7 Marketing Methods and Techniques
Marketing Methods & Techniques
In the first couple of chapters we look at the importance of marketing and having a marketing plan. We also looked at the USP/elevator speech or pitch, and branding.
All of this has to be part of your marketing plan. However, none will help you with the specifics for how you’ll need to market your business. In this chapter we’ll get into specifics.
Part of your marketing business may be in newspapers, the yellow pages, and other places around your service area, Pennysaver or other local newspapers. You can also market on the Internet and you can use some unique marketing techniques. These unique ways include free ways to get publicity.
Advertising in Newspapers
Placing ads in newspapers is not nearly as effective as it once was. Every single day fewer people are reading newspapers and even fewer are actually looking at the classified ads in newspapers. However, newspaper ads are still very important for local businesses; therefore, you may feel that you need to use this advertising medium. You’re about to discover how easy that it can provide a boost to your business. The tips that we’re going to cover are primarily for local newspapers or trade magazines that have a classified section at generally very reasonable prices for these ads.
Here are 10 tips that you always want to follow when placing newspaper ads:
1. ADVERTISE CONSISTENTLY: One problem with advertising in papers is that you could be missing 50% or more potential customers on any given day. They could be away for the day, they might be too busy to read the paper, their dog might’ve chewed it up, etc. Don’t place an ad one time and expect it to bring customers flocking to your business. It won’t work, (this statement is a general one at that, newspaper ads just might work for some. Try them in moderation.)
To avoid this problem, place your ad as consistently as possible. If you’re running a larger ad (and they are most effective) then you want to try to run the ad at least once a week for a few weeks. If you’re listing your ad in the classified section then you want to make sure it runs just about every single day for a few weeks or months.
To see what I mean, look in the classified section of any paper and see what ads are running on a daily basis. You may see ads from auto dealers and real estate offices that run on a daily basis.
Running an ad for more than a month is typically considered institutional advertising. Much like large corporations do in their weekly ads and over time they do work, but it takes time and money—mostly money.
2. THINK about the DAY and the TIME of YEAR:
Different ads for different products and services will work better on certain days in certain times of the year. The days you run an ad and the time of year you run more ads should all be thought through carefully and made part of your marketing plan. As you place ads and keep track of their performance you’ll be able to discover which days’ work best and when the best time of year is to run such ads. Here is a good time to look at your competition and see what they are doing.
This is important: Always be aware of what your competition is doing and either a) do it better, b) do it different or c) do it more.
Here is a quick overall review for each day of the week:
Many advertisers believe this is a bad day to advertise your business. But actually it’s a good day to advertise. First, there is less competition on Saturdays since most businesses stay away from this day. Secondly many people wake-up on Saturday and think about the things they have to do around the house. If they see your ad they just might call you instead of doing it themselves.
The Sunday paper has a lot of readers. But there is a lot of competition too. However, it’s a good day to advertise, especially for financial and business-related businesses.
A lot of men read the paper on Monday because of the recap on the weekend sports.
This is a good day to advertise for financial businesses and business-related businesses.
This is the best day for food-related and health businesses. Most grocery stores change their ads on this day.
This is a pretty good day to advertise. One of the reasons is because people begin to look for weekend events on this day. This includes people looking for garage sales.
Again, people begin looking forward to the weekend and they start thinking about what they have to do. Maybe they want to go to a music festival on Saturday but they also need to clean their carpets. They see your ad and call you so they can go to the Festival and have you clean their carpets for them.
3. SIZE and POSITION is EVERYTHING: The size of your ad and where your ad is located is as important as or perhaps even more important than what your ad actually says. First of all, advertisers used to clamor to be on the right hand side of the newspaper. This is because that’s the side of the paper that people see first as they turn from page to page. However, studies show that just as many people read the paper from back to front as read it from front to back. Therefore, it doesn’t really matter what side of the paper your ad is on.
What is important is that your ad be placed above the fold. In other words, you want your ad to appear on the top half of the paper.
It’s also important to try and get your ad listed in the main news section of the newspaper. You also want to be as close to the front of the section as you possibly can get it.
Finally, it’s important that your ad dominate the page that it is on. Usually this means that the ad is 12 inches high and at least five columns wide. In fact, an ad that is more than 50% of a page in width and height is every bit as effective as an ad that is a full page.
4. COLOR is BEST: Color ads draw more attention and converts (media will turn potential customers into actual paying customers) far better than black and white ads. Colored ads are more expensive but the extra cost is well worth it. Color will help you catch the reader’s eye.
If you can’t afford to run a full color ad then simply using one color to highlight or accent the ad (with the rest being lack of white) is also effective. Just make sure you carefully choose that one color.
5. DON’T LET the PAPER DESIGN YOUR AD for you: If you let the newspaper create your ad for you then it’s probably going to look like every other ad that’s run in the paper. Remember you want your ad and your business to stand apart from your competition. If you make your own ad, look at your competition and make yours different in some way, color, type font, color picture or some other way to make your ad stand out from the crowd.
If possible, pay to have your ad professionally done by someone who has a lot of experience with designing newspaper ads. The money you’ll spend will be well worth it. But whatever you do, don’t let the newspaper design your ad.
