Saturday, 31 July 2010

10 Easy Ways To Keep Your Customers Coming Back - And Spending Money With You Forever!

You want customer loyalty in your business. You want repeat business. How about making your customers into valued friends? Showing concern and empathy for their situation. The more your able to treat your customers as friends, the more business they will want to do with you. You'll watch your profits soar.

Let's go through 10 ways you can keep your customers coming back to you, time and time again. And you will no doubt make "friends" in the process.

1. Send Birthday Cards

Do you like to be remembered on your birthday? How about doing something really easy and sending birthday cards to your customers. Could you send a little gift with it? What about a "special offer" coupon? Free tickets to an event.

Dear ,

There's something REALLY special happening this month on the 17th.

It's your Birthday!!

We wanted to be one of the first to wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

From the _______ at XYZ Company we wish you a Happy Birthday and would like to offer you this special gift we've been saving for this special occasion.

2. Make "How's thing's going" calls regularly

Section out 15 minutes a day to call your customers for no other reason then saying " Hi ______, I just called to see how things are going?"

Have you ever called your customers to do that? Watch your customers appreciate you thinking of them. It makes them feel that you do care. If you want to have more business, do this regularly.

3. Send out small bags of jelly beans or candies.

Could you include a bag of jelly beans, with a handwritten note on your next sale, with the note saying, " I thought you may like these, they are my favorites." Or a note saying "Here's something for you to enjoy" Watch their eyes light up.

4. Send unexpected gifts.

If you find an article, audiotape, or anything specific customers might be interested in,send it with a note saying " I thought you'd enjoy this. I just finished reading it and there are some interesting deas here. Also, if you educate your customers they will send you more business.

5. Send Holiday Cards.

What about sending a Holiday Card that is different then all the "others" your customers are getting? Make it UNIQUE.

6. Send Thank You notes.

Send Thank you notes for everything. Even when they pay their bills on time. What about thanking them for referring business, coming to see you. Whatever you want more of, reward. It works. Send a little note saying, "Hi _______, Thank you for paying your account so promptly"

7. Make Thank You calls

Now, you should started making Thank you calls, A variation from the letters. Saying, "Hi ________, Just wanted to say Thank you for referring Mr. Smith to XYZ Co."

8. Give your customers recognition

Can you put photo's of your customers in your business. How about a photo and a testimonial. They'll be flattered and you business will increase. People love recognition.

9.Give your customer awards

Yes, you read that right. Have customers of the month. Send them a award certificate or even plaque.

Dear _______,

Just the other day I was going through my records and I realized that you are one of the top (10,20,50,) customers.

We really appreciate your business. That's why I want to send you this "Top Customer Certificate" that is enclosed.

XYZ Company looks forward to seeing you soon.

10. Hold seminars, breakfasts, lunches.

If you want to give recognition to your customers and stay in touch, have monthly or quarterly functions for your customers. Have a speaker and an interesting topic.

Dear _______,

I would like to invite you to our "Special Customers" lunch.

It will be held at ______ on ______.


It's our way of saying Thank you. etc...

Friday, 30 July 2010

9 Ways To Network Easily

One of the easiest ways to increase sales is through networking and one of the best ways to network is to network easily. What I mean by this is to do things that come naturally to you.

Some of the ideas that can be helpful for networking are:

1. Join groups that you would be interested in joining. For example, if you like to run, join a running group; if you like to play bridge, join a bridge group; if you would like to go to church, become a member of a congregation. Joining a group just for the sake of networking, generally doesn’t work.

2. Volunteer to speak at events. You can start by speaking to small groups and then in time you can become more selective and speak to larger groups. Toastmasters is an excellent group to join to improve your speaking ability as well as another networking opportunity.

3. Write articles. There is something that makes someone seem like an expert when they write an article on a specific topic. Articles are easy to write if you are passionate about what you are writing about. There are also hundreds of publications that are hungry for material. Again, you will have to start small with local publications and work up to other publications. No one wants to publish you? Use some of the free online services like or do a blog (which can be a great networking tool on its own).

4. Keep a Rolodex (I use Outlook) and keep it organized. Ideally include not only names and address but also a few points of interest about the person or their business.

5. Keep in touch with people. The best way to do this is to know what interests the people have and then send them personalized emails or notes with articles of interest attached. Do this with no intention of them buying but the more they know you, the more they will tend to buy.

