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TOMA eMarketing

Results from furniture store experience led the way for company

Bo Johnson opened a furniture store in Southaven during the Great Recession and struggled with ways to generate store foot traffic.

“We were advertising in magazines and doing a lot of print advertising. And we couldn’t really tell if any of it was working,” he said. Then, Johnson, who has a degree in management information systems, ran across the concept of e-mail marketing.

Bo Johnson (left) and Kevin Wilkins. Inspired by the positive results of eMarketing for their own small businesses, Johnson and Wilkins of Southaven created TOMA (Top of Mind Awareness) to provide those services to others.

Bo Johnson (left) and Kevin Wilkins. Inspired by the positive results of eMarketing for their own small businesses, Johnson and Wilkins of Southaven created TOMA (Top of Mind Awareness) to provide those services to others.

He tried sending out “e-mail blasts” advertising regular artist receptions with wine and cheese, and it worked. “People would always come in and say, ‘I saw your e-mail,’” Johnson said.

In addition to being effective and cost-effective, Johnson liked the fact that he could track his e-blast results, being able to see how many people opened an e-mail, read it or clicked on individual links.

About the same time, Johnson’s friend Kevin Wilkins, who is certified in Google AdWords, was also seeing positive eMarketing results with his family’s trucking company in Memphis. Seeing that other small businesses could benefit from what they had learned, they formed TOMA eMarketing, named for the term that means “top of mind awareness.”

In addition to e-mail marketing, TOMA specializes in website development and design and social media marketing. The two-man team is now “swamped” with about 25 regular clients. “I haven’t had time to sell anything in six months. We haven’t advertised,” Johnson said.

Their first customer was Kinkade’s Fine Clothing in Ridgeland. TOMA helped the store with events and promotions, and Kinkade passed on good words about TOMA.

TOMA has also has success in the realm of fundraising promotion for the non-profit Network of International Christian Schools.

TOMA works hard to optimize client web sites for maximum search hits. A piece of advice: “You can have a flashy looking website, but if it doesn’t have content that is constantly changing, it is not going to get picked up by Google or the other search engines,” Johnson said.

Photo by: AMY McCULLOUGH/MBJ

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