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Flying blind in marketing is not the way to run your business

Direct Mail Dont Assume, Just Test and Track

Direct Mail  Dont Assume, Just Test and TrackWhere to Start:Most novice marketers have definite fixed ideas about direct mail that are way off base - most often in the area of what to spend and how much to do. You should determine what you are able to spend for your marketing budget, spend it, and determine the maximum number of leads that you can create. For instance, Ive heard this statement quite often: "We arent that large of a company. How could we send out 2,000 postcards all at once? "Because "What if they all call?" seems like a valid concern, right?Here is the reality behind it: Unfortunately they wont all call. However, a good deal of them very well may and making sure that your traffic in is not more than you can handle is something to think about. Truthfully, there is no sure way to tell exactly how many people will call if you havent done this type of marketing before. Think of it this way. What would happen if they did all call? You may not be able to handle all of them, but you would handle as many as you possibly could, right?In this scenario, you would have maximized your income for that time period providing you could close up all those callers! You can also explore the idea of expanding your operation to handle the number of leads that you can create.What if you didnt max out your promotion at the very start? You can afford to send out 4,000 pieces every two weeks but you think that you will simply get too many calls to be able to handle them all. You, instead, send out only 2,000 and the response is decent. However, you still have some down time where you are having to try to manufacture sales.You saved $400 in marketing money but you had enough down time where you could have closed quite a few more sales than you did. The question now is "Which gives me more money in my pocket? Saving $400 on marketing or closing quite a few more sales and earning an extra couple of Gs potentially. More than likely the answer is to spend as much as you possibly can on your marketing, right?By spending all that you can afford on marketing when you start a program you maximize your income almost immediately.Okay, Time to Track Results.Hopefully you have more than one way that you try to recruit new customers. So how do you know which ones are working and which arent? Set up a system to track the results.Lets take for example a situation in which you decide to start a Postcard Marketing Campaign for your business. The first week you send out 3000 postcards. When they start hitting homes you get 30 calls. Did all of these leads come from the postcards? Probably not. Because the week before you got 8 calls and hadnt sent out any postcards yet. So how can you tell who actually got a postcard?The Answer: All you have to do is ask them. "So how did you hear about our company?" The hard part is making sure that any employee in your company who answers the phone and may talk to a new prospect remembers to ask the question every time. The fewer prospects who answer this question, the less accurate your information will be when making future marketing decisions.Now lets assume that you have been sending out postcards for a while and you have a good number of calls coming in. If you ask the question "So how did you hear about our company?" they may respond, "I got your postcard in the mail." But, by now you have mailed postcards to 4 different lists, 3 times each. How do you tell which list and which mailing this customer was from?The Answer: Put a marketing code on the postcards that will tell you which specific postcard they received and when it was mailed.Give each list a name and work the date into your marketing code as well. And the only thing your representatives have to ask is "Would you mind reading me the marketing code above your address?" This code should give you all the info that you need to know and help you keep your Marketing Results Tracking as accurate as possible.Try not to operate off of assumptions about how to market if you havent educated yourself. And make sure you collect all the data and make your future marketing decisions based on the facts.

