Mailchimp is one of the earliest internet businesses still operating today. It was found in 2001 a full three years before even Facebook during the period of the dot com bubble. Unlike a lot of its contemporary businesses that when bust Mailchimp is still here today and the key to its success has been focusing on its primary service and implement a tried and test revenue model.
Mailchimp is basically a bulk email marketing service provider and lets users build beautiful emails with embed pictures and videos, similar to a template website and send the same email to multiple people at the same time and has some very clever tools and marketing features one of which is the ability to integrate mail chimp with your website so customers can subscribe to your email list and receive your next email without you having to add them.
Its pricing feature was based on the freemium model where users would be able to sign up and use the service for free until their subscribers reach 2000 at which point they could upgrade to a paid service. This freeimum model is tried and tested and is used successfully by many online companies.
However, recently Mailchimp has upgraded itself from an email marketing company to a fully fledged CRM (customer relations manager). Whilst this upgrade may seem like a good idea it if it left its core service and payment model the same, the company decided to change everything. This has led to extreme criticism this week when it became clear how its new marketing services would impact its core email offering — particularly in terms of pricing.
Mailchimp claims these changes are driven by customer demand but that is difficult to believe.
These changes included entirely new pricing tiers and policies, and a revamping of associated feature sets, with some pretty radical differences. Mailchimp’s emails weren’t clear on what was changing or who was affected, Help pages weren’t updated properly, and Support was giving out conflicting information.
When the dust settled, it wasn’t pretty.
The biggest change of all is that Mailchimp no longer determines monthly charges based on total subscriber count — as has historically been the case, and as is standard among email services. Instead, Mailchimp now bases monthly charges on a new metric which it calls Audiences, which some users may have noticed appearing in their accounts recently.
Key here is that Audiences also includes unsubscribed emails, meaning that users will be charged for unsubscribed emails as well as subscribed ones. Naturally, this announcement was received very negatively by Mailchimp users, as some would be facing increases of over 100% in their monthly charges.
In addition those who are paid customers under the Pay As You Go system — where users pay per send rather than per month, something which was very popular with users who emailed more sporadically then regularly (for example, if you only used your list to announce new releases) — will be severely affected. Anyone who has purchased before 15 May will expire in one year — despite Mailchimp previously stating that these credits will never expire. Mailchimp is explicit about not offering any cash refunds for purchased credits, but it seems Mailchimp will convert email credits into dollar credits towards a Monthly plan. However, anyone converting to a monthly plan, even if they do it right away will be subjected to the new pricing regime, with no option to be grandfathered in under the old system.
There are more horrible changes that Mailchimp has made that these include: charging users by audience, limiting audiences ie mailing lists to only three per standard user, charging for unsubscribed users, excluding automation tools for new users.
This isn't the first time that the company has attracted criticism for its changes to its core service. In 2016 the company merged with Mandrill and gave customers 60 days notice to switch to the new pricing structure or find an alternative service platform. Similarly that change was met with widespread criticism and customer outrage due to the new pricing structure requiring customers to pay twice for the same service.
Generally the tactics of Yell.com are to cold call your business out of the blue in an attempt to obtain either your bank details or credit card details, once they have these it is fairly easy for them to set up recurring payment for one of their automated advertising services.
If this doesn't work then the next step Yell.com will do is send a salesman to your business under the guise of a consultation or something similar, however for the most part the ultimate aim of this is to get your signature on a contract, which they can then use to sign you up to an automated advertising service taking regular payments from you.
It is highly likely that in both of these situations you will be unaware of what the service is or what it does. Yell.com know this and will actively make their services appear as complicated as possible when in reality they are very simplistic and for the most part not worth the money you will be paying for it.
One of the most serious complaints that we have heard is from a customer who said that someone had phoned them saying that they were from Google and in order to have their business kept on Google they would need to take payment from them. This is quite simply a lie and was told so that they could get our clients debit card details and their bank details.They then proceeded to take their credit card details as well as their bank details and set up a direct payment. No contract or details of any service was provided to our client and they had no idea that it was Yell.com that had called them until we investigated. They were shocked to discover that they had set up a direct debit payment for 2 x services which were simply listed as reputation and local presence.
Now this article is not to say that everything that Yell.com does or offers is bad. It isn't.
Their free business listing does provide good SEO value and a few of their paid services actually do provide some value to a customer however it should be noted that they are essentially re-sellers so most businesses even when factoring in administration costs, you could get the same service cheaper elsewhere. Furthermore they will only sell you the good services they provide as a last resort - once you have purchased the rubbish ones.
We would advise all of our clients to take the following steps in order to protect themselves from miss-selling.
1. If a someone cold calls you out of the blue and you are not expecting or did not ask for the phone call be very wary as to what details you provide. Do not provide your personal details, do not provide your bank details or your credit or debit card details over the phone and do not agree to any service and do not agree to meet anyone.
