Better Business Blog

How to Use Valentine's Day For Your Business

Key Lesson: Understand 3 important components for successful marketing campaigns.

Key Action Point: Review your current marketing strategy and see how you can incorporate the points to it.

The world of marketing is full of exciting campaigns and creativity. All of them aligned with a single purpose in mind -- getting you to believe in something is so good and so right for you that you will want to be a part of it.
Here we’ve gathered three components that make successful viral marketing campaigns that will hopefully get your creative juices flowing for you to devise something just as memorable for your business. Or maybe just give us a call so we do it for you.

Miscellaneous partnerships. Sometimes you don’t need to create a campaign around your product or your service. Sometimes all it takes is to partner with the right kind of people to boost all your KPIs by sharing something that is of unique value to your customers. In 2019 Adult Swim partnered with Rick and Morty and announced their release date on their social media through a video. It got 3.78 million views, 194K likes 96.8K retweets. Which is so much more than their regular engagement.

Social issues. This is a double edged sword because when you use (that is what we do, use social issues) as a way of giving awareness to your brand, you need to make sure that your brand isn’t taking advantage of the status quo a popular social movement is trying to eradicate. Otherwise you may have to deal with the backlash your company might get. But creating a campaign that is in sync with both how you manage your business as well as what matters to you, creates a magnificent potential of being heard -- of inspiring and making people want to be a part of what you are offering to the world.

Engaging with your customers. Customers are people, and people, as a general rule, love attention. So, when you as a brand or a company or a business engage with them and show them that their opinion matters to you, they will love you for it.

Last year Wendy’s showed us how it is done by retweeting a tweet by Chance the rapper mentioning that Wendy’s would bring back their Spicy Chicken Nuggets one day. Wendy’s then reacted by saying that if their tweet got 2 million likes they would bring them back.

The tweet reached 2.15M likes and managed 396.4K retweets.

Remember, marketing has the power to put your company out there but it also comes with great responsibility. You need to really think about the message you are sending and why you are sending it. As we enter more into an age where people care about socially and environmentally conscious companies your message needs to be aligned with your actions.

A wise man once said “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

If you have questions

or you want to learn how Magic Mirror Developers or our partners can help you achieve your business goals, don't hesitate to reach out to us! We're Here To Help

How to Use Valentine's Day For Your Business

Key Lesson: Every holiday presents an opportunity to grow your business.

Key Action Point: Take a minute to think about 2 holidays you like and plan ahead to make it fun for you, your team, and your customers.

Heart day is fast approaching and while some brands are already experts at using this day to increase their sales, you might think your brand or services cannot afford jumping onto that bandwagon. I am here to say you are wrong and that it is the little things, like Valentine’s day, that can help you inspire loyalty from your customers (and your employees).

Small and quick marketing campaigns work great for Valentine’s Day, mostly because they allow you to connect over something everyone knows and craves: love.

Go Old School. Send your customers Valentine cards. Most brands are going to be using their digital platforms to send their message across, which is why sending out something physical will make you stand out from everyone else. While most people will be getting emails they are not even going to open, getting a card will definitely come as a welcomed surprise.

Give back. Valentine’s day is about love and that doesn’t necessarily need to mean romantic love. A fantastic way to gain credit with your local community and also, pun intended, spread the love is by choosing a way that allows you and your customers to do some good. Either by donating a small percentage of each bill to a local charity or asking them to contribute in some way that works for you and your business.

It’s all about partnering up. You can find ways to partner up with another business to offer exclusive deals and both of you can benefit by getting new clients form a business that is not in direct competition. This can work with physical businesses as well as online ones.

Notifications. If you already have an app, please make sure you incorporate it into your marketing efforts by creating a small push notification that either reminds your customers about the deals you have for the day, or just to wish them a happy day with those they love. Do not overdo it as it can get annoying for customers.

Last call. While some people may be planning what they are going to do on Valentine’s Day weeks in advance, some people will forget about it entirely. So, find a way to make your business the savior of the day.

Self Love. Not everyone has a partner to cuddle up with this day, so make sure you don’t alienate your single customers. Instead, offer them a chance to also treat themselves to make them not hate this day so much.

Be extra thoughtful of your existing customers. While getting new customers is always a must, make sure you give special treatment to your existing and loyal customers by offering something exclusive to them. Be more thoughtful about what you might offer them. Instead of a simple coupon meant to lure new customers in, offer them a bundle of products or services that makes them feel extra special by being loyal to you.

Remember, holidays can be an amazing way for you to connect with your customers and to humanize your brand, so be sure to use them in a creative way. They are already here and happening, so why not make the best of it?

Further Reading:

If you have questions

or you want to learn how Magic Mirror Developers or our partners can help you achieve your business goals, don't hesitate to reach out to us! We're Here To Help

Do you Have Your Employees' Loyalty?

