Archive for marketing lessons
Celebrating a holiday is a standard 101 marketing strategy you say?
Well, you would be right, but I would recommend you get creative with this very ‘standard’ of 101 marketing strategies… either choose a unique or obscure holiday, or even create your own.
I passed a bar a few days ago here in NYC, and when I saw this sign I just couldn’t resist sharing it. It’s a terrific way to create a unique reason to celebrate – and in their case, a unique way to bring in the customers (which is what you should be trying to do too…)
So, if you usually send out Holiday greeting cards in December, wishing people a Happy Holiday Season and Happy New Year, you might very well be wasting your time. People receive SO many cards they may not even notice who they’ve come from… but, if you send a card for Halloween or even Thanksgiving, your card will stand out because it will be the only one in the mail at that time.
Consider what you can do for a unique communication with your prospects and clients – even if it means creating your own. And, if you are looking for some unusual holidays to consider, here’s where you can find a great list (and if you Google ‘unique holidays’ you’ll find many more): Holiday Insights
Finding Time to Blog is an Essential Internet Marketing Strategy
How do you find the time to blog with all the other activities in Social Media?
To me finding the time for anything, particularly things I know will help me grow my business is just as essential as brushing my teeth and making sure I make time to exercise. You just have to choose to make it a priority. I will say that when I get a question like this one there is usually something else behind it – like perhaps it’s hard to find the time to blog because either you don’t know what to blog about or you don’t really enjoy writing. There are many ways to deal with both. Since blogging is such an essential internet marketing strategy, I choose to make it a priority – and you should too.
Before you figure out WHAT you want to write about you need to figure out WHEN and HOW OFTEN you are going to write. To use your blog as an effective internet marketing strategy, the absolute minimum number of times you can blog is really about once a week. Ideally you want to build up to blogging 2-3 times a week or more, but if it’s a challenge for you, start with once a week and then consider increasing it. One way to add another entry a week is to do a weekly special entry, like motivation Monday or Inspiration Sunday – something like that where your readers will come to expect it from you and you will have a specific type of topic to cover. That works as both an easier topic to generate and keeps you on a schedule, holding your feet to the fire. You can consider doing a weekly review of something, share a video you found interesting, share something funny, something personal, a book review – whatever works for you. The idea is to make it a ‘regular feature’.
Once you decide how often, then schedule writing time for yourself every week – figure out if you are better in the morning or afternoon, and then just set a timer for ½ an hour or an hour and write on one of your topics. Remember, blog posts don’t need to be long to be effective – some people who blog regularly sometimes only write a paragraph or a few sentences on some days. Let the topic guide the length, and if it starts to get long, make it a two-part post. If the topic is a good fit for your keywords and you have a lot to say you can create a 3 part series – or perhaps even more.
Now, if you are looking for topics, one of the best ways is to set aside ½ an hour and brainstorm – make a list of everything you can think of and then start using that list. You can ask a fellow entrepreneur to brainstorm with you, you can look around at other blogs or magazines from your industry and see what people are writing about. When you find a topic you like, put it into a file – either digital or physical – and save the idea for later, that way you are always building a series of ideas – a blog idea folder. When your scheduled writing time comes up, if you aren’t sure exactly what to write about, grab your file and leaf through until something looks interesting, then get started.
The other thing that really seems to keep people from being able to use this internet marketing strategy regularly is that they don’t enjoy writing. If you are someone who doesn’t enjoy it, then don’t force yourself… if you don’t like writing, most likely you do enjoy speaking. In that case you can either do videos on your topic and put them up on YouTube (another GREAT internet marketing strategy) and then post them to your blog with a short write up or even a transcription of the audio.
If you don’t want to do video, you can record yourself speaking into an mp3 recorder or during a teleseminar you host for prospects, then send the audio file to a transcription service and get it transcribed. Then all you need to do is a little editing and post it on your site (many transcriptions services will also edit for an additional fee). You could easily record several blog posts in a ½ hour to 1 hour spoken segment, and then post them on your own schedule.
One of single best methods ever for marketing your business in the ‘offline’ world, even to this day is Direct Response Mail Marketing. And, you can take well designed direct mail strategies and campaigns online as well, building them in email, with sales pages, and even on social media.
The first step with any direct mail strategy is getting really clear on your target market. I recently heard a story about a direct mail campaign for a hearing aid company. After some research they discovered that someone who was married, who had a living spouse was something like 30% more likely to buy a hearing aid (I can’t remember the exact numbers, but it was seriously impressive). Then, when they dug a bit further, they discovered that someone who is married, with a living spouse who also owns their own home is even 20% more likely, on top of the 30% to buy a hearing aid (again – I don’t remember the exact numbers, but it was something like this). If you get that clear on who you want to target you can buy a list using that very specific criteria, which will make your campaign trounce average direct mail strategies.
