Posts Tagged promotional marketing

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

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Retail therapy…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles freedigital photos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles freedigital photos.net

As we come into winter in Australia there are going to be plenty of businesses finding their retail stores are not full of people and hope they can make it through the leaner times with the profits they (hopefully) made during the peak summer months.

On many occasions I have spoken to retailers who say “Oh well what can you do, it gets quieter and you hope for the best, you get on the phone and have a chat to friends, get the juniors to clean up a bit and even open a bit later.”

I have seen many retailers in shopping strips sitting waiting and hoping… some survive some fade away.

How do you get around this issue and ensure your business can make it through tough times and perhaps thrive even though the temperature outside is telling you this really is “the winter of our discontent”.

Add to and ‘milk’ your database – If your business is interesting and has had customers come to your store for those one of a kind items you are known for, then you probably have a database of interested persons. If not then start building one! Make contact and start inviting them in for a fantastic shopping experience. Email and snail mail them AT LEAST 4 times a year (although you can readily do more with Email). Add a subscription service to your website, blog and online store then do everything you can to get people signed up and steadily build your numbers.

Shopping experience – You have a shop… what’s the ‘experience’ like… Do people love your service, your personality, the extras you add on, the items you sell? Or do they just come in because they have to and hate every minute of it. My view… Go for a stunning experience. Figure out how to do that with some brainstorming, internet research and KICK BUTT! – BRILLIANT service should be the first step, great displays, fast transactions, wonderful Staff, acknowledge all people who enter the store with a solid heart felt “Hello!”

Use your time – When it’s quiet in the store, develop your marketing plan and act on it. Devise a HEAP of ways to contact your database, build your database and keep them coming back for as little cost as you can. Email and facebook pages are one way, tweaking your informative and engaging website is another, adding to your web blog is yet another. Oh and here’s a critical one… do not vacuum the floor when people are in the store or anywhere near the store and see you  (or any staff) doing it, I hate it with a vengeance and will avoid the store at all costs (the noise is one thing, the tripping hazard of the cord is another and it’s just plain poor form!)

Get Excited! – If you are running a boring ‘old fart store’ with little life, a gruff disposition and a cold shoulder, prospects will find it hard to want to become customers, let alone repeat shoppers (clients). The more you can add excitement to cause people to want to shop in your store, more the more value you can get from them.

Cause people to take action – Ok so it’s quieter at certain times of the day. Can you run an event (an in-store demonstration or special display) or sponsor a catch up for a small group. Or perhaps you offer great package options you can make happen only at special times, to cause people to come in and stay there for a while. Or what about an in store treasure hunt… each day you could give people clues about where to find the treasure, perhaps online.

Give simple and effective reminders – Promo products can do this, drop a printed pen into their bag of purchases, give then an imprinted gift for purchases over $x. Chat to your friendly branding expert to get more ideas and ways to engage them more often. Add business cards in the bags each time (about 3 each time) people soon keep them for friends if the service is sensational and the experience and products are good.

Create an online shop – People like to buy, so sell to them in a way which fits for them, at home, anywhere in the world! Make it an easy to navigate online shop with Pay Pal as the payment device. And put on those things people can’t really get anywhere else. Avoid discounting the prices, buying is buying! then promote it on your FB page, twit about it, email people overseas and interstate (try to keep your locals shopping LIVE… They will find the online shop soon enough! are there other online or local shops you can connect with? Perhaps they can link to your shop too, you could have a whole community of connected businesses all working together feeding each other leads.

Get out there! – Sitting in your shop will cause  you to go nuts. Get you and your staff out in front and hand out goodies to prospective customers, give business cards,  chocolates “With the compliments of shop X”, a flier, an invitation to an event. (You can have them excited before they even enter the store!)

All of these tips are simply about loving people so they can love you back, and if you love your staff they will love you and the customers, Go on explore ways to give UNCONDITIONAL love to everyone you come into contact with. I think in an ideal world you could get so busy you would have to hire someone to keep this list of innovative connection options happening, as you could be too busy manning the till! Now that would be nice…

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Franchise Marketing 2

As a Franchisor, you have created a marketing plan of action and an aim. Let’s say you want to get your franchisees more corporate leads, by creating a targeted direct mail campaign to ensure clear penetration into a specific market. You call your friendly branding expert to get some ideas and explore some concepts.