6. Become an expert: Becoming an expert in any field is simple to do. First pick a topic that you are passionate about and then spend an hour a day reading trade journals; going to trade shows; and learning about that topic. Within six to eight weeks, you will be close to an expert in that field and people will turn to you for solutions.

7. Be generous: People tend to link happy occasions with gifts. Be prolific with gifts; for example, baby gifts – you will find that people are very grateful that you remembered their special occasion.

8. Follow-through: If you are trying to sell a product to a customer, make sure that you follow up with them so you can make the sale. Many times people will provide the information on the product and will tell the customer that they will get back to them, but don’t, so the sale falls through.

9. If you are going to be out there, work the room: What I mean by this is why go to a function and sit only with the people that you already know. No need to sit in the corner when you can mingle with new people and get to know them. This skill does not come naturally to introverted people; however, it is something that can be easily learned by stepping out of your comfort zone.

People tend to buy from people they know. Become more known and sell more. This is one way smaller companies and beat larger companies any day.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

9 secrets Mark Twain taught me about advertising

<b> “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” </b>

Advertising is life made to look larger than life, through images and words that promise a wish fulfilled, a dream come true, a problem solved. Even Viagra follows Mark Twain’s keen observation about advertising.  The worst kind of advertising exaggerates to get your attention, the best, gets your attention without exaggeration.  It simply states a fact or reveals an emotional need, then lets you make the leap from “small to large.” Examples of the worst: before-and-after photos for weight loss products and cosmetic surgery—both descend to almost comic disbelief. The best: Apple’s "silhouette" campaign for iPod and the breakthrough ads featuring Eminem—both catapult iPod to “instant cool” status.

<b> “When in doubt, tell the truth.” </b>

Today’s advertising is full of gimmicks. They relentlessly hang on to a product like a ball and chain, keeping it from moving swiftly ahead of the competition, preventing any real communication of benefits or impetus to buy.  The thinking is, if the gimmick is outrageous or silly enough, it’s got to at least get their attention.  Local car dealer ads are probably the worst offenders--using zoo animals, sledgehammers, clowns, bikini-clad models, anything unrelated to the product’s real benefit. If the people who thought up these outrageous gimmicks spent half their energy just sticking to the product’s real benefits and buying motivators, they’d have a great ad. What they don’t realize is, they already have a lot to work with without resorting to gimmicks.  There’s the product with all its benefits, the brand, which undoubtedly they’ve spent money to promote, the competition and its weaknesses, and two powerful buying motivators—fear of loss and promise of gain. In other words, all you really have to do is tell the truth about your product and be honest about your customers’ wants and needs.  Of course, sometimes that’s not so easy.  You have to do some digging to find out what you customers really want, what your competition has to offer them, and why your product is better. 

<b> “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.” </b>

In advertising, you have to be very careful how you use facts.  As any politician will tell you, facts are scary things.  They have no stretch, no pliability, no room for misinterpretation.  They’re indisputable.  And used correctly, very powerful.  But statistics, now there’s something advertisers and politicians love.  “Nine out of ten doctors recommend Preparation J.” Who can dispute that?   Or “Five out of six dentists recommend Sunshine Gum.” Makes me want to run out and buy a pack of Sunshine right now.  Hold it.  Rewind. 

<b> “Whenever you find you’re on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.” </b>

Let’s take a look at how these stats—this apparent majority—might have come to be.  First off, how many doctors did they ask before they found nine out of ten to agree that Preparation J did the job? 1,000? 10,000? And how many dentists hated the idea of their patients chewing gum but relented, saying, “Most chewing gum has sugar and other ingredients, that rot out your teeth, but if the guy’s gotta chew the darn stuff, it may as well be Sunshine, which has less sugar in it.” The point is, stats can be manipulated to say almost anything. And yes, the devil’s in the details.  The fact is, there’s usually a 5% chance you can get any kind of result simply by accident. And because many statistical studies are biased and not “double blind” (both subject and doctor don’t know who was given the test product and who got the placebo).  Worst of all, statistics usually need the endless buttressing of legal disclaimers. If you don’t believe me, try to read the full-page of legally mandated warnings for that weight- loss pill you’ve been taking.  Bottom line: stick to facts.  Then back them up with sound selling arguments that address the needs of your customer.