The next step in developing your direct mail strategies, is to design your campaign with multiple steps. Multiple steps will outsell single step mailings every time. You also want to spend some time learning copywriting, or hire someone to write your sales letter to make it highly effective. You have about 3.5 seconds to grab someones attention when they receive your mail – you don’t want to screw that up.
Also, it is essential to make sure there is a very specific offer and a reason to respond NOW (you need to create sense of urgency). Be sure that the instructions on how to respond to the offer are very clear – what do you want them to do? Do you want them to call? Visit your website? Come into your office? (Also, you will generally get a better response with more options of response – so you don’t just want to include your website, give them a number to call (toll free or not – you should test that to see which brings a better quality lead).
You also want to make sure you track and measure the process – that is often why businesses use coupon codes – you know exactly how someone got to you if they are using a specific coupon code.
Be sure to be creative, outrageous even – reaching out and grabbing people by the collar makes them sit up and take notice.
A good direct response sales letter can turn a business around, and can often be used for many years. Learn to write a good sales letter, find out as much as you can about target market and buy a list of the people who fit in it, then test your letter, then use what you learn to make the campaign even more effective.
Remember, multiple mailings out-pull single mailings – a second mailing will often double the overall response.
If you aren’t sure how to get started and want some help, take a look here.
The answer? EVERYTHING.
Your business is dependent – completely dependent – on your niche. If you don’t have one, you are effectively shooting yourself in the foot.
There’s a saying in marketing, “If you’re for everyone, you’re for NO ONE.” It’s time to pay attention to that…
Most entrepreneurs, particularly when they are starting out, think that their product or service is good for everyone… if you are one of them, go back and read that previous sentence again. Making a decision to be FOR someone is absolutely essential to the success of your business. You must learn niche marketing, targeting your product’s or service’s message to a specific niche.
Here’s an example of an excellent niche… Goddess Boudoir Photography. The very talented Jessica Morrisy – who is an outstanding photographer, put together a niche for her business doing boudoir photography for women. It is abundantly clear that not everyone will want to use this service, but for those who are interested, she stands out as a great option. No worries about asking some random photographer if s/he is willing to do it – here’s someone who’s standing up and saying, “Hey, over here – I do exactly that!” Very smart, Jessica took the time to learn niche marketing, she selected a niche that would work well for her, and went for it. From what I understand, it’s working VERY well for her.
For most entrepreneurs, choosing a niche is like pulling teeth – they just don’t want to do it. I suggest that you take some time, look around you at the success of the small businesses and entrepreneurs and see who’s growing fastest. I can almost guarantee they have a clearly defined niche – in fact, they may have multiple niches – which is a great option, but let’s just start with one. If you aren’t sure, take a look at where most of your clients and customers are coming from – see if something has already begun to stand out. If not, then go back and do some research on which niche is most likely to respond best to your product or service. It doesn’t mean you can never work with other people, it just means you are going to stand up and say, “I’m FOR dentists,” or, “I’m for dog owners,” or whatever your specific niche may be.
Take some time to learn niche marketing – it will make a huge difference in your bottom line.
Great video of a Space Shuttle launch and then camera footage from one of the falling solid fuel tanks…
Earlier today, while walking down the sidewalk I started thinking about how ‘launching’ a business seems to be very much like ‘launching’ a space craft. A huge amount of the total fuel needed to accomplish the mission is required at the very beginning in a tireless, intense, speedy thrust.
When you are just starting out it’s important to remember that you will need to be intense, persistent and pour tons of energy, passion and creativity into igniting your business. Once things are moving steadily along, it will still require fuel and energy to continue movement, but it will have some momentum and will be easier to keep it going that it is to start it.
So, when you have one of those days where there is so much to do you feel overwhelmed, when you are running out of steam and you aren’t sure you can keep going, think about the Space Shuttle, and remember that keeping that intensity going for a bit longer may be all it takes to help you reach orbit – where you’ll need to steady direction and continue on your mission, but you won’t need that huge expense of energy to keep things going.
And, if you are struggling with feeling overwhelmed or are feeling tired, you may need to take a break to re-fuel. Listen to what you need, take a walk, go to bed early – do whatever you need to replenish, and then come back and pour your energy into that launch again. Eventually, the ‘launch’ phase will end, you’ll need to continue to work hard, but some things will stabilize and you’ll be able to focus on different aspects of creating a successful business.