You decide to send out a suitable small gift with a personalised note advising businesses of your new corporate level services.  The letter attached to it gives them a local contact and some information on the new services and why they should choose you, it includes a call to action “call now” for a free sample, analysis, quote etc.

You then advise the Franchisee they can call the prospect and you provide an easy script for them to follow. It’s simple and should provide some solid leads over time. It can also be followed up and the contact details added to the franchisees database to market to later on.

The challenges, as stated in the first article, clear communication to the franchisees needs to take place so they know what’s taking place and why. A great marketing plan can only be great if the people on the front line know what is happening and why.

You could create a short video which you email to them to outline the process, or a step by step text email.

You could follow these up with a phone call, or have a webinar to outline the process and let them know why you picked the gift you did and how you worked with your friendly branding expert in the process.

Getting the communication right at every stage of the process should cut down on the amount of hassles you experience internally as well as ensuring you are setting great plans in place to develop and implement the marketing campaign.

There are lots of ways to market a business and if your task is to organise it for someone else (in this case franchisees) then get the process right so you can expect the right message to be delivered to the right people, so solid results can be tracked. This will then give  you great evidence about what works and good directions to take in the future.

  • Get people on board – Communicate the aim clearly to them.
  • Make the process easy to implement – Show them how to implement it and measure the results.
  • Make the most of it – Show them ways to build the relationship beyond the initial campaign.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Franchise Marketing

When it comes to marketing for your Franchisees you need to get a few things sorted, know your aim, create the message and figure out how you will deliver the marketing message and who it will be aimed at.

You might think this is fairly simple and standard, yet there seems to be a range of challenges people face with their franchisees and keeping them on board with the whole marketing “thing”. Some franchisees simply follow your lead, while others buck at every new thing which seems to be an expense rather than an investment.

What might seem a rather simple process can soon become a slinging match, especially if you have conflicting input into the process; or people in the organisation simply do not like or understand the intended concept, especially if it’s the Franchisees.

What’s important here is to make sure you market your marketing well, i.e. communicate clearly what it is, what its aim is and how it will be implemented. Then you have a greater chance to ensure you get stronger “buy in” from the team.

I have been part of a franchise organisation where the people creating the marketing had only a simple aim (to give the franchisees more prospects.) They failed to cater for the existing clients (encouraging them to buy more), nor did they have much idea of the target markets they were trying to reach or how to reach them.

The other challenge they failed dismally at was advising the Franchisees about ways to do their own Local Area Marketing with ease, so they could get stronger involvement from existing clients and build greater referrals.

Where to from here?

  • Make sure the marketing plans and outcomes are clear about what’s happening and why.
  • Use simple communication methods to let everyone know why the marketing is what it is and the aim of it. Then people will feel more at ease with the process and know what their investment will hopefully get them.

Far too often Franchisees can build resentment to things being thrust upon them, simply because they don’t know enough about the intended aims and processes involved.

In part two I will outline a way to implement this sort of strategy, so you can see the benefit of utilising your friendly branding expert to help take some pressure off for you.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Making the Marketing Difference

You are up to your elbows in marketing challenges, pressures from all sides are making your job NOT what you want, a lot of hassle. How do you find time to get out of the pressure cooker and search for solutions to give you breathing space?

Image courtesy of Image Majestic http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Image courtesy of Image Majestic http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Chances are if you have the time to read this, that’s probably about as good as things will get! So let’s jump in and see if we can provide some fast answers to your marketing department challenges.

Marketing relief options…

  • Get support – There are a whole host of “marketing supply” organisations all wanting to take your cash and supply you with goodies, but use the ones who can take the pressure off. The good ones do this by doing at least SOME of the thinking and organizing for you as well as supplying great products, the great ones will show you how to use the products as well… Try calling your friendly branding expert and see if they can do it for  you.
  • 1 hassle or five+? – If you look after marketing for a single organisation there is probably less hassle, however if you are looking after multiple organisations (in the case of a franchise group), then you might have a whole range of conflicting forces pushing and pulling. Find ways to keep these forces off your back, perhaps by educating the end users on how to fully use the marketing devices provided to full effect.
  • Think, not do… – It’s easy to say it but sometimes hard to do it! Perhaps it’s outsourcing the “practical side of things” and even some of the thinking, so you can plan better what’s coming up next. A friendly Branding Expert should be able to assist you with this and not just be a provider of products.
  • Plan – Yes the thinking part means you can be more strategic in your approach so planning has to be next. Figure out if you have to get more new customers, keep existing ones interested or support an organisation you are sponsoring. Then build your calendar of marketing options from there.
  • Keep your people informed – if you are a one person marketing dept or a 100 strong team, your wider network of staff in the organisation will probably need to know about how to handle the promotions and various processes you will put in place so use your intranet, email and or training sessions, to give them information and get feedback on what’s taking place, often great ideas can come from some very unlikely sources.

