The sheer number of marketing tools and platforms available for small businesses today can be overwhelming to many first-time entrepreneurs, and yet business owners who shy away from using these platforms—either out of fear of making mistakes or a lack of understanding about how the technology works—risk losing out on valuable opportunities for customer acquisition and increased sales. Closely is an all-in-one marketing platform that gives business owners access to powerful tools that don't feel overly complicated or difficult to use.
How It Works
Closely gives businesses and marketing agencies the tools to manage their own marketing campaigns, without requiring them to handle the heavy lifting involved in many of these efforts. Small-business owners can make their own choices with regards to when they want to run social promotions and the types of discounts they'd like to offer, without having to worry about the distribution or promotion of those deals.
Business owners who sign up with Closely can create limited-time discounts on the fly as a way to drum up business during slow days and off-peak hours. Once the business owner has created and published a deal with terms he's comfortable with—like $5-off with a purchase of $20 or more, for example—Closely will manage most aspects of deal distribution. The marketing platform takes care of publishing deals to its clients' websites, as well as their Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter accounts. Closely promotions can also be linked to display advertising and published through certain syndication partners, depending on the business owner's goals.
Closely In Action
While Closely is primarily aimed at business owners, the platform can also be used by marketing agencies looking for innovative ways to promote their clients. Closely's Agency Partner Program has given marketers like Ryan DeJong, of the gooroo group marketing agency in New York City, a way to expand their services and demonstrate ROI to small-business clients. DeJong partnered with Closely in late 2011 as a way to increase exposure for his long-time client, Pineapple Day Spa.
Although Pineapple Day Spa's owners had been interested in running a daily deal for some time, the spa's location in rural Pine Bush, New York, prevented it from partnering with larger platforms like Groupon or LivingSocial. Instead, DeJong signed up with Closely and began running custom deals targeted directly at Pineapple Day Spa's core customer base. Within weeks, DeJong began seeing results. He found that Pineapple Day Spa was able to generate more revenue and customer responses by sending deal vouchers to clients directly than by posting generic discount codes on social networking sites.
Why It Works
Flexibility is one of the keys to success when it comes to small-business marketing. Closely offers its clients a level of flexibility and control they generally can't find when working with larger deal companies and marketing platforms. Not only does Closely invite small businesses to create their own deals from scratch, but the platform also provides those clients with all the tools necessary to distribute those deals across a wide network of partners. Closely has managed to bring many popular marketing tools together under one roof and presents them in a way that small business owners can easily understand.
Maximizing the Benefits
Small-business owners who use Closely to run promotions can't rely on the company to distribute their deals to a wide base of e-mail subscribers. For this reason, it's important that Closely clients create their own databases with customer contact information for sending promotional discounts and other marketing materials. By using a separate e-mail marketing platform like MailChimp, businesses can generate segmented lists and filter clients based on their visit frequency and purchasing habits. For example, a salon can send deals only to those clients who haven’t been in for six months or more. Meanwhile, a retail store can let customers know when products from their favorite brands are back in stock. These types of targeted messages and deals are more likely to be redeemed, when compared to generic messages sent to a business' entire e-mail database.
Read more "How It Works."
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight. She is based in Portland, Ore.
Image courtesy Closely.com