Power of Audio on Your Website

This week we had an amazing visit from a pastor in a small town.  As many of you know my husband pastors a church in Puebla, Mexico.  About three years ago he began to add downloadable audio preachings to the church website, http://www.iglesiacristianabautista.com.  Little did we fully understand the impact that one site was going to have on the lives of hundreds of people. If you have any type of informational website and don’t have audio, read the following summary of how one simple addition to your website can have a tremendous effect.

A pastor had been pastoring for over 20 years in a small town in Mexico and had 30 people attending his church.  The small town he pastors in does not have internet access or most of today’s modern conveniences.  About three years ago while visiting another town and searching the internet for some information, he stumbled upon the website www.iglesiacristianabautista.com.  He found that the website contained many preachings about soulwinning, evangelism, and how to build your church.  He began to download the preachings to his MP3 player and take them back to his church so that the rest of the church congregation could listen to the preachings.  The church members had a great desire to reach others for Christ but did not know exactly how to do it.  After listening to the preachings about soulwinning, the church members and teens of the church began to go out and reach people in their community.  Every time the pastor visited the larger town he downloaded more preachings and brought them back to his church so they could continue to listen to them.  They finally heard about a soulwinning conference that was going to be held in Pastor Kevin Wynne’s church in Mexico City.  The pastor attended the conference and met a pastor and friend of ours, Pastor Victor Castillo in Texcoco, Mexico. 

Fast forward three years to this week.  Pastor Victor Castillo had invited the pastor from the small town to come to preach to his church in Texcoco.   As they were driving through Puebla, the pastor began to explain to Pastor Victor Castillo how his church had grown from 30 people to an astounding 120 in the last few years due to the impact of listening to the preachings from a pastor named Pastor Arturo Munoz and asked him if he knew him!  As we are good friends he called us up and a few hours later they had lunch in a local restaurant where my husband, Pastor Arturo Munoz heard this amazing story.  The pastor explained that each month he now travels to the large town close to his to download the preachings and takes them back to his church so that they can listen.  He said that all the teens in his church know my husband by name and would be very excited to be able to now see a picture of him and know that their pastor met him in person.  He also asked if my husband could please upload some new preachings as they had already listened to all of the preachings from November!  How exciting is that! 

As I heard this amazing story I remembered another amazing story about a church in the country of Columbia.  While we were visiting churches for four months in 2008, we ran into some missionaries that are pastoring in Columbia.  They said that everyone in their church know us as each Sunday after their services, they log in to the site www.iglesiacristianabautista.com and watch our live streaming preaching services!  They also subscribe in readers and download the preachings to listen to throughout the week. 

What a tremendous blessing it is to know that the power of God’s word is being spread throughout the world through our efforts of learning and using multimedia on the internet.  If you are pastoring a church or running a business and still don’t have audio on your website, now is the time to get started! 

Ideainterior.com is now in Puebla!

A lesson in marketing from Idea Interior

Idea Interior is the closest thing to Ikea in Mexico and I am glad to announce that we now have it in Puebla, Mexico! I have to say that I am hardly ever impressed with the marketing skills of new stores in Mexico, but Idea Interior sure knows their stuff.

Before the Grand Opening: A good name and good advertising

Prior to the big grand opening, Idea Interior announced that they were coming to Puebla by putting huge red banners all over the entire construction site.  Although we had no idea of what products were going to be sold, we guessed from the name that they would be selling furniture.  The huge red banners had the name and the date that Idea Interior would be opening.  They also had the unique selling proposition displayed on their banners that they would have over 10,000 square feet of floor space to see all their products.  The location chosen for the new store was ideal.  A new Wal-Mart was being built so they purchased the entire second floor of the new shopping center.  Timing was great.  They opened a few months after the new Wal-Mart opened and just before the holidays.  Opening just after Wal-Mart did, they were able to get foot traffic from Wal-Mart without having to compete directly with Wal-Marts grand opening. 

Opening Day

Although we missed the grand opening, we visited Idea Interior just a few days after it opened.  We were greeted at the entrance of the new shopping center by friendly sales reps dressed in red t-shirts and carrying huge signs, passing out well designed marketing brochures telling us about the new store convenienty located on the second floor.  Although we were going to get some quick shopping done at Wal-Mart, we decided to take a "quick" look around.  We were quickly impressed. 

