Do Loyalty Programs Work In Saint John?

Loyalty programs are everywhere you look…

  • “Sign up for our credit card and we’ll give you discounts.”
  • “Shop with us and you can earn points or cash back.”
  • “Get your card stamped 5 times and get the 6th one free.”
  • Etc. Etc.

But do they work? Will they work here in Saint John? Moncton? Halifax?

According to Nielsen, one of the most respected marketing research firms out of the United States, loyalty programs do work, to varying degrees, wherever there are consumers to take advantage of them.

Loyalty Programs - Will They Work IN Saint John?

All stats in this post have come from Nielsen’s article. (Original Article Here)

However, they did notice a few things that make or break whether or not consumers will stick with a program or drop it and look elsewhere.

Key Ingredients for Loyalty Programs

There are two key elements you must carefully consider if you are starting (or reviewing) a loyalty program in your business.

  1. Is the benefit obvious and enticing?
  2. Is it simple, easy and inexpensive?

1) Benefits

The benefits may be amazing, but if you do not clearly communicate them to your customers and clients, they will not stick with your program. Nielsen found that the average North American consumer was attracted most to discounts and free products… nearly twice as much as they were the promise of enhanced costumer service or free shipping, and least enthusiastic about exclusive member deals and special shopping hours.

You have to offer something worthwhile to your target audience. If it’s obvious you are not giving something of value that actually matters to you, it shows your customer they aren’t of much value to you, and that’s not a great first step to building loyal costumer.  If you don’t have an especially enticing added value offer and are dead set against decreasing your margins in order to offer something of value,  particularly in the North American market, loyalty programs may not be for you… and that’s OK!  Treat your customers right and you can build loyalty without a ‘program’.

2) Simplicity

Half of the consumers surveyed said they wouldn’t consider a program if it was expensive to join, regardless of the benefits, and 37% said they wouldn’t join if it was too complicated.  1/4 of the respondents didn’t like the idea of giving up their information to join loyalty programs, but one of the most interesting findings among North American respondents was that only 17% of them, 1 in 6, said they were negatively affected and would opt out of a good loyalty program due to volume of communication like emails.

Like any form of marketing, your message must be clear & easy to understand, and your call to action must be simple and easy if you want someone to take action.  In today’s world, especially in North America, consumers have busy schedules and are constantly bombarded with copious amounts of information. If it takes more than a few seconds to ‘get’ what your program is all about, and more than a couple minutes to join, your results will suffer.

Loyalty Programs – Take Away

  • Keep it Simple.
  • Offer obvious value.
  • Don’t be afraid to communicate regularly… within reason.
  • Deliver what you promised.

Following these simple principles, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to develop effective Loyalty Program here in Quispamsis, Rothesay or Saint John NB, or in any other city or town in North America.

At Freedom Ability Marketing, we’ve been taking this one step further and networking multiple local businesses together to offer their incentives to each other’s clients and customers as well as their own… turning offers designed for their own customers into marketing opportunities to entice new customers to come through their doors.

Loyal customers are what keeps small local businesses afloat in the age of big box big corporate establishments… and they are also what sets one giant corporate culture apart from another. You may choose not to use a loyalty program in your business, but make sure you are still creating loyalty with stellar customer service, honesty, and integrity and build those loyal customers. Your company will be better for it.

For a chat about our local networks, reputation marketing systems, follow-up systems, marketing by wifi, or mobile apps, don’t hesitate to contact Rod at 506-847-4025.

Fake Reviews Can Kill Your Small Business

You are just one bad review away from developing a bad reputation online…

Here at Freedom Ability Marketing and Consulting, we talk a lot about a 5 star online reputation.  We believe it is the foundation ALL businesses should start with before they even think about doing any kind of marketing.


Fake-Reviews-Blog Snuggies Reviews… Based on this, I wouldn’t buy one. Would you?

  • About 7 out of every 10 people people check reviews on your business online before they decide to make a purchase of your product or service.
  • 72% of them also trust those reviews as much as they would a recommendation from a friend or family member. (BrightLocal)
  • 70% of customers need 6-10 good reviews before they are willing to believe any of them. (Neilson)

Reputation is here to stay and will only get more important to small businesses like mine and yours as we move forward.

Every other form of marketing you do in your business is driving 7 out of ten of your prospective clients to your reputation online. 70% of people seeing your Yellow Pages ad, print ads, websites, social media, pay per click ads, etc, etc. are looking at your reviews online to help them determine whether or not they want to do business with you.

This is why we view reputation as the very first thing you need to take care of before you spend money on any other form of advertising.

