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marking advice for every level of seller

Discussion in 'Business & Tax Advice' started by dizz, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    ok over the next few days i will compile a list of articles about marketing hope u like it will be as long as our wholesale list....i want to here feedback on how yall feel on the advice.:D
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2009
  2. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    Whether you are a professional in a solo-practice or own a small business, chances are you feel overwhelmed when it comes to marketing. While you may be an expert in your field, consistently attracting new clients probably isn't one of your strengths.

    Here is just a short list of "marketing culprits" that are likely keeping your business from reaching its full potential:

    Unclear Target Market. It absolutely makes my marketing blood boil when I hear "our service can help everyone". How on Earth do you find everyone?

    Confusing, Self-Centered Marketing Message. Since the early 1900 marketing geniuses like Claude Hopkins have been telling us that shouting "we are the best, come buy from us" doesn't work - no matter how loud you scream! Amazingly, over 90% of all marketing materials out there are doing exactly that!

    'Hop-And-Drop' Approach. Any worthwhile skill takes practice. Yet most small business owners abandon each marketing tactic after just one try, without giving themselves a chance to get good at it. It's like a running rabbit - switching direction with every hop!

    On and off approach. Spending a lot of time and effort on marketing when the business is slow, but then giving up on almost all promotional activities when business gains momentum!

    Not Preaching To The Choir. Most businesses make the mistake of chasing new markets all the time instead of maximizing profits using their existing database of current and prospective clients.

    If you can put a "yes, guilty as charged" checkmark next to any of those statements, chances are you are not profiting from your business as much as you could. To help unleash the extra profits currently hidden in your business or practice here is a simple Five Step Marketing Model.

    1. Create a MAP!

    You don't need to kill a tree to create an effective Marketing Action Plan. Simply describe your target market, their problem, and the benefits your service or product offers. Identify five to ten ways in which you can get visibility and generate new leads. Finally, list all the action steps you need to take daily, weekly and monthly and assign specific deadlines and outcomes to each step.

    2. Craft Your Magnetic Marketing Message!

    Potential clients don't give a hoot about your titles, awards, and prestigious office location! All they want to know is that you understand their problem and have an effective solution to it. Communicate those two things clearly and new clients will flock to you like bees to honey!

    3. Develop Attraction Tools!

    Forget about the self-focused brochures! You need promotional materials that intrigue interest and generate response. Today's technology allows to easily and inexpensively assemble and distribute information products - like special reports or CDs - that illustrate your capabilities and effortlessly promote your services.

    4. Generate Leads.

    Getting all the visibility in the world will not do any good if you are not giving your potential client an irresistible reason to contact you. Try and test several marketing messages and media to see what promotional strategies bring in the biggest bang for the buck.

    The key here is testing - tweak your approach multiple times before you decide to completely abandon it. What might have been a big flop at first, with a bit of tweaking can turn into a total goldmine!

    5. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up!

    Studies show that over 80% of all sales are made on or after five contacts with the prospect. However, more than 80% of follow-up ends after just three attempts! Creating and automating a systematic follow-up process is a must to maximizing your marketing ROI.

    Develop a series of 12 to 24 meaningful communications each addressing something of relevance to your prospects and find a way to periodically distribute them to prospects and clients.

    6. Learn To Sell!

    The thought of selling causes most professionals to cringe. Fact is, effective selling is not about memorizing hundreds of closings tactics or becoming an attack dog that corners prospects into saying "yes". Instead, study a consultative approach model and become a master of asking powerful questions that compel others to action!

    See Also:

    How to Successfully Retain and Grow Your Customers
    The key to growing your business is to effectively communicate and leverage your new customers into advocates for your products and services and purchasers of additional services.

    Business Marketing Strategies From Bill Gates, Sam Walton and Walt Disney!
    What could you possibly learn from Bill gates, Sam Walton or Walt Disney? It's no accident that these guys ended up living their dreams and making truckloads of money.

    Set Marketing Goals To Build Your Confidence
    Whatever your business you won't succeed unless you make it a habit to do some marketing every day. Start small, set tiny achievable marketing goals. If you do that, your business will be a success.

    Seven Highly Effective Marketing Tactics
    Here are 7 well known, highly effective marketing tactics many small business owners overlook when developing their marketing program.

    Seven Steps For Creating Successful Marketing
    Jay Conrad Levinson, the creator of the Guerrilla Marketing series of books - the best selling series of business books in history, shares his secrets for successful marketing.
     
  3. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    Okay, so your marketing has paid off - you have new customers. The key to growing your business is to effectively communicate and leverage these new customers into advocates for your products and services and purchasers of additional services.

    This can be done in a variety of ways. However, some basics steps must be followed to ensure retention. Here are a few tips you can use to develop long-term relationships with newly acquired customers.

    1. Proactively shape impressions about your business.

    Whether you're sending a welcome message, making the first contact via phone, or sending a letter, be sure to position you company for the long-term. Often times, individuals buy products without knowing a whole lot about the company their buying from.

    A popular tactic is sending a welcome kit or an overview letter that introduces your company, your values, and the additional resources you have available for your customers including a support email address, 1-800 number and so on. This lets you control your company's image among newly acquired customers. Otherwise, your customers are free to form their own opinion without any guidance whatsoever.

    2. Categorize your customer.

    Is your customer a high potential? Are they a transactional buyer that will likely never buy from you again unless you offer the lowest price? By segmenting your buyers based on your existing database or known behaviors, you can develop customized communication plans to retain them for years to come. Some communication plan may be focused on up-sell while others may only be focused on retention. The communication plan you implement should be based on the proper categorization of your customer.

    3. Show your thanks.

    Once you've acquired a customer, don't forget to thank them. This may seem trite, but done properly, this goes a long way. Often a hand-written note or personalized email from a company president can do the trick. The real key is to make the customer feel good about the purchase they've made and the company they've chose.

    4. Provide consistency among all touch points.

    Once you've acquired a new customer, you must make sure that you provide a consistent user experience. For example, if the prospect contacts your technical support rep the first day after they've purchased a product and receive an answer to their question, then call the following day only to receive a different answer, they're going to lose faith in your company's ability to provide consistent and reliable support.

    You can benefit greatly by developing procedures that can be documented and delivered consistently - meeting customer expectations. This builds trust in your business and can minimize defections. If the consumer knows they can count on you to give them what they need/want, they'll be willing to forgo a better price or promise of a better deal elsewhere.

    5. Share customer testimonials on future marketing pieces.

    Many marketers believe that testimonials are only for prospects. The truth is that testimonials can help retain customers, especially new ones, when they are exposed to positive experiences of individuals just like them. In addition to sharing testimonials, it is always a best practice to ask newly acquired customers (within 30 days of purchase) for their feedback/testimonials.

    The benefit of reaching out to your customers is that if a problem exists, you can react to it and if they have something positive to say about your product or business, it can be used to reinforce your brand. (Note: be sure to get permission to publish a customer's testimonial).

    These techniques are very effective for maximizing lifetime customer value. By shaping the image of your company, providing a consistent experience, and sharing testimonials for similar customers, you can develop a positive, lasting impression with your marketplace.

    Most importantly, keep it simple. Don't overwhelm your new customers with tons of email, or direct mail. Develop a well thought-out communication plan that has a definite purpose. And most importantly, remember to thank your customers for choosing your company, product or service.
     
  4. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    Many small and home-based business owners wonder, "What is market research, and why should I spend time and money to do it?"

    Market research is investigating and carefully studying your customers, competitors and industry conditions. Below are the three major reasons your business would benefit from market research.

