine, your marketing will be firing on all cylinders.

Let the World Know: eGift Card Awareness is Increasing!

Let the World Know: eGift Card Awareness is Increasing!

Adopting an eGift card solution is the best way that your business can grow. By creating a 24/7 selling option, your business will have new, unprecedented access to revenue streams! I know what you are thinking:

My paper/plastic gift cards are selling perfectly well? Why should I use eGift cards for my business?

A series of recent studies done by the Retail Gift Card Association show four key points:

2015 Reset: New Year, New Revenue!

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The one thing that everyone does in the advent of the new year is to make resolutions. When we make a resolution, we take a quality of a person that we want to be or something that we want to change about ourselves, and try to take steps to reach that goal in our daily lives. We see January 1 as a virtual reset button, or a chance to make a new start. Your business, and you as a business owner, can apply those principles to grow on a professional and on a personal level. There are a lot of practices that your business can either upgrade or implement which will result in a greater revenue stream! 2015 is the year that you take your business to the next level, and take yourself to new heights! However, to get there, you must first answer the question:

What makes my business different from my competition?

We have targeted four areas that will develop your local business, and will provide you with some personal and financial fulfillment!

The first focus point revolves around this theory: Do not settle. If something in your business is not working, change it. If your gift cards are not selling in your storefront, adopt an eGift card solution that allows you to sell  24/7. If your drink specials are not being bought up, change up your menu. Constantly tinker and use trial and error until you figure out what works. One way that you can map out your strategy is by finding out where other people have gone wrong, and steer clear of their mistakes. Join up with a networking group, meet with like-minded people in a similar field, and see what ideas stick, and what ends up in the trash can.

To further develop your business as much as possible, you need only look to your customers for help. Listen to the people who are buying what you are selling, and cater to them. Find out what they are looking for, and be that. You may find yourself carving out a niche that will set you apart from your colleagues. To truly integrate your customers into the fabric of your business, your customer service must be of paramount importance. Plain and simple: if your customers are not happy with your product, they are not going to come back. Pay attention to what your customers are saying, and you will put your business ahead of everyone else.

As far as marketing efforts are concerned, do it early and often. Regular and consistent promotion is the key to getting yourself out there. There is an expression: “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”. If you are making your presence known, you are going to get revenue. If your message is seen by your target audience first, you will be looked at as a benchmark/measuring stick in your field. Promote yourself on social media, and make sure that an SEO specialist has made sure that your website trends as highly as it can in searches.

Finally, take the time to develop personally! Learn a new skill, give back to your community, but schedule some time in your busy day to enjoy yourself. A healthy work/life balance is essential to growing as a person, and your personal happiness will lead to happiness in your career!

2015: The Year That Social Media Breaks Out

2015: The Year That Social Media Breaks Out

Marketing is not what it once was. In the past decade, social media has become a juggernaut in news, conversation, and business. Marketing is no exception; social media marketing is quickly becoming an integral factor in how content is presented and sold. Social media companies are becoming more than just networks. Think about it; what did you do this morning when you woke up? Did you go outside to get your morning paper, or did you check your Twitter feed to see what was trending? Did you check your Facebook newsfeed? The proof is in the pudding; social media is quickly becoming a pillar of life, and 2015 is going to be a HUGE year for social media marketing.

Let’s start with this basic idea: your consumers are increasingly embracing a “mobile-first” mentality. When smartphones and tablets first entered the mainstream consciousness, they were looked at as more of a second screen, which accompanied a television or computer. As apps were developed, tweaked, and more content became available for consumption, mobile devices wove their way into the fabric of our daily routine. Now, phones and tablets are firmly entrenched into our shopping habits, and are integrating themselves into our wallets. I walked into a coffee shop the other day, and not a single person was using cash! All of the customers were buying their beverages with the shop’s app. Gift cards are becoming more digital, and consumers are more than happy to leave the extra plastic at home.

