Archive for category The Marketing Dept

The gift that keeps giving

Do you get excited and curious when you get a parcel you weren’t expecting? (Okay so you have figured out it won’t go BANG) 🙂 :()

So earlier this week when a plain box was delivered to my address… I was like a kid on Christmas morning. (clearly I don’t get enough deliveries :))

What was it? why me? oh and who sent it… (yeah that’s important)

Lot’s of questions running through my mind the whole time as I juggled my keys to get in the door (I met the courier out front as I was trying to leave to go to an appointment) then as my dogs barked with excitement on seeing me (Guys it was just minute ago that I left!)

From who?

Turns out it was a company I chatted to last week.

I hadn’t done any business with this organisation yet, so I was a little surprised.

As I opened the package, in it was a stack of samples of their food products and some promo gear (more good quality pens and simple notepads with their info on them. I like those, very handy…)

They sent it as a way of thanking me for the support and value I’ve added to her business so far. (one chat over for about an hour or so and a few emails of info)

Why?

Now, here’s the thing.

They didn’t have to send me this gift, but I’m glad they did, it picks me up, reminds me of the value I gave 🙂 and keeps them ‘top of mind’ with me and that’s good, very good!

An old boss of mine MANY years ago liked to call these packages “a pot of gold” and if the gift was just right and well considered it would be shared, that was a BIG pot of gold. We would talk about it for ages. (yeah pretty dull office I know…)

So, it was a pleasant surprise… it put a smile on my face AND, most importantly, it’s something I WON’T forget in a hurry!

It’s simple…

Going over and beyond what you have promised to your clients – by surprising them with bonuses they weren’t expecting – is a great way to build a loyal following.

People may forget what you say, but they seem to always remember how you made them feel.

Even if it’s something like a handwritten thank you note (these gifts don’t need to be extravagant or expensive) it’s the thought that counts.

Keep giving things to people that delight them and make them feel good, check out their needs and aim to keep them happy. Remember. it’s the little things that count.

Make Your Marketing Work

You want more people to notice your business and take positive action, but what form of advertising or marketing should you use? Here are a few pointers to get you started.Two types of marketing

Passive MarketingTwo types of marketing

Passive marketing reaches the customer through effective positioning of your details. For example, a customer uses a search engine to locate the business and find the phone number. The marketing was done before their need arose, to encourage the customer into the business. Effective passive marketing is thoughtful and enticing. It takes planning and strategic implementation

  • Website
  • Signage – Vehicle, Building, Billboards
  • Print adverts & articles – newspapers, magazines, catalogues etc.
  • Fliers
  • Business Cards
  • Blog articles
  • Social Media – Facebook posts – You tube Videos etc.
  • Image based – Uniforms and promotional items
  • Broadcast media – T.V. or radio
  • Direct mail – Postal – email

Active Marketing

Active marketing requires interaction. It may mean networking with other businesses. It also includes selectively advertising to drive in new business. This type of marketing is deliberate and purposeful. It takes effort. Active marketing often includes meeting prospects face to face and making direct calls to introduce yourself and what you have to offer to prospects. This kind of marketing requires skill and persistence. Having someone doing this for you is called a big bonus, usually it’s a happy customer that likes what you do and tells others.

  • Networking – Face to face interaction with prospects at trade shows, community and business events
  • Direct meetings – Define a prospect, make a list, call and introduce yourself, meet and discuss, the aim is tto research and work an angle to cause them to say “Yeah, send me more info” or “Yeah drop in and talk to me about it.”
  • Word of mouth – Someone likes what you did and tells someone else, now you have a hot prospect

Making it measureable

All of these marketing types are useful, but you could spend a fortune and not know what ones are working the best for you, that’s when the notion of making them measureable comes into play.

If someone drops in to your business or gives you a call, you need to have some way of asking how they found out about your business, then you can start to quantify what’s working for you.

The best way is to find a point in your interaction with them to find the most natural way of saying “Oh and by the way, how did you find out about us?” then recording it. If 90% of your prospects say they saw an advert on social media, then you know you have something working for you.

One other way to measure results is if you have a radio advert that hits your prospects at a time when they need you and they call you. An example is a radio advert, for school stationery supplies that comes on the radio as your prospect pulls up to pick up their children. If the next hour or so sees a rise in the number of people dropping in with children, chances are your radio advert had some effect.