    1) Market research tells you whether or not there's demand for your product or service. Even the most passionate of entrepreneurs will become disillusioned if few are interested in buying his or her goods or services. One obvious sign of demand is the presence of strong competition. But there is also "latent" demand, a strong, unmet need in the marketplace. This is where you can get creative! You (or a market researcher you hire) can interview or survey people or companies (or read the results of surveys conducted by others) to see if your product or service idea might fulfill an unmet in the market place.

    Home office ink jet printers is an example of a market that didn't exist 20 years ago. Last week, I was interviewed by a Human Factor specialist from Ideo (www.ideo.com, Palo Alto, California) about my home office printing needs. While the information gathered from my interview will be used as input to help design the next generation ink jet printers for home office use, the pioneers in the industry had no current customers to interview. Good thing the ink jet industry pioneers didn't say, "Hmm, no one is using printers at home now, maybe it's not such a good idea..."

    2) Market research answers the question, "What kind of person or company is most likely to buy my product or service?"

    Knowing the demographic profile of your customer base allows you to more easily estimate the size of your market, using Census, trade association or other data. The knowledge also helps you make smarter marketing and advertising decisions.

    Armed with your potential customer "demographic profile," you match the demographics of your potential customers with potential advertisers before you advertise. Most media companies (newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations) regularly conduct surveys so that they can provide up-to-date reader/viewer demographic information to their advertisers. For example, travel companies wanting to reach ecotourists (those that enjoy nature- and culture- based tourism) might want to advertise in the San Jose Mercury News' arts & enternatinment section (ecotourists are, on average, 35 - 54 years old, about 80% are college graduates, earn higher-than- average incomes, and prefer to travel as couples). The San Jose Mercury News arts & entertainment section is read by 63% of all married adults, and 71% of all adults with household incomes of $150,000 or more in Santa Clara county (see http://www.mercurynews.info/advertising/MN/INDEX.HTM for readers' demographic information for all the sections of The San Jose Mercury News).

    Businesses selling to managers or professionals at small businesses in the northern San Francisco Bay Area might find success advertising in The North Bay Business Journal. Management, professionals or technicians make up 76% of their readers, and their median size company has 15 employees and $1.75 million in revenue (for more detail see http://busjrnl.com/images/ad_pages/NBBJ Why Advertise.pdf).

    Use your customer demographic information when choosing networking events or speaking engagements, too. If you're looking for sales leads (rather than business information or support), attend events where the demographics of the attendees closely match those of the people or businesses most likely to buy your products or services.

    3) Market research helps make you more successful by gathering information about your competitors.

    "Do not fear competition: rather, seek it and learn from it," says Luigi Salvaneschi in "Location, Location, Location: How to Select the Best Site for Your Business" (Oasis Press, Central Point, Oregon, 1996). Analyzing similar businesses can help you estimate your sales: what are the sales and sales trends of the other businesses in your area? Is there room for growth? Can you improve the shopping experience of your potential customers in order to capture sales from your competitors? As Salvaneschi says, the purpose of competitive research is twofold: "To satisfy all the potential demand and to make a dent in the sales of your competitors."

    Conducting market research will help you truly understand your potential customers, and your competitors. You'll understand where to focus your product development and marketing time and money. The knowledge gained from market research arms you with the information you need to grow your sales more easily.
     
  5. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    "Business With Gorgeous Girl"


    You see a gorgeous girl at a party.
    You go up to her and say, "I am very rich. Marry me!"
    That's Direct Marketing.



    You're at a party with a bunch of friends and see a gorgeous girl.
    One of your friends goes up to her and pointing at you says,
    "He's very rich. Marry him."
    That's Advertising.



    You see a gorgeous girl at a party.
    You go up to her and get her telephone number.
    The next day you call and say, "Hi, I'm very rich. Marry me."
    That's Telemarketing.



    You're at a party and see a gorgeous girl.
    You get up and straighten your tie, you walk up to her and pour her a drink.
    You open the door for her, pick up her bag after she drops it, offer her a ride, and then say,
    "By the way, I'm very rich. Will you marry me?"
    That's Public Relations.



    You're at a party and see a gorgeous girl.
    She walks up to you and says, "You are very rich.."
    That's Brand Recognition.



    You see a gorgeous girl at a party.
    You go up to her and say, "I'm rich. Marry me"
    She gives you a nice hard slap on your face.
    That's Customer Feedback !
     
  6. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    Marketing is creating the impression people get about your company and its products and services. It happens through many forms of communication including things as basic as how your phone is answered, what your marketing collateral looks like—including business cards and letterhead—to the even more crucial direct contact of sales and customer service personnel. Your impression, whether first or continuing, better be good and crystal clear. To make sure it is, let's outline the basic steps you need to consider as we enter a new year.
    Develop a marketing program:
    A marketing program not only tells you where you want to go and how you want to get there, it reminds you of that path when the going gets tough. It is critical to develop a detailed marketing program with solid deadlines and revise it least once a year. Your company's vision, goals and priorities will establish how to most effectively utilize your marketing budget. When this plan is complete, you will know how to answer the questions: "Who are we? What do we want to accomplish? Exactly how do we plan to get there?"
    Be consistent in your communications:
    Part of successful marketing is setting a goal and not deviating from it until you achieve it. Marketing is repeated, proactive communication describing what you do best. Once you decide how your company is strategically positioned in the marketplace, including competitive comparisons, you can develop the formula that will tell people what you have to offer that is unique and directly fulfills their needs—they have a problem, you have a solution—and your marketing should show them just how easily that process works.
    Strategic positioning:
    This comes from asking, "Why did you get into business in the first place? What do you do better than any related firm?" The answers you get are the beginning of the message you want to repeat to your prospects and customers until you gain significant mindshare.
    It's important to communicate just how cost-effective your company has made stone construction, for example. Remember, benefits are what your customers want to buy. Then you add in the "other" benefits—durability, strength, aesthetics, ease of maintenance and quality. Show how the quality of your work force and the advent of new technologies make masonry the informed choice. Define, articulate and emphasize what each of these benefits brings from the unique perspective of your target market - the architects, engineers and general contractors. And, last but certainly not least, don't forget the people they serve - the end consumer, the owner.
    Print Media
    The first step in any marketing program is building your corporate ID package. The image, or "look and feel" you want to portray, gets designed into a logo for business cards and letterhead. This representation must be carried through to all printed material such as brochures, data sheets and sales presentations, advertising, and even the fence sign at the soccer field where you sponsor a team. Is your goal now to create brand awareness, lead generation, or possibly both? This helps you decide where and how to spend the rest of your allotted funds. What are the steps in your sales cycle and how can you use these marketing dollars to make these steps more effective?
    Advertising
    Although magazine print ads can be pricey, they provide more credibility for your firm than any other mass-marketing medium. By instilling familiarity with the reader, they breed confidence in you and what you do, which translates to increased sales and profits. Magazine ads allow you to pursue the specific industries whose readers are interested in buying your products and services. If you are a builder focused on one city or county, use the local "city magazine" as a starting point. All major markets have them, and then are usually slick looking, upscale publications that you company can be proud to be seen in. Compare this image to that provided by the "shopper" or "PennySaver" type publication and you can see why the prices are higher but the quality of the responses are even higher.
    If you are after more impact with architects and engineers, target their trade publications and their associations. You can research your options online at www.mediafinder.com, which gives you access to US and Canadian magazines, newsletters, journals, newspapers and directories. Or visit your local library and check out Bacon's Directory or the Business Publication Rates and Data by SRDS.
    When you are ready to expand your coverage area, check out regional or state magazines. Don't count yourself out of advertising in national publications because of the cost. Purchase remnant space or space in regional editions of these same publications. Or you can advertise in the classified section or take advantage of merchandising opportunities.
    Reprints of these ads can be used for PR purposes and these publications usually offer opportunities for valuable editorial that highlights your company. In addition, you can use them as resources for direct mail, and as a result continue to bring in future business.
    Direct Mail
    Some marketing gurus think that e-mail already has had its heyday while direct mail still produces the same, consistent results. Direct mail may not make the sale all by itself, but it obtains crucial leads that result in sales and its results are completely accountable. The advantages of direct mail include being able to achieve measured results, targeted audiences by address selection, personalized messages, the ability to test unique messages, and you can expect higher response rates.
    What you need to pay attention to first and foremost is getting the right list. This is where most companies waste money - know what your target demographic is and buy a proven response list. Next in order of importance are the offer, the copy and the graphics. Pay close attention to all of these. Make sure your copy reflects your strategy and that your problem-solution benefits are clearly stated.
    Make it easy for the recipient to take action - copy is king! Give them a call to action so they don't have to think about what to do; they just do it. For example, "Call Now 800 xxx-xxxx before this offer expires." If you've targeted the mailer correctly and if you leave them with a sense of urgency, they will respond. Track your results and when it comes to your messaging, remember to test, test, and test again. Last but not least, use testimonials - they improve response rates significantly.
    These are just some of the factors that should be considered as you plan the 2003 marketing plan you know you need. When I speak with mason contractors, I get the feeling they would rather be in the field, supervising projects, writing bids, talking with clients, playing golf or doing almost anything but marketing their company to new customers. That short sighted approach will let the competition—a tip-up builder, for example—get into the mind of the architect, GC or owner who could control the next job being bid, and that could be a big problem.
     