6. TEST YOUR AD (and track it, too): Make sure you test all the ads you run anywhere. (This is actually something you should do with all of your marketing.) You want to see how much your business is helped with each and every ad you place. And you want to track what happens with all your ads too.
One of the best and easiest ways to do this is to include a coupon with the ad. The coupon can be of any type of offer just make sure it’s a good enough offer to encourage people to use it. Then when people do use the coupon you’ll know which ad caused them to decide to do business with you.
You should test the days of the week you run your ad, where you run the ad in the newspaper, any special offers you make, and the headlines you use. You won’t know what works best until you test it and see what resonates with customers.
7. MAKE GOOD USE of SPACE: You’re paying for the space in the newspaper so make sure you use up all the space. Also, be sure you tell the reader everything they need to know about your business so that they can hire you. Tell them who you are, what you do, why they should hire you, and how they can get in touch with you. An expanded elevator pitch/USP.
8. IT’S all about the HEADLINE: The headline on your ad will make or break you. The headline has to hook the reader and get the reader to look at the rest of the advertisement. If the headline is good the ad will be effective (as long as the rest of the ad is decent). If the headline is bad then you won’t get any business from the ad, regardless of how great the rest of the ad copy might be.
Headlines are so important that there is an entire section on how to write them in a couple of pages. This section will teach you how to write killer headlines and it’ll also give you examples of great headlines.
9. MAKE it NEWSWORTHY: It’s obvious that people are reading the newspaper for the news. Therefore, try to make your ad related to the news in some way. That’s not always the easiest thing to do for some businesses, but it’s not impossible. For example, during a warm and dry summer you might write something like: “Has the dry summer left your Windows dusty and dirty? We’ll clean them for you….”
At least try to tie your ad into what’s happening in the news. Your ad will convert much better if you can do it effectively.
10. GIVE it TIME to WORK: Newspaper ads usually don’t work overnight. Many people will cut out an ad and leave it on their refrigerator until they need it. Then when they need what you’re offering they will call you.
So don’t expect your ad to work right away. And certainly don’t feel like your ad was a failure if it doesn’t grab a lot of business for you in the first week or so.
This actually brings us right back to the first tip –”ADVERTISE CONSISTENTLY”. You want to keep advertising in order to make it effective. So make sure you give it plenty of time to work before you declare it a failure.
There you have 10 tips to follow in order to place an ad in the newspaper. Again, you have the option of placing a small ad in the classified section or placing a larger ad and more expensive ad somewhere else in the newspaper. Most of the above tips can be applied to either size ads.
If you are listing your ad in the classified section then you want to make sure your headline tells readers what service you’re offering. Usually people will scan the classifieds looking for a particular type of ad. So make sure your headline catches their eye. No matter what type of ad you’re running, you will need killer headlines.
Before you even start to write your headline, you need to remind yourself the three main functions of a good headline. They are to grab attention, to speak directly to the intended audience, and to deliver a complete message.
An effective headline has to grab the potential customer’s attention. If the headline doesn’t grab people’s attention then that entire piece of marketing will be a complete failure because nobody will ever buy anything from you.
An effective headline also has to be written directly to the intended audience. Obviously you wouldn’t use the same words in a headline for teenagers as you would a headline for the elderly. A great way to make sure you’re writing to the right audience is to imagine your ideal customer. Then pretend that you are writing directly to just that one person as if they are standing in front of you.
Finally, your headline needs to deliver a message. You need to give the prospect (potential customer) a reason to keep reading the rest of what’s written. You need a strong message that will get the person to take time to keep reading your copy and to eventually become a customer.
The 4 U’s
When you actually begin crafting a headline, you want to write it so that the 4U’s are covered. This means your headline should be unique, useful, ultra-specific, and urgent. If your headline is all of these things then it will do its job.
Here is a quick look at exactly what each one of the 4U’s means:
UNIQUE – your headlines need to say something that is different. It can’t just be the same old thing or your potential customer will ignore it.
USEFUL – your headline has to have value to the potential reader. You need to give people a reason to be interested in what you’re marketing.
ULTRA-SPECIFIC – be as specific as you can with all your headlines. Narrow your message down to just one idea.
URGENT – the key is to get the customer to act right away. So your headline should highlight a benefit that the person will get if they act right away.
There are a couple other keys that you should always remember when you’re writing headlines. The first is that you want to tap into the prospect’s emotions. (This actually goes along with making the headline useful.) More often than not, people buy based on emotion, so tap into it.
The second key is to always include a major benefit in your headline. This is really easy if you’re writing a postcard announcement to a 50% off sale. There’s your major benefit. However, if you don’t have an obvious benefit then you should sit down and brainstorm all the benefits you offer. Then choose the best one and include that in your headline.
Just remember that you want it to be a benefit. In other words, you want it have direct value for the reader. You do NOT want to simply give a feature of a product.
For example, if you were selling windshield wipers, the best feature of the wiper is that they wipe moisture away from a windshield, right? However, the greatest benefit is that they allow the driver to see and drive safely. Understand the difference? (You sell the ability to see. Not that it wipes the water off the windshield.)