  1. If you have a poor online reputation, you are in trouble.
  2. If you have very little online reputation, (remember, 70% need 6-10 good reviews before they believe any of them) you are also in trouble.
  3. If you have less reviews  online or a lower rated online reputation than your competition, they will get the Lion’s share of the business.

Fake Reviews Can Kill Your Business.

If you are interested in online reputation, you’ve heard stories of big companies getting into trouble by leaving fake positive reviews to boost their online reputation, creating an unfair and undeserved advantage in the marketplace. 

Unfortunately, the other side of the coin is far worse, and much easier to implement… It takes many good reviews from a variety of customers to be believable, but one really bad review can turn clients away immediately.

An ex-spouse, disgruntled former employee, former partner with a bad taste in their mouth, or unscrupulous competitor can make that happen… anonymously and with very little repercussion, and very little avenue for recourse by the business owner.

This article from Becket Adams in “The Blaze” goes into the problem in a lot more detail: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom: How Bogus Online Reviews Can Sink a Small Business

Adams recounts stories of small business owners who were victims of fake online reviewers losing 70% of their business due to fake reviews and having very little legal recourse available to them.

It’s a sad reality that this is a real threat in today’s business world. 

All Is Not Lost – What You Can Do

Adams doesn’t give much hope in his article… but there are things you can do to protect yourself, and things you can do to recover from an attack like this… but as the old cliche says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Prevention is always the best policy.

How do you do this?

The only real way to counteract fake bad reviews is to drown them in good reviews.  As a preventative measure, this DRAMATICALLY decreases the negative effect of any bad reviews about your business, whether they are fake, your staff dropped the ball, or an unreasonable customer who goes out of their way to complain.

If you have a strategy to get new 5 star reviews about your business from your customers every day and promote them online, one or two bad reviews amongst 50 good ones will negate the bad review in the mind of potential client, especially if you have a system in place to generate new 5 star reviews that follow the negative review almost immediately.

The negative fake review could cause a temporary problem with potential clients who are searching your reputation, but it will soon be forgotten… and once it is buried deep enough under new 5 star reviews, may never be seen again.

If you had no reputation strategy beforehand, however, and the bad review is one of only a handful of online reviews, or worse, your only review, there will be consequences. You can still bury it by setting up a system to capture reviews in a place where you can control the distribution, collect them, and promote them…but that takes time. Time in which your reputation and your business can be damaged.

The Keys to Collecting and Promoting 5-Star Reviews Effectively

To market your reputation effectively, you need a few key things in place:

  • A system that makes it very easy for your clients to leave reviews and testimonials online.
  • Strategies to get clients and customers to leave 5 star reviews.
  • The means to collect these reviews into a database that you control.
  • Training for your organization to ensure you and your staff foster a “Reputation Culture” in your business.

At Freedom Ability Marketing & Consulting our Reputation Marketing service provides all of these key ingredients and more.

We are making Reputation marketing one of our flagship offerings and would love to talk to you about what it would take to develop a 5-star reputation in your business and promote to your market, crushing the competition by positioning you as the go-to person in your industry.

Call us today to see if we are still offering free set-up valued at $1495.00! (506-847-4025)

Hope to chat soon!

Rod MacKenzie




Hook Them With Facebook and Twitter Copy

Facebook and Twitter Copy

writing in the journal—erink photography (

Facebook and Twitter are Definitely Social… But it’s Still Copywriting

A lot of small businesses correctly look at social media as a way to engage with their clients and prospects, but few see their posts and tweets as ad copy.  To run effective social media campaigns, you still need to consider and craft and strategize about your message and your content. 

Every Tweet or Facebook post you put out can have an impact on your business.

So how do you write posts that will hook your target audience and make them want to engage with you.

It’s impossible to give a formula that will work for everyone. It depends on the audience, the product, preconceived notions about your brand or industry, and about the platform you are using to deliver your content, etc.

Today I’d like to mention a couple key strategies when creating facebook and twitter copy that could make a big difference to whether or not you get the desired action from your reader.

Twitter Copy

Finding the right copy for your Tweet is important, especially as Twitter only allows for text display.

The best way to find out how well you are doing within your marketplace is to test it yourself. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a large following, it’s difficult to get enough data to get an accurate test.  Even if you have built a large following, most of us don’t have time or resources to test (or have someone else test) everything we do with our content strategies. Most of us are lucky to even get a reasonable amount of content out at all.

Short of split testing everything yourself, research from others who have already tested thiese things is our best bet.

Leo Widrich from buffer writes about some of the research in his June 18, 2013 blog post at He credits Dan Zarella for some tweet suggestions.  First, Zarella recommends more verbs, less nouns. Calls to action, like asking for re-tweets and clicks and shares, get much better engagement.