A Reality Check On Your Marketing Strategy

A Reality Check On Your Marketing Strategy

The 'Marketing Strategy' is the way we have come up with for achieving our marketing goals and it should include two mandatory elements:- Which target consumers whom we can reach, hold a viable potential to buy whatever we intend to sell?- What is the offer (the entire marketing mix) we will be presenting to these consumers in order to appeal to them and thus realize the said potential, given their alternatives?You must not think of these as two separate questions but rather as two parts of the same idea. Let me clarify. What are "target consumers with a potential to buy"? These are consumers (a sizeable enough group with buying power) likely to desire what you are offering. Why would they want it? That is the potential that you are supposed to identify. There may be several reasons. For example, maybe they are not consumers of your kind of product yet, however, they might be if something happens, or if they are exposed to a certain message. It could be that they have special needs or preferences, which up until today were not catered to by any of your competitors' offers (and don't forget that psychological, social, aesthetic needs are real needs). Maybe they are bored with what they routinely buy. When you identify such a situation, you know that the potential is there.Identifying potential is only the initial stage of your mission, of course. Your strategy would also have to include something that you are going to offer these consumers that might improve their situation in a certain way, solve a problem, give them more than what they already get for the same price, or open new opportunities for them. In short, something that will motivate them to buy from you and thus materialize the potential.The 'Marketing Scenario' is a synopsis of the logic of your marketing strategy. In the same breath, it also enables you to make sure that that logic really works. The 'Marketing Scenario' translates the 'Marketing Strategy' to simple everyday language. How will it happen in reality? How will the materialization of marketing goals occur? I don't know whether or not you have already sunk in this fact, but marketing goals are achieved through customer acts. So, let's assume that we install a webcam with enhanced psychological insight capabilities inside the market and that it captures the materialization of our marketing plan, one purchase after another. What is the 'Marketing Scenario'?The 'Marketing Scenario' is an amazingly simple tool to use: Only four questions. Are you jotting this down?1. Who are the people who we believe have the potential of buying what we intend to sell? Yes, these are the same people we so often refer to as the 'Target Consumers'. First, we must define our targets. What do these people have in common that makes them probable prospects (in the sense that they are likely to be particularly interested in our offer)? We could use demographic, socioeconomic, psychographic, as well as lifestyle descriptions. Note that at times, we target not a specific group but a wide almost indefinable group of people in a specific mood, a specific situation, or a specific need or state.Make room for another possibility. You can target not a defined group of consumers but rather a state of need/desire or a consumption context shared by many diverse consumers at one time or another.2. What precisely should they be doing (that they are not doing already and will probably not do if we will not intervene), that would direct them to eventually choose our brand specifically? It is, by the way, the first and only objective of branding. What do they have to do so that your marketing plan will materialize (even before the actual purchase)? Do they have to go somewhere? To call? To agree to meet your salesperson? To stop and pick out your product from the shelf? Which activity, which does not occur today, would lead them in the correct path on the way to buying?3. What is the sound reason that should motivate them to change their behavioral inertia? How will they benefit from that change? Why would you, in their place, buy what you are offering? You can think of it as your differentiating factor (what makes you differentially better?), or as your competitive advantage (what makes you comparatively better?), according to your preference. What could make their situation better compared to their current standing and to the other options available to them in the market?4. How exactly will they extract the benefit (that which answers question 3) according to your marketing plan? That is not a repeat question. Notice that the third question dealt with the 'why' of the target consumer's planned motivation, and now, we are trying to understand the 'how' of your marketing plan. How are you planning to provide the benefit defined in the answer to question 3? If, for instance, you said before that you are making something more accessible, easy or comfortable for them, now explain how it will become more accessible, easy or comfortable, due to you product. Let us look at an example: The introduction of Palm Pilot to the market. O.K.? Just the main points:1. "Residents" of the business community, gadgets fans, who manage a dynamic, constantly changing schedule, and have not yet embraced the electronic organizers, or were disappointed by them because of their being laborious to update and generally unreliable.2. ... will step into the nearest office equipment store and ask about the Palm Pilot.3. ... because at last there is an organizer which is not only sophisticated, small and wonderfully shaped, but is also easily kept up to date and preserves the stored data when damaged or when upgrading to a new model4. ... because the Palm Pilot can 'converse' with the PC, making the updating process a simple task to perform, as well as enabling creation of backups which could be easily transferred on to the next generations of organizers.That is what the 'Marketing Scenario' is all about. All you have to do is answer the questions. Be precise. Be thorough. Be honest. Do it in writing. Even if you're absolutely sure that the answers are positively clear to you and there's nothing to be gained. Only when your 'Marketing Scenario' is totally translated to a written text, should you go on and proceed with the brand development process. Otherwise, you will get trapped along the way, and don't say I didn't warn you.