Taking it further

Having the above information can be a way to get started, but in reality you will need to consider a range of things, the business ‘brand image’, who you want as prospects, how many prospects you want and figuring out the best ways to influence those prospects with the words and images you use in the adverts.

Regards

Steve Gray

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The Web Marketing Connection

Image courtesy of Sommai from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Sommai from freedigitalphotos.net

In the hustle and bustle of running a business it can be easy to be confused and concerned about the things that matter. You’re trying to run the business, your mind full of daily details, it’s easy to miss out on what should or could be happening in the business.

Not everyone is good at all areas of the business, many are technically adept at the ‘doing’ side of the business, others more marketing or management focussed. So when things happen you need to know about to grow your business you can soon be overwhelmed. Let’s take marketing for instance.

In the ‘good old days’ marketing was a somewhat simpler affair, sales reps would drop in and sell you everything from T.V. space to to print advertising and sign writing, to name a few. These days there seems to be a more to it.

The technology revolution means people are now hassled via email and directly by organisations saying they can get their website on the first page of google, others say your website needs updating, oh and  how is that email campaign going… The list of questions, technical details and so on is seemingly endless.

Also know that some of these people can provide you with a solution that may not work, it may look alright to you but in the back end functionality details can be missed and performance may not be all you want it to be.

Like anything in business there are times when you have to trust your gut instinct about the people you are dealing with and the way you want to do business. Knowing if the technology solution is right for you can be a minefield but also know that with some research and effective questioning you can find more answers without being too bogged down with ‘techno babble’ here are a few points to consider…

The sales rep says…

  • We can get you on the first page of google – Any body can get on the first page if they google their own business name, ask them to show you examples of sites they have done which have achieved this ranking with appropriate key words. Now call that business and ask them what they thought of the web company in question
  • We can give you an email campaign that works for just $x per month – That’s good any examples of that? Do you have a red hot copy writer that will work directly with me to create sales letter type emails that will suit my prospects?
  • We can link with your social media – Yep so can I, generally it’s a no brainer to add in a link to your site
  • We make it so you can add in new info to your site – Great but is there a catch? Do you train me how to do that? Any others you have done that for? There are free options on the web for creating websites that you can add information to, photo’s videos, text etc so you should have full control of the content on your site.
  • We look after you – That’s great, but can I still have the access details for the hosting, the domain name registration etc so IF I change my mind I can take my web details elsewhere? Some will baulk at this, wanting you to be a customer for life. Others will give you all the details you need to be in control
  • It won’t cost much – For now… What about ongoing monthly fees and what do you get for that ongoing fee? Support? If you are on a tight budget you probably want to think twice about any ongoing fees and charges

There’s a start, I guess it’s all about due diligence in the end, just watch out for the technical details where the sales rep will want to confuse you with foot work, dazzle you with charm and deliver a knockout punch you may regret in the long run.

Here are some other web based marketing articles you might like to check out Content marketing Social media for business Using face book for business

Regards

http://stevegray.biz

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Persistence pays

signpost marketing

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

You know that when you learn something new, persistence pays, if it’s a musical instrument, practice practice PRACTICE! it’s that ability to ‘keep on keeping on’ that pays dividends.

The same with some aspects of business, being able to continue with somethingthat might seem a little tenuous at times can pay off.

Marketing is one of those areas. Some people place an advert and hope it will yeild results on the first go, often it takes 8+ placements of that advert to get some form of result.

Social media is a key marketing tool these days for many businesses, and being persistent with the posts you make is therefore a useful thing to ensure people notice your business.

Think about the ways you can leverage this to your advantage, and tackle some of these ideas as well:

  • How can you be persistent with Public Relations material to try and get free advertising and being seen by the media as an expert in yoru field so they can come to you when they want to know about your line of business.
  • How can you plan to ensure you have a marketing activity happening at least once a week? and no having a website up 24/7 is not something you should count on for this activity…
  • What is ‘best practice’ in your industry? and  how can you match your marketing efforts to this?
  • What innovative ways can you get the business name out to more of your target market? Think promotional products, think stand and hand out samples in retail, think, research explore and come up with some that are cost effective and useful
  • Which company local to you is your biggest competitor? How can you beat what they do in their marketing to take some of their market share?

Being persistent in  your marketing efforts is the same and persistence in  your management, leadership, operational tasks and compliance issues. you have to do it, you have to make sure it’s working and now is the ideal time to start!