Zarella has published a list of the 20 most retweetable words:

1) you  2) twitter  3) please  4) retweet  5) post  6) blog  7) social

8) free  9) media  10) help  11) please retweet  12) great  13) social media  14) 10

15) follow  16) how to   17) top   18) blog post   19) check out   20) new blog post

Twitter has published some suggestions on their blog here as well, and I’d expect them to have access to some reasonably accurate data about what’s happening at Twitter.

Facebook Copy

There are similar principles involved with any social media posting… and with any content headline for that matter… but every medium is different and may require some fine tuning.

One of the major differences between Facebook and Twitter is the fact that with Facebook you can post pictures… and it is generally accepted that posts with pictures perform better and get more interactions than posts without.

Telling someone to “post pictures” however, isn’t particularly helpful because some will perform much better than others.  Widrich, fo rexample modifies the instruction to say: “Post pictures that are meaningful without having to read any text next to it”.

KISSmetrics show some hard numbers in their infographic here.

These include photos getting:

  • 53% more Likes
  • 104% more comments
  • 84% more click-throughs

If people were following Wildrich’s advice about making images self explanatory (as you can very quickly tell by browsing Facebook, most are not) then those numbers would probably be higher.

KISSmetrics also found that Facebook posts with less than 80 characters had a 66% higher rate of engagement.  More isn’t better.  If readers wanted more, they would seek out your website or blog… so keep posts short, and use them to to entice people to visit your site for more information if you want them to know more.

Zarella also noticed an interesting trend on Facebook that did not occur on other social media networks. Self-referencing by using words like ‘I’ and ‘me’ work on Facebook to get more actions. This doesn’t hold true for other social media platforms.


These few observations hardly scratch the surface of a larger body of ever-growing research into social media and how businesses can get more engagement… Just a couple examples that are easy to implement to get a bit more engagement with your social media strategies.

Here are a couple other general ideas:

  • Do something a bit different than what everyone else in your space is doing.
  • Use digits (10) instead of spelling out numbers (ten) and place them at the first of a sentence.
  • Use numbered lists when you can. (Top 8, 13 ways to, 12 mMistakes Often Seen in, etc.)
  • Questions seem to work as well.

At Freedom Ability Marketing and Consulting, we offer social media management services where we implement these and other strategies to keep your social media properties filled with great content.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you are having a difficult time keeping up with your social media content and wondering what to post and how to post it. We’d be happy to discuss taking care of all that for you so you can spend the time, energy, or personel on running your business.

To your success!

So what do you think about Facebook and Twitter copy? What kind of posts and strategies have given you the best results and best engagement? Please leave your comments below. I’d love to be able to implement your best suggestions both on my own social properties and on those of my clients’.

Now if I can only start to actually keep up with my own Social Media instead of spending all my time taking care of others!


Rapping Orthodontist in Saint John NB – Creative Marketing By Sherrard Orthodontics


Saint John Orthodontist Embraces Marketing Creativity

Providing professional services can be very tough in some markets. Many professionals have dozens of competitors vying to provide similar services to local clients. Even if there are only a handful of service providers in a given geographical area, different approaches to marketing can mean one provider gets the lion’s share of the business.  Sherrard Orthodontics is setting itself up to be the orthodontic lion in the Saint John NB area…

Their recent YouTube video is an excellent example: 

I don’t know about you, but this is the first orthodontist I’ve seen rapping on YouTube… and I am looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next! I haven’t done any work for him, but I know John Sherrard personally and he’s a great guy.  I’ve only heard good things about his Dad, Dr. Fraser Sherrard, as well. They deserve kudos for what they are doing with their creative marketing approach and also for their professional practices in their industry. They are just the kind of progressive company I love to work with.

They have a very professional website with all the necessary information and testimonials to show they can be trusted professionally… but it’s marketing projects like this video that will set them apart from other Saint John and area orthodontists.

** Note their powerful and innovative use of social proof and third party validation:  In the video, they highlight an attractive family of clients who obviously had great results using Sherrard Orthodontics’ services, they represent two generations of the  orthodontist’s target market, they look like they are having great fun with their service provider and loving the business, they are giving an amazing testimonial without having to open their mouths and actually say anything about their experience, and they are doing it all on video, which is generally the preferred means of consuming digital information online and on mobile… Brilliant!


