What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
Process Of Signing Up A New Merchant @ ECL:
1.) Initial phone call to obtain as much detail of the business as possible & take notes. Also the best time to provide them limited but enough information to see if ECL is a good fit for what it is that particular business is trying to accomplish.
2.) If we find at the end of our initial conversation that indeed ECL is going to be taking on their marketing tasks, a follow up detailed email must be provided by the business. Within the email we must have the following:
- Business Description
- Business Strong Points & Weaknesses
- What needs the most attention as far as marketing goes & what needs the least
- How many loyal & inactive customers realistically does the business have (Not the entire life of the business, real active customers that are actually spending money with your business)
- What would they like to see as an increase in ROI & within what realistic timeframe
- Marketing budget, what is the most the business is willing to spend on a monthly basis
- Is the business willing to give at least a 6 month period in order to see the results we are looking for (ECL needs dedication to the campaign, nothing happens over night. Marketing takes expertise, time and precision)
- Overall goals for the next year or two
3.) ECL will then either develop the campaigns based on the provided information and or business needs or perform a demo (If loyalty rewards program is implemented) at the merchant's location in order to give them a customer like experience and a chance to see the true benefits in action.
4.) Continue on a weekly basis to keep in contact and updated on everything the business is doing as far as deals, offers, incentives, promotion, events, etc. This can be done both by phone or email but either way is absolutely non negotiable. If any business owner expects results, then a direct and constant contact as well as clear defined communication must be above all.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
East Coast Loyalty has over 10 years experience in the marketing industry. We are a business full of entrepreneurial millennials and believe we are the last to see a world with & without online & or social marketing technology. So therefore we have a clear understanding of both traditional marketing as well as new aged marketing for we have lived both eras.
ECL owners as well as staff are all college graduates of marketing & business management. It is a requirement in order for employment. All employees are fully trained and comprehensive as well as equipped with the knowledge in all marketing aspects ECL provides in order to run highly successful campaigns for our merchants.
All employees go through a 6 month certified marketing course that includes but is not limited to social media, loyalty rewards, online reputation, text message marketing, business directory listings, website development, pay per click, seo, smo etc. Their certificate is only issued if 80% or higher is achieved on final exams.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.
ECL sets its pricing specific to individual business needs. We work within the budget of the business. We specify that more gets more but stay within your means. If you have it, there's no better place to put it other than marketing. Marketing increases brand awareness which draws repeat & new customers which increases R.O.I.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
We started with mobile marketing back in 2009 when we would go to a corporate shopping center like C.V.S. We would punch our mobile number into their credit card machine and earn rewards per visit. Every now and then (once weekly), we would receive a special deal or offer via text message. Ami And I (Angelo) questioned, what if we could bring this type of service to the small business. And thus East Coast Loyalty's Platform was developed and born.
What types of customers have you worked with?
East Coast Loyalty works with Corporate to the Small Business. Some current Small Business type merchants range from Deli Shops, Barber Shops, Car Washes, Tanning, Nail, Hair Salons, Restaurants, Fast food (Sub & Pizza), Retail (Clothing), Supermarkets, Convenience Stores, Real Estate Agents, Lawyers, Chiropractors, Psychologist, Dentist & Many More!
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
East Coast Loyalty recently partnered with one of your biggest direct mailing companies whom we are sure every homeowner as well as business owner is familiar with, Valpak SI.
Valpak SI reached out to ECL in hopes of reselling our platform services (Loyalty Rewards Program) to it's thousands and thousands of merchants. After negotiations which took around 6 months, because as we all know nothing in the corporate world moves fast, it has to go through a hundred people lol, ECL & Valpak SI partnership decided to move forward. The deal ECL made with Valpak SI was that they had to have our services up and running within a 6 month span in at least 50 of their merchants locations. This we called the pilot, meaning that we were to set up and install loyalty rewards tablets at the point of sale in every signed up merchant location, and for a period of 6 months ECL was to monitor the results of the customer reward redemptions as well as the increase in repeat visits from loyal customers and the increase in ROI as well as the amount of inactive customers (Customers whom have not checked in to the loyalty rewards tablet within a 30 day span or greater).
ECL also put it in writing that Valpak SI were to send a minimum of 20,000 messages per year per location to all opted in customers. If the 20,000 message mark was not to be met at years end, Valpak SI regardless of message usage had to foot the bill for the remaining messages not utilized. This was done for two reasons by ECL, one being to insure that Valpak would allow their merchants to benefit from the program by engaging with their customers on a weekly basis with all their greatest VIP deals, incentives, offers, events, promotions, overstock etc via text message marketing. Two being because of the deal Valpak SI received during the negotiation process with ECL. Because Valpak agreed to sign on 50 plus merchants in 6 months ECL provided them a deal they couldn't offer up. That's what the negotiation room is for :-) This I must say is my personal favorite because it opened doors to others like Valpak and mant Supermarkets as well.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
The number one suggestion and ECL is strongly adamant on this is, never believe a marketing company when they promise you numbers or a certain R.O.I. No marketing company can project any particular businesses outcome no matter whether they have worked with similar businesses or not. No two business are the same, therefore, the only way to project the outcome is to watch it unfold & work extremely hard to achieve it.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
1.) What it is they are looking to accomplish as a business and long term.
2.) How much their budget is for whatever it is they are intending to do and does it allow for the business to execute the goal in full.
3.) Shop and compare pricing and as if they are willing to match or beat competitors.
4.) Understand in some form what it is you're talking about or inquiring about. We are in a world of internet where literally everything you want to know or need to know is at your fingertips, there is no reason for not having some insight. Knowing allows for better negotiations which means bigger budget :-)
5.) Have you ever worked with similar companies as mine and if so what has been your greatest obstacle as well as greatest defeat.
6.) How much experience do you have in the particular field they are inquiring in(remember, experience doesn't always make you the best, sometimes it makes you worse because someone thinks they know it all and have it all figured out). The man who knows it all has a lot to learn!
7.) Are you involved with the Chambers of Commerce or the BBB. If a business is not involved with either ne or the other there is a reason for that, watch out.
8.) Ask them to provide you some prior works if they have it available, remember not every business is allowed to show inside information on other businesses, some are bound by contract to confidential work.
9.) I strongly suggest writing all your questions down before calling or inquiring about anything business wise, that way you leave nothing behind and unanswered and allow yourself by end of conversation to make an educated decision.