<b> “The difference between the right word and almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” </b>

To write really effective ad copy means choosing exactly the right word at the right time.  You want to lead your customer to every benefit your product has to offer, and you want to shed the best light on every benefit.  It also means you don’t want to give them any reason or opportunity to wander away from your argument.  If they wander, you’re history. They’re off to the next page, another TV channel or a new website.  So make every word say exactly what you mean it to say, no more, no less. Example: if a product is new, don’t be afraid to say “new” (a product is only new once in its life, so exploit the fact). 

<b> “Great people make us feel we can become great.” </b>

And so do great ads.  While they can’t convince us we’ll become millionaires, be as famous as Madonna, or as likeable as Tom Cruise, they make us feel we might be as attractive, famous, wealthy, or admired as we’d like to think we can be.  Because there’s a “Little Engine That Could” in all of us that says, under the right conditions, we could beat the odds and catch the brass ring, win the lottery, or sell that book we’ve been working on.  Great advertising taps into that belief without going overboard.  An effective ad promoting the lottery once used pictures of people sitting on an exotic beach with little beach umbrellas in their cocktails (a perfectly realistic image for the average person) with the line: Somebody’s has to win, may as well be you.”

<b> “The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession.” </b>

We’re all part of the same family of creatures called homo sapiens.  We each want to be admired, respected and loved.  We want to feel secure in our lives and our jobs. So create ads that touch the soul. Use an emotional appeal in your visual, headline and copy. Even humor, used correctly, can be a powerful tool that connects you to your potential customer.  It doesn’t matter if you’re selling shoes or software, people will always respond to what you have to sell them on an emotional level.  Once they’ve made the decision to buy, the justification process kicks in to confirm the decision.  To put it another way, once they’re convinced you’re a mensche with real feelings for their hopes and wants as well as their problems, they’ll go from prospect to customer.

<b> “A human being has a natural desire to have more of a good thing than he needs.” </b>

Ain’t it the truth.  More money, more clothes, fancier car, bigger house.  It’s what advertising feeds on.  “You need this. And you need more of it every day.” It’s the universal mantra that drives consumption to the limits of our charge cards. So, how to tap into this insatiable appetite for more stuff?  Convince buyers that more is better.  Colgate offers 20% more toothpaste in the giant economy size.  You get 60 more sheets with the big Charmin roll of toilet paper.  GE light bulbs are 15% brighter.  Raisin Brain now has 25% more raisins.  When Detroit found it couldn’t sell more cars per household to an already saturated U.S. market, they started selling more car per car—SUVs and trucks got bigger and more powerful. They’re still selling giant 3-ton SUVs that get 15 miles per gallon.

<b> “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” </b>

Who gets the girl? Who attracts the sharpest guy? Who lands the big promotion? Neiman Marcus knows.  So does Abercrombie & Fitch.  And Saks Fifth Avenue.  Why else would you fork over  $900 for a power suit? Or $600 for a pair of shoes? Observers from Aristotle to the twentieth century have consistently maintained that character is immanent in appearance, asserting that clothes reveal a rich palette of interior qualities as well as a brand mark of social identity. Here’s where the right advertising pays for itself big time. Where you must have the perfect model (not necessarily the most attractive) and really creative photographers and directors who know how to tell a story, create a mood, convince you that you’re not buying the “emperor’s clothes.” Example of good fashion advertising: the Levis black-and-white spot featuring a teenager driving through the side streets and alleys of the Czech Republic. Stopping to pick up friends, he gets out of the car wearing just a shirt as the voiceover cheekily exclaims, "Reason 007: In Prague, you can trade them for a car."

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

9 Secret Ways To Get Valuable Feedback From Your Customers

You can learn many things you didn't know about your business by getting valuable feedback from your customers. Your customers may buy your main product just to get the free gifts. Your visitors may think it's to hard to navigate through your web site.

By knowing this type of important information you can improve your web site, products/services, advertising, and marketing. Below are nine techniques you can use to get valuable feedback from your customers.

-Use surveys and questionnaires regularly to improve your business. Publish them on your web site, e-zine, print newsletter, direct mail material, include them with product shipments or inside product packages. Post them on appropriate online message boards, e-mail discussion lists and newsgroups on the internet.

