A bite at a time How do you eat an elephant? A bite at a time. Reputable and successful companies did not start out exploding millions of dollars in profit, they started out small. So continue to stay focused and determined about the success of your company even though you are not at the pinnacle of success yet.
Animate your ad – Animated ads generate click-through rates at least 15% higher than static ads, and in some cases as much as 40% higher.
Ask your visitors to sign your Guest Book – These are the reasons why you should get your visitors to sign your guest book. Firstly, by signing your guest book, you can track the demographics of your hits. If you know the demographics of visitors to your site, you can pitch to other potential advertisers interested in advertising on your site using this information. The guest book also helps you to keep track of frequent customers and big spenders. You can eventually ask whether you could e-mail them with any special sales or promotions you have planned.
Associate with holidays and Special Occasions – Adapt your website page to reflect what’s going on in the world. On special holidays or occasions such as Christmas time, decorate your web site just like you would decorate your own storefront.
Be an expert – Becoming an expert positions you as an authority in your field. That may significantly decrease your competitors’ strength. You can offer seminars that establish your company as an expert on the topic. Seminars also help you build better relationships with your current customers, attract more prospects, and increase your company’s exposure. The strategy is to choose a topic with broad appeal among your client and prospect base. After the seminar, follow-up with attendees by mail or in person.
Be grateful People remember your kindness. There are many things you can be grateful about, someone who refers business to you, reliable suppliers etc. You can thank people with a special offer, make a personalized thank you card, phone phone call, discounts, flowers, dinner or even a commission.
Be reachable – Be sure to include you contact details on every single communications collateral your company sends out so that customers can easily search for your contact when they need to. You can print your company name, address, and fax number on all materials including, packing slips and invoices. Use this to create a helpdesk: http://www.surefireoffer.com/VIPDS/index.html
Be tenacious in your vision The only failure is when you quit. Setbacks are the necessary evils in every business, they aren’t failures. Be determined in whatever you are doing by keeping your eye set on your vision.
Bring visitors back – Create value-adding extras to make your site a must-visit for the latest breaking news and update it frequently. You can provide industry updates, gossip, trends and forecasts. This will bring visitors back and motivate them to spread the word on the Internet grapevine.
Business Cards – Your business card can often be the first impression a potential client has of you. Research and see what your competitors are doing and best them with yours. Give your business cards to business associates who might be able to promote your business, to everyone you meet and you could even put one in every letter you send out.
Business Cards for All Employees – Your employees will be proud to leave the business cards you print for them customized with their names with every customer and every prospect. They may even pass cards to their friends and relatives and your name will be in many more places.
Business forecasting – Having been in business for some time, you would have some idea of what to expect in the next year. Use the experiences and information from this ending year to plan for next year. However do keep in mind that business forecasting is like weather forecasting, you can’t expect 100% accuracy in the forecast.
Buy ad spaces on other people’s website – Monitor the website which you want to place ads on for about a month. Look out for how often the site is updated and whether they offer some new content frequently. After which if your observations conclude that your ad will be effective, contact the webmaster to place an ad or banner on their website. Check out this advertising course: http://www.freeadvertisingacademy.com/
Contact On-Line Publications Find your industry publications and whether they have an online presence. Check that they publish content online on your business or industry and contact them via email about your website.
Categories of customers – Categorize your customers into different groups. The criteria to include is profitability; time spent handling orders and special requests. With these categories you can develop a plan to focus much of your time on the most profitable customers.
Commitment and consistency – Studies showed that a repeated message is often well remembered. Commit to consistently send mailers to the same group of people in your target market. For advertising, do it whenever affordable.
Copyright – Include ( © 2012 Your Name ) on all your Web pages. Not only will this protect you if someone else decides to download your content and use them on their site, this also builds credibility for your company. Copyrighted material tells the reader that the content is original and cannot be found on any other site.
Create a bulk mailing package – Five or ten businesses near your area would be willing to send your postcard together with their packages by bulk mail and share the mailing cost with you.
Credibility of trends and current events – Consider tying your product or service with trends or current events because this allows you to gain valuable credibility and interest by association with popular groups.