Now you are back on track, see what’s out there to make your job easier and less hassle.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Marketing Interview

Alan Miller, a freelance Journalist from Sydney interviewed me recently about Marketing, Enjoy!

Steve Gray has been in business for 30 years one way or another and has published hundreds of articles on business topics, from Leadership – Innovation – Communication to Marketing and Management issues. His hard won marketing experience means he is able to assist organisations to effectively get their name and message to their customers.

A.M: Steve you have done lots of things in business, you are a Trainer,  a  writer on a  range of business issues, a business mentor and a speaker on Leadership, Innovation and Communication issues, how did you come to get so involved in business?

Steve: I’m an artist by qualification, and over the years I have been introduced to business, from printing T’shirts in the beginning to design and photography (all fairly art related) then over time I grew my knowledge base and things spiraled from there.

A.M. I was surprised to learn you know a lot about marketing, which is the focus of the interview today… Is there a reason for that?

Steve: Like all businesses there is a need to get your product or service noticed, I placed adverts for my own business like most people and failed at it. I soon learnt a great headline helps, then you go from there, I read more, asked more questions, used my design and art training to explore more options and innovate a little. The more I explored the more I learnt. I note now there are always things to learn and check out like social networking and the culture developing around that to make it work, it’s quite fascinating.

A.M: Steve, what are some of the basic mistakes people make with marketing their business?

Steve: Having an aim (more new customers, more repeat business, raising brand awareness) and of course a plan of action which leads into an investment of time and effort rather than a liability. With no aim the shotgun goes off and hits very little you want it to hit.

A.M: Do you find many organisations have no marketing budget planned?

Steve: Often! This can be due to having no plan, no idea about what they need to do and what it might cost, Yet it can be so simple to develop.

A.M: What are some of the great things which have wowed you in regards to marketing and great brand placement?

Steve: We are seeing more integrated approaches emerge, people want to stand out from their competition, so a directory advert for example is only one approach, a newspaper advert is another… It’s when people start to realise they need to be more targeted and put a range of things together. E.g. a direct mail piece to prospects, followed  up with a phone call and a chat to see if there is a fit to their needs from your business (esp in B2B sales) then there is social media and websites where people can let a lot of people know about their expertise and keep their info and details in front of more of the right people, that’s becoming more powerful.

A.M: Is bundling of a range of marketing devices a way to go?

Steve: Clearly the one shot advert approach is a loser these days. You should realise prospects need to see your details more than once to be remembered, so the exposure side of things is a big issue. Therefore an advert with a call to action, perhaps a branded product as a reward for taking action can sit on their desk for ages, and that’s good! So take it a step further and have the info you want to tell people about readily available to them, a business card is one way, but there are more options to keep your name in front of them. From articles and information on the web to branded products people use everyday.

A.M: Should people link their promotion to their website or social media? And how would they do that?

Steve: Of course they should, I see it like a ring of connections where people can get in at most points and be guided to learn more about the business as they go. Perhaps via an active Face book page, or a group in Linked in (for business) this can lead to articles on their website, which can then get them more info via an email campaign. It doesn’t need to be difficult either! The more people get to see your business name in front of them the better. Couple the strong image retention provided with great service and you will be on a winner.

A.M: Do many of your clients have a marketing plan and should they?

Steve: Few do, and yes they should, at least a one page plan and a calendar of when they want to do things, then stick to it. Tweak it when things don’t work and know what does work.

A.M: How will social Media impact on marketing, in comparison to say branded items?

Steve: A branded item with a message can let people know you have a social media presence, so use it to do that (that gives it an aim then…) from there it’s up to you how you use the social media to blow your own horn and let your target audience know more about things which can be of value to them.

A.M: Do businesses need to be creative geniuses to make their marketing work or look snappy?

