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The marketing process

Discussion in 'Business & Tax Advice' started by dizz, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    Hello once again, this is for all the newbies looking to get into the im industry. Or rather, any other marketing process. Everything from making cars to making the deal, or making a real good dinner for your gf/bf, takes a process, so we will lay down the processes for everybody. Yes it will be not the right thing for some, but it may benefit others. Thanks for your time
     
  2. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    A couple of weeks ago I was talking with a friend of mine. She was excitedly telling me all about the new coaching course that she had just developed and how awesome it was.

    I patiently sat and listened to her.


    I could see that she was really enthused about what she had just created. After she finished, I asked her, "That's great, now the real trick will be getting people to buy it."


    Her first reaction to my comment was, "What do you mean? Of course people are going to buy it. It's the best work I've done to date." But as she pondered for a moment about my comment she realized that she had fallen into the age-old deadly small business mistake that most entrepreneurs fall prey to; forgetting the principle objective of her business.


    I subtly reminded her that her principal occupation is NOT coaching; it's the MARKETING of her coaching services.


    There is an old advertising quote that says, "Any fool can make soap, it takes a clever man to sell it." This is as true today as when it was first uttered many years ago. Any Tom, Dick, and Harry can make a bar of soap. Even if it's the most advanced soap on the planet earth, it won't matter if no one buys it. Now, I'm not comparing my friend's wonderful coaching coarse to soap, in fact her course is truly masterful... But the fact of the matter is, that it is exactly like soap.


    There's a thousand great coaching courses out there...

    ...but it takes a clever person to sell it!

    Failing to understand (or accept) this principle is so poisonous that it can kill any small business fast. You see, to make a small business successful you need cash flow. To get cash flow you need customers. To get customers you must sell your product or service.


    You might be a plumbing wizard or a crack electrician, but so are the fifty other plumbers and electricians whose ad sits right next to yours in the yellow pages. No matter how great your technical skills are or how innovative your product is, your business will wither away and die like 80% of all small businesses if you can't sell it.


    How Would You Do Things Differently If...


    Let's suppose for a moment that you truly did internalize this critical principle. Suppose that you sincerely believed that your most important function was the marketing of your products and services. What would you do differently tomorrow morning?


    - Would the contents of your daily to-do list change?

    - Would you allocate and prioritize your time differently?
    - Would you change the criteria and process with which you screen new partners?
    - Would your training agenda change?

    I would suggest that if you really believed deep down that your primary business objective (and number one goal) is to *market* your products and services, your to-do list, the way you allocate your time, your role in your company, and your personal training would be radically different than it is today.


    Now that you know what your primary business objective is, what are your going to do about it?


    Allow me to list out a few activities that I (and you should) consider "high value." By high value, I mean activities that will generate you income so you're no just spending time "piddling around" in your business.


    - Creating (or developing) something unique in your product or service.

    - Attending direct response marketing conferences / workshops / bootcamps.
    - Meeting with your mastermind marketing group.
    - Finding low cost targeted advertising opportunities and creating a plan to utilize this medium correctly. Hint - You cannot sell your services via advertising.
    - Studying the marketing strategies of your competitors and other businesses outside of your industry.
    - Networking with other owners and representatives of businesses that target your same market.
    - Testing your advertising and marketing to improve your current response rates.
    - Writing articles for trade journals, local newspapers, magazines, industry newsletters etc.
    - Writing sales letters and managing your direct mail marketing campaigns.

    Do you get the idea?


    If you worked for a corporation, your Director of Marketing would perform those activities.


    You must become the Director of Marketing!


    That should be your new role in your business.


    Why leave the absolute most critical part of your business to someone else?


    I can hear you saying right now, "But I'm already doing all those things." And my response is, "How much time are you devoting to those "high value" activities?" Do you need to hire a manager or assistant to relieve you of all your other duties so that you can focus exclusively on those activities that have the most impact on your business?


    Brian Tracey, a famous author and speaker has said that, "To be really successful, you should stop doing any activity that wouldn't normally pay you what your worth." For example, if you think you're worth $50 an hour, why would you be filing papers when someone else can do it for $8 an hour?


    Becoming a Master of Direct Response Advertising


    I often get e-mails from people asking, "I only have $1,000 to market my product. Where should I spend this money to get the highest return on my investment?" My response is always to invest it on your personal education. Nothing will bring you a greater return on your marketing dollar than your personal investment in becoming a master of direct response marketing.


    I regularly spend thousands of dollars every year investing in books, tapes, CD's, workshops, conferences, videos and every other form of educational medium. In fact, as I have interviewed many successful business people I have consistently found one common trait. Each person had a passion and insatiable desire to learn and invest heavily in their own private education.


    What Do Bill Gates and Oprah Have In Common?


    Other than their own personal Fort Knox, Bill Gates and Oprah both have an insatiable desire to learn. Did you know that every year Bill Gates goes away for a week with a suitcase full of books just to read. If Bill can find time to do it so can you.


    Oprah is famous for her "book of the month club." Do you have a reading list and if so what is on it?


    One of the worst mistakes you can make as a small business owner is to be fooled into thinking that you are in the business of producing and delivering products and services. Wrong! You're in the business of *marketing* products and services. The faster you realize this, the faster the cash will flow.


    I've always said, good marketing can make up for a bundle of operational sins (just ask Microsoft). Marketing IS your business, not just part of it. Become an expert in direct response marketing by investing heavily in your own education. Reevaluate how you are managing your business by asking yourself some of the questions that I've mentioned.


    What I've shared with you may require a new paradigm shift. But if you want to not only survive, but also be a super-success, you must make the shift.
     
  3. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    Here are 7 well known, highly effective marketing tactics many small business owners overlook when developing their marketing program. How many have you overlooked?


    1. Be Unique


    The best way to beat your competition is to promote a distinct advantage your customers cannot get from a competitor. This is often called your USP (short for Unique Selling Proposition). If you don't already have a distinct advantage, create one. Add something to your business you're not already doing. One network marketer I know doubled her sign up ratio by providing free sales leads to her new distributors for their first 4 months.


    2. Use Testimonials


    Collect and use testimonials. Testimonials from satisfied customers are similar to referrals. Both provide your prospect with evidence that your product or service produced results for other customers just like them. I've performed many tests using the same messages with and without testimonials. Those with testimonials always increased sales, often by as much as 65% or more.


    Don't wait for satisfied customers to volunteer a testimonial. Instead, follow up with some customers soon after completing a transaction. Ask what they liked best about your product, service or business opportunity. You'll get many flattering compliments. Ask for permission to use them in your promotions.


    3. Make An Upselling Offer


    Upselling is a proven technique you can use to get more money at the point of sale. Customers will never be more receptive to an attractive offer from you than when they're paying you money. Offer your customers or clients the option to upgrade to a better product or service at a special price. Or, offer the option of adding a related item to the sale for a special combination price. Many will accept your offer. An upselling offer can increase your average sale by 30 percent or more without creating any advertising expense.


    4. Trivialize Your Price


    Demonstrate a low cost for your product or service by breaking down the price to its lowest time increment. "$325 per year" frightens many customers away. "Enjoy all of this for less than 90 cents a day" attracts them to the low cost.


    5. Stress Benefits Before Features


    A feature is what something is. A benefit is what it does. For example, my favorite donuts are now delivered in a re-sealable box. That's a feature. The donuts stay fresh for a week after I first open the box. That's the benefit. Promote the benefits of your product or service before you promote the features of it. People never buy something to get a feature. They always buy to get the benefit produced by the feature.


    6. Focus On The Headline


    Always include a headline with your ad, sales letter or web page. Include your biggest benefit in the headline to grab your prospect's attention. Otherwise, many prospective customers won't read your promotional material. When you develop a new promotion, test different headlines to find the most effective one BEFORE you test anything else. After you find the headline that attracts the most readers you can test to find the most motivating copy for them to read.