Take the feature of a product or service one step further and write about the benefit it will provide for the potential customer. Also, whenever possible include “Why” and “How” in your headlines.
“How” conveys that you are about to tell the reader something they didn’t know about before (and everyone wants to learn something that will improve their life).
“Why” does basically the same thing. It implies that there is a valuable piece of information (or a product or service) that’s about to be offered. Here are a couple examples:
“Why you’ll never have to clean your own Windows again.”
“Stop cleaning your Windows! Here’s how…”
Another great idea for headlines is asking a question. This is personal and immediately gets the reader thinking of themselves and their own needs. Here are a couple of examples of possible headlines:
“Are you too busy to clean your windows? Now you can spend your time doing the things you love!”
“Are you sick of cleaning your Windows? Now, you don’t have to do it ever again.”
And here is an example of how you can combine both of the ideas:
“Have you had enough of cleaning your filthy windows? Here’s how you can say goodbye to window cleaning forever!”
“Do you want to know how you can stop cleaning your own windows?”
Feel free to “borrow” these headlines or to put your own unique spin on them. You can swipe the above headlines to use as you wish.
In this case, you can use the exact headlines. But for the other headlines you see, you can’t take them word for word but you certainly can use them for ideas. In fact, professional copywriters do that all the time. They call it a “swipe.” The best copywriters save every good piece of marketing they see into a file that they—appropriately—call a “swipe file.”
Every time you see a headline that you like, save it and add it to your own swipe file. I wish someone had told us about this 35+ years ago! We would have a swipe file to end all swipe files. The point is, start one now.
To get you started, here are a few more headlines along with the company that owns the copyright. Feel free to “borrow” the general idea…
“Caught soon enough, early tooth decay can actually be repaired by Colgate.” – Colgate
“What in the world is wrong with me?” – Prevention magazine
“Try burning this coupon.” – Harshaw chemical (Just kidding, good punch line though.)
“Finally, a Caribbean cruise as good as its brochure.” – Norwegian cruise line
ADVERTISING in the Yellow Pages
When someone wants or needs anything done, the first place they used to go to the yellow pages. That used to be the mantra, but from what we have seen in the works that’s not going to be forever. For example, watching Thom’s children (they range from 31 to 45) deal with a service need reveals that they go to their smart phones and search for what they need.
If you’re “old school” and you think you need to have a yellow page ad you want to make sure it stands out from the rest of your competition. And remember to closely monitor your results.
The Yellow Pages has an online campaign going on where looks like they are taking on all comers to this market. Yellow Book, etc.
Here are eight strategies to help your business rise above the competition in the yellow pages:
1. The Headline is Everything Just as you discovered with newspaper ads, the headline is very important. In fact, in the yellow pages it’s even more important. You need to stand out from the rest of the businesses that are there. The way you rise above the competition is by writing a great headline for your yellow pages ad.
You might think you need to put your business name as the headline but that’s not right. In fact you want to put your greatest benefit in the headline. Since you already came up with your USP, this should be very easy to do.
The best headline will include what your business is all about and why people should choose it. Just make sure your business name and phone number is obvious in the ad as well.
2. Get the biggest ad you can afford When it comes to the yellow pages bigger is really better. You need to either have a full page spread or even a two page spread. The larger your ad is the more likely you are to attract customers. In fact, making your ad two times bigger than most other ads will probably net you three or four times more customers.
Not only is a larger ad easier for a potential customer to find, but it also makes you look larger and more successful. For many people success means that you’re good at what you do.
Finally, in many yellow pages the larger ads are put first. Therefore, a larger ad will allow you to be seen first. You will notice that most of the ads are on the top and the outer 2/3s of the page. This is where the eye typically goes when scanning a page.
You need to be careful about not overextending yourself by spending too much on a huge yellow page ad. You certainly don’t want to spend all or most of your advertising budget on just the yellow page ad.
3. Remember selling points and benefits As with any marketing promotion, you need to make sure you include plenty of selling points and benefits. It won’t matter how large your ad is or how great your headline might be if the rest of your copy isn’t filled with selling points and benefits. You have to tell potential customers why it makes perfect sense for them to hire you or buy from you.
One of the greatest techniques you can use is to include testimonials. People will trust a third party much more than they’ll trust an actual business. So always try to include a couple of testimonials with every ad you run.
Here are a few other strategies dealing with how to build your ad:
- Use a font (type style) that’s easy to read
- Include a headshot of yourself
- Use other photographs too. People love photos
- Also include captions under the photos just to make sure they look good in the ad
- Use all the space you have
- Insert a dateline (the year, and the place of your business) in your ad
- Don’t use all capital letters unless it’s for a short word such as FREE
- Don’t be afraid to be different with your ad. Remember, different will help you stand apart from your competition.
4. Always include an offer Always include some type of offer with every ad you place. Each ad will have a different offer (it doesn’t have to be a big change in the offer just something different). The offer could be 25% off or it could be a free report that you’ll send them. Just make sure you create a good call to action along with the offer. Ask them to do something—like join your mailing list—so that in this case they take advantage of your offer)
5. Test your ad first Your yellow pages ad will run for an entire year. So you want to make sure it’s as effective as possible. There’s only one way to make sure it’s effective—test it beforehand. Start by putting a similar ad in the newspaper a few months before you run your yellow pages ad to see how it does. Then tweak it and test it again. Keep testing until you are happy with how it is doing.