Not everyone can write and perform a rap song as well as Dr. John “Two Scoops” Sherrard :), but you don’t have to rap to be more creative than 99% of your professional peers. Even by delivering the same message in a non-traditional way (such as using video to deliver information… but without the rap song) can make a huge difference. Traditional marketing efforts for orthodontists, dentists, lawyers, accountants, and other professionals usually consist of professional head shots, lists of qualifications, features and benefits, and the better ones have a few testimonials. While that kind of information is necessary, if it looks exactly like what everyone else is doing.  It does not catch your potential client’s attention and does nothing to set you apart in your industry.

Most Orthodontists & Other Professionals Are At a Loss

WSJ Chart re: Social Media and Small Business

A recent Wall Street Journal article shows that small businesses and professionals are just not realizing their potential when it comes to social media and video.  First, you can see in the chart that only a small percentage of them are making the effort to create a social media presence. These sites are where their potential clients are spending hours of their time every week, and if they can be used to interact with current clients and reach out to prospects, it can make a huge difference to both repeat business and new leads. Unfortunately, the majority of those businesses that are actually  ‘stepping up’ and using social media don’t have good strategies to build followers and engage them.

Professionals trying to effectively use social media and video can take a creative lesson from the playbook of Sherrard Orthodontics in Saint John New Brunswick…but the thing is, Sherrard Orthodontics is just scratching the surface of what is possible.  While their material is the most creative I’ve seen put together by a local professional service provider, there is a lot more they could do with it to get in front of potential clients, and more effectively engage with those leads and with existing clients.

SEO optimization does not just include web pages… videos can also be optimized, and there are a variety of other strategies that can give a much better response to video and social media marketing campaigns.  I have noticed that Sherrard Orthodontics has already made changes to reflect some of these strategies with their rap video over the first week they launched it.

A few important things to consider:

    • Keyword research is key to know what words and phrases to optimize to get the most ‘bang for your buck’.
    • Which platform(s) you focus on can make a big difference to how many times your message gets seen.
    • Optimization for the right keywords can get a lot more viewers… and more importantly, a lot more targeted viewers.
    • The right kind of links coming in to your video can move it up in the search engines very quickly.
    • Including a very clear and simple call to action inside a video will get much higher response for those who do watch it.
    • Properly run and targeted pay per click ads on Facebook or Google can exponentially increase social interactions and lead capture results.
    • Superior follow up with your leads can double conversions to sales, and with your current clients can lead to selling them ‘more stuff’ and to referrals.
    • & the list goes on…

From what I’ve observed so far with Sherrard Orthodontics, I have no doubt they will find the services they need and put  them in place to dominate the orthodontic marketplace in Saint John, Rothesay, Quispamsis and surrounding areas. They are already thought of as the go-to orthodontists in Saint John by many.  Though it may not happen overnight, with the addition of some specific reputation marketing strategies (& push them out across multiple channels), they will start to take most of the local market share in their industry.  The competition needs to make some changes to keep up or they’ll find their client base melting away.

The Sherrards also work to make their staff a big happy family… and they portray themselves that way to the public, whcih makes for great PR and  for a great work environment… a win-win.  Check out their creative Facebook cover photo below.

Sherrard Orthodontics Superhero Staff

Facebook cover photo: Sherrard Orthodontics’ superhero staff in Saint John NB.

Between what they are doing with their image online and the great events and activities they are always putting on for the community, they have become an institution in the Saint John area… I’ve lived here for 5 years and haven’t heard a bad word about them… but I’ve heard lots of people going out of their way to say good things about them!  I have no doubt that they are intentional about connecting with the community and building a great reputation, but you can’t pull that off and maintain it unless you really are great people who want to connect with your community… and they are reaping their well-deserved rewards for making a ‘heroic’ effort both in the community and online.

If you are a professional or own/manage a business that is seriously looking for ways to build a larger client base and increased revenue, give us a call at 506-847-4025. I’d be happy to discuss our four step process to build a long-term marketing plan for your business. A plan that will allow you to get predictable results and dominate your local marketplace.

Mobile App Contest Winner!

Thank you to all the participants of our mobile app contest!

I wish you all could have won…but we would soon be out of business giving this kind of prize to everyone!

We do want to offer you a great deal though, so look below the winner’s name, read the offer, and call us if you are interested in discussing at 506-847-4025…but don’t delay, it is time sensitive!

So with no further ado…the winner is:

Linda Desroches!

Congratulations Linda. We’ll be reaching out to you today, but feel free to contact us by phone or email through this site to discuss creating a mobile app for your business, church or favorite organization.

Super Deal for Everyone Else:

We do appreciate your interest, and would love to see you creating a new app for your business, so:

We are offering for anyone who is willing to take action and get started before March 14, 2012:

$300.00 off the cost of a new mobile app.