    7. Make An Offer


    Never advertise without including an offer. An irresistible offer is the number one reason why people buy something. To substantially increase the response to your advertising, substantially improve your offer. Many small businesses advertise without including an offer. This is a costly mistake because it doesn't provide a reason for prospective customers to respond. The best way to get a big response from your advertising is to make an offer your prospects can't refuse.


    Are you using all 7 of these tactics in your promotions? If not, revise your marketing program to include those you've overlooked. You'll immediately enjoy a big increase in your sales and profits without increasing your expenses.
    [/FONT]
     
  4. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Looking to improve your marketing efforts? No matter what marketing weapons you choose to use to promote your business, products, or service, the most effective marketing campaigns all have common characteristics....[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]

    1. [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
      [*]PROFITABILITY The best marketing campaigns sell your product/service... at a profit! These campaigns always make more money than they cost and always motivate people to buy what you're offering.

      [*]LONGEVITY Effective marketing is marketing with staying power. It can be used for months, weeks, and years. It maintains its selling power and appeal over long periods.

      [*]ATTITUDE Great marketing stands out from the mass of other messages by showcasing attitude: That of your company, your product,your customers.

      [*]SUBSTANTIVE Power marketing puts substance ahead of style, emphasizing the real benefits of your goods or services without having to rely on chicanery, obfuscation, or gimmickry.

      [*]CUSTOMER-FOCUSED Marketing that works is marketing that connects with the customer and focuses on their needs and interests, not the advertiser's. It engages them by talking to them, instead of about you.

      [*]SOLUTION-ORIENTED To that end, effective marketing helps consumers understand how their problems or issues can be solved using your services. As Jay Conrad Levinson says, "People don't care about marketing." They care about their lives, not your business.

      [*]PERMISSION-BASED Again: people aren't interested in marketing. This is particularly true as the number of marketing messages we are exposed to increases exponentially. Interruption-based marketing (e.g., "pop-up" browser screens, SPAM) is NOT effective in the long run. Modern-day marketing involves getting customers' consent to market to them. It emphasizes creating a relationship with consumers.

      [*]TAILORED The best marketing recognizes the different strengths of various medium (t.v., radio, internet, magazines, etc.) and is specifically crafted for delivery VIA those medium.

      [*]CLEAR Great marketing is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

      [*]IMAGINATION The most effective marketing shows flare and imagination but always with the goal showcasing your product and getting people to buy.
      [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT] [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Use this short list as a guide to evaluating your new marketing programs, especially if they seem not to be effective... Look to see if there's a characteristic that's missing or needs to be enhanced. Doing so could be just the thing to make your marketing stand out and sell! [/FONT]
     
  5. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    1. Identify your values: This is the most critical step and the one most often overlooked in business. Do some soul searching and get a crystal clear idea of what matters most to you as an individual and then as a company. Your values form the base of your company and should influence every decision, from what kind of toilet paper you buy to the business partners you seek.

    2. Identify your mission: Once your values are identified, it’s time to write a mission statement. Ask, why does my company exist? What do we aim to do? Write it in simple language that a 12-year old can understand. Do a search on the internet for mission statements and use the most compelling ones as a template. This is the statement that should get you out of bed each morning and inspire you morning, noon, and night.

    3. Identify your ideal client: Again, a critical step. Look at your mission and why your company exists at all and ask, “Whom do I serve?” The hard part is getting as specific as possible to the point of potentially turning off a lot of other people. Don’t worry. The biggest mistake you can make is trying to please everyone. This dilutes your service/product so much that you really don’t strike a nerve with anyone. No one will have a compelling enough reason to buy from you. By turning some people off, you attract others who will bond with you for life. And a final benefit to knowing the specifics of your ideal client is you then have a much better idea of where to look for them.

    4. Create an emotional connection: Every potential customer wants to know one thing, “What’s in it for me?” In order to compel someone to pull out their money and buy, you need to connect them to you in an emotional way. How are you going to make their life better? What pain is your product or service going to eliminate? Watch some television and notice how the best commercials create an emotional atmosphere. Which commercials get your attention, which ones stick with you, and how do they get their message across?

    5. Identify the benefits vs. the features: Know your product/services inside and out. But instead of just listing the features, describe them in terms of how the client will benefit. Remember, it’s all about creating that emotional connection with your ideal client and telling them how you can make their life better.

    6. Create an experience: Why should consumers buy from you as opposed to any one of your competitors? What makes you unique? Successful companies are now in the business of creating experiences that enrich lives. Starbucks does not just sell coffee. From the music they play (and sell) to the comfortable furniture and inviting décor they offer, they create an atmosphere that people will pay for above and beyond a beverage in a cup.

    7. Commit to a message: How do your values and mission tie into your image? Carefully look at what matters most to you and broadcast that to your ideal client. Once you are clear on your message, stand behind it and don’t waffle.

    8. Enforce consistency: This also relates to your values and mission. Once you are clear about why you are in business, maintain your integrity, from the level of service you provide and your logo and printed materials to the way you follow-up with customers and the stamps you buy. Be conscious of every detail and match it to your values, your mission, and your message.

    9. Have the courage to reinvent yourself: Even (or especially) if you have been in business for a long time, take the time to ask, who do we REALLY want to be? You might have created your business without being clear about your mission, or your mission might have changed. Or because the climate and the market constantly evolve, you might have hit the target five years ago, but have lost your edge since then. Be brave enough to ask if your current image is right. If not, this is the time to reconnect with your current mission.

    10. Lastly, beware of following trends: If you want longevity, don’t fall prey to the seduction of the latest trend. Besides, if something is trendy, it’s probably already too late to jump on that bandwagon. Keep looking inward at what you stand for and forward at how your company will change lives. Build trust by showing you aren’t fickle or easily swayed by the flavor of the month.
     
  6. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    Are you ever frustrated or hesitant when you talk to prospective customers because you can't readily explain why they should come to you rather than go to your competitors? Sure, you might have your 30-second elevator speech, but then they ask you that dreaded question, "So what makes you different?" Then, all those self-doubts creep in, and you just aren't sure what to say. Differentiation can boost confidence--yours in yourself and that prospective customer's confidence in you!
    Dif-fer-en-ti-ate v. tr. To perceive or show the difference in or between; discriminate.
    In business terms, to differentiate means to create a benefit that customers perceive as being of greater value to them than what they can get elsewhere. It's not enough for you to be different--a potential customer has to take note of the difference and must feel that the difference somehow fits their need better. (Other words that mean virtually the same thing: Competitive Advantage; Unique Selling Proposition; or Value Proposition.)

    As you are building your business, you can use differentiation to attract more customers. Once you have momentum, differentiation allows you to charge a higher price because you are delivering more value to your customers. Make a point to evaluate and adjust your differentiation methods at least annually.