  7. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    You can have the best little business ever with wonderful potential, but if you can't market it, you don't have a business at all.
    Learn how to market yourself, because you are your business. Don't confuse the terms "marketing," "advertising," and "promotion." These terms carry a different tune.
    Marketing means informing your potential clients about your products or service, and finding ways to establish and keep a customer base. Your target market is the specific group of people that consume your product or utilize your service.
    Advertising refers to the various media used to convey your message. Printed advertisement, radio air time, television commercials and the Internet are all part of advertising that convey your business message to the public.
    Promotion refers to the various methods by which your convey your message to customers. When you communicate with the public, you're promoting your business. Many people will join business associations, or set up displays in malls and craft show for promotional purposes.
    Many people feel lost and uncomfortable with marketing and promotion. However, the longer you research your market, your product and your competition, the more comfortable you will become in marketing and promoting your products and or service. It takes time to learn what works for your business. You will constantly need to effectively find new methods because the old methods will stop working.
    Be the very best you can be by working on your personal skills, and successful marketing and promotion will ultimately follow.
     
  8. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Is your marketing program sporadic? A "what-feels-good-this-week" kind of plan? Is it working for you? If not, then here is a solution.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]In order to create a gratifying and profitable professional service business you need to have an effective long-term marketing system in place. And the long-term system needs to include plans that generate revenue on a short-term, medium-term and long-term basis.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Here's a well-planned, tested and executed system, designed specifically to funnel prospective clients into your business because it gives you focus and clarity.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]For visual effects, let us call it your "Marketing Train."[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Just like a regular train, there are three prime components of a Marketing Train. (1) The locomotive, also called the engine, (2) the cars, and (3) the caboose. Close your eyes and picture your train right now. If you can, manually draw one right now to help anchor that visually. Don't let the simplicity of this metaphor pull the wool over your eyes. This is effective![/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Okay, you have your Marketing Train vividly available to you whenever you need it. Right?[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Great![/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Let's talk about these three parts of your Marketing Train...[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]1. LOCOMOTIVE[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]If you didn't have an engine your train would be dead on the tracks...right? This is also true for your Marketing Train.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]As the engine pulls all the rest of the cars, your marketing engine pulls the rest of your marketing activities. The engine is the main strategy that drives your business forward. Here are some examples of what can be fueling your engine: speaking to groups, conducting workshops or teleclasses, forming strategic alliances or partnerships, networking (could be done in many forms), direct mail pieces, writing articles for your web site or in print, doing radio interviews, being a guest speaker in other formats, sending out a grassroots marketing letter.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Let's call the engine your active marketing strategy. Its movement allows others to experience you in relation to all the rest.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]For a smooth ride, you want to choose no more than three active engine activities to focus on and continually repeat those. Consistency and repetition are crucial! If you spread yourself too thin, never go deep enough, or stay with it long enough, your strategy will not be effective.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]For service professionals focusing on filling their practice, 60 to 90 percent of your marketing focus and effort needs to be on the active engine activities you choose. Usually the number of clients/sales directly related to your focused effort on these three activities. Your revenue is a telltale sign of your effort and how fast your train is going. Your speed also relates to the size of your engine.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]In summary, choose three or less active marketing strategies to focus on. Do them consistently, do them well, and let them drive your business forward. Just like an engine would.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]2. THE RAILROAD CARS[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]The number of railroad cars depends on the power of your engine. If you have too many cars and not enough "ump" in the engine, then the train creeps along. And so do the results.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]This also occurs if you have any passive marketing activities. They are important except not mandatory. Just like railroad cars, they do little on their own. Usually, this is where I always find my marketing clients. Why? Because its the most enjoyable and comfortable place to be. Even I need to catch myself from staying here.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]It is so easy to stay there too. The cars are comfortable. They contain food, great views, and sleeping arrangements. It is easier and seems safer. All you need to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the view. Almost like your coasting along because you are leaving the driving up to someone else.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Railroad car activities include: designing a logo, placing unnecessary items on your web site, creating a brochure, creating clever business cards, or anything else that isn't directly attracting business. This does not mean that you don't do them. When you do, exclude them from the 60/90 percent time for fueling your engine.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Yes, I know you are mumbling how I added the web site to this list. Let me explain. A web site requires you to drive people to the site...right? This makes the web site submissive until they visit. The active part is getting them there. That would be one of your three engine strategies.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]3. THE CABOOSE[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Ah...the tail end of the marketing train. Caboose activities, besides housing the conductor, support the passengers.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]I like to refer to the caboose as the "stay in touch" activities. This can be your relationship marketing, ezine/newsletters, or your contact management system. I like to categorize these into what I call "follow-up" activities.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Three years ago, people needed 5-7 times follow-ups before they purchased. Now, because of the increased skepticism in response to the communication "junk" that floods their day, and they lack the quality time it takes to continually focus on what they are received, this number has increased 12 times.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Having an electronic newsletter (also called an ezine) can be a great caboose strategy if consistent and contains valuable information for its passengers. By itself, it is never a complete follow-up strategy. Always maintain the 80/20 rule with your ezine (80% value to 20% promotion).[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]The strategy of your marketing train is to fuel the train with the best juice possible (great clients that can afford you). Placing less than the best fuel in your engine will slow down the train, make it spit and sputter, or even stop the train altogether. The train usually needs more effort and chugs along. Not knowing your fuel mixture will leave you stranded on a hill.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]An ezine is a great caboose activity. Like a caboose, it does not require fuel. The size of your mailing list usually reflects the size of your practice and bottom income line. People who are not passengers will get off quickly. So, if you have chosen an ezine as a caboose activity, then one of the three engine strategies MUST be in direct line for them to connect.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Oops, at the beginning I said there was one solution. Nope, I gave you more than one. Okay, you can have them as a bonus.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Building Your Marketing Train[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Redraw your train now. Label the locomotive (engine), the cars and the caboose. Now create a list below each one and write in your marketing activities. If you begin in the cars, follow it forward to the engine; what strategy is pulling it forward? Now look at your caboose list. What is on your follow-up activity that supports it?[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]It does not matter where you start on the train. Just remember to align it throughout your marketing train. You can go around curves and through many countrysides, however, it does not do curves. So, you will not want to throw it any curve balls.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Thank you riding in my caboose today![/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]I know you loved this metaphor. Whenever I share it with my clients, they have found its simple visual effect stays with them all day long.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]In summary, if you are focusing on increasing your client base, focus on your engine, its fuel, fuel mixture, and there is efficient effort to pull the rest of the train. Repetition and consistency is the key to deliberately create your results.[/FONT]
     