Direct Mail – 46% of all Americans have purchased something by direct mail. Direct mail will be mail sent directly to targeted subscribers who are interested in your product or service. The mentioned subscribers are people who should buy your product based on your product position and their past buying behavior. This means that your message is reaching a target audience that has demonstrated that they have a definite need for your product and a history of buying it. Learn more about direct mail here: http://www.provenpostcardsystem.com/special/
Fear or pain of loss – The fear or pain of loss is a very powerful sales-boosting tool. Emotions such as these can be stimulated by products that increase personal security, personal safety, personal safety or health. Make your potential customers feel that if they don’t get your product or service now, they will miss out on something.
Find out more about your customers Having that personal touch beyond business always puts you advantageous in the minds of your customers. Learn more about your customers beyond just the business they are in. Pay attention to news about your customer and let them know you read about them.
Five and Ten Philosophy – Every business day try to contact ten new customers or clients. From the 10, get at least 5 referrals of other potential customers to contact. You will never run out of potential customers.
Focus on the smaller market – Trends can propel your business to great heights. However, it is sometimes better to focus on the smaller market while everybody else is hankering after the bigger trend.
Follow the successful – Identify the winners in your industry and analyze their marketing strategies. Pick out the ones that you can use to improve on them and adapt them to your own business.
Free information / factsheet – Use a two-step approach to increase conversions. First, offer free business related information to potential customers that showcases your expertise. Add these potentials into your mailing list and build a relationship with them by connecting with them often.
Frequently update your site – Update your site weekly or if possible daily so that traffic will continue flowing to your site. People return as repeated visitors to a site because of new information.
Get serious shoppers to visit your virtual sales room – Create an easy to navigate virtual sales room and update it frequently with the latest information. Place your company’s new product information on the site.
Go the extra mile – give your customers more than they expected – Go the extra mile to surprise your customers with more value beyond what your product or service offers.
Have a product that simplifies life – People are always on the lookout to simplify and make their lives more convenient. Therefore, having a product or service that saves time or makes life easier may be more important to some customers than saving money.
Have the knowledge of your clients’ special needs at your fingertips – Have a spreadsheet to keep track of clients’ requests for special services and products and whether you can meet these requests. With this information, you can track interest in new products or services that you should offer.
Help groom and mentor the youth – University undergraduates studying business have frequent projects where they need to partner with real businesses. The youth bring new ideas and perspective which can potentially increase sales and better your business after you take those fresh concepts and refine it to professional standards. It is a win-win-win situation, 1) the students complete their project and learn under your mentorship, 2) your business has a fresh perspective and potential of further growth, and 3) you can offer these students a career opportunity when they graduate if you think they are competent enough.
Hire Students – Tie salaries to grade point average for high school and college students you hire. Give a progressive bonus if the student excels in the classroom. In most cases you will find more responsible disciplined workers who will enhance your business.
Ignore the competition – Sometimes, we are too concerned about our competitors and we forget about everything else. Believe first, with confidence in your vision, don’t worry about your competition.
Increase Pricing – People often associate premium products with higher prices therefore, it is advisable to raise your prices because that separates you from the crowd and implies that your product is better and deserves the premium price. However, do take special care that the customer must see the value of the higher price. Check out here for tips on how to increase prices without losing sales! http://www.raiseyourprices.com
Increase the frequency of ads shown – Often, companies with a limited advertising budget would choose to create larger, more visible ads that restrict them to advertise less frequently. However, a more effective way is to run more frequently with smaller ads even though they may appear less visible. The reason is because most people typically don’t respond to ads the first time they see them. Prospects may need to see the ad a number of times before they take action.
Invite Complaints About Your Business Or Product – This point concerns after-purchase customer service. Call your customers after the sale is made or send them a post card to ask how is the performance of your product or quality of your service. If there was any problem, at least you can rectify it with immediate promptness, rather than hearing the complaint from other channels.
Invite reporters for first-hand observation – To help reporters, bloggers or writer get a clear idea of what your average work day is like and how your business works, invite them to spend the day or part of a day with you. This is so they can have a complete story for their publication.
Join organizations that can help you – Join organizations that support your industry. You can find the list of such organizations at your local public library or online. Go for conventions organized by those organizations and network with the people who are in the same industry as you to exchange business promotion and marketing ideas or strategies. There is always someone at these meetings who can help you succeed.
Join the online community built around your industry – Look for a community of sites within your industry that have linked together for the good of all. Once you find them see if you can join the community and establish a good relationship with them by communicating with them. This community can be a platform for exchange of ideas and inspiration to improve your business to increase more sales.
Just-in-time marketing – Always be ready to receive your customer with what you customer wants. This is crucial because people have become spoiled by 24-hour, seven-day-a-week customized products and services.