That’s only $197 for a custom app!

For those of you who know what you want and are willing to take action before March 7, 2013:

We will cut the regular monthly licensing fees from $67.97/month to $49.97/month.

That’s an additional $240.00 in savings per year…just for taking advantage of mobile marketing and staying a step ahead of your competition…or catching up, depending on how proactive they are in the marketplace.

Just respond by March 7 to take advantage of this great offer!

Call: 506-847-4025

Optimize For Mobile Websites Or Lose To Your Competition

Mobile website, Mobile

Mobile website, Mobile—Pawel Kabanski (

If Saint John Businesses Do Not Mobile-Optimize Their Websites, They WILL Lose Clients

Despite the fact that Wall Street appears to be recovering from 2008/2009, many Main Street businesses are still struggling.  Canada came out much better than our neighbours to the south due to our more conservative banking structure, but like the average American employe, Canadian employees also worry about getting laid off from their jobs and losing their homes to foreclosure.

Furthermore, many North Americans have high consumer credit card debt that seems like a hole that’s too deep to climb out. In short, these are still trying times. What does that means to you as a business owner?  You need to make it as simple and easy as possible for customers to find and buy your products and services.

The fact is, many local businesses right here in Saint John are shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to their websites. More and more consumers are searching for nearby businesses with their smartphones and mobile devices.  Google says one in three (1 in 3) searches are for local information. That’s astronomical…and we’ve seen stats to say that less than 10% of local businesses have a mobile optimized site.

Even without mobile optimization, many businesses are still running tired and old looking sites. It’s easy to tell by high bounce rates and no conversions to sales. These sites would need a facelift, and mobile optimization, if they want to compete in today;s marketplace.

Are you driving customers to your competition?

Coming from a marketer, this can seem like fear mongering in an attempt to generate business.  Unfortunately, it’s not..  MarketingVOX recently took a look at the very real financial penalties for having a mobile-unfriendly website. As a growing number of consumers use mobile devices to access the internet, the penalties are getting stiffer. In a recent post, MarketingVOX highlighted research from Google showing that:

  • The majority—61%—of consumers say that they are quick to leave a website if it’s not optimized for touch screens on small devices.
  • A huge 96% of consumers have had bad experiences on non-desktop screens when a site was not mobile optimized.
  • 50 percent of respondents said that even if they liked a business, they’d be less inclined to buy in the future if the business’s website isn’t mobile friendly.
  • Compuware found that 40% said they would immediately go to a competitor’s site if they had a bad mobile experience!

The Google survey also supported the MarketingVox survey and found that 96 percent of consumers have ended up on websites that were not designed for mobile devices. Half of consumers said that even if they like a business, they’ll buy from it less frequently if the business’s website is not mobile-friendly.

74 % said they were likely to return to a mobile-friendly website.

An Easy Fix: Optimize for Mobile!

The research from Google and elsewhere is unequivocal: if you are offering a bad mobile experience,  you’re losing customers. If you offer a good experience, you’re probably taking clients from your competitors. It’s not difficult to see why mobile website optimization is important. Just look around. Chances are very good you’ll see someone bent over a mobile device, swiping away on their iPad, iPhone, Android tablet or Kindle. A prime example can be found in the last blog post I wrote about mobile app development from a local Saint John waiting room.

A recent report from Morgan Stanley projects that web surfing on smartphones and mobile devices will overtake web surfing on personal computers by 2014.  According to a joint Google/Ipsos study, after consumers look up a local business using mobile search, 61 percent say they make a phone call nd 59% say they will navigate to the business! Those kind of numbers can’t be ignored.

Which local businesses are more likely to hear the phone ring? The ones with mobile-responsive websites. If you have a smartphone, pull up your website using your mobile browser. Is it cramped or impossible to read? Then you need to fix it. Get help if you need to, but make it right.  If you don’t, you’re in danger of losing out to your competition…giving them the lion’s share of what every business depends upon. Paying customers.

Rod MacKenzie

Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you want to talk about optimizing a mobile website for your business! 506-847-4025

Mobile App Developer In Saint John Honda Waiting Room

Mobile Marketing Techniques Vs. Old School

159 365 1 Clipboard

159 365 1 Clipboard—DaveCrosby (

I can’t stand wasting time in waiting rooms flipping through outdated magazines or watching a silent news broadcast on the waiting room television…so when I knew I had to wait at the Saint John Honda dealership for my vehicle, I came prepared with my Macbook so I could work on developing a mobile app for a client.