Regards

Steve Gray

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Marketing debrief

goal

Image courtesy of Pakorn from www.freedigitalphotos.net

Ask some of the team in your organisation and they will probably shoot down anything that looked weird, strange “creative’. They probably can not see if it made any change to the number of people thinking about what you have to offer.

They probably can’t see the people who have become customers because of the ‘creative’ approach, nor can they appreciate the prospects who have been caught in the web of information and intrigue caused by the ‘creative approach’.

There you are all alone looking at the statistics and you note the things that give you the logic to build a case for the marketing efforts thus far. The big thing you note are those ‘things’ that are probably leading prospects into your ‘marketing funnel’ but you know these are hard to measure.

This can be caused by simple things.

  • Some people don’t let you know – Let’s face it LOTS of people don’t let you know where they heard about your organisation, you have to ask and very actively listen, even then they might not tell you about the ‘messages’ you sent out to tease them or the lines of text designed to entice.
  • Some staff don’t tell you either… – You, and your staff, may have your favourite supplier of goods and services so you might tend to ignore the pushy promotional company, even though their product made a positive impact. When your boss asks about what’s working, you tend to put a spin on the suppliers you prefer. Your staff also spot the things they ‘like’ but don’t let you know. Oh and how about recording in the inital moments of the customer making contact how they heard about you… no they failed to do that too huh… Better luck next time!
  • The results aren’t in yet – You know that the ten thousand promotional pens and other goodies handed out at the expo last month were well received, yet due to the first point made you won’t hear about it. Not until you are in their office and see they have circulated a stack of your freebie handouts. Also the teaser adverts you placed to build interest and send people to your website are still happening and trying to figure out which one is ‘doing the trick’.
  • Five teasers one result – You might have placed a few teaser adverts, blog articles, QR scanning images and the like about the place but which one would you keep if you had to cut back? You know the end result is useful, in fact you would like to be able to develop more teasers to funnel people in to your business, but try telling that to your boss!
  • Test and test some more… – You have been told this and you still haven’t tested the six different adverts, or the 9 step customer acquisition program… It’s time to ask more questions, find more answers and test some more.
  • Nine out of ten people agree – Research says something is so, and the people love to see those statistics, reference points and socially acceptable keys for why they should by what your organisation offers. Your problem is you see that the current run of adverts and promotional devices does not mention these ‘pearls’ of wisdom, oh well next time…

So how did the campaign go? Did the sales department go into melt down because the leads came thick and fast? Did everyone in the organisation support all aspects of the campaign or were there things that caused upset? Did any customers have disparaging remarks about the marketing, wording adverts etc? (Hey you could be lucky!)

Now you have a list of possible reasons why (or why not), logical reasons, quantitative reasons. Your marketing is only as good as what works, your challenge is how to measure it and know where theings fit in teh scheme of things.

Regards

Steve Gray

Making the Content Fit

Writing

Image courtesy of Adamr via freedigitalphotos.net

Content marketing, it’s the big buzz thing in internet marketing and has been for a while, what works and what doesn’t can be a fine line one has to tread with caution if they are to get some form of positive result.

To me a great story does it, although I can formulate them in my head at times and tell a story or two to illustrate things in a conversation, I don’t write like that (or rarely anyway), If I hired someone to write the content I have, I would want them to write it like it was a long lost letter to home, the sort of letter that got kept by your parents in a safe place in a drawer somewhere. The sort that grabs the heart strings and keeps the image of you held in high esteem.

Of course the content you write for audiences has to fill a need, for me it’s about Art or Business and providing (hopefully) fantastic ‘how to’ information people can use. It will probably have a very useful point of view, that the reader grabs on to and says, “yep I needed that and it fit’s perfectly.”

It also happens that content marketing needs to be relatively consistent (I say relatively because things don’t always ‘flow’ when the to do list and calendar says it’s time for me to write). Sometimes I manage to put together a piece that fits with a bunch of previous pieces so that works out ok. Consistency is useful to ensure people don’t forget about you too fast, because you keep reminding them with your articles and information.

One of the downers in writing is making the piece too much of a ‘self interested’ sales piece, rather than being of educational value. This is a useful point, but there comes a point where the marketing needs to happen and the people need to connect with you, to either buy what you have or tell others to buy your offerings. You wrote to build trust, to show you have suitable knowledge and the ability to articulate that.

One last thing is making sure that what you offer is cutting edge or right up there in the industry knowledge stakes so that it is seen as credible by those in the know. Mind you that might work for those in the know, but I would hazard a guess the majority of readers might not have read and understand the higher level thinking you are aiming to build on. Welcome to a cath 22 situation, does the majority get pandered to or do you wave the lesser known but possibly more important flag?

