What’s one thing all entrepreneurs need? Clients. Sometimes I feel like I spend half of my time working to make connections, land clients, and strengthen relationships with existing customers. I suspect I’m not alone.
The client side of our businesses is both the most important and the most time consuming, which means that mastering it represents a huge efficiency; And huge efficiency means a very profitable business (cue salivating). With an opportunity of this size, I called the industry expert.
I caught-up, by phone, with my sponsor and friend Ryan Taft, co-founder of OnSpot Social because he’s the expert guy. Why is he the guy? Because his business’s sole focus is successfully making strong connections, fast. Ryan and his colleagues founded OnSpot Social to bridge a very specific gap in lead collection techniques – the gap between real-life collection and online collection of data.
As a little history primer, the problem OnSpot Social is fixing online collection of data – folks who share their email address, often in exchange for a free offer. It is the defacto method of collecting contact information, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best. It frequently yields poor quality contacts – people who were only in it for the freebie, leaving fake or inactive email information. Live lead collection – whether it’s in a store or at a convention – provides much higher quality contacts, but sign-up sheets with email addresses can be hard to read, littered with fake entries, miserable handwriting, and costly in terms of paying someone to enter those addresses into your database.
OnSpot Social is an application that solves both problems. The app is installed on an iPad, and contact information – integrated with social media – is collected on the spot – in a retail shop (think American Apparel, one of OnSpot’s marquee clients), at a trade show (think me standing at a booth, not one of OnSpot’s marquee clients), and even at a doctor’s office. Simple, elegant, and stinkin’ brilliant.
Any time you have a captive live audience, you have an opportunity to capture their information – qualified, accurate information. Think about that airline – travelers in seats are prime candidates. They consume what the airline sells, and it’s the easiest thing in the world for a flight attendant with an iPad to sign folks up for a frequent flier program. Or how about a kiosk at the mall? All those people walking by won’t buy the overpriced sunglasses, but they are much more likely to sign up on an iPad that takes a picture of their face and then shows what they would look like wearing those overpriced sunglasses.
OK. So I get it. Live capture may bring fewer prospects (I mean, they have to show up after all), but the quality of the contact is a thousand times better than the old online freebie. But what about the future?
Ryan forecasts more interactive, engaging functions designed to appeal to existing customers. Collecting email addresses or Facebook Likes is just a start. Putting games, special discount offers, and videos on in-store iPads pulls customers in and gets them involved with the tool that promotes closer ties with your brand. Instead of a poster at a hardware store that touts some new tool, you could have an iPad with a video showing the tool in action. Or a tool showing you wearing a pair of overpriced sunglasses. Interactive marketing is undeniably powerful.
That stuff is cool, but it’s all already in the works. The really cool stuff that blows my mind are BLEs (Bluetooth Low Emitters). These transmitters can be placed anywhere and they connect to and track folks who are using Bluetooth technology. Using micro geo-targeting, companies could push an ad to your phone that offers you a deal on the very items you happen to be standing right next to. So if I am walking by a sweater display in Macy’s, it would pull up my purchasing history, see that I bought the blue sweater, and immediately recommend the red sweater along with a coupon. Yowser!
If you are still mining for customers with online email capture, you’re prospecting for silver – those leads can be useful, but you need a ton to amount to anything. The priceless vein of pure gold is in live capture, and for that, OnSpot Social is is the perfect data mining tool.