The waiting room was filled with people who would rather be almost anywhere else than waiting for their vehicle to be serviced.  What was interesting was that out of the 8 people in the waiting room, four were online using their smartphones and another was reading a book on an iPad.  I was alternating between working on developing the mobile app and checking my own smartphone.  75% of the people in this random sample of a small waiting room were using mobile devices.

I had just made a decision to focus a lot more on mobile in 2013 and this little experience certainly reinforced that decision!

What happened as I was sitting there making these observations, however, is the interesting part of the story.

The Survey

One of the service managers came into the waiting area with a clipboard.  The kind those people you avoid at the mall like to carry. He set the board down on the counter above a display case that held a few Honda hats, some car wax, and a few other small items they were selling out of the dealership. He said, “If any of you are able to fill out a survey to help us improve our customer service, we’d really appreciate it.”  He had forgotten a pen, so stepped out for 20 seconds and returned. “Don’t everyone jump at once!”

They didn’t. There was nothing to indicate that a single person sitting around the room would ever remotely consider filling out a form unless they absolutely had to. No one even looked up at the guy.  They were too busy surfing the web, reading e-books, checking their email, playing angry birds, or in my case, working on a mobile app for a client. A client who saw true value in developing their mobile presence.

Honda, an innovative and cutting edge company when it comes to automobiles, engines, and robotic technology, was certainly not taking advantage of cutting edge technology when it came to marketing their service department. That’s not to say the customer service was poor or anything. In fact, the Saint John Honda dealership has already give me some of the best customer service I have ever received from any dealership I have used, and I commend them for their attention to their customers. If they want to get engagement and results for surveys or anything else, however, they need to find a different approach than plopping a clipboard on a counter and hoping for a response.

A Mobile Solution

What do you think would have happened if the survey scenario had played out more like this:

“Hi everyone, we are doing a customer care survey to help us better serve our customers and anyone who fills out the survey will automatically be entered into a draw for a free car detailing package worth $250.00. You can just text your name and email to the number you see on this sign to enter …or scan the QR code and it will take you to our online form…or go to this web address to access the survey…or for those of you who would rather do it the old fashioned way, just fill out the form here on the counter.  Thanks for taking a few minutes to help us make your next visit here even better.  Good luck in the contest!”

Do you think they night have gotten a few surveys filled out? In the process they would have also captured some email addresses so they could follow up with their email newsletter, and some mobile numbers they could communicate with via SMS…and like I said, they may have actually gotten someone to fill out he survey.

At least three quarters of the people in the room would have responded better to a survey they could access on their phones or tablets. Everyone would think twice if they were offering a valuable prize.  In today’s marketplace where people are bombarded with surveys and feedback requests, it’s very difficult to get them to do anything for you without incentive…and the opportunity to win something they want for free will usually get at least some takers.

A draw for one of the hats in the display case could very well have given just as good a response for a fraction of the cost.

The point is, most businesses have a lot to learn about maximizing engagement with their clients, whether it’s surveys, feedback, making new offers, or just giving them value to get your name in front of them frequently… so you are always closer to the surface of their consciousness.  They will be much more apt to think of you when they need something that you offer, and more apt to refer their friends to you too.  If you are sending them useful information and staying in contact, are they more likely to come to you the next time they need their car serviced or repaired, or the mechanic down the street?

If the Saint John Honda dealership had used mobile options and some basic marketing strategy, and was willing to give something in return, they could guarantee a better response, and not just for surveys. They could use the opportunity to grow their email list, generating repeat business… and new business as well.

The car works great, and the staff at Saint John Honda have been wonderful!  If they embrace some minor changes they could better engage their clients and make the experience even better.


If you are interested in discussing how mobile marketing strategy or mobile app development could fit into your marketing strategy, don’t hesitate to call us at 847-4025 for a Free Consultation.  I’ll give you a special discount for doing such a great job at customer service if you’re from Saint John Honda or Moncton Honda ;-)


$3832.00 Contest Winners!

We just had a great time working with 10 local Saint John, Rothesay and Quispamsis businesses as we ran a two week contest for 11 awesome prizes!

The plan was to shoot video footage of the draw…but we decided video is overrated…at least that’s what we’re telling ourselves now that our camera went on the fritz and we cannot access the nice video footage of us physically drawing the winners for you in front of the camera!

So with no further ado, below is the list of winners from our contest…minus the video.

