11 Polishing Your Marketing

11 Chapter
Polishing your marketing

Now we’ve reached the final chapter in this book and we’re just about done.  We’re at the point in the report where we can sum everything up and add tips and tidbits that will make a good idea even better.

But before we build on everything that was already discussed in this report, we need to cover one more topic.  That topic is press releases.

Press Releases

Press releases are the way you’ll let the media know when you’re doing something.
If you’re offering something that’s unique or something special has happened to your business then you can write a press release and send it to all the media in your area.

But you can’t just decide to write a press release.
You have to have a reason.
You need to be announcing something that is newsworthy.
Here are a few examples of reasons you might write a press release:

Ø            Winning an award or being recognized in some other way.

Ø            Adding a new product line.

Ø            Sponsoring a charity event.

Ø            Team up with other businesses in the area

Ø            After a remodel of your business

Ø            Partnering with, merging with, or buying another business.

Ø            Gaining a contract with a large company.

Now, just because you write a press release and send it out doesn’t mean that the media will pick it up.
If it’s creative or timely then most likely it will get picked up.
This is where your use of marketing techniques will help get you and your business in front of the eyes, ears or both.

Press releases are awesome because they allow you to let get free publicity if one or more media outlets runs a story based on your press release.
A press release needs to be written in a very specific way.

On Your Letterhead

Here is the format that should be followed:

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: (Your Name)
Phone Number: (Your Number)                                                                               925-555-1212

Cell Phone: (Your Cell)

Email: (Your Email Address)

MAIN HEADLINE

Subtitle of the Press Release

Main body (This is what you want to let people know. Use the upside down triangle just like newspaper articles do.)

###

For more information about the topic or to schedule an interview with (Insert Your Name), call at (Insert Number).

 

__________________________________________________________

Where you see all capital letters used, make sure you use all capital letters.
Where it’s centered on the page, make sure you center it, top to bottom and side to side.
Be sure to include three number symbols (### – this signifies the end of the copy) just like you see above and make sure you follow all the other formatting.

This is the way a press release is written.

As with everything else, the headline is very important and should include a hook.
Just remember you are sending this press release to the media.
They aren’t interested in a cheap service or a special offer of any kind.  They are interested in things that will make a great story and things that others will find interesting, entertaining or compelling.
Make sure your hook is catered toward the media.

For the body of the press release you want to use what is called an upside down triangle?  Sometimes it’s also referred to as an inverted pyramid.
This is the form you want to follow with all your press releases.  It’s also the way all newspaper articles are structured.

When you use an upside down triangle what you want to do is give all the broad and general information first.
Then you want to get more specific.
This way the reader gets all the important information first.
Then if and when they keep reading they’ll be able to get the details.

Now you know the format for a press release but you don’t know the exact information to put in it.
Remember that your goal isn’t to blatantly market your business.
Your goal is to get picked up by news outlets.
For this reason steer clear of using all capital letters in the body of your press release and stay away from exclamation points. Also, don’t write phrases like “call us today” or “discount prices” or “amazing deals.”

Instead you want to include quotes from someone from the company (this will probably be you).  Try to make the quotes seem like they came from an interview.
You should also include the, who, what, when, where and why.
If possible, throw some statistics in the press release too.

To get a general idea of what to write in a press release, read the newspaper and watch the news.  Look for articles or stories about companies and see how they’re written.  This is how a press release should be written.

Once you have your press release all written, you can then email or fax it to all the local media.
You can compile your own list of email addresses and/or phone numbers by calling each media outlet and asking them where you can send press releases.

You can hire a professional to write your press release for you.  Some will distribute it for you too.
You can count on spending a decent chunk of money on this service.
But it’s usually worth the cost, especially if you hate writing and aren’t any good at it.

If you want a pro to write your press releases for you but you don’t have a lot of money then you might be able to work out a discount that includes you doing some work for them in exchange for them writing your press releases. There are a number of places online where you can get something like this done on the cheap.