    The various methods of differentiating your businesses fall into four general categories:

    Price Differentiation
    Focus Differentiation
    Product/Service Differentiation
    Customer Service Differentiation
    Price Differentiation
    Differentiating on price is probably the most common and easily understood method. HOWEVER, for Solo Entrepreneurs, caution is in order. On the one hand, potential customers might expect a lower price from you than from your larger competition because they perceive you as having less overhead, etc. On the other hand, cheaper prices can evoke perceptions of lower quality, a less-stable business, etc. And if you compete on price against competitors with deeper pockets, you can price yourself right into bankruptcy. Be creative with this differentiator by competing on something other than straight price. For example, you might offer:



    • [*] More value--offer more products or services for the same price.
      [*] Freebies --accessories, companion products, free upgrades, and coupons for future purchases.
      [*] Free shipping, etc.--convenience sells, especially when it is free!
      [*] Discounts--includes offering regular sales, coupons, etc. (see cautions above)
    Focus Differentiation
    For Solo Entrepreneurs, this is the most important method of differentiation, and in many ways, the easiest. Why? Because as a Solo Entrepreneur, you simply can't be everything to everybody, so you must pick a specific way to focus your business. Once you have done that, you have an automatic advantage over larger companies because you can become more of an expert in that one field --and you can build close relationships with key customers that will be hard to duplicate. For example, you might differentiate yourself through:



    • [*] Location--take advantage your closeness to prospective customers.
      [*] Customer specialization--be very specific about what characteristics your customers will have—for example, racing bicycle enthusiasts or companies with a spiritual conscience.
      [*] Customer relationships--know customers really well, form partnerships with them, and get them to speak for you!
      [*] Affinity relationships--associate your product/service with a well-known person or organization.
      [*] One-stop shopping--offer everything your target market needs, in your area of expertise.
      [*] Wide selection (within your niche)—although this one may seem to be the opposite of focus--the key is to be very specific in one dimension and very broad in another.
    Product/Service Offering Differentiation
    How much you are able to differentiate your product or service offering will vary based on what type of business you are in. For instance, if you are in a highly regulated business, your options may be limited. Explore a totally new market or type of product or service, however, and the possibilities abound. The key to successful differentiation in this category, again, is to know your customers, really, really well. Talk to them often, and you will know what they need most and be able to offer it, long before your competitors know what is happening. For example, your product or service could stand out in one of these ways:



    • [*] Quality--create a product or service that is exceptional in one or more ways. Examples: Lasts longer
      [*] Better
      [*] Easier to use
      [*] Safer
      [*] New/First--be the first one to offer something in your location/field.
      [*] Features/Options--offer lots of choices, unusual combinations, or solve a problem for a customer in a way no one else does.
      [*] Customization--as a Solo Entrepreneur, you may be able to more easily handle special orders than big, mass-market competitors.
    Customer Service Differentiation
    Have you noticed how customer service seems to be out of vogue these days? This situation makes excellent customer service a great opportunity for differentiation and another natural advantage for Solo Entrepreneurs that already know what's important to their customers. Build your reputation on making customers feel really good about doing business with you. Works great with referral marketing, too. Examples:



    • [*] Deliver Fast--next day, or one-hour--make it faster than customers think possible.
      [*] Unique channel--offer a service over the phone or Internet instead of in person or in their office rather than yours.
      [*] Service-delight customers!--it may seem expensive to offer exceptional service--but it pays off in word-of-mouth advertising.
      [*] Before/during/after-sales support--provide technical or other support to customers using your product. You might use joint ventures to provide that support--but customers will perceive it as being from you!
      [*] Guarantee/warranty--offer 100% money-back, or free replacement parts.
      [*] YOU--offer yourself, your unique blend of talents and skills, to attract customers. Make sure they get access to you, too!

    Keys to Successful Differentiation:



    • [*]Know your customers, really, really well.
      [*] Pick a blend of differentiation methods that, in the eyes of your customers, truly sets you apart.
      [*] Talk about your differentiation in terms of customer benefits.
      [*] Tell everyone about what differentiates you--often.
      [*] Keep your differentiation fresh by listening for changing customer needs.
     
  7. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] If you are like me, and love your business, you certainly want to grow it to be as successful as possible. Whatever product or service you offer, wouldn't you be willing to nurture it through the number one way to market--the Internet? Especially if you realized all the benefits? [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] You want to market Online because... [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]1. It's less trouble. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] You don't have to be a polished presenter to market your product effectively Online. While speaking to groups in person does give you instant credibility, it takes a great deal of preparation time for your talk, your materials, and your wardrobe. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]At your computer nobody cares if you're in your jeans and tee shirt. You don't have to run to the copy shop or printers either. Your talk translates easily into a short article. It's far easier to write a how-to article that you can edit several times at your leisure, and send it immediately by just clicking a button. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]2. It's non-threatening to the less brazen promoter. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] You don't have to "sell" your product. Over the Internet, you won't meet sales resistance or rejection face-to-face. Even if you are good in public situations and can present yourself clearly and confidently, it's far easier to pitch yourself through the printed word. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] People Online are ready customers when they find you. As your target market, they want information, and appreciate the instant delivery of your product as well as the ease of ordering it Online. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    3. It's so convenient.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] You don't have to schlep your product around with you. You don't have to keep track of inventory. When you sell eProducts such as eBooks or eSpecial reports you don't have to wrap, stamp, or mail them. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]4. It's less time investment. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] Online marketing saves you time because you can do it all from one location. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] Attending meetings or giving presentations take prep, driving in traffic, and several hours out of your day. You may not make a sale for months. At your computer, your messages shoot out to thousands instantly, and you haven't even had to put on panty hose! [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]5. It's much less money. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] You can start your business with little capital. Most Online business locations are at home. Web sites have become our virtual office. Compare the costs to maintaining an office to maintaining your site. Instead of thousands of dollars a month, it's only hundreds. You can hire a virtual assistant from a local tech school for a reasonable fee, that more than pays for your increased sales. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]6. It's vast with endless possibilities. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] While you may not be a millionaire right away, it's probable, that in time, you could be one. The World-Wide Web awaits your unique creation. People are ready to buy every day. Even with modest time investment, you'll reap vast rewards. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]7. It's supportive of the entrepreneur. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] You can exchange information, ideas and find mentors and other qualified professionals to assist you in your Online adventure. People are so friendly Online. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]8. It' a grand adventure. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] You meet wonderful people from all over the world, who want to know you, and even buy from you. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] Just remember, like a garden, a new venture takes time to be planted, watered, and nourished, weeded and ultimately harvested. Don't give up too soon. Keep your patience going, and enjoy the process. [/FONT]
     
  8. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    Are you looking for an incredible Internet presence? Many people reading this may already have a web presence. Others have no site at all. Although not absolutely necessary, in most cases having a web site is an expected aspect of doing business. With the right use of a site, you can give incredible benefit to your customers and prospects.


    Before you start, decide how will you be using your web site. To provide company information? To promote or sell products and services? To build your contacts? How your web site works with your marketing efforts will determine how elaborate it will be and how much money and time you invest in it.

    Present a Professional Image on the Internet


    Many businesses mistakenly attempt to save money by creating their site themselves. Not having a professional design your site can be detrimental to your company. You need someone who can create a site that reflects your company's image, products and services. Your web site is a part of your overall marketing strategy and needs to complement other marketing efforts. You may have an employee on your staff who has the experience to design your web site. On the other hand, if an employee has limited or little experience with web sites, you may want to consider contracting a professional web designer. There are plenty of companies who sell extremely high end products with a web site that looks like it was developed during their spare time. If your site image does not match your product or service image, some customers may not take you seriously.

    Building Your Contacts


    Encourage visitors to your site to leave their contact information - including their email address. This is all part of a good master marketing strategy. Some methods for collecting information is to offer an ezine (electronic newsletter), ebooks (electronic downloadable book), tip sheets, signups for free workshops, and a "for further information" request form to name just a few.

    Promote Your Company


    Share Your Expertise One method that works extremely well in promoting your company through your web site is by using article distribution. It is one of the best ways to reach untold numbers of people and position you as an expert within your industry and market. In a matter of minutes you can distribute your articles to literally dozens of newsletters editors looking for articles. 'How To' and short `tip' articles of just a few hundred words or even a couple of paragraphs are very popular.


    Two primary types of article distribution are passive and active. Passive distribution is where you post articles on your site and encourage people to download them for other sites, company newsletters, trade journals, magazines or newspapers. Be sure to include a statement that if someone uses your article, they give you full credit when it is published. It's all very fine to have your articles all over the place, but if they don't lead people back to your site, where they can see your company and leave their contact information, all your work may be for naught.