Winners in No Particular Order:

  1. Sherry Binette::  $70.00 gift certificate at Forever in Video
  2. Kelly Hudson-Johnson:  $300.00  2 Night Lakefront Cabin Rental
  3. Amanda Dawn Knox:  $100 Vito’s Gift Certificate Donated by Kevin Burke State Farm Agent
  4. Lisa Walker:  $300.00 Photo Session with DVD at Miranda O’Leary Photography
  5. Mary-Ellen Wilcox: $100 Gift Certificate Toward a $250.00 or more purchase at Silver, Never A Dull Moment
  6. Tim Hallett: $75.00 Custom Cake from Tricia’s Treats
  7. Amanda McLure: $200.00 tax return (you and your spouse) from C.G. Jones CGA
  8. Rachel Goodman: $500.00 will and power of attorney from Thibault Jones Law
  9. Katie Hill: Over $1000.00 in event planning services plus tickets to a bridal show and a prom show from Distinctive Occasions
  10. Carmel Vivier: 12 custom (1 print color) T-shirts from Printworks Screen Printing
  11. Grace Clark: $997.00 custom built Facebook contest for your business or favorite charity from Freedom Ability Marketing and Consulting

Bonus Prize of a $25 Chapters/Indigo/Coles Gift Card goes to: Jennifer Porter

Congratulations to you all!!

** Winners will get all the nitty gritty details about your prize and how to redeem it from each business owner when they contact you over the next week…if you don’t hear from them by next Friday, come back to this site and see if you can contact them through their Facebook Page (linked to the business names above).  If that doesn’t work, contact us at Freedom Ability Marketing – 506-800-9047.

We hope to see your participation during our next contest!

Facebook Contest Rules and Guidelines – ‘Cliff Notes’ Version

**NOTE** Since this article was written, Facebook has changed their guidelines for offering promotions and opened up their business pages timelines.  You can see more here:

Another Great Article by Social Media Examiner can be found here:

Facebook rules, Facebook Promotion Rules

Facebook rules, Facebook Promotion Rules—Sam Steiner (

Chances Are Good You Are Violating Facebook’s Guidelines With Your Promotional Efforts

At least 50% of the contests I personally see running on Facebook from day to day are in clear violations of Facebook’s rules…and I’m being very conservative with that number.  I pay attention.  As a marketing consultant who runs Facebook contests for clients, I have to follow a lot of rules to comply with Facebook so I don’t put my clients at risk…so I notice when others are breaking those same rules.

Most examples of pages that have been shut down for Facebook guideline violation are for copyright infringement or objectionable content.  One company, called ‘The Cool Hunter’ had 788,000 fans. Needless to say, their business was effected in a big way when Facebook shut them down.  I’ve seen other examples of smaller pages with 10,000 or 20,000 fans as well.

With promotion, it seems like it’s not a big deal…doing things outside of the posted rules when it comes to using Facebook’s free platform…but everyone with a Facebook account has agreed to following their rules when they created their account.  Facebook can, and they do, completely disable business pages and personal profiles for violating their stated rules…and they are perfectly within their rights to do so.

It’s their platform, they built it, and they can determine how they want to run it as long as they are operating within the law, and they aren’t known for lots of warning before shutting pages down. Fortunately for a lot of businesses, they have not been directing their focus on contests… yet.

Building a vibrant following for your business on Facebook takes a lot of work and in many cases, a lot of money.  More time and effort than you want to risk suddenly disappearing overnight.  Google has a history of suddenly ‘taking care of business’ when it comes to people who are violating their policies, and Facebook is following suit.

Contests and giveaways have clear guidelines posted in Facebook Page Guidelines.  I will summarize them and touch on the most common ones I see…and hopefully help a few businesses protect the loyal following they have spent so much time building on Facebook.

Facebook Rules and Guidelines

Facebook doesn’t make rules just to make it more difficult for users.  They are protecting their brand. They do not want to be held responsible for what their billions of users do…which makes perfect sense.

To make sure it doesn’t appear that promotions are sanctioned by Facebook:

  • You have to run your promotions with a third party app…not directly using Facebook functions.
  • You cannot use a page ‘like’ as a contest entry.
  • You cannot use a comment, a share, liking a comment or any other action directly on your Facebook Wall as a contest entry.
  • You can’t have people upload photos to your Facebook timeline to enter a photo contest.
  • You can’t have people vote to pick a winner by liking photos or posts on your timeline.

These things can all be done through third party apps…but it’s more complicated…and more expensive.

You can open a contest for Fans only, and make your contest page tab accessible only to fans of your page.  Most businesses will ask for a ‘like’ to get contest details, and at the time of this writing that is perfectly OK according to Facebook.  But the ‘like’ itself can not give contestants an entry into the contest… they have to enter another way within the third party app.