Merchants Earn More After Affiliate Marketing

Merchants Earn More After Affiliate Marketing

An attraction of affiliate marketing is the savings that the merchant will gain when he no longer conducts his own advertising and publicity. Some merchants, who already have a well-established "affiliate marketing" program, no longer bother to conduct any activity that will lead to more sales. Such may not impair the current sales of the online business, but it failed to tap into another avenue of selling that can increase the revenue of the online business.Thus, the merchant must still conduct some form of advertising even when he has an effective affiliate marketing program, and even when he has hundreds of affiliates conducting the promotions for him. The merchant must look into making a second or even a third sale to the customers he acquired. Such is called back-end selling. The practice of back-end selling can complement affiliate marketing.Here are some ways that a merchant can perform back-end selling:Newsletters Whether through email or sent through snail mail, these publications are perfect avenues to introduce the other products of the merchant. These other products are the back-end products. Therefore, in the merchants website, there should be a part where the customer is asked whether he would like to receive free newsletters from the online company. If the customer clicks yes, then this customer will be taken to a page that will ask for his email or mailing address.Thank You Letters Sending a thank you letter for patronizing the merchants products is not just a form of courtesy. It is a wise business practice. With the thank you letter, the merchant must mention the back-end product.Customer Satisfaction Calls If the merchant is not comfortable in writing brilliant thank you letters, he may choose to give the customer a phone call. During the phone call, the merchant will check if the customer was happy about the product they already bought. This call shows a concern for the customer. But it is again an avenue for back-end selling. The merchant will attempt to mention the back-end products.Customers Only In the website of the merchant, there will be a webpage that can be accessed only by its customers. When a visitor has become a paying customer due to affiliate marketing, this paying customer can go to the webpage that contains more about the product that he has bought. In that same page, there may be ads for the back-end productsBack-end selling for the merchant becomes easier because the customer has already given his trust after the initial sale brought by affiliate marketing.

You Want To Market Your Business, But Do You Have The Time?

You Want To Market Your Business, But Do You Have The Time?

Well, do you? If not, how do you have time to run a profitable business? By profitable, I am not just talking about money. I also include time to do what you want in profitability. Time is money right? I am going to give you golden nuggets of time management wisdom that I personally use in my direct response copywriting business. To qualify that these actually work...I utilize all of these methods personally, and I "work" no more than 4 hours a day! Use them in your business today! 1) The foundation is your desk. How clean and organized is your desk? Do you adopt the principle of "use it, file it, or throw it away" with every single item that comes across your desk? You either use information (paper, email, whatever), file information (only if you have TIME STAMPED when you are going to use it), or throw it away completely! Some items are just not important enough to waste valuable time on. 2) Magazines, do you read them? Really, do you? Or, like I used to, do you let them stack up in a pile...hoping to get to them someday. When you finally do, they are outdated...or you manage to read a small part of a magazine, then throw it back on the pile you created. Here is the secret: Use the table of contents! Find those articles you like right away, and rip or cut them out of the magazine! Then, read now, or file the article in a folder for that magazine subject or title. It is much easier to read the articles you are interested in only...and it makes sense. 3) Do you find yourself listening to audio recordings? If so, a real timesaver is to listen to the recording at double speed (2x). In 99% of the cases, you can still understand what is being said, and it doubles your efficiency in getting information. This cuts your listening time in half! 4) How organized is your office? No really, I mean it. Is your office chair in easy reach of filing cabinets, supplies, and other necessary items without having to get up? Getting up and down for a few seconds each time adds up quickly...this technique alone can save you an hour a day! What can you do with an extra 60 minutes? Perhaps take lunch? 5) How do you process "interruptions?" Do you end up checking a blank email box 20 times a day, or check it three times at specific times of the day? Do you schedule phone calls, or do you pick up the phone and answer it every time Aunt Mable calls? How you handle your incoming activities (phone, email, people visiting etc...) can seriously take away from your valuable time! Remember one idea here...NOBODY AND NOTHING controls your time except YOU! It is a conscious decision that you make to take a phone call or send another email...attend a meeting...or any other time suckers. Please don't take it out on other people when "you don't have enough time." It is YOU that made that decision in the first place.