    Active distribution means to aggressively pursue opportunities to have your articles published elsewhere. One way to do that is put a message at the end of all outgoing emails with a link to the articles on your site. Additionally, there are countless sites looking for good articles. Simply go to a search engine like Google or Yahoo! and input the words "online newsletters" and watch what happens.


    Topics for your articles need to be consistent with your products and services. Many people do not feel confident in their writing ability. If this is your situation, either have someone on staff write the articles or hire a ghost writer. A ghost writer writes your articles using information you provide and you get credit for the article. This practice is more common than many people realize. Remember to put your contact information somewhere in the article. You want people to visit your site and see what you offer.


    No matter what your strategy for using a web site, your success lies in how systematic your approach is. With proper planning you can gain incredible return that will pay off handsomely.
     
  9. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    When Robert Middleton moved his marketing consulting practice, Action Plan Marketing, to Palo Alto, California several years ago, he started his business from scratch. He had left his well-established client base several miles away and now had to find strategies to generate new clients.

    Because Middleton had always spoken to promote his business, he turned to public speaking with a vengeance. He researched local organizations whose members comprised professional business owners, his target clientele. He called chambers of commerce, business groups and others likely to be interested in his three-hour marketing workshop.

    Within a few months, Middleton had spoken at over a dozen organizations, establishing his reputation as a marketing expert for professional service firms. He quickly became a known entity, having personally introduced his business and credentials to hundreds of prospects.

    Better yet, Middleton's speaking strategy helped him land all the business he could handle in a relatively short time period.

    Over the course of sixteen talks, he averaged one new client each time. Today, the seminars he conducts at business groups and, increasingly, teleconferences promoted through his web site generate more than 50 percent of his business.

    Speaking Is Selling

    Many business people never consider standing in the front of their buying public to share professional wisdom. If you're one of them, you're missing the boat.

    Speaking is a marketing strategy you can immediately embrace to get in front of potential customers. Speaking puts you within handshaking distance of your best prospects, many times helping you close sales before you leave the room.

    By speaking regularly you can end the uncertainty of knowing where your next client will come from. Speaking can help you reach dozens, and sometimes hundreds of your best prospects every time. Speakers report that speaking regularly continuously fills their prospect pipelines, ensuring a steady stream of new clients and customers.

    Speaking is effective because it showcases your knowledge before groups of people who eagerly show up to hear it. Your prospects may tune out advertising, but they'll pay attention to your talk because it presents your knowledge in polished form to people who think it will help them.

    Speaking gives you tremendous visibility and credibility that increases over time. Whenever you are in the front of a room, you get noticed. People will remember who you are and what your business does. The more people see you speak and see your business name, the more successful people think you are.

    Speaking gives prospects a taste of what you offer in a non-threatening environment. When they are in a room full of people, they feel comfortable. There's safety in numbers. They do not feel the sales pressure of a one-on-one meeting. It's also low risk, as chances are, they didn't pay as much to hear you speak as it would cost to hire you.

    Get On The Program

    You don't have to be a seasoned speaker to put speaking to work for your business. If you're willing to speak for free, you'll find that there are more outlets available than you'll know what to do with.

    "If you can get up there and do a decent job you will immediately position yourself as an expert in the minds of an audience," says business coach, author and professional speaker Caterina Rando. "You only have to be 'decent' to make an impact. Even though speaking can be scary at first, anybody can find groups to speak to and master the basics of giving a good speech."

    Choose the right topics

    Before you contact an organization about speaking, create sample talk descriptions with catchy titles. For example, a financial planner could avoid generic descriptions like "Planning Your Retirement," and use a more snappy title like "Enjoying Your Gold Years On A Champagne Budget".

    Targeting speaking opportunities

    Once you are clear about your topic and its benefit to the audience, make some calls and offer yourself as a speaker. Here are ideas of where to look for a free podium. Many of these groups need speakers all the time.

    · Chambers of Commerce
    · Service Clubs
    · Industry Specific Associations
    · University Extensions
    · Professional Associations

    Getting the most out of your speech

    The promotional value of your talks goes beyond your time on the podium. Often, when you speak to a group, the group publicizes the event. Many people who do not attend the event will still read the information, or will hear about you from other attendees, and may give you a call.

    Consistency is the big thing. Getting out there and speaking on a regular basis keeps your pipeline full of prospects. When you're done, put a follow up mechanism in place, even if it's a simple mailing or newsletter. If you keep in contact with people who've heard you speak, you get more long-term leverage from your efforts.
     
  10. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    Are you looking for ways to gain visibility, reach potential customers and provide a great service for your existing customers? Regardless of whether you are a start up business or well established, you can increase your visibility and revenues with very little cash outlay for marketing by doing seminars and workshops.
    Let's say you have very little, if any money, for a seminar. You can either offer the presentation at your place of business or at a free locale. Most libraries offer use of rooms at no cost and as a service to their community.
    Pick a topic that ties into your business message. For example, say you are a chiropractor. You could do a workshop on stress management. Put together a 30 - 60 minute presentation.
    Design a flyer announcing the free presentation. Distribute them to everyone you know. Ask others to hand out flyers for you. Post flyers in areas that will generate interest such as bulletin boards in bookstores, health food stores, your waiting room, etc. Send out a press release and PSA.
    You can require people to pre-register. Online is perfect in that you can capture their contact information and put it right into a database for future promotions and specials.
    On the day of your presentation, make sure you have something you can give attendees explaining your services. You may want to have a discount coupon you give to everyone who attends. Additionally, you can provide a small learning guide that they can take notes on. Make sure your contact information is on anything you hand out.
    At the end of the presentation, have people fill out an evaluation form that not only will allow them to give you honest feedback about the presentation, you can gather their contact information.
    This is probably the most cost effective way to begin an ongoing process of marketing and promotions for any business on a limited budget. It is also effective for well-established businesses.
    In addition to gaining visibility for your company, you are providing a valuable service to your clients which equates to a win/win all the way around.
     
  11. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] 1. Find the inherent drama within your offering. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]After all, you plan to make money by selling a product or a service or both. The reasons people will want to buy from you should give you a clue as to the inherent drama in your product or service. Something about your offering must be inherently interesting or you wouldn't be putting it up for sale. In Mother Nature breakfast cereal, it is the high concentration of vitamins and minerals.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]2. Translate that inherent drama into a meaningful benefit.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Always remember that people buy benefits, not features. People do not buy shampoo; people buy great-looking or clean or manageable hair. People do not buy cars; people buy speed, status, style, economy, performance, and power. Mothers of young kids do not buy cereal; they buy nutrition, though many buy anything at all they can get their kids to eat -- anything. So find the major benefit of your offering and write it down. It should come directly from the inherently dramatic feature. And even though you have four or five benefits, stick with one or two—three at most.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]3. State your benefits as believably as possible.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]There is a world of difference between honesty and believability. You can be 100 percent honest (as you should be) and people still may not believe you. You must go beyond honesty, beyond the barrier that advertising has erected by its tendency toward exaggeration, and state your benefit in such a way that it will be accepted beyond doubt. The company producing Mother Nature breakfast cereal might say, "A bowl of Mother Nature breakfast cereal provides your child with almost as many vitamins as a multi-vitamin pill." This statement begins with the inherent drama, turns it into a benefit, and is worded believably. The word almost lends believability.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]4. Get people's attention.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]People do not pay attention to advertising. They pay attention only to things that interest them. And sometimes they find those things in advertising. So you've just got to interest them. And while you're at it, be sure you interest them in your product or service, not just your advertising. I'm sure you're familiar with advertising that you remember for a product you do not remember. Many advertisers are guilty of creating advertising that's more interesting than whatever it is they are advertising. But you can prevent yourself from falling into that trap by memorizing this line: Forget the ad, is the product or service interesting? The Mother Nature company might put their point across by showing a picture of two hands breaking open a multivitamin capsule from which pour flakes that fall into an appetizing-looking bowl of cereal.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]5. Motivate your audience to do something.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Tell them to visit the store, as the Mother Nature company might do. Tell them to make a phone call, fill in a coupon, write for more information, ask for your product by name, take a test drive, or come in for a free demonstration. Don't stop short. To make guerrilla marketing work, you must tell people exactly what you want them to do.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]6. Be sure you are communicating clearly.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]You may know what you're talking about, but do your readers or listeners? Recognize that people aren't really thinking about your business and that they'll only give about half their attention to your ad— even when they are paying attention. Knock yourself out to make sure you are putting your message across. The Mother Nature company might show its ad to ten people and ask them what the main point is. If one person misunderstands, that means 10 percent of the audience will misunderstand. And if the ad goes out to 500,000 people, 50,000 will miss the main point. That's unacceptable. One hundred percent of the audience should get the main point. The company might accomplish this by stating in a headline or subhead, "Giving your kids Mother Nature breakfast cereal is like giving your kids vitamins—only tastier." Zero ambiguity is your goal.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]7. Measure your finished advertisement, commercial, letter, or brochure against your creative strategy.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]The strategy is your blueprint. If your ad fails to fulfill the strategy, it's a lousy ad, no matter how much you love it. Scrap it and start again. All along, you should be using your creative strategy to guide you, to give you hints as to the content of your ad. If you don't, you may end up being creative in a vacuum. And that's not being creative at all. If your ad is in line with your strategy, you may then judge its other elements.[/FONT]
     