Soon, social media and devices will make it so that you will not even need to carry around money in a wallet. Banks are incorporating money transfer services into their mobile apps, and more and more people are using apps like Venmo every day to transfer money to each other. If you have not already, your credit cards will likely be digitized into your phone, and cash will be more of an emergency item than a necessity. According to a Mashable article, the state of Iowa is making it so that your iPhone can digitally hold your driver’s license! Digital technology is looking to replace your billfold, and will be doing it sooner rather than later.

Most of the foundation of social media is text-based; however, 2015 should see a great increase in the way that companies market on a visual scale. If you have Instagram, you are no doubt seeing the “sponsored posts” that some companies are using to disrupt your news feed. This trend is more than likely to continue next year, as Instagram grows in popularity. A recent announcement from Instagram says that the photo-sharing service has reached 300 million followers, putting it above Twitter. Keeping this in mind, corporations are going to use Instagram as the leading source of image-based social media marketing.

You will also see Pinterest increase in follower numbers as well, because of how useful it is in niche communities. Pinterest helps people by providing pictures of food recipes and room decorating tips, among other functions. Pinterest is being used by a variety of people for a number of purposes, and that trend should continue well beyond 2015.

Finally, as social media increases, you will see networks establishing themselves as leaders in their fields. LinkedIn is taking steps to establish itself as “the” B2B platform for networking, Instagram is cementing its reputation as “the” social photography site. Every network is doing new things to make itself the go-to app.

Another trend that you will see in 2015 is the advent and rise of new networks. We are already seeing the effects that small networks like Ello are creating. People are always looking for the next new network to jump on, and you will have more than your fair share of those to choose from in 2015.

Marketing is in an exciting time. People are connecting more than ever before, and it is beneficial to your business to know the latest trends in social media. Get out there, interact, and start selling!

(Trends curated from TechRepublic and Forbes)

 

Not Just a Marshmallow World: Tasty Treats for the Holidays

Not Just a Marshmallow World: Tasty Treats for the Holidays

As far as food is concerned, the holiday season is an exciting time. The dominant factor in most holiday food is one thing: sugar. People love to enjoy sweet treats all year, but in December, the creativity and consumption is much more prevalent. In keeping with this theme, we have created a list of some of our favorite holiday sweets for you to enjoy.

Above all, gingerbread appears to be the order of the holiday season. Every year, gingerbread flavoring seems to find its way into more and more items, at an earlier time. The starting point is usually after Halloween; then, people stop searching for the pumpkins and start seeking out gingerbread. There will be gingerbread lattes, gingerbread men, gingerbread houses, and a myriad of other things that you can catch.

If gingerbread is the most common and popular holiday flavor, then peppermint is right behind it. Candy canes and other peppermint candies are a popular decoration on gingerbread houses, and peppermint mocha beverages are the order of choice in local coffee shops.

If you are looking for cookies apart from gingerbread men, you have a variety of options there as well. There is so much that can be done to the traditional sugar cookie that makes it a delicious holiday treat. What separates a sugar cookie from a Christmas cookie is all found in the presentation. By cutting a cookie a certain way and adding frosting designs, it becomes a Christmas cookie. The most common Christmas cookies are usually trees, snowflakes, and snowmen, but you can make your own designs to reflect your favorite holiday traditions.

Of course, if you want to add a snowy touch to your favorite confection, put a small amount of powdered sugar on top!

Image Source: Food Network: 12 Days of Cookies

Unwrap Holiday Revenue with GiftFly!

Did your business miss out on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Green Monday? There is still time to get in on your slice of holiday season revenue. GiftFly is an easy, turn-key gift solution that can be bought by anyone. Your customers will purchase eGift cards because they are convenient and thoughtful. Sign up with GiftFly today, and instantly create a new profit stream for the holidays!

GiftFly is #WhatsTrending according to Elvis Duran and the Morning Show!

“GiftFly: Not only will this help you find a gift for the hard person to shop for but it’s going to save you last minute. Use the GiftFly app or website to purchase an e-giftcard for a local business using their zipcode.” Click the play button to listen below for the entire #WhatsTrending segment from the Elvis Duran and the Morning Show:

Read more: http://bit.ly/1vnLhzM

#WhatsTrending Gift Guide