Getting content right is therefore a challenge, one well worth your learning. If you follow an effective plan of action you should be able to use it to your advantage.

Enjoy your maketing and making the content work for you! Regards Steve Gray

Social Media For Business

Like Button

Image courtesy of Master Images from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

You want to get on the bandwagon of connecting and influencing your prospects and customers via social media. You hear lots of things like “it will eat up lots of your time, you need to pay others to do it, you need great content and you don’t have it…”

Clearly some of these things are true and others are not as big an issue as you might think.

The key is to create a strategy around social media and focus on making it work for you. Know this though, it can take a long while to build suitable numbers of followers, keep the content flowing and to build a brand that people will instinctively trust and work with.

Here are a few pointers you might tryout, to see if you can discover what your followers want and if you can make your social media campaigns valuable enough for them to act on.

  1. It’s not what you might think – Social media is not just a series of adverts you throw into the wind and hope they will ‘stick’ it needs to be of value for the person to read, if it’s personalized and has a great story to it (even in just a few lines) then it will get read. It’s not an activity you can throw to an ‘young person’ on the team because they are always on social media… It’s still marketing, it still needs to have a professionalism about it. It needs more of the right messages delivered at the right times to have an impact.
  2. It’s a numbers game – People like to think that if something gets seen five times, they will get five sales… not true. If you have a member list of 2,000 people on your social media page then chances are when you send out some information, some will be away on holidays, and not see it, some will not be online that day and not see it, some will just glance by because they are busy and not see it. Like anything in marketing it’s more about the repetition of the information to make sure it is seen by enough of the right people at the right time.
  3. Know the power – The power of social media is in it’s ability to be very timely, you have a special offer for today, you can tell people about it today (or yesterday for that matter). Use that to your advantage to create a sense of urgency. “Drop in today, mention this post and go in the draw for a gift voucher for $x..” Then you can tell if you have got their attention and they want to act on it.
  4. Sharing and caring – Have a rock solid cause you want to tell people about and not just your business, share it… then people will get into the frame of mind that you care and they can share it to, after a while your sharing will rub off and others will share your offers to their friends and associates. Don’t expect people to just share your material.
  5. There are lurkers – You might encourage people to write comments about the special offers and things you care about and find that no one is responding, you might find that for the many posts you blast out to your members and friends you seem to get little response. Note there are lurkers, people who read what you have to offer but don’t press the like button, don’t write a response and don’t seem to act on anything… until. Until they need what you have to offer and then BANG they buy. They probably won’t even tell you they read your material every time they see it. Note these lurkers are valuable, hard to measure but valuable.
  6. Timing – There are better times to post to your members than others, do an internet search and find out when, and post then, so more of your members can read it.
  7. Stand out – Be creative, be different, be a how to guide, be a source of inspiration, be the go to guys… Whatever it is that you can offer (that fits ethically to your business) do it. If you manage to get people to read what you have on offer then that’s half the battle. Think of any TV or radio advert that you remember solidly and chances are it was a creative departure from just a bunch of words pulled together in logical order and thrown at the audience.
  8. Plan for success – Randomly throwing a post on your favourite social site every now and then might seem like a fine and dandy idea, but without a plan, don’t expect much in the way of results. Sure there will be exceptions but you get the idea. So plan, perhaps start with things you know you can offer regularly, (tuesday sales specials for example) then make sure you have something planned to make that known to members. Then think further, what can we do to keep the momentum rolling? Use some creative approaches, ask your team, develop strategies, stories, interesting chunks of very useful information… Whatever it is plan it and make it happen.
  9. It takes time – Yes anything new will take time to develop, it will take time to put together a strategy, it will take time to put the actual posts together. It would also take time and money to run adverts in any media. The challenge is to be able to set that time aside and make it happen.
  10. Research – Like anything in marketing you need to do your research, find out what your competition are doing, think about how can you do it better? Find out what your members want to read about, find out what are the trends are in social media and work to make your efforts professional and ‘cutting edge’. What will your budget  need to be for all of this. Also research the content having a compelling and useful content is vital to getting your posts read.

I hope these ideas give you a better insight into using social media, like any marketing you should be aiming to measure as much of it as you can to see if it is hitting the spot, so ask your customers how they heard about your business then record the reuslts, regards Steve Gray

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