  9. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    If you could just remove the biggest obstacle to marketing your business, you could attract more clients and grow your revenue.
    At times, no matter what you do your marketing is stuck and you're not attracting new clients quickly enough. It doesn't seem to make a difference how much time or money you put into it, its like you are driving in slow motion. You just seem to be spinning your wheels and not getting any traction to move your business forward as quickly as you'd like.
    What is it that's keeping you from growing your business and your revenue?
    IS THE ECONOMY LIMITING YOUR BUSINESS?
    Possibly but unlike many large corporations that get hammered by economic trends, independent professionals and small business owners don't need mass movements of clients to be successful. Most small businesses need a few hundred or few thousand clients to do very well. You just have to do a better job of marketing than your competitors to bring them in.
    IS THE LACK OF MONEY TO SPEND ON MARKETING LIMITING YOUR BUSINESS?
    The most successful independent professionals spend very little on marketing relative to profits. They utilize email, referrals, and other marketing tactics to get attention, build trust and attract clients.
    IS THE LACK OF TIME THE PROBLEM WITH YOUR MARKETING?
    If you run your own business, there is never enough time in the day to accomplish everything you need to do. But the people who make the time for marketing see their businesses grow.
    Let's face it; your biggest marketing obstacle is you: your perceptions/ attitudes, behavior and organization.
    Common problems that may be holding your marketing back:
    * Not enjoying marketing yourself and your business.
    * Not having a marketing strategy or plan.
    * Not integrating marketing into your daily schedule.
    * Taking over two minutes to describe how you solve clients' problems.
    * Spending too much on promotional campaigns without testing your copy or inexpensive tactics first.
    * Talking too much and not listening to prospects.
    * Not giving away helpful ideas to prospects in order to build trust and establish yourself as the expert who can solve their problems.
    * Not regularly contacting prospects.
    * Forgetting to provide prospects with offers they can't refuse.
    Are you stuck by your own thinking, your behaviors or your perceptions about your marketing and what is or isn't possible?
    GIVE YOUR MARKETING A CHANCE
    The good news is that if you are your biggest marketing obstacle you can easily become your biggest marketing asset. Take the following steps to change your marketing behaviors and perceptions and give your marketing a chance. Goals - Write down goals for your business and for your marketing. Studies show that people who commit to written goals are more successful, often making ten times as much money as those who don't.
    Knowledge - Leverage all you know about your business to provide prospects and clients with a steady stream of ideas they can use. In this way you demonstrate your expertise and stand out from the competition.
    Money - Spend as little as possible on marketing, but do expect to spend money relative to the returns you anticipate. For example if you are an independent consultant and want to grow your business to two hundred or three hundred thousand dollars in revenue per year you will need to spend some money on your marketing effort.
    Time - Schedule a meeting with yourself every week to review your marketing strategy, look at what is and isn't working and write your next ad or article. Your most important job is to market your business and then to deliver the services and products. Make sure the way you spend your time reflects this.
    Get out of your own way to improve your marketing and attract more clients. Change your marketing actions and perceptions. If you don't have it, get the marketing knowledge you need and make good use of the time and money you do have. When you remove the obstacles to your marketing you'll find your business gaining traction and clients.
     
  10. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    What does it take to be a good marketer?
    You must love your product or service as a true love loves their beloved. It takes deep knowledge of the attributes, and unflagging enthusiasm. Marketing constantly means saying the same thing over and over. Again. How many times, how many ways can you say, I coach people in Emotional Intelligence," or "our frosted caramel pound cake is the best you can buy"? How do you stay fresh? How do you keep taking a new look at your product and service?
    1. Understand "the public" and marketing.
    I imagine most of you reading this have heard of the field of coaching, yet when I spoke on a cruise, not one person in the audience had heard of it. It will always be "new" to someone.

    2. Therefore: Marketing 101: By the time you're "sick and tired of it," the public is just beginning to hear about it.
    3. Another reason you must repeat and repeat is that open rates are so low, and attention spans are so short. The average "open" rate for eZines (according to Constant Contact, one supplier), is 48%. Half the people won't open any given thing you send them, so won't have heard your message at all. (Thus the "do it 7 times" rule.)
    4. It can be the litmus test of your passion.
    Think about your child. Did you ever once get tired of talking about your child, or run out of things to say? Your business must be like that, or else (1) move on, or (2) hire a marketing person to impart that enthusiasm.

    5. Or take a vacation.
    Getting refreshed, and seeing new things breed creativity. Get a good vacation and when you come back, everything looks new.

    6. We create our enthusiasm by creating our enthusiasm.
    It takes effort, intentionality and action. It takes discipline. Like love, enthusiasm is an act, not a feeling.

    7. Schedule your marketing and sales time for when you're "in the mood."
    Most good salespeople I know admit that sometimes they just don't have it, and sometimes -- well, when you're hot, you're hot.

    8. Get inspired by reading other people's copy.
    Peruse some large apparel merchant, and marvel at how many ways they find to describe -- A BLOUSE! Now, you can do that too! Regularly cycle through websites of competitors to see what's new. Terms, styles, vocabulary, pitches change.

    9. Book a brainstorming session with a marketing coach when you get down and run out of ideas.
    That's what we're here for. When you're doing it constantly, and for a variety of items, the pump is always primed. Get a website makeover. When the site looks new, so will the words.

    10. Listen carefully when your satisfied customers describe your products and services, and, yes, write them down.
    They will say things you could never have thought of in a million years, and in their own totally unique way. Testimonials are worth their weight in gold
     
  11. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    oes marketing your business seem overwhelming? Have you wondered how you were ever going to fit marketing into your weekly workload?
    I know that marketing is usually an entrepreneur's least favorite activity to do! Every week I receive emails from entrepreneurs who are ready to get their business off the ground but don't know where to start. Sound familiar?
    I'm going to share with you 5 strategies you can take to get started marketing your business or re-vitalize your existing marketing. These 5 strategies have been used by entrepreneurs over and over again, with these consistent results: greater confidence, energy and enthusiasm for marketing, AND more clients!
    Strategy 1
    Get crystal clear on who your choice client is. Why? So you know where to direct your marketing time, money and energy! I can talk for hours about the concept of choice client (look for more about this in future articles).
    In a nutshell, your choice client definition clearly describes the kind of person you most want to work with. It does NOT mean this is the only person you will work with. It DOES mean this is the only kind of person you will spend your marketing time, money and energy on.
    Strategy 2
    Develop a strong, compelling list of benefits your clients receive from working with you. Once you orient your thinking, your language and your approach around the results you deliver, you will never be at a loss to describe your business again.
    Strategy 3
    Design 2-3 tiers of services you can offer. Include at least one way prospective clients can sample what you do with no commitment on their part.
    Strategy 4
    Create 3 ways you can consistently reach your choice client. The keyword here is consistency. Even the best marketing approach won't work well if it's only done sporadically.
    If you enjoy writing, then write an article twice a month. Love networking? Go to networking events twice each week. Want to build your referrals through strategic partners? (a fancy term for those people who share your choice client) Create a list of other businesses that share your choice client and contact four of them each week until your list is exhausted.
    Consistency is one of THE easiest ways to be successful building your business!
    Strategy 5
    Make time in your daily calendar for marketing. Schedule this time as you would an appointment with a client and then honor that appointment with yourself!
    Now it's your turn!
     