2. If you are interested in any service offered by someone who phones you then take as many details as you can and arrange for you to call the company back. Speak to someone independent that you trust and get a second opinion, that way you can properly evaluate whether the service is something you really need.
3. If you do need a consultation or meeting in person then arrange for someone else that you trust to be at the meeting and don't agree to anything and do not sign any thing there and then. A genuine company offering you a proper service will let the service speaks for it self and allow you all the time you need to make such important decisions.
Yellow pages was a big large yellow phone book dedicated to businesses that was delivered to every home in Britain in the 80′s and 90′s. Having an advert in Yellow Pages used to be vital to small businesses.
However the internet has changed all that. Sensible businesses used their hard earned money to invest heavily on online promotion and advertising.
Now days the only people who still use Yellow Pages are elderly people, which is fine - as long as they are part of your target market - and are your potential customers.
For most small businesses advertising in Yellow Pages is a waste of time and money. The company that owns Yellow Pages knows this, which is why it created the online advertising business called Yell.com.
The question though is whether it is worth paying to advertise your business with Yell.com?
Here are five points to consider:
*HIGH PRESSURE MIS-SELLING
Yell.com employs an army of salesmen. Their job is to sell you as many of the most expensive services to as many businesses as possible, irrespective of whether or not your business even needs that particular service.
If a yell.com salesman comes to your business or even your home, you are likely to find yourself paying a lot of money for a lot of services that are of absolutely no benefit to you or your business at all.
Once a yell.com salesman has your signature that is effectively it. You are now locked into a minimum twelve month contract and you can do nothing to escape it.
If something changes in forthcoming months, for instance you find a better way to promote or advertise your business, then it is too late, you will still have to pay the yell.com services even if you don’t use them. Worse still if you can’t afford to pay yell.com they will take you to court and try to make you bankrupt.
*LACK OF PERSONALISED SERVICE
You are just a number to yell.com. Whilst they employ an army of highly paid salesmen, they have very few actual people (if any at all) whose job it is to promote your business, most of any work or service is done by automated computer programs.
Your account manager with yell.com will be the same salesman who talked you into signing the contract. It won’t be a professional who works with you regularly to promote your business so don’t expect to hear from him unless it is to sell you more services.
*NO OWNERSHIP OR CONTROL
Any adverts or promotions created by yell.com are only rented by your business, you won’t actually own any work that yell.com do for you.
If yell.com create your business a website - you won’t have any control over it! You won’t be able to access it or upgrade it. The only thing you will be able to do is email or phone and request a change. But this can take month, which is not good when it comes to ranking highly in Google.
Not only that, but if you find you need to move your website to new host, you will effectively have to start again from scratch meaning a lot of wasted time and effort.
*HUGE DEBTS AND BANKRUPTCY
Yellow Pages and Yell.com is now owned by an American conglomerate called Hibu.
Hibu Plc is bankrupt. It has been sliding further and further into debt. In recent years it has twice failed for bankruptcy in the US with over £2.3bn pounds in debt. The situation is so bad that creditors have actually taken over control of part of the company and de-listed it from the stock exchange.
With the company itself stating it will cease Yellow Pages from 2019, and with a spiraling online business. The company go bust at any time, taking any money that you have invested as well as all your promotion and adverts with it.
If you need help with promoting your business online then why not contact Westech Media. We are a small, local business and we don’t employ salesman and you can speak to any member of our team and we are all dedicated to helping you and your business succeed.
Contact us today:
020 3051 9505
The national pub chain JD Wetherspoon has announced it will quit social media, withdrawing completely from Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The company's chairman Tim Martin has stated he wanted to go "against conventional wisdom that [social media is] a vital component of a successful business" and that it was a "waste if time".
With such a successful businessman taking this position it is understandable that many companies are now too asking themselves whether they too should quit social media.
The answer is no - businesses should not ignore social media any more than they should ignore any other form of advertising. Excluding social media from your marketing strategy would be like ignoring newspaper, radio, TV and other forms of promotion.
Social media is part of marketing and should be included in all businesses marketing strategy.
The truth is that JD Weatherpoon's social media management was an absolute failure meaning that even when it was active, its success depended on its original two keys for success: the location of their pubs which provides a high foot fall and the cheap price of their food and drinks that provides a USP over their competitors.
So the real question is why was JD Weatherspoon's social media marketing such a failure?
1. Lack of strategic planning.
Social media needs to be engaged with like any other part of marketing, as part of a businesses wider strategy. Unfortunately JD Weatherspoon fell into the trap of what a lot of companies which is thinking that you an just post some random pictures on social media and this will be enough to engage with the public and turn them into customers. An example of this was a tweet with a picture of a fish and chips meal which just got three retweets.It simply is lazy and not good enough for a multi-million business.
