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Thursday, 10 December 2015

Launching a Targeted Marketing Campaign

If you had told me three years ago, when I started writing my business app, that the marketing campaign was going to be just as hard as writing the app, I would not have believed you.

I naively thought a few press releases, some CPC ads, and a series of social media postings was all that was needed to get the word out and have my app viewed by many.

But the reality is, with all the marketing noise out there, you really have to focus your efforts on the specific vertical markets your products or services address. If you do not “target” your marketing efforts, you will likely spend a lot of money and return minimal results.

So how to target a marketing campaign? Start with the old school off-line efforts.

Find the tradeshows, BIAs, community groups or programs that offer you a concentrated audience of perspective buyers to present to.

My next event will be the eSAX Entrepreneur Networking Event taking place on Jan. 6th in Ottawa. I will have a sponsorship booth in the marketplace.

This event is a perfect example. eSAX offers me a concentrated group of business start-ups and entrepreneurs looking to increase their number of return customers. Exactly what my app offers organizations!

As always prepare signage and collaterals to support the event. Have a look at what I’ve prepared for the Jan. 6th event here.

Attendee Swag Bag stuffer
Hand out to drive attendees to booth
Door Prize Gift Certificate 
Booth Banner Signage

Secondly is your on-line efforts. Start by identifying your related vertical markets, the job titles for the decision makers in those markets, and what needs your products or services address.

If you are fortunate like me, the vertical markets are many. So let’s start with just a couple of random examples... boutiques and fitness.

Boutique owners and fitness instructors constantly need to increase their client numbers, and encourage repeat customers. Begin by creating individual landing pages that will appeal to each. I’ve created http://boutique.opend.me and http://fitness.opend.me. Each offers imagery familiar to the visitors and offers messaging that address their needs. They are direct and to the point, quickly presenting the benefits offered by my product. Be sure to include a link to your main site where the visitor can learn more if necessary they prefer.

Seek out discussion forums that relate to your vertical markets and contribute to those forums. Be careful not to just “sell” within the forums as this will likely get you banned. Instead try to add value to the discussion and work a link to your landing page into the discussion. Just being part of the discussion gives you the opportunity to learn about your market and refine your approach, so don’t abuse it.

Next, create a variety of CPC ads within social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ where you can use the on-board audience criteria to narrow who see’s your various ads. In my case I selected variations of “store manager” and “fitness professional” as the respective job title options.

Be sure to create a few ads for each landing page you created, use different messaging in each to see which performs the best. Pick your CPC bids carefully. You don’t want to be at the top of the list as this will result in clicks by people less likely to convert to customers and waste your valuable budget.

So using this method I set my CPC bids from $.20 to $2.75 for the various sites and launched my campaigns. 48 hours later I was able to see which ads were getting more or less impressions, which had the higher click through rates, and ultimately which converted visitors into sign-ups

It’s been less than a week and the sign-ups are starting to trickle in. Nice to see it working.

Expanding and refining this targeted marketing strategy is going to be the order of the day for the foreseeable future. More vertical markets. More landing pages. More ads and forum postings.

In closing I would like to offer my insights to fellow entrepreneurs as I move forward launching Open D Community Builder. Perhaps it will help you in your business development.

If you would like to be kept up to date on the progress of this “hours old” targeted marketing campaign and what I learn as I go, please join me through my site and select the “Modern Marketing” subject of interest.

All the best everyone.

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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Open D Sponsors eSAX January 6, 2016 Networking Event

We're pleased to announce our sponsorship of the eSAX - Entrepreneur Networking event to be held at Lansdowne Park in the Horticulture Building on January 6, 2016 | 6-10 pm.

eSAX holds regular networking events throughout the year. The last event occurring on October 7th where over 430 entrepreneurs and start up businesses attended to network and hear from industry leaders.

It was an outstanding event, and a fantastic example of what can happen when entrepreneurs have an opportunity to engage and share with each other. You could feel the energy in the air as it was clear that the building was filled with people driven to chart their our course in business and bring their product or service to world.

Much like the eSAX experience, Open D Community Builder was created to assist business find success. So it was an obvious choice to be part of eSAX's ongoing effort in helping entrepreneurs in the Ottawa area.

So look for us at the next eSAX event. You can register for the event here.

Congratulations to Jarrod Goldsmith and all the folks at eSAX.
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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Engagement Manager and Networking Channels added to Open D Administrator

Added to Open D Community Builder are two features that will ensure more effective ongoing relationships and less time expenditure maintaining those relationships.

Contained within your Open D Administrator the "Engagement Manager" and "Networking Channels" features are easy to use and give you real control.

Let's start with the "Engagement Manager". Situated within your Participant Details page, the Engagement Manager has two components. First is the "Engagement Reminder Schedule", where you can set a reminder timer from one week to an entire year. If the community members fails to engage with any of your published Open D engagement opportunities, or make contact with you within that time, you will be notified and given the opportunity to make contact with them to continue your relationship.