  12. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    The following 3 simple selling tactics produce sales by responding to the way customers normally think and behave. They work for any business - regardless of what you sell, how you sell or where you sell it.
    1. Pay Attention to Getting Attention
    Can you remember the last 3 advertising messages beamed at you? Can you remember even one of them? Most people can't ...including your prospective customers. That's because they automatically ignore the steady stream of advertising directed at them.
    This illustrates a major obstacle you need to overcome before you can sell anything. You have to get your prospect's attention - and get it fast - or your sales message will be ignored.
    Here are 3 proven ways you can capture a prospect's attention quickly:
    * Make a dramatic statement: Example: "Even My Doctor Uses These Health Products"
    * Surprise your prospects with something unexpected: Example: "Try our service without charge for one month"
    * Ask a provocative question: Example: "If you're such a smart business owner why aren't you making six figures?"
    Tip: Include attention getting headlines on all your web pages. Many visitors arrive at a web page then immediately click away - unless something instantly catches their attention.
    2. Emphasize the Human Relationship
    Prospective customers are more receptive to buying from a real person than from an impersonal company. Look for ways to create a personal relationship with your prospective customers. For example:
    ...If you sell face to face, spend some time early in the selling process getting to know a little about your prospects and letting them get to know you.
    ...If you sell online or in some other way where you don't talk with prospects, include some information about you in your presentation. What you say about yourself will have the greatest impact if it highlights why you are uniquely qualified to provide what your customer wants.
    Tip: Sell yourself to make prospective customers comfortable with the selling process. But sell your company and its history of producing results to make prospective customers confident of your ability to deliver what you promise.
    3. Trigger Your Customer's Imagination
    Convert the benefits delivered by your product or service into vivid word pictures. Then put your prospect in the picture by dramatizing what it feels like to be enjoying those benefits.
    Be specific. If you sell financial products, describe what it feels like to enjoy an affluent living without debt. If you sell boats, describe what it feels like cutting through the waves with your friends onboard. If you promote a business opportunity, describe what it feels like to be at home working without a boss.
    Tip: Be sure your word pictures are dramatizing benefits and not describing features. People don't really care about the new high-tech insulation used in their beverage cooler (a feature). They just want to be able to enjoy ice cold beverages all day long on a hot day (the benefit).
    These 3 selling tactics produce sales by responding to normal human behavior. Use them in your web pages, sales letters and personal presentations. The volume of business they produce will surprise you.
     
  13. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Who would have thought that a TV network dedicated to selling products on a cable network could become a success? [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] Besides most people hate commercials... What would make them sit down, watch a shopping network and, ultimately, buy? [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] Simple... the networks applied principles that have been selling products for hundreds of years. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] 1. Get targeted prospect's attention. The networks have a matter of seconds to grab those people flipping the channels looking for something to watch. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]• Their solution is an excited host and an attractive display. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]• These images say a thousand words, but, on the internet, this task is quite daunting. That is why you must have an exciting headline to get people's attention, yet leave out the fancy graphics... they take too long to download, while a headline pops up on the screen in a matter of seconds...just like on the home shopping networks. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]2. Handle the customer's objections. The first thing the prospect sees, after his interest is perked, is the price at the bottom of the screen. He is now asking, "Is this product worth the price and will it meet my needs?" This is where the salesmen and women show their expert sales skills. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]• Before they get on air, they have done their research and know potential customer's needs and objections. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    • They know that for each need and objection you ignore, you may be missing out on a sale.
    [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]• This same concept can be applied to the internet. By writing to your customer in a way that he feels that you have the perfect product for him, you can make a sale. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]3. Show the benefits and justify the sale with features. My favorite products to watch being sold are clothing. They have been selling the same types of clothes for years, but they are able to sell thousands and thousands of clothes that would never sell in a department store. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]• They do this by citing benefits, like, "You will look beautiful, and you will receive lots of compliments." This gets the potential customer's attention, but they are still hesitant because they want to make sure they are opening up their pocketbook for a quality product. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]So the sales person will say, "This shirt is different because it has original stripes, and it is a perfect fit." Now the customer will have the justification he needs to make the purchase. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]• On the internet, this step is absolutely vital, and the customer must know why he should buy your product. Do this by making him picture what it would be like for him to use your product. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]4. My favorite part... testimonials. On the home shopping network, they always have people calling in to explain why they made their purchase. The customers are doing this so they can justify their purchase to themselves. Everyone wants to make sure he has made the right purchase and so he calls in, so the sales person will say, "Yes, you were absolutely right, and everyone else should take your advice." [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]• I like the testimonials so much because I always have to laugh at the various reasons people will use to justify their purchase. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]As I am writing this article and listening to QVC, a woman just called in and gave an extremely detailed explanation of why she purchases from QVC and not from department stores. The woman says she has been buying from QVC since the inception of the network and she likes it because she does not have to go outside to buy her clothes. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]• This example shows that you need to give testimonials that allow prospects to find reasons to justify their purchase. People want to buy, but they are not going to, unless they have a reason. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] All this information is just a touch of everything you can learn from the home shopping networks. So get tuned in! [/FONT]
     
  14. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]There's a 15-word marketing mantra that's covered in Marketing 101, that you need to know. It's: By the time you're sick of it, the public is just beginning to get it. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] HOW THIS WORKS [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]I was in marketing for years before becoming a coach, and went through this process many times. At a church I marketed, we started a campaign to educate the congregation about the concept of stewardship, as a way to raise donations, but also stewardship in terms of oceans, forests, intelligence, and other "free" gifts. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Every week for 104 weeks I wrote a lead article about stewardship. It was a challenge to make it new. Some mornings I would put my head down on the computer in desperation, I was so bored with the whole topic myself. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]After about 9 months, donations began to increase, and continued to climb steadily. Nine months, you'll find, is a "magic timeframe" in bringing ideas to birth, as it is in human life! [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]This is one reason why you have to trust your own marketing, and/or your marketing coach, and stay on-task. Things germinate for months and then "suddenly " happen, like the C&W singer who becomes an "overnight sensation" after waiting tables and knocking on doors for 15 years. Most stars have a story to tell like that. There's always hard work and determination behind the "instant successes." [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]With marketing, you come up with one clear concept you want to get across - branding if you will - and then you hammer away at it, over and over. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] ANOTHER EXAMPLE [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]When I was the Fundraiser for a homeless shelter, the message we wanted to get across was that when you volunteered or gave money, there were great benefits to you as well. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Over and over the same message went out. Taglines, slogans, articles, demonstrative photos, testimonials. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]After that same period, things began to happen. Volunteerism went up, donations went up. The message had come across. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Now as a coach, I set out to brand myself as The EQ Coach. After writing articles about it for over a year, "suddenly" it's popped. People are emailing me to find about it, to license products, and to get coaching. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]At the same time, the field is becoming known to the general public. 18 months ago, I sent a press release about EQ and the reporter wrote back and wanted to know what on earth that meant. He'd never heard of it. Since then, there have been new books released, new research, a noted movie producer started an educational foundation based on EQ, and it appears regularly on the Internet, radio, etc. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Part of emotional intelligence is Optimism, and you'll recall a recent segment on the national news about the health benefits of Optimism from lead researcher, Martin Seligman, Ph.D. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] THIS WAY, THAT WAY [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Here's how I worked it for branding. I've written hundreds of Internet articles about EQ from every conceivable standpoint, and there will be more coming. I'm not sick of the field, it's too exciting, too important and too helpful, but I constantly have to wrack my brain to come up with new "slants." [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Here are some examples of articles I've written about emotional intelligence.
    [/FONT]