This way you’ll get great results for the entire year!
6. Research the best directory for you and your business
In many cities there is more than one directory. If you can afford to put an ad in all of them that’s great and that’s what you should do. If not, you need to choose the directory that is best for you.
The best way to really find out which is the better book in your area would be to ask other businesses, your competition, or your next-door neighbor to your business and just ask some friends what they use for looking for a business or service.
7. Protect your ad. There are two parts to this idea. The first part is protecting your actual ad from competitors who might try to steal your ideas.
The second is protecting the look of your ad and what it says when the people at the yellow pages try to get you to change it.
When your competitors see how effective your ad is, they are very likely to try to steal it and make a similar ad.
You can protect your ad by simply copyrighting it. You don’t need to send it away to get protect it protected either. In fact, your ad is protected under what is called common law copyright. All you have to do is put the following at the bottom of your ad:
“© 2011 your business name.”
That will allow you to take someone to court for using your ideas, or slogans.
When you submit your ad to the yellow pages they will probably try to get you to change it. They are used to the ads all looking a certain way. Yours appearing different will almost certainly throw them for a loop. They’ll think you don’t know what you’re doing. But don’t listen to them. They don’t know your business and almost all of them don’t know very much about marketing either. So stick to your own ideas and make them run your ad the way you want it to be run.
8. Don’t forget to track your ad.
Again, as with all your marketing promotions, make sure you track your results.
That way you can improve on your ad for next year.
Another great idea for tracking is to simply tell the customer to ask for a different extension when they call. So in one ad you might put “ask for extension A and in the other ad you might put “ask for extension B.” Then you’ll know which ad led the customers to call by the extension they request.
This is a very simple method for tracking but there are a number of other simple methods for tracking that you can use. If you have two incoming phone lines, use one for one ad and the other for the other ad. Don’t have another phone line? Use a different person’s name for each ad.
Before we move on, it needs to be mentioned that there are many other less common publications that you can advertise in also.
One that is often overlooked is a church directory or bulletin. It’s usually relatively cheap to advertise in and the credibility you’ll earn will make it well worth the money.
When you have your ties in a church bulletin people who go to that church will automatically see you as being associated with the church.
This will lead many people to like and trust you right from the beginning.
There may be small papers or magazines in your area that can land you similar results. Just keep your eyes and ears open and realize that there is a lot of value to be gotten from these smaller publications.
While the circulation might be small, your conversion rate could be very high (the number of customers who see your ad and hire you).
Here’s one VERY important bit of information that we need to share with you. The yellow pages have been losing ground all around this great nation, for the last few years, and that is because of Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, twitter, and more social sites that have gained traction.
However from some of the latest tactics that they have employed I would not count them out just yet. They are really getting aggressive toward marketing to the online consumer as well.
The younger generation uses their smart phones and Google or some other search engine to find what they’re looking for.
Thom’s 30-something children do it that way and I think of them as being normal, so why don’t we embrace it? Because it is change and we don’t like change. I am here to tell you that this is going to happen if you’re there or not. It is your choice.
It has not been an easy transition for me from film cameras to the digital camera, and the phone that comes from being a desk top or wall appliance to this sleek compact computer that is also a phone.
We would tread lightly before we placed an ad in the Yellow Pages, simply because it is too hard to change the ad in the middle of the year if it is not working. After you have a known working ad that you would feel comfortable putting in the Yellow book for a year, by all means do. But make it a proven ad.
There are way too many other less expensive and more effective methods for advertising your business.
Direct mail marketing
Direct mail marketing is sending out any type of mail catalogs, postcards, letters or flyers to potential customers.
Postcards work the best because there’s nothing to open so all the mail recipients will automatically see at least part of your message. Postcards are also cheaper to make and cheaper to mail. Post cards are one of the best ways for the small business to experience mail order on the cheap, you can get a good bang for your buck.
It’s best if you use your direct mail marketing campaign to announce a special event of some type. (This will be covered later in this chapter) If you don’t have a list you can buy a mailing list from one of the many great companies that are out there. A great site for mailing lists is www.directmail.com. You can also compile your own list. (In a couple pages you’ll see how you can use a box in other businesses to do this. Then near the end of the chapter you’ll see how you can build an e-mail list for e-mail marketing.)
You also want to follow these strategies for your direct mail marketing:
Create the best headline possible. As with any type of marketing, the Headline needs to capture the reader’s attention. Use the advice for creating headlines that was discussed earlier in this chapter, and make sure your headline is as great as it can be.
Pick the right image for your postcard. You should only have one image on the non-address side of your postcard. Don’t just choose an image because you think it looks cool. Choose an image that fits with your overall brand and/or the goal of your direct marketing campaign.
Go with one major idea and keep it simple. You have limited space with the postcard and you also have limited time with the reader.
Make sure you focus on one major idea for your postcard and make sure you explain that idea simply so that the reader can understand what you’re offering and what they need to do.