You can also write your own press release and use the Internet to distribute it.
4 of the top press release distribution sites are Marketwire (www.marketwire.com), PR Web Direct (www.prwebdirect.com), PR Newswire (www.prnewswire.com) and PR Leap (www.prleap.com).

It’s all about the Customer

Obviously the success or failure of your business will come down to how many jobs you get or how much you sell.  In other words, it will come down to what the customer spends.
But more specifically, it will come down to how many customers you can attract and how many customers you can turn into repeat and regular customers.

In fact, if most of the customers who hire you decide to keep hiring you then you’ll be all set.  And if those customers refer their friends and family to you then you’ll be an overnight success story.

See why it’s so important to make every customer happy?
If you really go above and beyond for your customer then that person is likely to tell others how great you are and at least some of the people who hear how great you are will decide to hire you too.

Here are 3 tips for great customer service:

1. Always greet and treat the customer like they are absolutely the most important person in the world.  They are the most important part of your business world right now.  Don’t ever forget that.

2. Always be able to answer questions in a knowledgeable way.  Make sure you know everything you need to know so that you can be an expert in your field.  What might seem like a harmless question from a customer may result in you losing their business if you’re unable to answer that question.

3. Have a set process and policy for handling complaints. You might need to think about this one for a while.
But be consistent with the way you handle complaints, and make sure you always favor the customer.

The bottom line is this:               It’s much easier (and cheaper) to make money from existing customers then it is to get money from a potential customer.
Make sure that you do everything you can to retain as many customers as possible.

There are 2 great techniques for retaining customers.

The first is to have an active customer retention program.
This means you keep in contact with your customers.
You can do this with a newsletter, a postcard, or even a free gift.  Or all three.
Maybe send a small gift at Christmas (a calendar magnet with your logo on it is great) and a greeting card sometime in the spring.
Another very effective idea is to simply send a “Thank You” note after someone does business with you.  Include a coupon for 25% off the next time they use your service.  This will do wonders for your business.  (The amount of your discount is up to you.)
Just simple gestures like these will really help customers continue to do business with you.

The second great technique for retaining customers, deals with going after customers you might have lost.
Keep track of all your customers.
If it seems like you’ve lost a customer then send them a card and a discount coupon for their next purchase.

It’s very simple to complete the first step of retaining customers.  Treat them right and give them an incentive to continue to do business with you.  Contact them often to keep you in front of them.
However, it’s not so easy to keep track of and go after “lost” customers.  But it’s not rocket science either.

You can buy software that will keep track of customers and help you with customer retention.  There are a few different software products. A couple of them can be found at http://www.maritz.com/tlps/Customer-Retention and
at http://www.managemore.com/crm/crm-learn.htm.
You can also use Microsoft Outlook which is a CRM of sorts.

However, unless you have a large business, you can probably set up your own customer retention program.
It can be as simple as putting all your customers into a basic spreadsheet.  Plug in all their information and then color code them according to the time when they last purchased from you.
Usually the color coding is done for each year but it can be done at 6 month intervals or an even shorter amount of time.

For example, you might decide to highlight all your 2009 customers in blue.
Then in 2010 you’ll highlight all your customers in yellow.
Then in 2011 you might go with pink.
Then you can look at your database of names and see which customers you’ve lost and when they were lost.

Another option would be to include a column for the year on the spreadsheet.  Most spreadsheets allow you to search for numbers or words.
All you would need to do is update this column every time someone hires you and then just performs a search for a previous year and you’ll find customers who’ve been lost.

The key is to keep your customers happy so they don’t become lost customers.
But inevitably some people will drop off and these are the people you’ll want to try to get back.  You can call them or send them a postcard, or you could send them a survey.

Surveys are great because they make people feel like their opinion matters, they allow you to get in touch with lost customers, and they also allow you to find out the areas you need to improve. Don’t send one every week unless it is part of your business plan.

Here is an example of a possible survey:

1.            Our records indicate that you were a user of XYZ’s service in the past but you haven’t used XYZ service in over a year. Is this right?