By setting reminder timers you can be confident that your entire community is engaged with you, and no one is forgotten.

Business relations are so valuable. It is important that once a relationship is established, that it is maintained for as long as possible.

Next are the Engagement Categories. Here you can internally categorize your community members into categories you create. Divide your community into appropriate segments, such as volunteers, returning customers, influencers or whatever you feel would help you better analyse group behaviour.

By categorizing your community members you can find patterns and corelation as they relate to chosen Subjects of Interest, and Demographic Data. Engagement Categories allows you to learn more about the composition of your community.

The other feature we've added is the "Networking Channels" function. It is important to know what your community members are into, and what they have to say out on the Internet.  The Networking Channels allows you to record each community members various social network locations into six customizable channels.

With social channels captured you can now easily visit your community members social channels to learn more about them, their likes, dislikes, and opinions before making contact and furthering your relationship.

Networking Channels makes understanding your community members that much easier. Combined with the Engagement Manager reminder schedule and categories you can ensure your community is well addressed in a meaningful way.

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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Announcing Open D Partner Program for Webmasters and Resellers

Calling all tech resellers and webmasters. Open D Partner Program is now live.

Sign up to be an Authorized Open D Partner and begin earning revenue by being one of the first to distribute this unique new application.

Earn up to 40% of gross sales by including Open D Community Builder banners and links to your site.

Open D Community Builder is a newly introduced social marketing and communication toolbox application for businesses and organizations looking to better engage with their community. It is a new approach to business/community engagement where all parties benefit.

Free from advertising, cookies, spamming and other annoying on-line practices, Open D offers organizations and their audiences an environment where mature and rewarding engagement can take place.

This new cloud application offers a collection of tools for business owners and organizations:

  • On-line Pollster
  • Discussion Forums
  • Spam-Free Emailer
  • Contact Manager
  • User Analytics Provider

Together these tools form the Open D Community Builder where business owners and organizations can become closer to their audience and gain valuable insight into the likes, dislikes and opinions of their community.

Completely automated, the Open D Partner Program is easy to integrate within your current web presence. Simply sign up to the program, and upon login you will be provided with banners and links that include your Open D Partner Program ID.

Include any of these banners or links within your web presence and all new Open D accounts created on OpenD.me that originate from your Partner Program links and banners will register your Partner Program ID.

Account commissions are paid out quarterly via PayPal money transfer, for the life of the account.

For tech resellers (VARs) and webmasters, this is an opportunity to get in on the ground. Open D is a new approach to business/customer engagement that brings benefits to all parties. Currently unavailable within any SaaS or app marketplace, Open D is being distributed by you, the resellers and webmasters.

If you have any questions regarding the Open D Partner Program please contact us here.

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Small Business Needs a New Approach to Social Marketing and Communications

Ottawa, Ontario—July 22, 2015— Remember when promoting your business was a simple chore. Just call the Yellow Pages. Buy a newspaper ad. Print up some mailers. It was simple, and it typically worked. And if it didn’t, you knew it right away.
But a couple of decades ago, small and medium sized business (SMB) owners were forced into the ever changing environment of on-line marketing and communications. Facebook, Twitter, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc, etc. Promoting your business and communicating in this on-line world has become a complex effort with an ever moving target of best practices and pitfalls. New software, new rules, new strategies. Largely untested, it can leave a business owner spinning with uncertainty not knowing what is working and what is not.
It’s time to clear up uncertainty. It’s time to use the on-line environment more efficiently. It’s time to put control back in the hands of the business while respecting the visitor needs.
Open D Community Builder cloud app is the brainchild of Ross Bartlett. A Canadian web developer, who has been developing on-line business solutions for over twenty years, he has come up with a new approach to on-line marketing and communications.
Open D Community Builder offers business a complete social marketing and communications toolbox that can be integrated into any current website. Open D comes complete with five interconnected on-line tools that return better visitor engagement, audience growth, and communication control, while giving the business complete oversight of their on-line marketing and communications efforts.
Available in a FREEMIUM cloud account version and paid versions, you can transfer your current contacts to your new Open D account and bring your marketing efforts to life.
Visit OpenD.me and create your FREEMIUM account today and bring simplicity and control back to your marketing and communications strategy.

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Thursday, 16 July 2015

Open D is Presented on Discovery Channel

On July 10, 2015 Open D Community Builder appeared on Discovery Channel as part of Newswatch TV's weekly program. Newswatch TV contacted us mid June interested in showcasing Open D within their upcoming broadcast.

Interested in, "Exciting new products and companies that are separating themselves from the pack", Newswatch TV worked with our team to produce what we think is a great segment.