Use a strong call to action. The “call to action” is what you want the reader to do.
- Do you want them to call a number and schedule a free estimate?
- Do you want them to call and purchase your product over the phone?
- Do you want them to enter a contest?
Your call to action should be powerful.
After all, this is the part where you want to get the potential customer to take advantage of your offer.
To help your call to action work, make sure the reward you’re offering is good enough to get people to ACT.
The more effort that you require on the part of the potential customer, the greater the reward you need to offer. For example if you want the reader to go online and fill out a long form then you’d better be offering a great reward for their time and effort.
We suggest simple rewards for minimal effort. People just don’t fill out long forms any more. Contact information is about all you’re going to get nowadays.
Track your results. With any marketing campaign you want to track your results. Remember test and track.
Contrary to popular belief, the US mail is alive and well. It seems that a number of Internet marketers are finding that post cards work very well as another form of marketing. They are actually coming back into use very effectively.
You can see some great examples of direct marketing postcards by going to www.expresscopy.com. However I do not recommend that you use them for your printing needs as they are very expensive and their customer service has been very hit or miss.
However I do strongly recommend Vistaprint or Ps Print for all of your printing business needs; we have used both with outstanding results and their prices and turnaround times are excellent.
Of course, this is calling people on the phone and trying to sell them a product or service. When most people hear the word “telemarketing” they cringe. It’s horrible, right?
Then why do some people still use telemarketing? Because it works in some markets! (There is the high end market that Telemarketing is the norm, because it takes a Trader to sell a Trader.)
And it works best when the telemarketing follows a direct mail campaign. In fact, telemarketing has been shown to increase the effectiveness of direct mail marketing well over 100%!
Here is how you should follow-up direct mail marketing with telemarketing:
- Identify yourself and tell the person why you’re calling.
- Tell them that you recently sent them a postcard and then give them a call to action.
- For example, you call and say, “Hi, this is Joe Smith from XYZ Company. I’m just giving you a quick call to follow-up on a postcard I sent you a few days ago. The postcard was for a 50% discount on XYZ services. The offer will be running out at the end of the month and I wanted to give you a quick call to make sure you don’t miss out on this opportunity.
So, when is a good time to set an appointment so you can take advantage of XYZ services today and save well over $XXX ?”
You can also use telemarketing to contact businesses in your area.
To do this you just need a script – what you (or a representative for you) will say on the phone.
In the script all you need to do is say who you are and give the reason you’re calling.
Ask to speak with the decision maker at the company. Get through this screen to the decision maker, and then repeat who you are and why you’re calling the decision maker, and finally give a call to action.
So a basic script would be something like:
“Hello this is Joe Smith from XYZ Company. I’m calling to offer a great discount on XYZ. Who in the company handles XYZ purchasing? Rather than just leave my name and number, I’d rather arrange a better time when I can call back so I can speak with him/her. This offer ends in two days.”
This should get you through the screener to the person who can actually decide to do business with you.
Then you can say to that person, “Hi this is Joe Smith from XYZ Company. I’m calling because I’m currently offering a great deal on XYZ. I’d like to personally come in and speak with you about it and give a brief demonstration. Would tomorrow morning be best for you?”
Boxes in businesses
Placing a box in a business can be great for your business. What you do is run a contest and you have people fill out a brief form with their name, address, and phone number. They drop the form into a box. Then you will have a box full of leads for your business.
There are a number of ways you can get someone to place a box in their business.
For example, if you’re a window cleaner then you can offer to clean the business’s Windows for free in exchange for them allowing you to put the box in their place.
Or maybe you can work out a 50% discount with a few different businesses. Then you’ll have the extra business and you’ll be capturing a lot of leads, too.
Trade programs are back (they never really left). This allows you to trade services or product for some other club member services or products.
Once you get all the leads, then you draw one winner for the contest. For everyone else, you get in touch with them and tell them who won the contest but then tell them they have won a consolation price and they’ll get your services for 50% off or some other sales promotion that you are offering.
We know one restaurant that collects business cards in a bowl all month long and at the end of each month they draw out one card and that person gets one FREE pie of their choice.
All the other people get a 10% discount off their next visit.
Then they are on the e-mail mailing list and get weekly specials and belong to the pie of the month club. That means as a customer each time you go into the restaurant you can drop your card in the bowl and have another chance to win. There are a number of multiple winners of the pie of the month club; their pictures are placed in the store and on the store website, blog, and Facebook page.
How to tap into what’s hot
Now we are going to take a look at five ways you can tap into what’s hot at any given time in order to really boost your business.
Here are five strategies:
- Networking works. Networking is when you meet and create relationships with other people who might be able to help you and your business. On the surface, networking is pretty selfish and in the end it’s a little selfish. But in order to network successfully you really need to help others out so that they’ll be more willing to help you out.
This is the old “you scratch my back and I will scratch yours”, this is alive and well and works.
We have found that helping others (now mind you this does not mean that you are to give away the business) generally works and networking is no exception!
For example, you might call a radio station and offer to clean their Windows or carpets for free.
Or you might call a newspaper and offer to clean every window in their building for free. Why would you do such a thing?