  12. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    Have you noticed people pretending to listen? They nod their head and murmur, "a-huh" but the truth is they are not paying much attention to what you are saying!
    I recommend being very careful about describing what it is you do too soon or in too much detail. Why? Because: It's Not About You, It's About Them. When you make 'it about them', you are only talking for a sentence or two, and then asking another question.
    My rule of thumb is this: you are either ASKING a question or SUMMARIZING what the person just said.
    Being asked to describe what you do on a first meeting is a trap! Do not fall into it. The person asking you may seem like they really want to know more. But their curiosity will quickly be extinguished if you talk for more than two sentences!
    If you want to talk a bit about what you do, ask permission first. Simply ask, "May I spend a minute describing how my service works?" You are likely to receive not only a yes answer but the person's full attention. Permission always builds trust, rapport and respect.
    If you do receive permission, keep what you say to just two sentences. Practice saying in a nutshell what it is you do, using benefit-oriented language. If you are describing how your career coaching service works without adding on the result the person gets from hiring you, then you are violating their trust! Most entrepreneurs I talk with spend too much time describing how their service works and not enough time stating the result to the client in hiring them.
    Creating Action This Week: Practice the rule of thumb by either asking a question or summarizing what the person said. Do this with two different people each day and notice the responses you get. Did it leave people curious and refreshed from talking with you? Did they think you were a good listener? What did you have to do to remind yourself to ask more questions?
     
  13. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    What could you possibly learn from Geeky Bill gates, thrifty Sam Walton or "Mouse" man Walt Disney?
    It's no accident these guys ended up living their dreams and making truckloads of money.
    HAVE YOU NOTICED THE TREND?
    Is your eye on the Prize, rather than on adding value?
    Have you noticed that online marketing has turned into a money-grabbing, greed-induced, morally deficient environment?
    There are WAY too many online guru's, experts and noise makers that have forgotten that the way to generate true wealth and happiness is to add value to someone else's life.
    It's time we re-examine what the best business marketing strategies really are!
    Bill Gates had a vision to have a PC in every home.
    Why?
    It wasn't to make Billions - it was because he truly saw the potential computer applications and how they may help educate, entertain and enrich people's lives.
    Sam Walton - his vision was to not only build the best value discount chain ever, but to employ a "family" of employees (associates) where he would enrich their lives.
    How about good ol' Walt?
    What business marketing strategies can he teach us are about?
    The biggest dreamer of the bunch, Walt Disney's past is filled with vision and dreams of making people happy, improving the world - making money became important ONLY out of necessity of realizing his dream of improving the world!
    THINGS ARE JUST TOO BASS-ACKWORDS
    Is it the desire for fast riches?
    Are behaviors being driven by the need to maintain unrealistic lifestyles - usually to fill in for other voids in our lives?
    Is it that we don't want to work for our success?
    Is it that we don't dream anymore?
    You may find this interesting --
    BUSINESS MARKETING STRATEGIES TAUGHT BY BUSINESS MOGULS
    Bill Gates certainly didn't earn his Billions based on charisma, communication ability, or his ability to interact with his customers.
    What did set Bill Gates aside from those who can only dream about achieving what he has achieved are: self-confidence, strong vision, passion and timing.
    Very early on, Bill Gates stated that his goal was to put a PC in every home -- he's almost achieved that seemingly crazy statement in just a few short years.
    It all started with a VISION that was backed by his own PASSION for technology, computers, and their applications to improving people's lives.
    It was very clear that Bill Gates was not in it purely for the money - from day one! His business marketing strategies were based on very clear, deep purpose.
    How about Sam Walton?
    Mr. Walton brings a few other characteristics to the table: Extremely good understanding of his customers, unwavering respect for his "team" of associates, and a patience that saw him spend years TESTING his business model - building slow and stead growth - not succumbing to the BIG BUCK.
    Sam Walton knew his vision was a good one - to build a line of discount stores that would provide even more value to it's customers than their competitor - K-Mart.
    By running a few stores and constantly testing the product mix - after several years, he finally arrived at the right business marketing strategy that stuck.
    Walt Disney teaches us to dream BIG - even when you are starting with very small means.
    Walt -- with little more than $40 in his pocket -- stated that he would make great Hollywood movies someday. How crazy must that have sounded?
    What was his business marketing strategy?
    He dared to DREAM BIGGER - when he decided to turn his animation characters into multi-streamed entertainment products including television, books, and his biggest dream of all - Disney World.
    He didn't even live to see the opening of Disney World - but what a dream?
    LET ME ASK YOU A TOUGH QUESTION?
    What are you willing to do to live your dreams?
    How many false starts are you prepared to have?
    How much action are you willing to take in the face of many setbacks?
    Does your business marketing strategy reflect your beliefs and strong purpose?
    Are you willing to be true to your dreams, beliefs, character and ethics - even when times seem really tough?
    These are questions we all must answer EVERYDAY no matter what business or life we are leading.
    Hopefully - we are able to say YES a lot more than NO.

     
  14. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    by Rich Hamilton, Jr When people market their business, they pay little attention to their competition. However, they can learn a lot from them. Your competition plays a large role in your business and in your marketing efforts, so don't ignore them.
    There is an old saying, "Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer". In this case, your enemy is your competition. You shouldn't look at your competition as an enemy, but, as a guide or a valuable tool.
    Your competition can be an asset to your business. I want you to think about this for a minute, your competition is like having a one stop shopping center, they have it all. Let me give you an example, take a look at your fearsome indirect competition, they have it all. They may have targeted an area of the market that you've missed, on the web that's not hard to do.
    Who Are Their Link Partners
    One day when I was analyzing my competition I immediately noticed something about their link partners, a lot of them were different, but some were the same. Let me give you an example, if you were to take three of your competitors, you may only find a few of them with the same link partners, other than that, a large portion of your competition's link partners will be different.
    Once you've found out who your competitor's link partners are, persuade them to link to you. By getting your competition's link partners to link to you, it will take some of your competition's traffic away and give it to you, bringing targeted traffic to your web site.
    How do find your competition's link partners? A couple of ways, one is you can use software like Arelis. Arelis will retrieve all the web sites that are linked to your competitor in minutes, saving you a boatload of time. Another way to find your competitor's link partners is by using Marketleap's Link Popularity Tool, which is free to use.
    Who Are Their Affiliates
    Another way to take advantage of your competition is to find out who their affiliates are. If you offer an affiliate program, this may be an ideal strategy for you. Track down your competition's affiliates and persuade them to promote your product or services, instead of your competitor's.
    If your competitors offer their affiliates a lower commission percentage than you, then you already have the upper hand. How? Affiliates are always looking for away to make more money and by offering them a higher commission percentage, they'll be able to increase their affiliate profits.
    How do you find your competition's affiliates? You can use the same methods to find their affiliates, as you would trying to locate their link partners, by using Arelis and/or Marketleap's Link Popularity Tool.
    Spying On Your Competition
    Thanks to the power of the internet, spying on your competition couldn't be any easier. You can easily find out what their marketing angle is, what they have for products, how much they are charging for their products, and any new products that they may be working on.
    If you were to go to your competition offline and evaluate their establishment, while taking notes on their products, you would immediately draw attention to yourself and get thrown out of the store. There is nothing worse than letting your competition know you are keeping tabs on them, but on the internet, it's completely anonymous. Your competition will never know you are there or what your doing there.
    When you pay a visit to your competition's web site, the first thing you want to know is, what their weaknesses and their strengths are. That way, you can capitalize on the opportunity of making their weaknesses, your strengths.
     
