In my letter two Januaries ago, I used the headline “You’ve Been Upgraded” to announce the launch of the Diamond Certified Directory Update print and digital versions and a new program for Diamond Certified company owners to contribute their expertise to local consumers. This year’s Diamond Certified Program upgrade is even bigger than that, so I’m taking a cue from Hollywood and calling it “You’ve Been Upgraded 2.”
If your company qualifies for Diamond Certified, your big upgrades for this year are:
1. Diamond Certified Directory Update print circulation will increase 44% to 202,000 per quarter in 2015, up from 100,000 per quarter in 2013 and 140,000 per quarter in 2014. This increase in circulation will start with our Summer Edition and will include adding a fifth zone within our same geographic region. With this increase, we’ll grow circulation by 72% to 1.446 million per year in 2015, up from 840,000 annual directories in 2012.
2. Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer Membership Tops 100,000!
After receiving more than 30,000 consumer requests for Diamond Certified Directory subscriptions, in 2011 we responded by launching a free membership called Diamond Certified Preferred Consumers, for fans of the Diamond Certified Program. Each member gets:
- A subscription to our main Spring directory and each quarterly update (both print and digital versions)
- A member hotline for personal help
- A Double Performance Guarantee
- Monthly and special newsletters
This membership has become popular with quality-seeking consumers and has grown to more than 100,000 members! Tens of thousands of members have signed up via our website, directory insert card, digital advertising, TV ads on Comcast (opt-in by remote control) and Diamond Certified company gifting.
Our research shows that no matter how consumers become members, they’re more than twice as likely to use Diamond Certified companies compared to non-members, so our goal in 2015 is to continue to rapidly grow our consumer membership.
3. 26,000-Spot Comcast TV Deal Adds AT&T U-verse, Dish & DirecTV!
During the past three years, we’ve been pleased with the performance of our 20,673 TV commercials that we ran on Comcast. Our creative output was good: six unique TV spots rotated within our schedule to emphasize the accuracy of our rating, the quality of the companies that earn Diamond Certified and our personal commitment to back each rating with our Performance Guarantee. During this time, we selectively utilized Comcast’s Request for Information (RFI) remote control feature, which allowed viewers to press a button and opt-in to become a Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer. In addition to building our brand, we generated 17,453 new Diamond Certified Preferred Consumers through this feature.
Now, I’m pleased to announce the signing of a new three-year Comcast agreement (2015-2017) that adds 30% more TV commercials; utilizes RFI on all TV spots; and grows our reach by hundreds of thousands of households by adding AT&T U-verse, Dish, and DirecTV households.
4. Diamond Certified Experts Adds “Helpful Expertise” to Brand Meaning
What do quality-seeking consumers look for in a potential company? These attributes rank the highest: Quality, Satisfaction, Helpful Expertise and a Fair Price. Plus, you can add the term “Resource Safety Net,” so if something goes wrong they’re backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee.
What exactly is Helpful Expertise? To me, it’s providing custom expertise in a style that the individual customer feels is most helpful for her. How you provide your expertise takes into account each customer’s specific situation, including personality. That’s why it’s “Helpful,” as can only be defined by each individual. How does your company provide Helpful Expertise? The more you excel at this in the future, the greater you’ll distance your company from the competition. That’s why we’ve been working hard to help company owners become Diamond Certified Expert Contributors, giving them a giant step forward in positioning their company as providing Helpful Expertise. In 2015, we’re going to help many more companies become contributors, and we’ll begin to emphasize the Helpful Expertise of our Diamond Certified companies.
Look for more presentations of Diamond Certified Expert Contributors and the Helpful Expertise of our companies within our Diamond Certified Directories, website, and media. Our vision is that by 2017, in addition to being seen as top rated for quality, Diamond Certified companies will be widely known by consumers as the most helpful local experts in their fields.
5. Digital Power to Double, Video Pre-Roll 1 million+, Google 45%+
It’s no surprise that each year people spend more time going online for their news and entertainment. That’s why we’ve massively increased our digital marketing over the past five years. After a 25% increase in website users during 2014, we’re not about to stand pat in the new year. In 2015, we will expand the play of our Diamond Certified TV commercials as pre-roll ads that run during video plays on popular websites (reaching locals through IP detection), increase our sizable Google AdWords spend by 45%, and expand our editorial and social media team to create even more relevant and compelling content that will flow through our mobile and main websites.