    1. [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
      [*]Writing for the Internet with Emotional Intelligence
      [*]Use Your Emotional Intelligence for a Better Valentine's Day
      [*]How to Market Using Your Emotional Intelligence
      [*]Get Promotions By Using Your EQ, Not Your IQ
      [*]Is EQ 7 Times More Important to Your Success and Happiness Than IQ?
      [*]Emotional Intelligence - the Key to Personal and Professional Development
      [*]Use Your EQ to Make More Money
      [*]Have an Emotionally Intelligent Christmas This Year
      [*]Make Your Resolutions Using Your EQ and Watch Them Work for a Change
      [*]What Makes a Good Manager? Emotional Intelligence.
      [*]Are You an Early-Adopter? Then EQ is For You.
      [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT] [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] ANGLES [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Whatever it is you're promoting consider it from as many angles as you can, and keep hammering away at it. Remember to look ahead; if it's January now, you should be thinking of upcoming events like Valentine's Day, tax time, spring, and Easter. Here are some ideas: [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] *Holidays - if you run a plant nursery, feature a heart-shaped topiary for Valentine's Day; if you're a relationship coach, tell people how to get along at the family Christmas dinner *Current events - Bring a national news event into your hometown, and into your field. If there's an announcement about a major movie star going into rehab again, and you're a therapist, alert the press you're available to comment locally, write some articles on the problem on the Internet, post something on your website *Important times - Tax time is an example. If you're a business coach, for instance, start in January to promote your services by writing about what's on everyone's mind. *Applications - Make what you sell or provide apply to common problems. Say you sell perfume. Everyone's unemployed now, so write an article about perfume in general at work, or for job interviews - what's appropriate, what isn't. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Your job in marketing is never over, and it's your job to take "the same old thing" and make it new and fresh. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]"By the time you're sick of it, the public is just beginning to get it," and what a happy day it is when they "get it" and it's you, your services and products! [/FONT]
     
  15. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Is your business doing as well as you'd like? Why not? Pause for a few seconds to think about the answer to this question. Got it? [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]If you'd like your business to sell more, keep reading. Here are 3 simple and effective steps that exceptional businesses use to grow sales. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Step One: Throw out all the reasons why you're not selling more. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]That's right, those same reasons you just came up with. What if you had to come up with ways to sell more, despite those reasons? What would you do? [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]For example, many business owners say they can't sell more because of the poor economy. That's a good reason, but so what. At the same time, some businesses thrive in poor economic times. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]What about the "no money" reason? Many businesses don't have a marketing budget. There are similarly strapped companies who grow on a shoestring. They don't let good reasons stop them. Don't let good reasons stop your business from succeeding. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Step Two: Start marketing. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Use your reasons as a starting point. Take poor economic times. In poor economic times, what do people want? In general, people are looking for value or fun or both value and fun. How can you add fun to your business? Can you offer discounts for stocking up? Discounts for prepaying? Or instead of a discount, how can you offer more value? [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]If your business is low on funds, think about how you can effectively use the marketing funds you do have. There are lots of things you can do that can build your sales without without using all your cash. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Get your current customers to refer friends. Trade advertising with complimentary businesses. Set up pay-per-sale arrangements with other businesses. They recommend your business, you pay them a referral fee when you make a sale. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Many business owners procrastinate on marketing. If you have reasons why you're not marketing today, see Step One above. Choose something to do and do it today. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Step Three: Test and Measure [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Find out what mix of tactics work for your business. Test small. See what works. So you can do more of what works. Also dissect what DID NOT work. Why didn't it work? [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]This is where many businesses make a critical mistake. They don't know why a certain marketing technique didn't work. But they kiss it goodbye anyway. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]For example, a webmaster tried advertising online but didn't get sales. She could have stopped advertising online. Instead, she looked closely at the results. It turned out that the advertising DID bring her hundreds of visitors who were searching for her products. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]The sales-stopper turned out to be her website, not online ads. Her website had several barriers to making sales. It didn't build confidence, images were grainy, her shopping cart was hard to use. Visitors just clicked away. When those roadblocks were removed, her website started selling almost immediately. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Whenever you're frustrated by low sales, you may want to take this article out and skim through it again. Let these 3 simple steps help you jumpstart your sales. [/FONT]
     