Well, to start a relationship with them.
Maybe they’ll wind up hiring you to always clean their Windows or maybe they won’t. But more importantly, now you’ve got a foot in the door with powerful sources of media. There’s no telling how much this is worth.
Maybe the newspaper highlights a local business every week and now they’ll be more inclined to do a profile on you.
In our particular area the local paper profiles one small business per week.
Maybe one of the DJs at the radio station will mention that you cleaned the Windows and that you did a great job. Who knows?
That last one is a stretch, but you never know when a DJ might take a liking to you or your work.
But forming relationships with other businesses and people (networking with them) will help you and your business in ways you can’t possibly imagine.
The effectiveness of word-of-mouth advertising is undeniable.
Another great place to network is at the local Chamber of Commerce. If you aren’t already a member you need to become one right away. And you should always attend any business events that take place in your area.
Usually there are monthly meetings or events for local businesses. (Just make sure that you have your elevator pitch prepared before you go to such an event. This speech should be one of the first things that you do while making a business plan. You should use this right after you say “Hello“).
There are other organizations that you can join too. These will help produce leads (potential customers) for you. LeTip International (www.letip.com) is one organization. BNI (www.bni.com) is another great organization.
Networking is the most powerful marketing tool you can use. So if you have a limited budget, always be on the lookout for new networking opportunities. (All of the Social Media can be used for networking now.)(This will be discussed more in upcoming chapter where we will look at targeting commercial and residential customers.)
2. Use holidays and seasons to your advantage. You can tie many of your marketing promotions into holidays and seasonal events that are taking place. At any time during the given year there’s almost always something going on.
Here’s a quick rundown of just a few of them (in the order that they happen):
New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day, April fools, Easter, Earth Day, Mother’s Day, Mori all day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, summer specials, Labor Day, Fall, Columbus Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
And this is just a sample of the major holidays. If you look at most calendars you’ll see that just about any day has some kind of holiday attached to it.
As often as possible, tie into these events and holidays. Offer promotional materials that might go along with a certain time of the year or can run into another season.
For example, on the Fourth of July you might sponsor a float for the local parade.
Or maybe you’ll pay to have your business logo and phone number printed on red, white, and blue Frisbees.
Then you can walk around the parade handing out Frisbees to kids.
Another example would be running an ad at the beginning of summer (or in the spring) that talks about enjoying the summer sunshine.
You could highlight how great it is to go have the summer sunshine streaming into your house. Then go into the importance of having clean windows that actually let the sunshine in. (Can’t you hear the radio ad now? That song from the musical “Hair,” “let the sun shine and,” would be playing in the background.)
On the other hand you could be just a little contrary, and do something different. Hire a kiddie jumper on a summer day in your parking lot to bring parents and children to your show room/store.
In fact, go out right now and buy a giant 90-day planner at your local office supply store and map your marketing plans against the holidays and other events on the calendar.
3. Grab onto fads. There are a lot of other trends and fads you can tap into as well. You can look at what’s making news and create a marketing promotion around that. Even if it doesn’t relate to your specific service, you can still tie into it.
For example, for the last few years global warming has been a huge issue.
Almost everyone wants to do their part.
So, you could run an ad that you use products that are completely natural and eco-friendly.
You would tie into the movement for everyone to go green. This could be a big promotion around Earth Day.
You can make your store a free drop off for “hard to get rid of products”.
4. Always look for the latest and greatest. Always keep your eyes and ears open for the latest and greatest invention in your business.
If a product is created that revolutionizes the way carpets are cleaned then you want to be the first to get it.
If you are fast, you can advertise that you have technology that none of your competitors have.
Here is one of the places that mainstream media can be of help.
They can be one of the places to find a new fad. Look in your trade journals and magazines, and related fields.
5. Use movies and other forms of entertainment. Movies and other forms of entertainment – sporting events, award shows, concerts, Street fairs, etc. – always offer a great marketing opportunity. You can make a video of something that you have done as a promotion and post it on your web site.
Get several businesses that are close to you and have a week end sale, an evening sale. Make any excuse to have a gathering and get your customers involved.
People are always talking about these things.
If you can tap into them then you can really boost your business.
For example, if there is a huge event coming to your town, you should run an ad that mentions the need for everyone to get their home looking as nice as possible for all the people who will be coming into town.
Part of that would be getting their windows and or carpets cleaned.
All of the above ideas are great ways for marketing your business.
How to get free publicity (or nearly free)
There are many different ways that you can market your business.
These go way beyond simply making sure everything you do is making you and your business look good. Almost all types of marketing will cost you money.
However, there are many marketing techniques that won’t cost you a dime.
You’ve probably heard the saying: “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.”
Well, this isn’t exactly true. There are more than a few companies – some of them huge companies – that were ruined just because they got bad publicity.
But most of the time publicity is a great thing. There are a few different ways that you can get publicity that’s completely free (or nearly free).
Of course you want to make sure that all publicity you get is positive publicity. And the publicity you’re after is through the media.
(Later in this report we’ll go over how to write a press release so you can let the media know when you’re doing something extraordinary.)
The first type of great publicity is donating to a charity.