Our visit to Idea Interior

Walking in the doors of Idea Interior the first thing you see are all the products laid out in a typical apartment like setting in the typical living space of 600 square feet.  Yes I said 600 square feet… and that is for the entire home in Mexico.  Puebla has a lot of new construction and the majority of the homes will range from 50-75 square meters with the average being 60 square meters… for the entire home.  The home usually includes the living and dining room, a small kitchen, 2-3 bedrooms, and a laundry area usually located in the back patio. We lived in such a home for our first 5 years in Puebla so I speak from experience of how important it is to be able to be extremely organized and have many items that can be decorative but extremely functional as well.  I digress.  Needless to say, we were impressed.  The first thing we see when we walk in was all the products laid out in the way they can be used in the home!  A complete kitchen was set up with fridge, chairs, tables, tableware, tablecloths, magnets, and so on! A very small bathroom was set up with a sink with built in cabinet for sale.  The sink literally measured six inches from wall to the edge of the sink.  The faucet was pointed sideways and a small cabinet was under the extremely space concious sink.  Trust me… Mexican bathrooms are usually very small so a small space conscious sink is a great item to sell in Mexico!  Two bedrooms were set up on display as well as a living room with couches, bookshelves, and even books.  Their marketing did not stop with just showing how the items could be used.  On every single item there was a little tag with the price and the words, "This product can be found in …. department."  Amazingly as well, the prices were extremely competitive. We are used to seeing products marked up 200-300% of what you would find them for in the states.  This was a great breath of fresh air! Yes, we were impressed.

As we walked a few steps into the store we saw some more product displays set up as living areas, but this time targeting the owners of larger living spaces.  This was great!  They started with showing how you can use their items in the smallest of spaces, and then upgraded to showing how to use their products in larger spaces!  As we continued our journey we quickly realized that this store was not set up like the typical furniture or home interior store.  Idea Interior did something I had never seen a store do before.  As we continued in, we found that we did not have to make a decision of what we wanted to look at first.  The entire store was set up on a single path.  You had to follow the path through the entire store to see things and there were NO exits!  (Yes of course there were emergency exits.) There was even a map outlining the entire walking course through their store showing you how long it was going to take you to get to a certain section.  After passing the initial entrance, the rest of the store had more of a warehouse type of feel to it.  Having already seen how all the products could be used, we did not mind at all the warehouse atmosphere.  Now of course if you see something, you will want to add it to your cart immediately, as going back to that place where you first saw it, would quickly become a hassle.  But how many people actually go back for something.  Most purchases are impulse buys.  By having the store set up where it is inconvenient to go back to pick up, I believe will further encourage people to add things to their cart.  They can of course always take it out later! 

As we made our way through the store, something happened to us that had never happened before in Puebla, Mexico!  I know this will be hard to believe, and for some very hard to understand, but the workers in the store actually said "Hi" to us!  We were literally in shock when a guy carrying a cleaning bucket who was obviously part of the janitorial staff, looked us directly in the eyes, smiled, and said hi!  To our utter disbelief, this happened no less than 5 times before we made it out of the store.  Every time we walked by a worker, they greeted us!  What is even better is that they were not annoying sales people following us around the store trying to sell us things.  They were just simply friendly.  Digressing here… I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate it when an unsmiling, unfriendly salesperson follows me around the store, two feet behind me, trying to wait on me… so annoying.  First they are in my personal space, second, they are not helpful, they don’t know enough to answer quesitons, and the net effect is to make me to want to get out of the store and annoying situation as fast as possible.  Not Idea Interior.  The workers were friendly and I knew they were there if I needed to ask a question. 

Idea Interior did not stop here though.  Half way through our visit of their 10,000 square feet I was feeling a little thirsty and tired.  Guess what they had!  A little rest area with a couple couches, a soda and snack machine, tables and magazines!  We bought a soda, sat down, rested, checked out the magazines, and basically got re-energized so we could finish our shopping trip. 