  15. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    One of the greatest challenges businesses face is how to market cost effectively while gaining a good return on investment (ROI). Interestingly, this can also be one of their greatest opportunities. Regardless of what industry you are in, the size of your organization, and how long you have been in business, you must continually look for ways to gain and maintain your visibility to your market.
    Gaining visibility is one of the most important, and yet often most overlooked aspect of running a business. Perhaps you don't run a company, but you are in sales. Visibility applies to you as well.
    Before you begin to aggressively position yourself and gain visibility, think about what the vision for you and your organization is. Gaining a vision of what the organization stands for, the impact you want to have on your customers or clients, the quality of products and services, your contribution to your community, and where you want the organization to be in the future is essential as you move forward.
    Your vision is your ideal future state. To gain the clarity, create a statement that includes what you desire your organization to be like and be known for. Included in the vision are your values. What is most important to you?
    Once you have your vision in mind, consider writing it down. This can help you to solidify your thoughts and to stay on track with what is truly important. There may be occasions one is tempted to stray from their core values. If this should ever happen, simply reread you vision statement to get back on track with the core of who you are. Truth be told, when you are congruent with your values, success is assured.
     
  16. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    by Bob Leduc

    People buy products or services from you because they expect to gain a benefit. The benefit is more valuable to them than the money they spend to get it. You can use that benefit 3 different ways to increase the results produced by your marketing efforts.
    1. Immediately state the benefit to draw the prospect into your promotional message.
    2. Dramatize the feeling of enjoying the benefit to intensify your prospect's interest.
    3. Stimulate your prospect to start enjoying the benefit NOW by taking immediate action to get it.
    Apply all 3 of these when you develop any promotional material -- including the content of your website.
    1. State the Benefit Immediately
    ...to draw the prospect into your promotional message. State the benefit in the headline of your ad, the first sentence of your sales letter or in a title at the top of your webpage. Use it as the opening of your audio or audio-video promotions. It immediately captures your prospect's attention and provides a compelling reason to continue reading or listening.
    For example, I recently saw this headline at the top of a webpage: "Increase Your Online Profits 40% Now". The website offered businesses the service of accepting credit card payments online.
    2. Dramatize the Feeling of Enjoying The Benefit
    ...to intensify your prospect's interest. Use a word picture to help your prospect visualize the feeling of enjoying the benefit you offer. Here are 3 examples you can use as models for developing your own word picture:
    "Know all your bills are paid as you and your family leave on a 2 week vacation." (a financial planner)
    "The pleasing aroma of this new shampoo reminds you of driving through the country after a fresh spring rain." (shampoo offered by a network marketing distributor)
    "It's Monday morning. As you get up, all your neighbors are already on the freeway trying to get to work on time. You have breakfast with your family and decide how to spend the day while your customers place their orders at your new automated website." (An Internet business opportunity)
    3. Stimulate Your Prospect to Start Enjoying the Benefit Now
    ...by taking immediate action to get it. Three of the ways you can persuade immediate action are:
    * Make an offer with a short time deadline. (discount, bonus, etc.)
    * Provide several easy, fast ways to buy. The more the better. (online, phone, fax, etc.)
    * Guarantee fast delivery. This is easy if you can deliver your product or service online. Otherwise, offer to ship your product immediately or start providing the service immediately after your customer orders it.
    Is It A Benefit?
    Be sure you're promoting the biggest benefit your customers get from your product or service -- not a feature of it. A feature is what your product or service is. A benefit is what your product or service does for your customers.
    For example, an anti-virus software program may include weekly online updates. That's a feature. The benefit is -- a new computer virus will never destroy any data on my computer. That's the result a buyer wants. People never buy something to get a feature. They always buy to get the benefit produced by the feature.
    Works For a Small Ad Too
    Including all 3 methods of promoting a benefit in a small ad can be challenging because of the limited space available. Here's an example of how one business did it with only 18 words.
    "Take more profit from your business and enjoy less stress! Find out how - before your competition does."
    Customers buy your product or service to gain the benefit it offers. Determine what that benefit is. Then use it 3 different ways in all your marketing materials and promotions. You'll be surprised by how it increases your sales and profits.

     
  17. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    An accountant once told me that he never met anyone who didn't want to make 30% more money. Whether you want a better lifestyle or to take more vacations, buy a fancy car, spend more time with your family, send your children to college or to give it all away, you could always use more money.
    If you sell services, your primary limitations on earnings are your costs and the number of hours in a week. Most independent professionals are already working well over 40 hours a week and can't work longer hours to increase earnings. Your goal should be to find ways to work less and increase your earnings. How can you market smarter and make more money?
    DON'T DISCOUNT YOUR SERVICES
    Have you ever heard of a lawyer or carpenter offering a 20% discount on their hourly or daily rate? Every time you offer a discount or reduce your regular rates, you are sending a message to prospects that your services really aren't worth what you're asking.
    Once your clients know that your prices are discounted or negotiable, you will always be fighting a battle to be the paid full price for your work. Never offer discounts; your clients will assume that they are expected to pay the asking price for your services.
    OVERCOME OBJECTIONS TO PRICE
    Prospects invariably want to know your pricing before they understand the benefits your products and services provide. Quoting prices is meaningless until prospects can put the cost into the context of the results they can expect.
    When prospects show concern about your pricing, it's a good sign. It indicates their interest in buying your services and a need to understand the value you provide. You could list all the benefits of your services but if you really want to make the sale, it's far more effective to let prospects sell themselves.
    A client's perception of value isn't based on how much they pay, but on whether their expectations will be met and the benefit they will receive. Don't get stuck on the dollars you charge per hour. Instead help prospects define the dollar benefit of your services.
    When prospects query you on price, respond by asking questions to help them identify for themselves the problem they want solved, the cost of the problem, the solution they need, and how you can help them. Prospects buy when they think their expectations will be met. Let them define their expectations and they'll be far more likely to sell themselves when you finally explain your pricing at the end of the conversation.
    POSITION YOURSELF AS AN EXPERT
    Differentiate yourself from your competition by using your articles to regularly provide insight and ideas to your prospects and clients so they come to view you as an expert in your field. Use expert positioning and consider raising your prices.
    When Arnold Schwarzenegger first arrived in the U.S. he had trouble getting work as a stonemason with his funny accent, despite charging less than his competitors. A friend suggested he set his prices above the competition and bill himself and his partner as exclusive European masons. His business took off and look where he is now!
    AVOID HOURLY FEES
    Unless you sell hour-long massages, charging by the hour is the best way to limit your earning potential. When you charge by the hour you lose money if you work efficiently or if you get a great idea right away. Prospects can always negotiate with you on the number of hours they want, undermining your ability to put in the time needed to meet their expectations.
    Prospects want results. Help them clarify the results they want and then set a project fee for accomplishing those results. Make sure your contract or letter of agreement allows you to adjust your price if the project changes mid-stream.
    USE VALUE BASED PRICING
    You can pay $30 or over $5,000 a night for a motel or hotel room. Both provide a roof over your head, a bed and your own bathroom, so why do some people pay over 150 times more for one than the other?
    People buy based on their perception of the value provided. If they understand the value that your service or product provides, they may be willing to pay much, much more than you are currently charging. Look at the results you provide for clients and reassess your pricing.
    LEVERAGE YOUR TIME AND MONEY
    Like most service professionals you have limited time and money to spend on marketing. Much of your time is spent delivering services. Is your marketing helping you earn more? Do prospects understand the unique value you provide? If not, take a look at the way you are positioning your firm and adjust it to clarify your value to clients.
    Are you making what you could be? If you apply even one or two of the above strategies, you'll be making more money than you are now without working any harder. You'll probably still wish you had 30% more.
     