Key Lesson: Review if your company is doing all it can to provide an environment with little stress that produces positive emotions and inspires loyalty in your employees.

Key Action Point: Check your employees welfare and ask them how can you be a better boss or a better company.

An employee’s sense of loyalty is not something that the person you hire is bound to have, or is required to have once they start working for you. It is one thing to feel grateful for an opportunity; it is a completely different thing to feel loyalty for a company. That is right, you the employer need to gain, work for, and maintain the loyalty of your employees. It is something that is earned.

We can define employees’ loyalty as a feeling of devotion towards the company. It comes from a belief that their contribution to it matters and that they, as individuals, matter to the company as well. It is all based in emotion. It increases when there are positive emotions around the company and the work that they do, and it decreases when there are negative emotions attached to it.

“But I already have to work for the loyalty of my customers. Now I also have to work to gain the loyalty of the people I pay?! Outrageous,” You say. Well… yeah. Sorry. But it is what it is.
Just as your customers have a ton of other options, your employees kinda do too. People are complex, emotional creatures.

Here we have gathered a short list of the little things that increase positive emotions around a job and a company, as an easy survey to fully understand if you are earning your employees’ loyalty or ...not.

Employees are not machines. See, employees are people, and like everyone else, they have their own thoughts and ideas. Companies that allow employees to be in control of their work hours or how they do that work have a 31% lower turnover rate than those companies that don’t listen and just give out orders to be followed.

Employees don’t like jerks. People don’t like people who are jerks, and even less so, a jerk boss. Or someone who enjoys abusing his or her power over other people. The reality is that people don’t quit jobs, they quit abusive bosses, because it is hard to be loyal to a company that tolerates people that make a habit of being jerks.

Employees enjoy showing what they do, when what they do matters. Everyone in the world wants to feel like what they are doing is meaningful. That it matters. That it is creating a difference or some good in the world. Times are changing and more and more people are caring about issues that we didn’t used to think about before. When a company has it in their ability to care about these issues or even give back to their own community; that makes an employee feel better about their own contribution that makes those things possible.

Employees want to feel safe. It’s hard to believe that we have to put this on our list. There are just so many cases of companies that have had their brand damaged because of reports of unfair wages, discrimation, abuse, unsafe facilities and so forth. So, do take into consideration that employees are like any other person you know, and they want to feel safe in the place they spend most of their day.

Employees have expenses. Pay what’s fair. Even if some employees lack the negotiation skills of some of their peers. Or God forbid, you are paying someone less because of their gender, that’s a huge no-no.

In conclusion: Employees are people. And people, in general, like to be treated with respect. Your employees are not a liability or an expense; they are people who are working to make your company a success. Treat them how you want them to treat the company.

Further Reading:

If you have questions

or you want to learn how Magic Mirror Developers or our partners can help you achieve your business goals, don't hesitate to reach out to us! We're Here To Help

Will Your Business Survive 2020?

Key Lesson: Understand your most important technology allies for the next decade.

Key Action Point: Review your website as if you're a customer; does it feel modern?

As a business owner, if you have fallen on hard times, sometimes you are just looking to survive. But, what if I told you that you can actually thrive by making small smart changes in certain areas? What if I told you that your business has the potential to provide a better service and product than the big corporations?
We have prepared a small list of certain elements you need to consider if you want to make it into the new decade as a thriving small business.

Killer Website. Your business needs a website, maybe you already have one, but is it a killer website? Is it the type of website that will convince your client that you are their best choice by just looking at it? Is it the type of website that inspires trust and communicates professionalism and experience?

Mobile phones are your friend. Okay so maybe you do have a killer website that inspires all kinds of fuzzy feelings in your clients. But, when you open a link on your phone is it still that killer website on desktop, or do things get complicated? Everything your company does needs to be mobile-friendly because people are spending much more time on their phones than on their computers.

Custom Software. A business needs to be efficient. Period. And having endless Excel documents that make everything more complicated isn’t efficient anymore. Nor is having a paper-based system. Custom software can help you do so much more with so much less. It allows you to answer and address your pain points -- anything you feel isn’t working -- and adapt in ways that work for you and the company.

Social Media. We know you hate it, but social media can be a huge asset for your company if you learn how to use it right. It allows you to validate and humanize who you are, and also to address who your customers are when they buy from you.

Apps. Social Media is a great way to connect with your customers, but the only way to be actually on their phones and get their full attention is by sending them notifications directly to their screens through apps. Apps are also a great way to keep connected as a company and build loyalty within your business.

In sum. These 5 technological aspects are the first of a long list we believe essential to making sure your business stays relevant throughout the next decade. We are sure that as the years go by, many more will appear. Some will become irrelevant and others will become more important than others. But our job in Magic Mirror is to give you, the small business owner, every technological advantage the world has at your disposal in order to make your days easier and more profitable. With technology evolving as it is, we spenc every hour of our days to make sure your business thrives.