As a young Independent Software Vendor (ISV), Open D is enjoying the challenging and exciting early days of breaking into the business software market. This latest production, airing on Discovery Channel has been a terrific experience and a fantastic opportunity for exposure.

The segment included our principle developer Ross Bartlett and new Open D account holder Kayla Miller at Sheepdog Tactical describing the benefits Open D offers her retail store. The segment is available at http://newswatchtv.com/opend-071015.html and shown below.

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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Open D Joins Start Up Canada

We are proud to announce that Open D Inc. has become a member of Start Up Canada. Startup Canada is a grassroots network of entrepreneurs working together to build an environment for entrepreneurship in Canada.

We could not be happier here at Open D, as our principle goal is to help small business and entrepreneurs have a fighting chance at success in this complex business world we currently all occupy.
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Thursday, 30 April 2015

Open D Community Builder - Spring 2015 Release

New features include full automation and customization. Start growing a community of like minded and engaged people.

After months of development and testing, the 2015 edition of Open D Community Builder is available to the public. Create your Freemium Open D Account here: http://opend.me/  
Open D Community Builder is a new approach to business contact relationship management (CRM) and engagement marketing.
Developed to provide organizations a more inviting and rewarding communication environment for their audiences, Open D allows you to augment your web postings with engagement opportunities. These engagement opportunities come in the form of polls, surveys, and discussion forums that your community will want to share within their social networks.
Social network sharing by your audience is the most cost effective way to grow a community of people interested in your organization. Your community grows while Open D Community Builder provides you detailed analytics and demographics that betters your ability to manage your organization. 
Open D also manages your site communications allowing message assigning to staff and audit-able communication threads. It's all kept in order, and easy to manage.
It's all about relationship building when it comes to your on-line community. Open D provides you a fast and manageable environment to conduct your relationship building.
We're very proud of the cloud-based application we have developed and hope it helps you and other organizations establish more engaged and rewarding relationships.
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Thursday, 29 January 2015

What Level of Community Engagement Do You Expect?

In this modern on-line marketing age, you the business owner, must understand what level of engagement you can expect from your community. Understanding what engagement model your business or organization is best suited for can have a great impact on your community's activity and growth.
Community engagement varies depending on the environment your visitor finds themselves. For example, gaming applications such as Clash of Clans or Candy Crush, requires minimal engagement. Players make brief contact with other players sharing little, while the app repeatedly offers the player the opportunity to purchase addition gaming upgrades. The ever advancing game levels combined with the interaction with other players establishes: rewarding involvement, builds familiarity, and creates a sense of dedication within the player. With all that established, a "single click" is all the game developers need to return e-commerce profit and sustain their community's engagement with the app for extended periods. If only it were that simple for the rest of us.
For the rest of us, the engagement model we choose needs to reflect the nature of your business. 
In the incredibly competitive retail industry we have seen a handful of engagement opportunities evolve and presented to buyers. Opportunities such as: Product reviews, social media sharing, and "Sign up for Our Newsletter" seem to be the limit of the engagement model most retailers have currently adopted. But is this the best model to adopt?
Whatever happened to the "suggestion box"? Stew Leonard's Dairy, which opened in 1969 in Norwalk, Connecticut, introduced a simple suggestion box to engage their customers and gain valuable market knowledge. Stew reviewed suggestions from his customers daily and followed up on many of them with interviews to better understand their thinking. He then implemented those that made sense to him and in turn empowered the suggestion provider to spread the word (social sharing) that "Stew used my idea". This simple engagement model turned customers into advocates for Stew Leonard's and resulted in the creation of the single most successful (per unit) food store in the United States.
Within our modern on-line world, a "suggestion box" like engagement model should be a simple thing to create. Retailers need to listen, respect, and treat their customers as people who have knowledge they desperately need to remain competitive. The question is;
why are retailers not engaging their customers in a more rewarding manner?
Clubs and members based organizations support one of the highest engagement type models. Members of organizations are largely prepared to offer their vote, or opinion on all "club" related topics. They have a vested interest in the organization and are prepared to build upon that investment by participating and sharing. The American Diabetes Association is a prime example of how people with a vested interest turn into advocates for the organization.
Members require an engagement environment that is possibly private and secure, one that stimulates knowledge sharing, and one that allows the coordinators of the organization the ability to easily compile the engagement of members into meaningful results. This ability for organizations to deeply engage with their community makes organizations with modern communication strategies thrive. Unfortunately many members based organizations simply utilize forums and e-mail as a means to accomplish much of this. Problems using this engagement model begin to arise when the organization grows to a point that returning data is typically unrewarding due to the volume of scattered results. The question is;
what do you do when the returning data is too much to manage?
Businesses and organizations need to understand what level of engagement they require form their on-line community to sustain and grow their organization. In this ever evolving 21st century communications and marketing field the businesses and organizations that recognize that community engagement is key to success need to determine what engagement model best serves their mission.
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