2. Too many accounts.
JD Weatherspoon should have centralised its social media with a single account on each platform. This would have meant it could communicate a consistent message of its brand and core values to its millions of customers. Instead the company chose to have a separate account on each platform for each one of its venues. This meant there were literally hundreds of accounts for its business, some of which only had a few hundred followers, with minimal interaction and engagement. The accounts that did have larger followings were met with garbled and confusing messages and branding.
3. Amateur management.
Multi-million companies have two choices when it comes to social media: to hire an agency or to hire an employee especially for the job. JD Weatherspoon decided to do what a lot of smaller companies do which is to hand their social media management over the their already over-worked pub managers, worse still they provided no extra training or pay. Giving the role of social media management to an untrained employee because they use social media in their personal life is akin to letting an untrained employee writing their companies press releases because they know how to type. Apart from the lack of time a good social media manger needs to have an understanding of the companies marketing strategy, branding as also the things that make effective campaigning. Without these social media is doomed to fail.
4. Uncontrolled customer complaints.
JD Weathspoon's social media accounts became the brunt of trolling, prank tweets, bad reviews and public complaints. One reason for this was Tim Martin's political views that became indistinguishable from the company. But another reason was lack of response from the pub chain to genuine complaints from customers, which themselves lead to further negatives complaints and tweets and so on.
JD Weatherspoon is without doubt a very successful company and it should have had a very successful social media campaign to match. But it didn't, whilst they didn't learn from their mistakes hopefully this article means that you can.
If you would like further help or advice with your businesses social media management.
Contact us today:
The answer to this is undoubtedly yes. There are no businesses that would not benefit from some kind of social media presence. And the reason for this is quite simply that businesses do business with people and half the people in the world are now on social media.
The key benefits to having your business are as follows:
1. Brand Awareness
When you post to your social media, that post will be seen by anyone who follows your account and these are generally your customers or people interested in your product or service. If they then share or take similar action to that post, then their follows in turn will also see it. This is how some content becomes viral - ever increasing in coverage and views.
2. Customer Loyalty
In the past, the only way to grow customer loyalty was through love of a product or service. Today loyalty can be additionally sparked, cultivated and maintained through smart social media engagement. Research suggest that just under half of customers that follow a brand on social media are less likely to shop at any competitors.
3. Valuable Feedback
Some companies spend thousands of pounds conducting surveys and other services to find out ways that they can improve their customer service and experience. Social media allows customers to directly tell you what it is that they like and don't like about your business, providing you with valuable insights.
4. Increased SEO
All social media pages and posts are indexed by search engines including Google. This means that every page and post that you create is another opportunity for people to see it online when they are searching it. In addition have direct links on your social media to your website drives traffic, which in turn increases your web pages presence on Google and other search engines.
The above points will alone increase sales to your business. However, all social media sites have or are introducing their own shop and payment methods to allow businesses like yours to sell products and services and take money over social media. Another route to market provides you with an increased customer base that may of shopped elsewhere.
As should be clear your business needs to be on social media.
But social media isn't a magic bullet and simply being on social media isn't enough.You need to be posting and engaging with your followers on a regular basis.
If you think you need help with your social media, then you should consider professional social media management. This is where someone else sets up and manages your social media accounts on your behalf and is very effective.
Westech Media can provide you with professional social media management from just £49 per month. So if you need help you can contact them on the details below or hit the button to book a FREE social media consultation.
SHOULD YOU OUTSOURCE OR KEEP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT IN HOUSE?
If you are still debating as to whether your business needs social media management then please click here to read our previous article.
Once you decide that your business needs social media management the next question is to whether to handle social media yourself or outsource it to a professional company.
As with all things in business there are pros and cons to each option. Here are some things to think about before making the decision.
PROS OF HANDLING SOCIAL MEDIA YOURSELF
Increased Brand Authenticity
No one knows your business like you or your staff - they are immersed in it daily. If you have a good business then you and your staff should have a clarity of vision and an understanding of the business culture that is hard to replicate with an outside agency. This is why all good social media management agencies should conduct an in depth conversation with the business leaders in order to get clarity of vision and brand in conjunction with their social media strategy.
Increased Organisational Knowledge
Doing your own social media or hiring one of your employees to do it will increase the knowledge and experience in your business. Which if you are able to keep the same social media manager (it is a competitive employment market) is retained in your business as it grows. This is especially true if the business employs over 24 people, otherwise the additional knowledge tends to be at the expense of core business activities.
Increase in Control
Obviously you will have complete control and near complete control over employees when they work for you and the same will be with your social media. In addition you and your staff will be able to respond quickly to changing incidents. It is for this reason that good social media agencies will have an established route of contact in line with their marketing strategy.