Know the deciding factor – People tend to react emotionally when making decisions. However, they like to believe that their decision was made based on rational thinking. So when presenting your offer, a smart marketer will first include the emotional motivator that wins the customer over and also encompass the rationality element to satisfy the customer’s need to rationalize.
Know the demographics of your sales area – Knowing the demographics of your target audience is important because only then will you get ideas about how to market your product or service to them. You can get such information from local newspapers by asking them for an advertising rate kit. Some other places you can research are the local chamber of commerce, the city planning commission, the public library or local TV and radio stations.
Know the reasons why people go online to buy or make buying decisions – Consumers go to the internet to be informed, not to be entertained. They go to your site to find out more about your product or service. Eighteen percent of high ticket items go on-line first when planning a purchase, 69% report Web site info is a crucial factor in their final purchase decision, and only 15% go on-line to compare prices.
Know your customers – Target your product to the correct customer base by knowing who your customers are and what their motivations are.
Limited Time Only – Use time limits on your offers and promotional materials. This is to encourage action to be taken by your potential customers.
Listen to your customers – Your customers can give you the best information you need to know about them by asking questions. Therefore, pay close attention to the questions new customers ask you. Armed with the knowledge about what your customers’ questions are, you can let these customers know that you will solve the problem with no hassles or problems.
Long term advertisements – If you are buying advertisements, buy those that last for months. Some examples include, magnetic signs for cars or vans, car decals, putting signs on truck tailgates and rear windows, stickers on T-shirts, design the outside of the brochure to be permanent and the inside for future changes etc.
Look for other platforms – Your local newspaper is not the only print option. If you’re doing business out of your local precinct, there may be other better advertising options that are more economical and reach more customers. Find such publications and subscribe to it for research.
Magazine or Newspaper Special Inserts – Most publication houses publish special inserts for magazines or newspapers they produce. It can be an annual affair. These special inserts or sections are usually on topics of local interest, example Bridal Fairs, Real Estate Home Shows, Craft Fairs etc. These sections usually have a larger readership than the regular publication. Hence, having an insert ad can generate more business.
Mail special greeting cards – From your survey, you would have gotten the birthday dates of your customers. Mail special birthday greeting cards to your customers and include a coupon or special offer or tell them about your product that they should give themselves as a gift. You can duplicate this with other special occasions as well. You can use this awesome service: https://www.sendoutcards.com/
Maintain good publicity – In this day and age of the internet, bad publicity can spiral totally out of control and spread like wildfire. Hence, ensure that you maintain a clean and good image by treating all your customers with integrity.
Make your website address known everywhere – Make sure that your Web site address is be on every piece of promotion or marketing material your customer will see. Business cards, brochures, postcards, flyers, ads, signs, delivery vehicles etc.
Making the call – Using the phone will allow you to achieve faster results with minimal costs. Research has said that response from 100 phone calls is similar to 1000 pieces of mail. In addition, you will also generate greater input and feedback.
Marketing – The battle of perceptions – In the battlefield of marketing, perception of your company, brand, product or service wins over everything else. Therefore, it is more important to work on the branding of your company, product or service than on the product itself. Don’t get me wrong, your product does have to deliver good value but more time should be spend on marketing the product to increase sales for your business.
Matching a competitor’s offer – Offer a better deal for a shorter time. Limit your irresistible offer and you will still drain off a lot of his customers on a busy sale day and you will be perceived as a better place to do business.
Media relations – Pitch to local publications about your business by sending letters covering topics related to your product or service. Add an extra edge to your pitch by connecting your product or business to some current event that is making waves in the market. This helps you to gain wide exposure as your name and business will be printed together with your letter if it gets published and you will be perceived as the expert in your field.
Motto – A catchy slogan or motto can be a powerful advertising message. “When you care enough to send the very best” – Hallmark has used this motto for years and it has made sending Hallmark cards a measure of how important the card recipient is.
Never Assume – Assumptions are often stumbling blocks even before you present your product or service to a potential client. It often stems from you not having the confidence in your product or service. Have a strong belief in your business and the need it fills.
News-like Ad – Make you ad blend into the newspaper to look like just another news article, with headlines and columns. Although the word “advertisement” is required to be placed at the top of your ad, that can be easily overlooked by the reader if you use a catchy headline and an attention grabbing first paragraph.