  18. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    No business can survive the long run without some form of consistent advertising. As a result, most business owners will eventually consider using advertising to promote their business.
    The toughest part of the advertising equation is in determining where and how to spend your advertising dollars. If you do it wrong, you could plunk down your entire advertising budget and receive absolutely no return on your investment. But, if you do it right, your advertising could continue to bring a nice return for years to come.
    HOW DO I MAKE THE RIGHT ADVERTISING DECISIONS
    In order to make good decisions concerning how to spend your advertising budget, you must first have a good understanding of the different types of advertising and promotion available and what can be expected to be achieved by each.
    · You must understand which markets the different media's can reach.
    · You must understand the demographics of the media's consumers.
    · You must understand the buying habits of the consumers reached through the media.
    WHAT OFFLINE ADVERTISING & PROMOTION MEDIA'S SHOULD BE CONSIDERED
    The media's that people think of most often are television, radio, newspaper and magazine advertising. Of course, these are the big boys that big businesses use regularly.
    Other methods of promotion include trade shows, press releases, direct sales, telemarketing, word of mouth, branding and billboard advertising.
    CONSIDERING THE BIG MEDIA OUTLETS
    The big boys of advertising media's generally cost big bucks. Given certain circumstances, the big media's can be bought for very little money.
    Take for example, television, radio and newspapers cost big bucks during their prime times, but can be bought for pennies on the dollar during non-primetime hours.
    Television primetime is between 7pm and 10pm. Radio primetime is between 7am and 6pm. With newspapers, the primetime is Wednesdays and Sundays.
    If you intend to hit a media during prime time, get ready to drop some bucks. Primetime means that you will be able to hit more consumers during these times. So, in most cases, a primetime buy will enable you to reach more people with your advertising.
    Non-primetime hours can still deliver a lot of eyes and ears to your message, and sometimes, these off-hours can be bought for a bargain basement price.
    GETTING MILEAGE FROM EVENTS
    Trade shows and press releases are more event-driven. The trade show is the event, while the press release generally exploits an event.
    Trade shows are an exceptional tool when you deal directly with potential sellers of your products or services. Other shows are directed at the consumer, and those can be very valuable avenues for sales as well.
    The press release is aimed towards gaining attention for a business by distributing newsworthy information about the business.
    Sometimes the appearance of a business at a trade show or other show can provide the necessary angle for a press release. But most often, a successful press release will actually require more noteworthy information than the appearance of a business at a show.
    Yet, even the most mundane of information could be spiced up to give the real air of importance necessary to get your press release read and printed.
    The great thing about a press release is that might permit you to get relatively inexpensive promotion on television, radio, newspapers and magazines; for far less than what it would cost you to buy advertising in those same outlets.
    UTILIZING A SALES TEAM
    Depending on what type of business you run and the consumers you are trying to reach, you might find direct sales and telemarketing to be very lucrative ways to drive sales to your business.
    Both are very similar in nature. Direct sales can be very expensive, as it requires a great investment of time to accommodate. Telemarketing seeks to minimize the time expenditure, but it often leads to a smaller degree of respect and attention.
    Depending on your product or service --- and always depending upon the people you employ to the task --- each method will be more suited to each business on an individual basis.
    BRANDING YOUR BUSINESS
    I grouped branding and billboard advertising together in my original list for a reason. I did this because billboard advertising serves most businesses best by helping to support the process of branding.
    Branding is the process of establishing your business as the supplier of a certain product or service, or in emphasizing a certain USP (Unique Selling Proposition) as it pertains to your business.
    If branding and USP seems to be a confusing concept, think about Wal-Mart and their tag line: "Always Low Prices, Always."
    Think about Ford Motors, "Quality is Job One."
    Think about the Visa Card, "It's Everywhere You Want To Be."
    You see, these top corporations have managed to make their USP part of their branding.
    Even if you are only competing in a local marketplace, your USP can and should fit snugly into your branding strategy.
    NO MATTER THE MEDIA OR METHOD
    Whichever method or media you should choose to employ in your advertising and promotion, you should become knowledgeable about your market, and the consumers reached by each media. It is important to understand which consumers can be reached by a certain media, and in what quantities.
    However you choose to spend your advertising dollars, you should always track the results of your promotional efforts. Failing to track successes and failures will ultimately lead to the failure of a business.
    When you know whom you are trying to reach and how you think you might be able to reach them, you will begin to learn how to use advertising and promotion to make your business successful. That is a good thing --- after all, that is why you got into the business in the first place, isn't it?
     