As we left, I noticed that they only thing missing is that they did not get my email address so that they could follow up the visit with a targeted email campaign.  I would have had someone standing at the exit with free soda and snacks and ask the customers as they left if they would like a free soda or snack and then ask them to take a quick survey and get their email address.  When we went back a few weeks later, I noticed that they now had a raffle promotion going on where they were offering a free entry in the raffle in exchange for contact info… so we were just too early for that.  I have to say, we were impressed.

Internet Marketing Lessons I learned from Idea Interior

  1. Have a good name.  Be sure the domain name of my website is descriptiive enough so that people can figure out what I am selling just from the name.
  2. Announce my site ahead of time.  Even if I just put up a name and date, announce the site to build up anticipation and advertise it.
  3. USP.  No, not UPS.  Have a unique selling proposition that helps set my site apart from the competition.
  4. JV Opportunities.  Look for joint venture opportunities to get traffic and customers from other non-competing sites.
  5. Advertising.  Create great landing pages that advertise the offers and USP of my site and send the traffic to these landing pages when they come into the site.
  6. Creative Copy.  Always show your customers how they can use your proudcts by using the FAB, feature, advantage, benefit method of copywriting.
  7. Have different copy for different customers.  Think of your market and craft your salescopy for the different markets.
  8. Live Chat. Be friendly to my customers and just say Hi!  Be accesible to them with an 800 number.
  9. Funnel Marketing.  Have a specific sales funnel for my customers and know where they are at any given time in the sales funnel.
  10. Look for ways to provide extra services that don’t cost me a lot but will mean a lot to my customers.
  11. Create a list.  Don’t forget to get those emails so you can build your email list to send out future marketing campaigns!

 

Healthcare in Mexico

One of the main reasons people give about not wanting to move to a foreign country is “What if I get sick?” Most Americans will definitely want to keep their US health insurance plan for major medical emergencies of course. However, when you are living in a large city in Mexico, it hardly becomes necessary. It about one month our 6th child will be born here in Puebla, Mexico.  Of our children, only the oldest was born in the states.  When we were expecting our second child, we came to realize that the doctor was the most important factor for healthcare in Mexico. The hospital facilities are not as backwards as some would automatically think. We are blessed to live in a major city with good hospitals.  In fact, our city is home of the Puebla’s Children Hospital.  Puebla’s Children’s Hospital is THE major hospital for public healthcare for most of southern Mexico.  If people are sick from as far as Chiapas, they might be flown in to the hospital here.  But back to my story.  As we are getting ready for baby #6 we went to the hospital – La Beneficencia Espanola – to register.  Since we don’t have insurance, we pay privately.  We went to fill out the paperwork so that when the day arrives we would be all ready.  I know this will be hard to believe, but the rates for the hospital part of the bill are incredibly low!  The package includes 2 nights and 3 days in the hospital and is only about $350 USD! Now from experience we will tell you that by the time we get out the bill is going to be closer to $900 but that is going to include all of the medicine, treatment, and so on. That does NOT include what we pay our doctor or her medical team.  When we were in the states a few months ago, we had to take little Hannah to the emergency room for stitches.  She had 4 stitches on her eyebrow.  FOUR.  The bill came to $1000 more or less including the hospital and the doctor… which we found out later are two separate charges! So basically, the cost of 4 stitches in the states and the cost of having a baby in a nice hospital in Mexico are about the same!  I could go on and talk about how ultrasounds here cost $25 and the ultrasound I had done in the states a few months ago was $250 but I won’t.  

Traveling, work, kids, and fun!

For the next three months our family will be travelling the lower 48 states and visiting friends and family as well as a couple side trips to amusment parks. Our journey begins from Puebla, Mexico where we are live. On Wednesday March 26, 2008 we loaded up our minivan with 5 kids, a few suitcases, and of course our laptop and digital camera. Our kids are: Japheth – 7 years old, Rachel – 5, Sarah – 4, David and Hannah – Twin 1 year olds. Wednesday we drove to Tampico. On the way we stopped for some paletas in a zocolo of a little pueblito. (Frozen juice bars in a park of a little village.) Our second stop was a seaside little town that served up some excellent tasting shrimp and carne asadas. Thursday we made it to the border and without any complications we crosssed into Brownsville, Texas where a friend of my husband’s met us and took us to eat and to a hotel to rest.

Start Trip

Start Trip