Full Color for Stunning Brochures

Have you ever feel so engrossed in something so beautiful and breathe taking? Perhaps a picture or image of a person or a scenic spot that you just find it so difficult to take your eyes off it. If you have, have you ever wondered what made you stare? Well, most of these pictures become attractive because of its color. Yes you read it right, color is the culprit. After all, who would like to read or see something that is not appealing to the eye? Color is definitely the reason why most business opts for color printing in their promotional materials. Customers today are much pickier in choosing the product or service that they avail of. That is why; if you are a business owner it may be the right choice for you to have that brochure colorfully represented. Colors, especially those printed in full color, leave a lasting image to the reader and if you have interesting brochures customers are less likely to discard it. Because they are colorful and contain interesting images, "full color" brochures build name recognition and image for your business and the product and/or services that you offer. You would perhaps ask, isnt full color expensive? Well, yes full color can be quite expensive but if know where to look for print shops to do the printing for you; chances are you will save a considerable amount of money. And besides, if you were able to meet your goal - that is to make the customers interested in what you have to offer, it is often worth the cost. Full color brochures can make a difference in your business. Just imagine how many sales you can make with just one brochure. And if your brochure is presented in different colors, readers will be encouraged to flip through the rest of the pages. Simply put, using full color brochures is important for two reasons: remembrance and memory. An average humans retention rate is less than ten percent. So if you want readers to remember your products and services, printing your brochures in full color might be a good idea. They simply build up the image of your company and help the customer remember all the information.

Booklet Designing, Tips, and Its Importance

Pamphlets, brochure, leaflets, folder, catalogs, etc. are just some of the different types of booklet. Booklets have many uses for us, especially for business companies. Companies use booklet as their promotion tool in order for them to market their products and services to us as their prospective consumer. Booklets are the perfect way for companies to show to their prospective customers what they can offer for them.Booklets are not only important for business companies but also for us as their valued consumer. We need to have a clear idea of the products and services that they are offering to us.If you are planning to make a booklet, designing is the first step you must do. However, designing a booklet is not easy. You have so much to consider in order for your readers to appreciate and read your booklet. The layout, imposition, color, contents and its printing are some of the factors you need to consider in creating an effective and informative booklet.The booklet cover has the great impact for your readers because it is the first seen page of your booklet. So, you should be very careful in planning your booklet cover. The reason is that booklet covers speaks a lot about your company, you must first do a research for the images and photographs that you will be using for the booklet cover, if possible have images and photographs that is related to your business products and services. Do not make wrong indication to your customers which you may get in some vibrant images which are misleading. Having just some ordinary graphics wont help your booklet been marketed properly, create a booklet which is neat and informative. For instance typesetting the font, have a bright background with dark letter which will be easy and better to read. Always try to have a light background dark letters and dark background with light letters.Pages are also important in making a good booklet. Always make the booklet simple in the sense that you must limit the pages of your booklet, it is wise enough that your booklet must only have 2 or 4 pages with all information on it, rather of having 10 pages. A typical consumer just takes couple of minutes to read a booklet, by that time you should be able to leave an impression about your company in the reader mind.We have now come to the final step process in creating a booklet design, which is selecting your printing company to do the printing job. This final step could be easy because nowadays finding a printing company is easy as 1, 2, 3. Do it online, internet can provide more online printing companies that offers many services. It is also important to find the printing company that has the latest equipments for printing. Lastly, find a printing company who can finish your booklet in a professional way.

Summary

Flying blind in marketing is not the way to run your business