Further Reading:

If you have questions

or you want to learn how Magic Mirror Developers or our partners can help you achieve your business goals, don't hesitate to reach out to us! We're Here To Help

6 Ways to Grow Your Business in 2020

A new year is making its way to us fast! Filled with new opportunities for you and your business to thrive and step into the new decade with your best foot forward. But how, you ask? With technology moving as it is, it can feel like your business may be falling behind and only big corporations have the money, time and resources to keep up with everything and use it in their favor... But guess what? That ends now!
Here in Magic Mirror we believe that small businesses are America’s best treasure, and we want to help you, your business and your employees, not just to survive, but to compete with the big guys. Here we have gathered a small list of things you need to be thinking about in order to make sure your business grows in 2020.

1. Make sure your website works efficiently.

When was the last time you actually checked out your website from your customer’s perspective ? Is it mobile friendly? Can you find what you are looking for fast? Is everything explained in the best way possible? In the digital era, your website builds up your credibility as a small business, it helps you appear on local searches, and it can help you gather client information for your marketing efforts.
"When viewing a website, it takes users less than two-tenths of a second to form a first impression, according to recent eye-tracking research conducted at Missouri University of Science and Technology. But it takes a little longer – about 2.6 seconds – for a user’s eyes to land on that area of a website that most influences their first impression."
[source: LITE.]

2. There’s an app for that!

You know people spend most of their time on their phones now. You can build an app for your internal team to boost sales and avoid monthly fees, or for your customers as a part of your marketing strategy. Having an app can help you connect directly with your customers. You wouldn’t have to wait for them to get on social media channels or even open their email to see the latest discount or product you have to offer. You can just remind them directly on their phone. You get to build your brand, provide value, and get loyalty by engaging more with your clients.

3. Customer experience.

We cannot highlight how important your customer experience is nowadays.. Your brand, your product, your business is what people say it is. Period. In short, rating are everything. And the easiest way to ensure your business doesn’t suffer from a bad yelp review, is by making sure every experience your customers have with you is amazing. Treat them as you would treat yourself. Or better yet, your dog. Don’t believe us? Take it directly from the researchers at Northwestern starting on page 6. Spoiler alert! #4 is really interesting: “5 stars is too good to be true.” Turns out, you’re best off with a lot of reviews between 4.2-4.7 stars (but really anything above 4.0 & below 4.8 is a winner).

4. Data-driven decision making.

The biggest most powerful thing you have at your fingertips is the data you are able to collect from your customers. Sure, gut instinct and opinions from meetings matter, but never as much the data your are able to get from your own customers. You want them to keep buying from you? Set up data recording tools, listen, and plan according to what they say. McKinsey has a wonderful publication on this HERE. And a more recent academic article that gives one of the newest models for data usage throughout the company life cycle HERE (it’s behind their paywall though, sorry).

5. Security and privacy.

Data, as we said is really important but just as important, perhaps maybe more, is making sure your customer’s data is safe. Just take a look at what happened to Cambridge Analytica (they closed in 2018 after the Facebook controversy). You don’t want your business making headlines with a data breach scandal. Here’s an oldie but a goodie, outlining the ways data security can be profitable for business with long-term vision.

6. We are on social media too.

Not using social media as a way to promote your business would be like starting a business and not telling anyone about it. We’ve already established that people spend most of their time on their phones, on average we are talking that people give 2 hours and 25 minutes to social media throughout a day. So, it is important that you think about having a good digital marketing strategy that includes communicating and connecting with your customers through social media and sending them over to your website. Which, if your think about it, is how you got here in the first place. ;)

If you have questions

or you want to learn how Magic Mirror Developers or our partners can help you achieve these goals, don't hesitate to reach out to us! We're Here To Help!

The Founding of Magic Mirror Developers

Very glad to have you with us on this journey. Welcome.
        I founded Magic Mirror Developers (M|M Devs) because I believe our job and our life should be aligned around whatever driving force provides us with meaning. For me, I find meaning in helping others, in educating, and in a nutshell, in being a part of something bigger than myself.

How is this relevant? Well, when I stepped back I saw 3 major problems, which I believe are worth dedicating my life to address.