CONS OF IN-HOUSE SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT
Lack of Professionalism
This may seem counter intuitive - but it is a big problem if you hire an employee to work at your business, because they know they will be paid and paid regularly, irrespective of the quality of their work.
Because of the nature of social media management it is very hard to sack a person employed within this role, without falling foul of employment laws.
This isn't a problem when you hire an outside agency.
Lack of Independence
Conversely, in-house social media managers will unlikely want to risk upsetting the other people within your business, by challenging poor ideas. This can lead to poor social media campaigns that aren't actually any good. Worse still are plenty of stories of in-house social media managers creating content which turned into a PR disaster.
This is not a problem when you hire an outside independent agency.
Increase in Costs
Employing people, even part time is very costly.
The danger is that social media takes longer than necessary to justify the hours with an decrease in quality. In addition it is very expensive to buy the latest top of the range content creation and analytics tools required for good social media. This is not a problem when you hire an outside agency.
The question of whether to have in house or outsourced social media management will greatly depend on the needs of your business.
If you would like to book a free social media consultation to discuss whether in house or outsourced social media is best for your business click the button below.
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HOW TO SPOT A COMPANY WITH FAKE FOLLOWERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
The internet has provided companies and businesses with almost unlimited means and resources to reach customers and sell their products and services, like never before.
Not only that but it provides unparalleled ability for customers to interact with the companies they wish to do business with, using social proof such as reviews and engagement to decide which businesses to give their custom to.
Unfortunately some people have turned these benefits on their heads, with fake businesses, fake accounts and fake followers.
But how can you spot fake businesses with fake accounts and fake followers? Using the social media platform Instagram as an example, here is two examples of a fake business with fake accounts and followers on Instagram.
1. New Account: Real accounts have likely had an Instagram account for years. They didn’t just start three months ago, post six times, and magically have 100k followers. If an account is relatively new, and has a sizable number of followers, they’re probably not real.
Take an example of this unnamed London based business that purports to be both a fashion and media company. Their latest Instagram account was only 2 days old and yet had followers of 100K. Quite clearly this is fake.
2.High Follower Count/Low Engagement: It’s more than just followers. If the user has tons of followers, but low engagement, they’re either buying fake followers or they’re not creating content that resonates with their audience. The rule of thumb is that accounts should have at least a 10% engagement per post.
So in this case the same London fashion / media business has 185k followers, and their latest post has 1900 likes. This would be what be expected if the account and its followers were real. However on closer inspection it appears that there is only 1 comment.
This means that the account has not only bought fake followers - over 185,000 fake followers but its has also purchased over 1,900 likes. And they are doing this for each and every post.
If you are a business and you would like expert help increasing your social media followers or your engagement then contact us today and one of our team of experts will be happy to help you.
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1. INCREASED CREDIBILITY FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Today, the majority of your potential customers (81%) will use the internet to search for the products or services they need.
Even when if you are using other forms of advertising such as leaflet and magazine drops or TV and radio adverts, the majority of customers will conduct follow up research on a business online.
By seeing you online, you potential customers have the reassurances that they need that you are trustworthy business. This is especially necessary if you work from home and do not have a physical store front.
If your business doesn’t have a website or any other online presence, the chances are that your potential customers will go to a business that does.
Think about the new customer who has never heard of you or the fantastic products and services you provide.
2. GREATER ACCESSIBILITY TO YOUR CUSTOMERS
A website is like a permanent business card or brochure available to your regular customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.
It provides them a medium to to review your products and services and gives you a chance to show case to your work at a time convenient to your potential customers.
Your website can also provide a great customer service tool providing your customers with advice and an easy way to contact you.
Think about the busy customer who might not have time to communicate with you directly during your working hours.
3. WIDER REACH FOR YOUR MARKET
Whether you provide products or services at your location or your customers, having a website means you can reach a great number of people and have a larger market with which to operate.
Your website can be designed to target more people who would be interested in buying your products or services that you would not normally reach by other means.
Even if you are a local business that serves customers at their homes, there will be a large number of potential customers that will see your business through your online presence, that other wise would not hear of you.
Think about the customer who has just moved to the area or who has family in your local area.
As a a small business owner you probably think you can’t afford a professional website, but the truth is you can’t afford NOT to.
There are many website builders that allow you to build a website for free. If you have lots of time to dedicate to this, then this is a good way to go. But if you are busy serving your customers than Westech Media can provide you with a fully integrated and designed website for just £49 per month.
Compared with the cost of a newspaper ad, when you consider the potential market you can reach with a website, it is a very cost effective way to promote your business.
If you would like to discuss with us how we can help you promote and advertise your business then please contact us:
You can email us at: email@example.com
You can also text or Wattsapp us on: 07907521032
You can also call our office on: 02080683989