  16. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Like many capable business owners and professionals, you are probably great at what you do and not so great at - nor thrilled about -marketing your services. It seems we sometimes spend more time marketing than actually conducting business. I have met more than one entrepreneur so turned off by their conceptions of marketing and what it takes, that they find themselves completely stumped and floundering. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    There are many great ideas about how to effectively market yourself and your service-based business, and as many rules as there are marketing experts. Consider these:
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    - You should be out networking three or four nights a week - Public speaking is the key to marketing success
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]- You need a 30-second commercial that will attract attention [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]- You need a user-friendly, interesting, information-filled Web site [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]- You need to write (brilliant) articles [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]- Tell everyone you meet what you do - even at the grocery store! [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]- Follow-up is key, etc. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    The list goes on. All are true, yet in their entirety can be overwhelming. After all, you have your own style, strengths and talents, an aversion to certain activities, and you have limited time and resources.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    If you are not going to market 24/7, then what amount of time should you spend? If there are at least 100 marketing activities from which to choose, which are best for you? And just when should you be doing what?
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    Identifying and leveraging seasonal cycles If you've been in business for two or three years, you've probably observed a rhythm to your business. You may have noticed times when interest in your products or services seems to pick up, without much effort on your part. If you look more closely, it's likely that some of this ebb and flow coincides with the seasons and artificial markers in life.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    For example, let's look at the impact of the winter holidays on business.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    For retailers and gift and/or product-based businesses:
    Most retailers generate as much as 80% of their business revenue between Thanksgiving and New Year's, so this is the time they pour on the advertising dollars - buying bigger newspaper ads, running more promotions, and buying more TV time. Some companies advertise on TV only at this time of year. These companies are leveraging the natural cycles of their business opportunities and don't expend time and resources to the same degree at other times.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    For service-based businesses:
    If you offer services that cater to individuals, the winter holidays are probably not a prime time for new business. People are too busy with other things. Vacation, family and holiday commitments virtually derail them from normal business. People may meet with you in November and December, but more than likely they won't commit to anything until January.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    For me, there is a natural fall-off to my business between October and December when some clients are ready to take a break or wrap up their coaching. This provides an opportunity for me to prepare for new business in January, and to take time off. It's also an ideal time to meet prospective clients, to schedule speaking engagements, to prepare new programs, and so on. Then when people are ready to get back to work in January - to set goals for the new year and to focus on business again - I am ready for them.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    Other seasonal markers
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    Spring
    breeds increased action for people. The sun is coming out and people are ready to emerge from the sluggishness of winter. It's time for spring-cleaning and a great time to focus your marketing efforts if your services support people in clearing out the cobwebs.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    September
    marks the time when children return to school, people return from vacations, and the world is ready to get back to work - if only for a short period. Clients who start with you at this time either will be short-term clients or move easily through the holidays.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    Summer
    can go both ways, and seems to be more individually based. I have had clients begin coaching in July, and July has been good for new memberships in an association to which I belong. If you are a product-based business impacted by the winter holidays, summer is a very important time for marketing and selling.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    Relief from the 24/7 marketing compulsion
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]By thinking about when and how to focus your marketing activities at different times of the year, you can corral the marketing "beast" and gain relief from the 24/7 marketing compulsion. Check out fuel cells for practical tips on how to better focus marketing activities within your own business. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    Track your business seasons
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Once you understand the "seasons" of your business, you can better plan for and know when to focus on certain marketing activities. This can help you avoid a great deal of frustration and needless expenditure of time and resources. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    Step 1:
    Answer the following to evaluate the life cycle and value of your clients and customers
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    1. Do my customers purchase services from me over a long period, or do they buy once?
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]2. How many products does one customer buy? [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]3. How long does the average customer stay with me? [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]4. How much does the average customer spend with me? [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]5. How much money do I make per gig? [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]6. What is my monthly income and how does it change from month to month? [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    The shorter the cycle, the more frequently you need to focus on marketing activities that generate new prospects. The less money you make per client, the more clients you need. The results can be a real eye-opener - potentially affecting how and when you market your services, as well as how you decide to do business in the future.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    Step 2:
    Plot your monthly revenue on a spreadsheet (If you hire someone to track your income and expenses, ask for his/her help).
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    Start your spreadsheet by listing clients or customers with whom you contract over time in the left-most column. Then, plot your monthly income for each client across the page. Do this for the last two calendar years for best results. This will help you determine the average life cycle of your clients. (If you have been in business less than a year, this is a great way to get to know your business. Consider this a head start.)
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    If you offer different products or services, list them out separately down the left-hand side of your chart and then show the months going across. Again, in this way, you can evaluate the value of your different products, programs, and/or clients and customers, which will help you know when you need to focus on marketing.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    Is this a good time?
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    If this is a good time to market your business, if you know clients await, check out Get Clients Now! (Trademark), a 6-week teleclass that helps you determine the best marketing strategies for you and provides support as you implement your marketing campaign over a 28-day period.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    RESOURCES
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    Cycles, Trends and Turning Points: Practical Marketing & Sales Forecasting Techniques by John V. Crosby
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]If you are the kind of person who likes to know a lot about a subject, this may be the right resource for you. A little more technical than some books, it nonetheless contains a lot of narrative for those who are interested in the broad strokes. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    Marketing for Dummies by Alexander Haim
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Many positive reviews were given to this book on Amazon.com. The opposite of the Cycles, Trends and Turning Points, this book will provide a good overview of marketing basics. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    Get Clients Now!: A 28-Day Marketing... by CJ Hayden
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]This is an excellent resource for the service-based professional. This book provides a great deal of information about the effectiveness and usefulness of different marketing strategies, and a full menu from which to design your own focused 28-day marketing plan. Once you've worked with the program once, you can use the book over and over to help you design new 28-day strategies as you grow your business and move through the different cycles. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    JobShift: How to Prosper in a Workplace Without Jobs by William Bridges
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]While this may seem like an irrelevant book, it isn't. Bridges wrote about the changing world of work in the mid-1990's. He does an excellent job of describing the global trends, shifts and cycles that are impacting the way we do business and the new ways we need to think to be successful in business. This book will give you that global view and is easy to read. [/FONT]
     
  17. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]There's gloom and uncertainty in the air, and most businesses are making a terrible mistake right now in their efforts to ride out the tough times. They're cutting back on marketing and waiting until the economy improves. [/FONT]​
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] In an economy like this, cutting back on marketing is flirting with business suicide. What you should do instead is increase your marketing without increasing the amount of money you spend. This will not only protect you from sales declines, but will also strengthen your business against the threat of deep-pocketed competitors, who may see tough times as a great opportunity to outmaneuver you and grab some of your customers. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] How do you get more marketing bang for fewer marketing bucks? By using proven lower-cost, higher-yield methods. Here are five sure cures for marketing woes in tough times: [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] 1. Get back in touch with old customers. It's all too easy to ignore your old customers, but they are often your best source for new business. Sometimes sending a personal note, making a phone call or inviting an old customer to lunch is all it takes to rekindle a business relationship. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] If you want to do this through direct mail or email, you can give old customers a special "Welcome Back" offer - a freebie, a discount, or a bonus when they resume doing business with you. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] 2. Offer prospective customers a free sample. This is an obvious but often overlooked strategy that certainly can work for your business. Everyone from grocery stores (who offer tidbits of food) to high priced consultants (I spoke to one last week who snared a $10,000 personal coaching client by offering a free first hour) can use this strategy effectively. Don't think it will work in the corporate world? Hmmm... ever hear of a company called AOL? [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] 3. Focus your advertising. Many businesses think "keeping your name in front of the public" is a valid advertising strategy. It's questionable at best, but it's way too risky and low-yield in tough times. Instead, make sure your advertising is only in publications that reach your best prospects, and - this is the most important part - make a specific offer and call to action to get readers of the ad to call you. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] One of my clients used this strategy and progressed from 10 lukewarm leads that wouldn't turn into customers, into signed contracts with 35 customers representing millions of dollars worth of business. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] 4. Let your customers help you out. Business is always a two-way street. Some of your customers who you've helped in the past will be glad to return the favor. Often, all you have to do is ask. Two things you can ask for: testimonials and case studies you can use in your sales presentations and advertising. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] Another way they can help you: by giving you referrals. And if you have an influential customer who's appreciative of what you've done, ask that customer to write and send an endorsed letter to others recommending your business. Offer to pay for the printing and postage, and help with the writing if necessary. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] 5. Give extra attention to high-integrity behavior. If you think you're the only one who's a little nervous about a lot of things right now, you're not alone. Recent tragic events have increased feelings of distrust across the board. To set yourself apart in the marketplace, go out of your way to conduct business in an especially trustworthy manner. Bend over backwards to be fair about refunds and exchanges. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] Do all you can to act in your customers' best interest, even if it means referring them to a competitor (if you don't think you're the best choice for what they want). High-integrity actions can hurt a little in the short-term, but payback is remarkably quick and well worth any sacrifice you may have had to make. If you get (or strengthen) a reputation for being trustworthy, that can be the most precious marketing asset of all in the times ahead. [/FONT]
     
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  18. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]For those new to marketing planning, the thought of completing a plan from start to finish may feel daunting. It need not. The level of detail you choose to include in your marketing plan will depend on your resources and situation. If you have extremely limited manpower or other resources, you may be constrained to a "broad brush" approach. If your plan must support your Web site's validity to others in the company, a lot of back-up detail may be appropriate.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] Basic Marketing Plan Content[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]* Include a summary at the beginning. Like any business report, your plan write-up should begin with a summary. The traditional executive summary is one option. I prefer to include - either in addition to or instead of the executive summary - a one-page table. The table makes everyday use of your plan easier. In one glance you can be reminded of your main challenge, objective, strategies, and tactics as well as budgets and deadlines. Also, as your plan evolves throughout the year, the table makes it easier to strategically modify the plan.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]* Explain your reasoning. Make some reference to why you chose the specific objective(s) and strategies in your plan. This will make it easier to justify the plan to others (if necessary). It will also help you make smarter, strategic decisions.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]* Identify your target customers. By doing so, you will be better able to develop effective advertising messages.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]* Write one or more positioning statements. In the statement(s), specify the customer needs you are fulfilling, benefits your products/services offer, and features that deliver those benefits.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]* Explain key issues and opportunities. These can best be identified through industry and/or competitive analyses.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]* Include preliminary budgets and timelines for your action plans.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] Expanded Content for Your Marketing Plan[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]You can also expand your marketing plan write-up to include detailed analysis and arguments to substantiate your plan:[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]* Describe the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats your business and/or Web site face (SWOT analysis).[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]* Explain the online business environment. What are your competitors' Web strategies? How do your customers use your site, competing sites, and the Internet in general? What potential substitutes are available?[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]* Include the trends in your industry and how they affect both online and offline activity. Show growth projections.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]* Detail the financial aspects. Include break even analysis for your site as well as for the tactics included in your plan. Discuss assumptions made when completing your financial analysis. Show how implementation of your plan will be profitable to your business.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]* Include a calendar of events that shows milestones in the coming weeks or months.[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]You can be as detailed or top-line as needed with the final marketing plan write-up. In any case remember that your marketing plan is always a work in progress. It may be current, but it is never "done". [/FONT]
     