Newspaper Ad Design – You might hear from the newspaper publisher that you can save money by getting them to design an ad for you. However, this is often not advisable because newspaper designers have to meet deadlines and in a short amount of time they are not able to produce quality high converting ads. Even though it may cost a little more, have a professional design your ads.
Newspaper Placement – Many companies count it a necessity to have ads placed in newspapers. The placement of where your ad appears in the paper can have a dramatic impact on how successful it will be. There are certain sections in the newspaper that people love to read and placing your ads there will increase your ads exposure.
Observe and learn from business outside your industry – Look outside your industry for the best business examples. It isn’t enough for you to only measure yourself against your competition because you’ll only be as good as or a little better than they are. However, your customers are experiencing good customer service, quality billing systems in industries outside yours and they are unknowingly pitting your company delivery against those benchmarks as well.
Organize Parties / Events – Send out party invitations to clients and friends and plan an event to demonstrate your product or service. Make the buying process easier for your customers by eliminating all the long complicated payment methods. Let the media know about that you are unveiling interesting new products.
Partnerships – By teaming up with another business which is related to your product, advertising costs can be shared with that company so that you can print high-quality and larger ads more affordably. Companies that has products which complement yours are potentially great partners to work with.
People make buying decisions on the web – Shoppers on the internet are not just “window shoppers”. Statistics showed that 71% bought at least one high ticket item they researched on-line. Users ring to enquire about high ticket items offline.
Personalize your business – Utilize photos of you and others in promotional materials because this conveys friendliness and builds confidence in your company. Conversions are dramatically higher when pictures are used. Go here to discover more ways to boost your conversions: http://www.conversionratecourse.com/
Promotional Materials – Business cards, letterheads, brochures and packaging materials are to be examined to be first class but they do not necessarily need to be expensive.
Public Library – The library has a comprehensive collection of business books. Although their list is not exhaustive, at least you have got somewhere to start if you needed to learn something that can help you in your business. You can also save time in research because you can ask librarians for the information you need and they will find it for you. Not all the books you loaned are suitable for your business. Read over the books and then select and buy the ones you want to add to your own business library.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes – Don’t assume something to be important to you works the same for your customers. Always put yourself in your customers’ shoes and look at it from your customers’ point of view, not the company’s. The rule is “take care of the customer and he’ll take care of the company”.
Recognizing the 2nd order – The most important order you ever get from a customer is the second order because a two-time buyer is twice as likely to buy again as a one-time buyer.
Respect your customers’ time – Try as much as possible to start off with emailing your customer. When that doesn’t get you a response, send a fax over. If that also doesn’t work, give them a call. However, use this as the last resort because customers are busy too and their time is valuable. Be patient and wait for their responses.
Respond to a news story regarding your business or industry – If the newspaper publishes a negative story about your business or industry, counter it with a press release that shows the positive side of the story. The more controversial the topic, the more it may spark a positive article with your company portrayed in a positive light.
Sales letters – In this technological age, most of us don’t write letters anymore. However, truth be told, letters are still as effective as a means of communication because they always reach the intended audience. Sales letters actually help to enhance a company’s professional image, help avoid misunderstandings and often make a sale. Get this copywriting course to write awesome sales letters: http://www.copywritingsupremacy.com/
Save design costs – To save costs using a professional designer, get him or her to create your logo, text for upcoming events, etc and you pay one fee for all the pieces and assemble the pieces needed for each ad you place. If you require ecovers, this could come in handy: http://www.indigitalcover.com/
Scan Ads – A scan ad is a small classified ad that is placed once with a member paper of the State Newspaper Association and appears in hundreds of newspapers in that state.
Search Engines – Notify the search engines to publicize your website by registering your Web site with as many search engines as possible. Submit-It at www.submit-it.com gives free registration to many websites. Or you can use a service like this: http://searchenginesubmitter.com/cb/
Send Thank You Card – Send a thank you card or letter to the media personnel you liaised with to get your business on the publication if you do get an article printed about your business. Include that you would be pleased to be the source in any future articles on your subject.
Service or Business directory – List your business in the service and business directory. This is available in some newspapers. Do check with the local publishers about this option.
Set up an advisory board – For a business to grow, you need honest feedback from people you can trust. Some of the feedback may be harsh but this is a good thing because you can take those opinions and work on improving your business. Get these people (friends, family, business associates whose opinions and judgment you value) to critique every aspect of your business so that you can get a different look at your business.
