Demandforce's Big-Budget Marketing for Little Guys
Why should big businesses be the only ones with access to sophisticated marketing and communication tools? With Demandforce, small businesses can use the same platforms and tools as their larger competitors, without paying the high costs usually associated with these types of enterprise-level solutions.
How It Works
The majority of new business owners can't afford to hire advertising agencies and marketing teams to promote their companies full-time. Instead, first-time entrepreneurs are known for taking a DIY approach to marketing and customer communication. Demandforce is a software-as-a-service solution that small businesses can use to give themselves a head start when it comes to building their reputations and networking with potential customers. The company bundles popular corporate communication tools—like e-mail newsletter builders, text message alerts, reputation managers, and local Web search optimizers—into a single service targeted at small-business owners.
Demandforce In Action
Businesses can use Demandforce to manage virtually every aspect of their marketing programs, but only once they've gone through the effort of syncing Demandforce with their existing customer management systems. Demandforce automatically gathers all the data it needs to start creating a business' customized communications strategy, and then provides personalized marketing recommendations based on the information it uncovers.
Demandforce offers hundreds of tools that small-business owners can utilize when communicating with current customers, including online scheduling services, SMS appointment reminders, past-due notices, e-mail newsletters, targeted promotions, and post-visit thank you e-mails. Businesses can even use Demandforce to network with other Demandforce users in their local areas and get ranked in important business directories listed across the Web.
Of course, few of the platform's customer communication programs will work unless a business already has an extensive database of customer contact information on file. Demandforce can help new business owners quickly gather this information using its e-mail finder tool, which locates valid customer e-mail addresses to use when sending out promotional materials like limited-time discounts and newsletters.
Why It Works
Rather than offering the same blanket tools to small-business clients in every industry, Demandforce tweaks its offerings based on the needs of each business owner. Veterinarians, dentists and other medical professionals are likely to use Demandforce in a very different way than small-business owners in the real estate and insurance industries, for example.
Demandforce also makes it easy for business owners to tell how their marketing programs are going by providing straightforward analytical tools that compare the results of every campaign a marketer runs. Small businesses that take advantage of these tools can refine their marketing strategies to get even better results as time goes on.
Maximizing the Benefits
Reputation is everything for a small business, and yet it can take a new small business years to generate enough positive reviews to get noticed by customers on popular sites like Yelp and Facebook. Demandforce helps expedite the process of gathering reviews with its reputation management tools, which businesses can use to collect reviews and surveys from satisfied customers who have actually used their services. These "certified reviews" are then distributed to sites like Facebook and Google for publication. Demandforce also creates customized business profiles, which are sent to more than 90 sites and search engines.
Another way that businesses can squeeze more juice from their Demandforce accounts is by linking the platform's online scheduler to the automatic notification tools. Businesses can send automated appointment reminders and past-due notifications to their customers via SMS, e-mail or postcard. Customers who don't respond or confirm their appointments can be automatically bumped, making way for new customers to come in and fill their spots. Demandforce says its automated reminders and confirmation tools help reduce no-shows by up to 40 percent.
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Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight. She is based in Portland, Ore.