Steve: It’s great if they are, but not essential, pay someone else to be the creative one. However make sure it leads to a good aim or end product, like getting you more business, retaining customers. It’s great to have a creative approach and be noticed, but if all you get is a 2 minute wow factor then where’s the value in that? If on the other hand the creative approach meant you were handing out branded devices with your business details on them then your name is in front of more people for longer, that’s got to be good! Chat to your friendly branding expert for ways to get the message right and connect it with other things you are doing in your business.

A.M: Not everyone needs a marketing company to do their marketing for them, most can’t afford that, how would you help these kinds of organisations?

Steve: I suggest they create a plan of action knowing what the outcome is they want, then build on that plan and take action to get the results. Consistency is important. There are other branding experts who are not part of a big marketing company who can be of assistance, have a chat to them for friendly advice.

A.M.: A plan is one thing, implementing it is another…

Steve: Sure it is, if you want to get new prospects to look at what you offer, then you need to consider a way to do that, for instance in a business to business environment things can be different so the approach can be perhaps more targeted, therefore how you implement the plan is vital. You might start with a list of ideal customers or industries then figure out ways to get your name in their hands, your ongoing aim would then be how you keep it there. Your plan therefore should focus on ways to get your name in front of them and then what you can do from there.

A.M: There are many ways a business can market themselves, what works?

Steve: There are lots of things which work… Junk mail can work well, adverts in newspapers can too, and the same with branded products. It comes down to your target and the best way to get to the target. e.g. if I want to target accountants and I send out brochures to every household in town I have wasted a lot on the ones who are not accountants. Think about how your target wants to be presented to, then do that.

A.M: You mention branded products, many people would look at branded products as great giveaways at a trade show or convention, how can they be used by the average business to market themselves?

Steve: It depends on the aim, if they want to reward existing customers and say thanks, they can hand out simple things to remind them about the company, pens, calendars, imprinted note pads, things which would be useful for the end user and keep the business details in front of them. They can be also used as a device to get the attention of a new prospect, most people love gifts and they need not cost a fortune.

A.M: How should organisations go about choosing from the vast array of options available to them for marketing?

Steve: Chat with your friendly branding expert and explore what the businesses aims are, then look openly at ways they might be able to provide direction for the organisations aims and objectives. It might mean they have to create some great graphics to launch a message, brand some products and develop a way to get them in from of the right people. The big thing is being able to make the right connections at the right time so your marketing becomes the all important investment it needs to be, and not just another business expense.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Promoting Something To Death

The question ignited a discussion that absolutely exploded with insight. “What promotional products would be good to carry an anti-gang message for middle and high school kids?“, asked a member of the online discussion group.

Are you kidding me? ……… NONE!

I believe I put it best when I wrote, ” … might as well hand out bulls-eyes imprinted with “Gangs Suck” for children to wear on their back.” Seriously, putting an anti-gang message on something for children to carry around or wear – is a bad, bad idea. The good news is, the discussion brought to light a couple of insights we as marketers should keep in mind in order to keep the government, advocacy and activist groups out of our business.

1) When we take advantage of marketing opportunities, we must also recognize our tremendous responsibility. While we may have responsibility to shareholders, bottom line and market share, we must also remember that we have a responsibility to our industry and to the publics that are affected by our marketing efforts.

2 )Place emphasis on message not product. In the example above, the question, “What product do we put an anti-gang message on?” is product focused. However, had the question been, “What do we want to accomplish?” the focus could have been placed on promoting good as opposed to gang-bashing.

In an effort to not paint bulls eyes on the backs of non-gang children, many of us agreed that before worrying about which products would be appropriate, that it would be best to first change the focus of the thinking. Instead of thinking anti-gang we felt that the focus should be more along the lines of pro education, pro safety, pro future, pro self esteem or something else that doesn’t threaten the gangs.

One line of thinking is be, “Want to keep kids from joining gangs? Give them something else to join.” Now you’ve got the seed of an idea that could make for a campaign that could involve parents, band and athletic boosters, the school, school clubs, businesses, scouting, 4-H, social and civic organizations … the entire community.

For marketers, the question is, “Want to keep consumers from buying from your competitors? Give them a reason to buy from you.” Give them something to belong to.

Finally, as a public service, I want to re-emphasize the responsibility we shoulder as marketers. To that end I share with you a thought I cannot shake since I first read, “What promotional products would be good to carry an anti-gang message for middle and high school kids?

That neat, fun, do-dad with the wrong message on it … could get someone killed.

Have a nice day:)

Tags: , , ,

error: Content is protected !!