  19. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    When marketing your practice, as well as designing your brochure, web site, business card, flier, advertisement, or other marketing effort, we recommend investing the time and effort needed to effectively address all these tips. Not one of them can be omitted.
    Tip #1. MARKET FOR YOUR DESIRED PROSPECTS, NOT YOURSELF
    What looks good to you is not necessarily effective for your desired audience. This is the biggest mistake I see people make over and over again. The come up with an idea, they think it's great, a few friends, family or nontarget market people give them the thumbs up and they run with the ball.
    When it doesn't work, they just can't understand why. Do market research and test your strategies on your target market. Big companies do lots of market research before launching a product or service. The little guys don't have the resources to match this but that doesn't mean you don't do any. Even if you are an independent professional, you need to do marketing research. And market research isn't a one-time deal. It needs to be incorporated into your marketing system and it needs to be ongoing.
    Tip #2. YOU MUST ANSWER THESE FOUR CRITICAL MARKETING QUESTIONS
    Question 1: WHAT'S THIS ABOUT?
    Is it immediately clear to the reader what is being offered? Any opaqueness, confusion, or question marks in their mind, even for a second, and they have moved on. They are gone and usually don't return. Don't be cute or clever. Make it simple and very clear. Cute and clever has a reference point now with S*P*AM or hype. Don't let them place you into that category.
    Question 2: WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?
    The big benefits are very clear and directly stated... not implied; the reader doesn't have to guess. The listener doesn't have to guess. Please come to you from all different stages of readiness and different desire levels. How do you handle each one when they arrive makes what occurs afterwards critical? It isn't what you perceive that they want, it is what they perceive what they want. Stop guessing just because you are too lazy to do the legwork to find out. Start asking and don't ever stop.
    Question 3: CAN I TRUST YOU?
    How do I know you are safe and credible? Can I find out easily enough if I want to? Is your photo and contact info prominently displayed so I can build a relationship with you? Put your photo on every page. If you want to, change the picture to show you doing something fun or different on every page.
    People don't trust any more especially if all your contact information isn't on your web site. Put your phone number and address on ever page. It says you are credible. Put them in every ezine, in fact, put it at the beginning and at the end.
    Create a safe place for them to be, a comfort zone. If you offer a complimentary session, realize that people don't immediately sign up for these because they aren't comfortable to. It doesn't matter if you think you are safe, it's what they think. Step them into working with you feeling safe the whole way through the process. People are either boulders or blue birds. Blue birds are easy to convert to clients. Boulders need to know that they have a safe place to roll to before they will move.
    Question 4: DO I FEEL GOOD ABOUT THIS?
    Do I WANT to engage you? Do I feel COMPELLED to click my mouse or pick up the phone (or whatever the call to action is)? Do I feel good about myself in deciding to engage you? Can I trust that I'm making the right decision? What's my motivation? Am I being motivated by fear, shame, or being empowered to make a good choice? Am I so excited that I want to tell all my friends?
    Tip #3. ALWAYS INCLUDE THESE THREE KEY ELEMENTS IN YOUR MARKETING MESSAGES
    Element 1: POWERFUL HEADLINE
    This grabs their attention and lets the reader know what you can do for them; the big benefit. Say what the biggest benefit is up front. Make it about them. Use attractive words that rock their boulder so they read more.
    Element 2: COMPELLING CALL TO ACTION
    Your desired result is to motivate your ideal client to act immediately to engage you directly or indirectly and generate a prospect by getting their contact information. What do you want people to do? E-mail, phone, what? What will compel them to take action?
    Element 3: OFFER THEM MULTIPLE CONTACT METHODS
    Offer a choice between e-mail, telephone, web site, etc, so your prospect can choose what is most comfortable to them. I have visited many web sites where I had to search for five minutes to find their contact information. I am a persistent person and I know that most others who have left after 30 seconds. Can visitors to your web site find your contact information in 30 seconds? Put the information on every page.
    Tip #4. CREATE A SYSTEM
    Design a marketing system that you can implement repeatedly. Make it as automatic as possible. Ask the most valuable series of questions to yourself, "And then what do you want them to do? And then what? And then what? Etc." If they visit your web site ask, "And then what?" If they subscribe to your ezine ask, "And then what?" And then when they do that, ask "And then what?" Keep challenging yourself to come up with the answers.
    No, I didn't say it was going to be easy. When I work with clients, sometimes it takes months to create a system. Most people give up to easily. Once you have it set up and it runs automatically, you will understand.
    Don't waste your time, effort, and money with one-shot deals or fragmented marketing activities. Leverage everything. If you use writing for publicity, don't just write an article once for your ezine, ask "And now what?" Send the article to past clients with a "just in case you didn't see this yet."
    Tip #5: FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP, AND FOLLOW UP AGAIN
    Following up is one of the biggest areas independent professional fail to do. Set up a follow up system that is a part of your overall marketing system. Make it as automatic as possible -- so that I can run while you are on vacation.
    If you want to always have that "personal touch" with everyone, hire a virtual assistant as part of your system. Always have the next step planned and let your prospects know of future opportunities to engage you.
    Working with many independent professionals this past year, including coaches, insurance agents, real estate agents, engineers, too many medical practices to mention, I found they never asked the challenging question I mentioned earlier, "And then what? And then what?" Etc. They did speaking engagements and there was only one "And then what?" and they stopped there.
    Remember people are at different levels and need to build trust with you. Give them the ladder and the rungs to do that and they will.
    Always contact your leads within 24 hours of receiving them. Contacting them a week or two later, they people have moved on. If they had an issue they need to solve that you had a solution for they had most likely already found someone and by-passed you.
    Always follow up by e-mail, telephone, etc, multiple times. Yes, it's true, 80% of sales are made after five or more contacts.
    These elements will make all the difference in the world between struggling to get clients and becoming wildly successfully in marketing your services. They are worth investing your best efforts and getting the support you need to implement them effectively.
     
  20. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    Are you an online marketer? Or do you simply promote affiliate programs? Marketing is truly the most misunderstood word in use today on the Internet. Let me see if I can clarify this issue just a bit.
    In Marketing 101 at your local university, marketing is actually the process of Product, Place, Price and Promotion.
    PRODUCT
    No business can exist without a product or service to sell.
    In a nutshell, entrepreneurs are the people who believe in a product, service or idea, so much that they are willing to invest their lives into the development of their dream.
    Historically, every major corporation in the world was started by an entrepreneur with a dream and the drive to make it a reality.
    However, there comes a time in the life of every corporation when those who fear the gambling nature of their founder, squash the entrepreneurial drive that made the company a viable concern in the first place. The entrepreneur will either submit to the careful nature of the stockholders, or he will be forced to leave the company he created.
    The only entrepreneurs who withstand the pressure to move more carefully are those who have maintained majority control over their companies.
    PLACE
    In the offline world, place is defined by location. On the Internet, place is defined by domain name and the web hosting service chosen.
    Both online and offline, place can make or break a company without respect to the quality and value of the product, service or idea.
    PRICE
    Selecting a price is determined first on a basis of whether the company wants to be seen as a discount or a value company.
    Take for example Wal-Mart and Staples.
    Wal-Mart is the lead discounter in the marketplace. Staples on the other hand is the specialist in office supplies.
    Both sell a significant number of office supplies despite the fact that the lowest price can usually be found at Wal-Mart. As a value dealer, Staples can afford to charge more for their products than Wal-Mart.
    So the question for you is whether you want to position your company as a discount or value company.
    Testing has shown that products and services can be sold at any number of prices and still reach a significant number of people.
    The challenge of selecting the best price for your product or service will require a certain amount of testing.
    UNDERSTANDING THE PRICING EQUATION
    Let's assume we are selling a product. Let us also assume that we know that the product can be sold for $10 or $50. Let us also assume that if the price dips below $10 or rises above $50, then the product sales fall off significantly.
    Our challenge is to determine the best rate at which to sell our product.
    Testing has shown us that we can sell 1000 items a week at $10. Testing has also shown that we can sell 500 items per week at $50. And testing has shown that we can sell 650 items per week at $45.
    At $10, our projected weekly earnings are $10,000. When we sell the product at $50, we know that we can earn $25,000 per week. Most importantly, we know that we can earn $29,250 when our product is priced at $45.
    With the imaginary testing we have done on our imaginary product, we can easily see that selling our product at $45 per item will earn us more money over the long haul.
    Thus, when we make the decision for a national rollout of our product, then we will price our product at $45.
    Of course, this is a very simplistic analysis of the point I am trying to make. Though simple, I believe this analogy will help you understand the methods of developing a product's prices.
    PROMOTION
    Promotion, on the other hand, is the process of notifying the consumers for your product or service of your availability to serve them.
    Methods of promotion vary distinctly and should be arranged to meet very specific goals.
    As with product, place and price, promotion should not be left to chance. You should test every ad, every media, and every price point to determine the best bang for your promotional dollars.
    HEADS UP!
    If you are an online promoter or marketer, please factor in the most important element concerning the cost of your promotions.
    What element is that? Your time!
    Value your time at a certain dollar amount, and figure in your time into the cost of your promotional accounting.
    I say this because too many online promoters lose sight of this concept and spend 20 hours to generate one sale while using free advertising. Even if you rate your time at the federal minimum wage, then you will have invested $105 of your time for one sale that might only net you a gross sale of $45!
    ARE YOU TRULY A MARKETER OR ARE YOU JUST A PROMOTER?
    Most people who run a business on the Internet call themselves marketers. Yet, most of these same people are really just promoters wrapped in the label of a marketer.
    True marketers do not promote without a lot of advance work. They spend time planning, testing and measuring their actions and results to get the most out of every dollar spent and earned.
    Entrepreneurs finesse the art of marketing as they build their company into a major enterprise.
    If you are a promoter who does not keep an eye on the total marketing equation, then you are bound to fail.
    If you do call yourself a marketer, then do what a professional marketer does. Make sure that every dollar spent is spent well. Make sure that every dollar earned is put to good use. Market well so that when the people of the next generation look at your life, they will see a fine example of a successful entrepreneur that they will strive to emulate.