O            Yes
O            No
O            I don’t know.

2.            What is the main reason you stopped using XYZ Company?

O            Cost
O            Treatment of Customer
O            Lack of Satisfaction with Service Provided
O            Other
O            I don’t know.

Please explain other reason:_______________________________

3.            Did you purchase XYZ service from another company?

O            Yes
O            No
O            I don’t know.

4.            Is there anything that XYZ Company could do differently to keep your business? Please explain.
_____________________________________________________

From just those 4 questions you can find out a lot.  And the survey is short enough to get a decent response.
With every reply you get you can not only try to get each individual customer back but you can also improve your overall business.
Remember, the best way to retain customers is to treat them well and provide a great service, with a fair price right from the start.

While you’re at it, just as you did with lost customers, you might want to have current customers fill out a survey too.
You can offer a discount to customers in exchange for them filling out a short survey.
Then you can use their feedback for testimonials.  You just have to get their permission to use their first name and you can do that by putting a little blurb on the survey that tells them the information they supply may be used for marketing purposes.

Referrals are Priceless

Finally, we already touched on how valuable word of mouth can be.  Well you can help rocket that word of mouth by getting referrals from existing customers.
So many small business people who offer a service (just like you) fail to even think about referrals.
This is a huge mistake.  Some marketing studies have shown that the average person is capable of making up to 50 referrals!

To run a successful referral program you just need to take care of three easy steps:

1.            You need to do a great job for the customer.
2.            You need to ask the customer to refer you.
3.            You need to reward the customer for referring you to someone else. Here again offer a discount on future sale.

That’s all there is to it.  Just adopting this one change into your business will land you new customers almost immediately.

There are a lot of great referral programs out there.
One example is offering $50 to every person who refers a paying customer to you.
Or for 5 leads (5 names you can contact) you can give a customer 10 – 20 or 30% off their next purchase.

Again, depending on how large your business is, you might need software to help manage your referral program.  But you can usually manage it yourself.
If you provide a great service and you treat your customers well then a referral program can be as easy as just creating a form that explains your referral program.
Then you can keep track of referrals on a basic spreadsheet.

It’s Time to Use What You Discovered

So now you know a big part of this puzzle that you can use to effectively market your business.
The most important point you need to remember from this guide is that you must view everything as a marketing opportunity.
Absolutely everything!

And then you have to take advantage of each and every opportunity.
Take the time to make your USP / Elevator Pitch (that is your golden key) and then build your marketing strategy around it.
Use as many of the great tips you just read about as you can.

Within just a few months, you’ll see how much your business is helped from your marketing efforts.
And as you test and modify your marketing plans, your business will only get more successful.

Now, it’s time for you to get started.  It’s time for you to truly market your business and to finally achieve true success.

Marketing Materials Resource

With the above in mind I want to share with you one of my secret weapons, that I use to ensure that all my marketing and promotion materials are of top notch quality without breaking the bank.

The company is PsPrint and Vista Print, and they are in my opinion the best professional online print shops around.  They handle all my printing needs for Postcards, Flyers, Door Hangers, Business Cards, Brochures and Promotional Items.  I even had them do a few Vinyl banners for me and they turned out great!

Also if you need magnetic signs for your vehicle or yard/street signs for your promotions, then I suggest you check out iPrint, as they have some unbeatable pricing when it comes to these types of signs and even when you add in shipping they are usually cheaper than your local sign shop.

www.theNewMarketingBasics.com
site you will also find:

Making money through mobile ads on your site.

How to get traffic to your mobile website

Redirecting regular site traffic

Paying for ads

Mobile SEO

And you’ll find our list of mobile directories.

Off-line promotions

Add a bookmark button

We will be adding content often.

www.theNewMarketingBasics.com

 

2 Responses to “11 Polishing Your Marketing”

  1. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my site so i came to “return the favor”.I am trying to find
    things to improve my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

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