  19. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] I'm always taken aback when someone asks me how much time I devote to marketing. Every single thing I do is marketing. Talking to strangers at seminars or group meetings or even in elevators or taxis is marketing. Customer service is part of marketing. I am an unabashed, relentless, promoter of my services and products. I get the drive from the love I have for this business. Here are a few suggestions on how you can attract, retain and extend your relationship with customers: [/FONT]



    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] If you want to improve your marketing efforts, you need to attend seminars, read books and articles on marketing. Talk to colleagues (a professional friend with whom you share target markets but don't sell the same product or service) about how they attract and retain their customers. It's important to accept that many of the tips and techniques may not be appropriate for you. However, if you open your mind, you'll come up with a version of the idea that may be perfect for you and your business. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] Don't overlook the effectiveness of the "schmooze factor." That's just talking and having fun with customers. I experienced a good example of the schmooze factor with a Super Shuttle driver recently I don't ride in silence in elevators or taxis, unless I'm getting unusual vibes from passengers, so I always ask them if they're going or coming from somewhere fun. The driver jumped into the conversation and kept it lively and wonderfully entertaining for the entire 40 minutes to the airport. We all tipped her at least double what we would have because she made it so much fun. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] Don't let your customers forget you-keep in touch with them consistently. One or two months after a sale, write your customers a note and ask them how they are enjoying their purchase. Call or write again on the anniversary of their purchase. If you see something in a periodical that you think your customers would be interested in send them a copy of it along with a note. Write a regular newsletter. Be sure to include information that will be of value to them as well as news about you and your latest products/services and charges. If you've gone hi-tech, create (or have someone do it for you) a web page on the Internet. You'll reach people you might not have expected. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica][/FONT][FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Give your customers something valuable they'll keep. I'm talking about those little specialty advertising items on which you have your name printed. I have a laminated wallet-sized card listing 15% and 20% tips for up to $100. It's a wonderfully handy item to carry in your wallet and-it has my name, e-mail address, Web site and 800 number. Meet with an advertising specialty firm to see what items would be valuable enough your customers would keep them on their desks, in their wallets, kitchens, etc. They'll see your name often and when they want to reach you, they can simply take your number off that refrigerator magnet or highlighting marker you gave them. [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
    When I had my hairstyling salon, I trained my stylists to ask their customers if they wanted to set their next haircut appointment. It was part of our service to keep their hair looking its best. What can you do to remind your customers when it's time to consider your service/product again?
    [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Have you ever given a stack of your business cards to friends or customers for them to distribute? How often do you think the cards actually get distributed? I don't leave anything to chance. In the hairstyling business, with each haircut, I always gave my clients three of my business cards. "One for you, two for the next two people who tell you how good you look." [/FONT]


    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Two to three cards are easier, and more likely to be given out than a handful. You're asking your clients to give your card only to those who ask about his/her haircut. Even if you don't have a hairstyling business, how can you make this technique work for you? [/FONT]


    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]I cannot stress enough, keep talking, reading, studying marketing till your head hurts. Don't expect to remember or even use all that your hear or read. However, you'll find a few of those ideas can be adapted successfully just for you and your business. Remember life is a series of sales situations. No matter how successful your business is, don't stop marketing. You have to keep convincing your customers that with you they will get the best deal and memorable service. [/FONT]
     
  20. dizz

    dizz Elite Member

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    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] What is the difference between a small business that makes it and one that does not? Most likely, the one that was successful engaged in some effective marketing. Wise marketing is critical for owners of home-based businesses for a number of reasons:[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]

    1. [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]
      [*]Marketing keeps you ahead of the competition
      [*]Marketing brings you a steady stream of revenue
      [*]Marketing provides leads for future sales
      [*]Marketing helps increase awareness about your business
      [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT] [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] Marketing is not something you just jump into, however. It requires careful examination and evaluation. Not every method, after all, will lead to the benefits mentioned above.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]When it comes to selecting the methods you use with your business, remember to keep in mind your target audience and your budget, then start narrowing the list of possibilities. You may also want to try a few of these marketing methods which have been proven effective for other home-based businesses:[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Affiliate Programs[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Almost all home-based businesses can work with an affiliate program. With this type of program, you recruit other people to sell your products/services and reward them with a percentage of the revenue (usually 3 to 10%).[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]The mechanics of these programs works like a restaurant franchise. Because your recruits are now associated with your company's name, you want to be sure that they are maintaining your standards of quality and professionalism, so many affiliate programs include ready-made web sites, sales materials, and more.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]These recruits then attempt to make sales on your behalf. The benefit is that all of their marketing efforts (beyond what you provide) are not part of your business's expenses, and they have the potential to reach new segments of potential clients and customers.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Giveaways[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]This type of marketing is one of the most popular with all businesses and can be handled in at least two ways: free gifts with a purchase and/or contests.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]You have probably come across ads or web sites that sell e-books or other products and offer a number of free gifts with the purchase of the product. The lure of freebies helps people make the decision to purchase. You can do the same thing with your product or service. Keep in mind that whatever you offer as a free gift should be inexpensive to produce so that you don't lose money on the deal.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Contests can also be quite effective if done creatively. For example, if your business was selling e-books, you could hold a contest with the grand prize being a free copy of one of your top-selling e-books.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]But what about second place? Many people don't realize that there's no rule or law against giving a prize to every person who enters your contest so why not reward all of the other people who entered with a significant discount on the price of that same e-book? Many of those second place winners will take the discount and make a purchase.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Search Engine Optimization[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]If you do any business online, an important part of your marketing efforts should be search engine optimization or SEO. SEO essentially means that you tweak your site so that it appears near the top of search engine results for certain keywords.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Generally this involves repeating those keywords frequently and placing keywords in headlines, meta tags, and introductory paragraphs. While it may sound easy, most businesses turn their SEO efforts over to professionals. If bringing an expert in fits your marketing budget, you may want to enlist their assistance.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Referral Reward Programs[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Another type of program aimed at bringing people to your site is a type of referral reward program. During the Internet boom, many sites had these type of programs which paid a few cents for each person who visited a site from a link listed at your site or through some other means.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Now, however, they simply are not as popular, but they can still be beneficial. Instead of offering a cash reward, allow your customers to earn your products/services by referring new business to you.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]For example, you may want to offer a free e-book to customers who refer five new customers to your site. These new customers may have to make a purchase, join the referral reward program, become a member, or sign up for the newsletter. People will do a great deal if the reward is right.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica] [/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]Whether you elect to use one of these marketing methods or choose one of your own, the key is to test its effectiveness. Try it out for awhile and see if the results are satisfactory. If not, return to the drawing board. If so, then implement it on a larger scale. With careful planning and testing, your business will experience the benefits of marketing firsthand.[/FONT]