Obviously this isn’t free publicity but the media coverage you get is often worth much more than the amount of money you donate.
For example, you might donate $XXX to the local fire department so they can buy some new equipment.
The local newspaper and the local television station come out and cover it.
Now you’re on the six o’clock and 11 o’clock news.
You’re also in the paper.
Not only are people seeing you and your business but they’re also seeing what a great person you are.
Pretty much everyone who sees this news story will see you as a good business for their neighborhood and if they need what you’re selling they will be more inclined to use your business.
Establishing yourself as an expert is a great way to get free publicity, too.
You can write an article on how to properly care for your carpets. Include a couple tips that most people don’t know and then see if your local newspaper will run it. If they do then you are an instant expert in your field.
You can capitalize on that.
You could take it to the next level and tell the paper that you will do a free weekly Q&A section on carpet cleaning and care of all types of floors.
The paper gives you a byline. This is where you put in your business name, your name, what your business does, and how to get in touch with you. This positions you as the Local Expert.
Not only will you get business from people who see your article but you’ll also continue to get business because of how you can position yourself as an expert who had an article published in a local paper.
Another way to get publicity is to offer creative promotions.
The more creative a promotion is the better chance you’ll have that the media will cover the promotion.
One example would be offering to clean the winner’s house windows for free for a year if they win a contest. Of course this isn’t very creative.
There are certainly more creative contests that you can think of.
But one advantage to running a contest is that you can ask that everyone who enters the contest give you their mailing address and e-mail address.
This will allow you to build a list of names and addresses so that you can market directly to these people.
Obviously there are more ways to get publicity. However, these are three of the best ways.
You can’t underestimate the power of publicity. Bad publicity will ruin your business but good publicity can turn your business and you into an overnight success story.
So the first rule of good publicity is to stay away from bad publicity.
And then make sure you create your own positive publicity.
Since the Internet became available in homes, people have been making money online.
The Internet has turned out to be an absolute Goldmine for thousands and thousands of people.
Obviously you’re familiar with the Internet since you got this book there.
So that’s a good thing.
You already have a leg up on many small business owners.
However, there are probably a lot of things about the Internet that you don’t know. These things can really help your business.
And you’re about to discover exactly how the Internet can help you succeed.
First of all, if you don’t have a website then you need to get one.
Your website can be a blog or just a straight up website. We favor Blogs as they tend to get more repeat traffic and interact with your customer, and that is a big thing now.
A blog is to get more customers involvement than just a website. It is not just to sell your wares it is to communicate with your customers, as they expect more of that now.
First you have to get a domain name.
Even if you don’t know much about computers, it won’t take you very long to setup your own Domain name.
Have to get your Domain hosted, and then have a website or blog created for you.
Or you can create yourself. It gets easier every year/month as new applications are appearing faster and faster each week even.
Most sites that sell domain names are also hosting companies, I don’t agree with the philosophy that some Internet marketers have buying their domains from one company and then hosting with another company they managed to save a few dollars per domain over time but I’m not sure whether it’s worth the hassle or not.
One of my favorites is BlueHost (at least as we go to press) and Bills is HostGator is one of the better domain service companies. There are so many Hosting companies that we have only listed our main favorites.
There’s also a company out there called NameCheap (I also use them for some of my hosting and they do a real good job of taking care of my needs and problems any time that I have called them), they also offer inexpensive alternative for Internet marketers.
You want your domain name to reflect your USP/elevator pitch / Headline, if at all possible, make sure your domain is name is also easy to understand or remember.
For Best recognition and easy to remember is having a .com 2nd best would be an .org. Third-best would be a .net.
When it comes to setting up your personal site or blog if you feel comfortable enough to build it go for it. With WordPress it is really simple and just takes some of your time to sit down and learn how to use it. There is some easy tutorials online where you can learn from Basic to Advanced at Specky boy design magazine.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, you can have a built for you and not cost you an arm & a leg. There is a number of places that you can go to get your site built. Craigs list, Fivver, or even in your local ads.
A cheaper alternative to having your own page or site set up on a social networking site. You’ve probably seen businesses that have MySpace pages or Facebook fan pages.
You can easily set your own page up.
Even if you don’t know much about computers, it won’t take you very long to setup your own page.
Not only will a presence on the Internet help you look more professional, but it will also land you new customers.
When you setup your pages you want to make sure your target keyword phrases that will help people find you.
So, if you run a window cleaning service in bedrock then you would want to target the keyword phrase “window cleaning service in Bedrock.”
You would probably also want to target other keys word phrases like “need my Windows cleaned in Bedrock” and “window cleaning service in Bedrock.”
What you are doing is making sure the search engine (like Google, Bing and yahoo) pull up your page when people type those keyword phrases into the search box.
So think of anything people might type as a search phrase to get “window cleaning services in Bedrock” then target those keywords.
You should target those keywords by making sure they are sprinkled throughout the text on your page. (Rule of thumb is no more than 3 times of each keyword in 500-600 total words.)
If you have your own website or blog then you want to make sure those keyword phrases are in the meta-tags.
Now, you can also take advantage of many different ways to advertise your business online. This is what Internet marketing is all about.