Facebook also requires businesses to:

  • Include a disclaimer to state that Facebook in no way is sponsoring, endorsing, or administering the contest.
  • Disclose that any info you gather is gathered by you and not Facebook.
  • NOT announce winners on Facebook…not through Facebook Messages, chat, or posts on timelines or pages.

Make sure you don’t use this article to make your decision about what you can and can’t do on Facebook! We do not speak for Facebook, but are just trying to inform and make sure you read the guidelines: and know what you are getting into.

Other violations that Facebook has publically said they were going to crack down on include duplicate profiles (more than one personal profile for the same person) and building a personal profile in the name of a business.

Facebook is an excellent tool to build exposure for your business, but it would pay to make sure you do it within the rules and guidelines you agreed to when you set up your profile or page…and it’s never a good idea to focus the bulk of your marketing on one platform, especially a platform you do not own and have no control over…even if it’s as popular as Facebook.

If you find yourself in violation of any of Facebook’s rules and want to make sure you protect your investment in your Facebook page, or run a new promotion without risking your account, don’t hesitate to give us a call at Freedom Ability Marketing & Consulting.

To your marketing success!


Freedom Ability Marketing


What is Data Mining and How Do Advertisers Use It?

Data Mining and Big Data

Data Mining—Mathematical Association of Am… (

Advertisers Mining Your ‘Big Data’ Can Know More About You Than You Think!

What is Data Mining…I think the best way to describe it is by telling a story.  Just so I give credit where credit is due, I want you to know that I’m stealing this idea from the research team of a financial education company I am a member of called The Elevation Group.  They recently sent me a similar story in one of their email newsletters, and though their focus is more on finances and government when it comes to privacy and ‘big data’, it is very relevant with what is going on in the marketing and advertising world.

So here’s a fictional story…based on a true one. There is no Suzie and the details are all fictional, but there’s a link to the true story in a Forbes article coming later in the post.

Once upon a time, Suzie, a high school student, had worked hard all summer and had a couple hundred dollars in cash burning a hole in her pocket.  She wanted to reward herself with something nice before she headed back to school.

Target was a likely place to look, because she new they had the best selection at some of the best prices. She already know what she wanted…a new iPod touch.  She had seen one of her friends with one the other day and she thought all the cool kids at school would have them…so that’s what she got.

Mining Suzie’s Data Begins

When Suzie pulled out her cash to pay, the clerk asked her if she had a Target credit card.  It didn’t take much convincing for Suzie to save an extra 20 dollars of her hard earned money in exchange for her name, address,  and a few personal details…and she got a cool target card besides…so she signed up.

At school, she had one of the coolest iPods and some of the other kids noticed. The next month, she got a coupon in the mail with a great deal on a set of high definition headphones, and cool clothes too.  She was becoming more popular at school and life was great.  She even had more interest from the guys than she used to.

Things went along just fine, until the second semester, when Target stopped sending her coupons for electronics and started sending her coupons for diapers and cribs and maternity clothes.

Big Data Consequences

Her father was furious with Target and confronted them at his local store. Were they trying to convince his high school aged daughter to get pregnant? Target apologized profusely…and called a few days later to apologize again.  This time the father wasn’t so angry.  You see, Target had gotten it right.  Suzie was pregnant.

How did they know this before her father had?  By analyzing her purchase data

Back to the question: What is Data Mining?

Data mining is basically gathering information so you can analyze it to make predictions…in the example above, a big retailer was monitoring Suzie’s purchases through the use of her store credit card.  Maybe she bought a combination of unscented body lotions, an extra big purse that could double as a diaper bag, more hand sanitizers and cotton swabs, a colorful floor rug…they had developed an algorithm that allowed them to accurately predict if someone was pregnant by the purchases they had made in the last few weeks.

Kind of incredible.

Kind of powerful.

Kind of disturbing.

Is anyone else creeped out? The Forbes article says they have started including unrelated ads in their mailings to pregnant ladies…so the diapers are next to lawnmowers and DVD players…just so they don’t let pregnant women know they are stalking them through their buying habits.

Giving the impression that you are stalking your customers, especially over something as sensitive as pregnancy, is not good business…but is there an intrinsic problem with data mining in general?  If an advertiser offers you great deals based on data that allows them to send you discounts on things you actually want, is that a bad thing?  Does the principle of maintaining privacy mean more to you than saving money on the things you are purchasing?

Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

I’ll leave you thinking about all of the ways retailers and governments are mining your data as we speak…have a great day!


ps: If you ever want to discuss what we can do for your business, let us know by calling 1-888-924-1261 or 1-506-800-9047. We don’t do data mining like the big box stores, but we do build online reputations and generate leads that convert to sales.

Forbes Article –