Sincerity – People can feel it when you want to sell them something and that is an uncomfortable feeling. Genuinely offer customers useful products and services that make you and them happy. Follow your passion, do what you love and the money will follow.
Sloppy success is better than perfect mediocrity – Your communications materials will never be 100% perfect. It can always be improved on or revised. There’s a saying that goes “Sloppy success is better than perfect mediocrity”. When you have a product that can save the world, it is more important to get the message out there as fast as you can. The more you delay, the more chances you are providing for fellow competitors to latch on your idea and reach your customers faster than you can.
Special Customers – Make frequent personal calls to five of your best customers and offer them a special deal that is only for them and only today. They may not buy but we all like to know we can get something special that someone else can’t.
Speed up the loading of your web page – The most frequently cited reason for leaving a particular site is the slow downloading time. Hence a faster loading of your site may potentially increase your product or service being seen.
Sponsorship – Your company can provide sponsorships to various groups to get involved in the community. One example is to sponsor a local sports team. Your customer base can be increased by people related to the sports team, i.e. family and friends of the players. Furthermore, your company name and brand can be actively promoted by being printed on the jerseys, collaterals etc of the sports team.
Subscribe to industry magazines – Get a list of magazines from your public library. Subscribing to trade magazines related to your industry help you keep up with the what’s happening in your industry.
Subscribe to magazines that help your business self-esteem – Immerse yourself with positive business messages by subscribing to magazines that help build your business self-esteem. Read the success stories of entrepreneurs and business people.
Surveys – Create a survey to find out what motivates your customers to buy and have questions whose answers will tell you where and how to reach your target market. Do remember to offer a gift or discount for completing your survey. You can use a script like this: http://www.instantsurveyscript.com/
Swipe Files – Collect and compile a list of good ads and brochures into a swipe. Use this file as a form of inspiration when you experience a creative block when designing your own advertising. Don’t copy them entirely but adapt the use of it to your own business. Use this as a springboard: http://www.swipefilemastery.com
Talk to suppliers and vendors Get competitor information from your suppliers and vendors. By building a relationship with them, they might, unknowingly, give you crucial information about your competitors’ future plans through casual talk. Alternatively, you can buy the stocks of your competitor’s company if it is public-listed. As a stockholder you will receive all their annual and quarterly reports.
Tips for magazine advertising – It is proven that a two-page spread attracts about one-quarter more than a one-page ad. A full-page ad attracts one-third more readers than a half-page ad. With regards to illustrations and photos of the product advertised, people tend to respond better to images showing the product in use rather than those that show the product only. Pictures of people in ads attract more attention than those without.
Trade organizations – Send a copy of your business’s latest news to any trade organizations you belong to for them to include the news in their magazine or newsletters.
T’s and C’s – Spell out the legal positions that your site has in your terms and conditions. For example, you may want to notify customers about your site security if you are using credit cards – what actions are you liable for and what are the risks the customer takes. Terms and conditions also act as a credibility factor to increase your customers’ trust in you.
Use A Dipstick Now And Then – During the course of your presentation in explaining your product or service to potential clients, pause every now and then to ask the audience a question. This is to check whether your explanation has been received by the other party. You can’t sell your product or service if your message is not being received.
Use One Media to Direct Your Customer To Another – If your target market research told you that the most popular channel to reach your target audience is through one media but your product or service works better on another media channel, use the media popular to your target market to direct your potential clients to the other media channel that is more effective in sending the message of your product or service.
Use personalized post-it notes to promote your company – Design and create personalized post-it notepads to promote your company. Every office uses post-its and they stick them to everything. Due to the fact that they use your post-its everyday, it is the case of repeated advertising. If they have a problem you can solve, your name and number are right there stuck to the page for them to contact you.
Use the upper left – Eye maps have shown that the first thing you look when reading an article, catalogue or any reading material online or offline for that matter, your eye will rest first at the upper left hand corner of the spread. That’s the place you can place your best seller. If your best seller is not an eye catching product or service, use an eye catching visual on the upper left and direct your reader to your actual ad elsewhere on the spread.
Weekly Info – If you can provide daily or weekly information people need, get it out through your local radio station.
Working the “willing suspension of disbelief” – People are choosing to buy from other people rather than from faceless corporations. Even though these people might not exist, having a human face for the company beats having just a company brand name.
Write to one, reach out to many – Address your promotional, marketing materials or sales letters to one individual and write copy based on that person. Write in such a way as though you were sitting down and having a conversation with that person about your business.