It’s marketing online for the purpose of making money. You can pay to advertise on the Internet.
The huge search engine, Google, has a program that’s called “Google Ad Words.”
This allows you to advertise your business for certain keywords.
This is just like the keywords you would target for your own website.
They should be words that people will use when searching for your service in your area. Because the keywords won’t be very popular (since they are specific to your area) this will help keep the costs down.
However, it will still cost you money. = Ad words. But they work.
You can also advertise on other local businesses sites. This will usually cost you money too unless you do a banner / ad exchange.
But you might be able to find another business in your area that compliments your business for this type of exchange.
There are a number of free Internet marketing techniques that you can use as well. These include article writing, blogging, social networking, pod casts, and creating videos.
There are article submission sites (for example, ezinearticles.com) where he you can submit short articles (about 300 – 500 words) and then have them posted on that site so other people can read them.
From these submission sites your article can and maybe post it to other sites throughout the Internet, it’s kind of a bonus for posting your article in an open forum.
This will then create back links to your site and you as the writer of the post / article.
Having a business on the Internet offers more possibilities than any brick-and-mortar business can.
The more content you have on the Internet, the more likely you are to be found by potential customers.
The bigger content base that you can show, adds more credibility to your business, especially on the Internet.
As we see it brick-and-mortar business is too limiting, by having an Internet marketing business your choices are endless.
You should have two main goals with your Internet marketing:
to be found when people are searching for a business such as yours, and
to help potential customers with problems or questions.
Creating and posting content will help you accomplish both of these goals.
Why a blog?
Blog is short for “web log” and that’s just what it is.
It is like an online Journal.
You can sign-up for a free blog at WordPress.com or at blogger.com; you can even get your blog added as part of your main site.
Blogs take many different designs as far as a business marketing styles.
Your blog could be story style, like a story of your life what you do throughout the day, (that is if you lead a somewhat abnormal life style) I would believe that would be in its self a story of you or your business. (Keep in mind here that the number of reality shows on TV. That is becoming a HUGE market, so why couldn’t yours be one? A mini reality blog / story / whatever you want to call it.)
As a review site you find a product that you like and write a review about it, if it has a large enough audience then it could be a site all of its own.
This type of site is generally considered an affiliate site; after you review the product you generally have sales pages for the different products that you review where you are making a commission on each sale.
Then you could have a story of how you acquired some merchandise that you’re selling or what you went through to be able to sell it.
Then there is the blog Carnival, a Carnival is just like a magazine except that it’s online. Certain bloggers host carnivals about one topic or another and you can submit your blog post to be included.
If the hosting blogger agrees to feature your post, the Carnival will introduce your contribution and include a link for your interested readers to read your post on your blog.
Turns out there is a great place to see all the carnivals taking place at submit your post to those whose topic relates to your content. http://BlogCarnival.com/
I could probably go on for a couple of hours just on blog topics, but this book is all about promoting your business. We believe that blogging and now Facebook is vital to your Brand / USP / Elevator Pitch.
Your blog can include instructional videos for new products that you have on how to install and set up them.
Until your readers that you will have new videos coming out every week this way you’ll get them come back to see what’s next.
This helps create excitement for your business and your website/blog.
Each one of your main products can have its own blog or website, and you want these blogs to all point back to your main blog or business blog/website.
This is where you also have links out to your YouTube videos, your twitter site, your Facebook fan page, your LinkedIn home page and any other social media that you may belong to point back to your main blog. All of that helps your total ranking with all of the search engines.
There’s a lot more that you can learn about Internet marketing.
But now you know the basics so you can either hire someone to set these things up for you or with a little time and effort you can easily set them up yourself.
There’s one more important part of Internet marketing that you need to know and that is on each one of your sales pages, blogs, or website you need to have what is called an “opt in box”.
This is the box that your potential customers can fill out (with their name and e-mail). You can offer them a small gift (a free report) or simply some information about your business in exchange for them giving you their information.
Once you have their information you can market to them through e-mail marketing.
And that’s what Internet marketing is all about, collecting their name so you can email them and keep them informed of what your business is doing (new products or services) and to market to them. Send mostly information that they might be interested in and a once a week / month advertisement that way when the ad comes it doesn’t make them mad but they might actually look forward to getting your ads because you respect their time.
One of the tools you’ll have to help you here is an auto responder.
What that does is when your customers put in their name and e-mail addresses and submit them to your opt in box your auto responder begins sending out e-mails to that person that just joined your mailing list.
That person begins to receive e-mails from you on a prescribed schedule that you choose. The e-mails, sales letters, content and more are written by you, to help you engage more with your customer.
The best part about the auto responder is once you set it up, the auto responder will completely run on its own.
All that you have to do is add a new e-mail letter each week or twice a week so that the customer gets accustom to seeing your tips and tricks that will help save him money around his business or home.
This is one of the best ways of effectively engaging your customers for practically no cost at all, just a little time.
To help networking and growing education in your field join some local groups like the Chamber of Commerce, Toastmasters, or if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area you could attend one our MeetUp groups in Livermore and Walnut Creek, California.
http://meetup.com/East Bay SEO/Internet Marketing Meetup
Check the site for days and times.