  • Data appropriation
  • Widening Gap in Technology Literacy
  • HyperInflation of Population Densities
       Each problem is a complex topic and has volumes written attempting to elucidate its nuances. But here are my rapid-fire thoughts on each one, and what we at M|M Devs are doing in an attempt to address each issue

Data are today’s most valuable natural resources. They are renewable, expansive, and powerful. Data are also mined by a relatively small group of large companies. The problem is that companies (and governments, by the way) are taking this data without restraint and doing more or less whatever they want with it. Why is that a problem? Because in today’s world data is power, and without a natural meter of that power, like some fee or tax for data collection, there isn’t a check on the amount of power a company can subsume. Theoretically, if one company were to absorb enough data and have enough time to process that data, it could wield more power than the national government in which the company operates (many would say this is already true). Fortunately, there are a number of practical limiters to this power absorption, for the time being at least, which allows us small sigh of relief.
        But how can we address this!? I’m not sure. This will be a substantial challenge facing policy makers over the next 10 years. However, I do see another route to provide help in the meantime. The idea is quite simple: localize data. If we provide a means by which local businesses are the main collectors of data we change the power dynamic. More importantly, we create a value loop that doesn’t currently exist with these Goliath companies. By value loop, I mean that small businesses are beholden to their communities and customers while large companies are not. Therefore, in return for the value of the data customers provide small businesses, customers get products and services most relevant to their community with an improved experience that is tailored to them, enhancing the value of purchasing from that business. And the cycle continues.
       While this is far from a utopian solution, it is achievable in the short term and a solution that can be accomplished without the help of legislative bodies.

In 2016, the Congressional Research Service reported that since 2010 small businesses have contributed ~66.6% of net employment increases across the US, while the largest companies have remained effectively neutral during the same period [; page5]. This tells me that we need to empower small business to hold their own against the ever increasing pace of market consolidation. To do this we must strip away the complexity of high-technology, which has actuated the technology gap between big and small business.
        We want you to win. We are here to help you win. I have seen first hand the incredible change that occurs when you empower small businesses with the data they need to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and make informed decisions. This change is visible and emotional. It’s a change from:

“I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up. I feel as though I’m on a hamster wheel.”
“I can breathe again. That feeling in my chest, that tension, it’s gone. I feel free.”
        Yet, technology undoubtedly has a dark side. It has raised the minimum standard for a competitive business, forcing the infinite cycle of growth in which we find ourselves. Indeed, as technology increases its power to supercharge businesses, the minimum bar is raised ever higher. The kicker is that as technology’s power increases so does its complexity. At this point, the best technology has to offer small business is too complex to be navigated without dedicating significant time and resources to sufficiently absorb the information and implement a solution. This is the gap in technology literacy. Small Businesses just don’t have the time to deal with such wildly new ideas and methodologies. This terrifies me - it should scare you as well. Where will we be as a country without our flourishing small businesses?
        For many small businesses time & extra resources are not easily available, which is why our clients turn to us to illuminate the opaque world that is high-tech business. For those businesses that do want to tackle this challenge, I’ve found a ubiquitous challenge exists in not knowing where to start; this is almost always the biggest problem our clients face in their efforts to incorporate data into their decisions. The other is, “How do I know it will pay off?”. To the former challenge, I always start with the business itself, your business: what are the greatest needs of your business at this moment?; what information will help you make the right decision?; and how might we collect this needed data? This methodical approach works. It works very well. And with it we’re able to identify the 2-3 key metics that will impact long term business success for our clients.
        Reasonably, a substantial number of business owners tell me they’re not sure which are the MOST important questions to answer or aspects of the business to address. In this case I always direct them to our accomplished consulting partner, SRS Interconsulting, who specialize in using econometric analysis and their +30 years of experience to clear the fog inherent in executive decision making.

This third part is not driven by business or money; rather, it is my raison d’être. It is my intention to establish M|M Devs offices in various major cities around the world - cities which I believe are at the greatest risk of hyperinflation of population density - and establish training and coaching of young people, assisting in their endeavor to become programmers, developers, designers, etc.
       Okay, but what is a hyperinflation of population density? This is the phenomenon of explosive population growth in a city as a result of a rapid & seemingly sudden influx of immigration. This type of immigration typically results from refugees fleeing violence, drought, poverty, natural disasters, etc; effectively, anyone fleeing from inhospitable living situations fit this categorization. When this form of immigration occurs its very difficult for cities to adapt quickly & effectively, which results in high unemployment, poverty, and violence. I happen to believe that over the next 5 years we will see a sharp rise in these traumatic events (in fact, this increasing uptick in frequency has been noticeable for over 10 years).
       Thus, it is our goal to contribute to the employment and education of as many young people as possible - through volunteer coaching, real project training, and job placement assistance in international companies - in order to provide an alternative to what I predict to be extremely challenging living conditions for a large number of people in the not-too-distant future.

In sum, we at M|M Devs are not here to make money or to achieve some crazy software success story (we have already refused funding. twice). We’re doing this because we have a purpose, something that drives us forward through the best and worst of times: YOU. As a small business owner we emphatically believe that with the right tools YOU can provide better service and greater customer value than the Amazon’s and Apple’s of the world, stopping their phagocytic encroachment into your livelihood and our privacy.