-Create an online community for your customers. Include a chat room, message board, e-mail discussion list on your site for customers to participate in. You can regularly moderator these communities to see what your customers are saying about your business.

-Give away your products to a group of your customers. Ask them to use and review the product. Ask them to fill out an evaluation form and send it back. Some customers may fill them out, some may not, but the feedback you do get will be valuable.

-Offer your web site visitors an online product or service from your web site at no cost. It could be an ebook, search engine submission, consulting via e-mail, web design, etc. In return, ask them to fill out a short survey about your web site, products or services you're selling, customer service, or your web site.

-Create a customer focus group. Invite ten to twenty of your most loyal customers to meet regularly. They will give you ideas and input on how to improve your customer service. You could pay them, take them out to dinner or give them free products.

-Stay in contact with customers on a regular basis. Offer them a free e-zine subscription. Ask customers if they want to be updated by e-mail when you make changes to your Web site. After every sale, follow-up with the customer to see if they are satisfied with their purchase.

-Make it easy for your customers to contact you. Offer as many contact methods as possible. Allow customers to contact you by e-mail. Hyperlink your e-mail address so customers won't have to type it. Offer toll free numbers for phone and fax contacts. This will make it easy for your customers to voice their opinions.

-You could regularly contact customers on birthdays or holidays. Send thank you gifts to lifetime customers. E-mail them online greeting cards on holidays or birthdays. Call  them personally to wish them a happy holiday. You couldthem follow-up with a survey or ask them if they're happy with your business.

-Invite your customers to company meetings, luncheons, workshops or seminars. Create special events for your customers like parties, barbecue's, dances etc. Make a point for yourself and your employees to interact with them at these event to get valuable feedback for your business.

You could use a couple or all of the techniques listed above to get valuable customer feedback. These aren't the only ways, be creative and come up with some of your own.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

9 Product Naming Tips

Product naming is a key aspect of branding. The name you ultimately choose will reflect who you are, your company’s personality and vision.  But more importantly, it must unforgettably embody the promise of your product’s main benefit to your potential customers.  It can dovetail generically with your competition, but ideally, it should stand out from the crowd. Where to begin?  Here are some basic guidelines.

<b>If the field’s too crowded, be unique</b>

MSN Search, Netscape Search, AOL Search, they all stayed in the same category, so you could play it safe and go with Stupendous Search or Super-Duper Search. This works for a time, but as soon as the field gets too crowded, you’ll be lost in the mush of sameness with ever diminishing name recognition. If you’re in it for the long haul, better to break away from the crowd with a name like Google, Yahoo, or even Dogpile (though I’m not a fan of going into the scat category just to be unique). Even Kinkos—the founder's nickname (he had kinky red hair in school)—is different enough to be memorable.

<b>Avoid tongue twisters</b>

There’s a little part in all of us that hates to be embarrassed.  When we ask for a product or talk about it with friends, we want to sound literate and not fumble over pronunciations.  So be kind to your potential customers and avoid tongue twisters, or any name that’s unusually long or foreign sounding. If you can’t find a single-word name, don’t go over two or three syllables.

<b>Alliteration can help with longer names</b>

Okay, so the president of the company likes all the longer names on your list.  You can make them more memorable and/or easier to pronounce by using alliteration.  Consider Circuit City (originally, the incredibly bland, monosyllabic, Wards). Or Downtown Disney, Or the most famous brand in the world,  Coca Cola. All four syllables, yet they roll off the tongue with surprising ease.

<b>Avoid abbreviations</b>

Abbreviations lack personality and communicate very little in terms of benefit or brand character.  Sure, IBM, MCI and ABC have big recognition and identity, but they also spent years and millions in virtually all media to promote their image—using images of people and situations that were warm and fuzzy. Even billionaire Bill Gates chose Microsoft over MS (which has some undesirable connotations).

<b>Convey an implied benefit</b>

If you don’t have a lot of media dollars to spend on name recognition, try for a name that conveys a benefit or describes content.  Snapple started out with a name that combined two of its original flavors: Spice N Apple. Silk—the soy-based milk brand—combines soy and milk. Benefit-oriented names include EasyOff oven cleaner, Miracle-Grow plant food, and Hearthwarmer  (a fireplace insert).

<b>Lost in Translation…or worse!</b>

Most of us have heard the story of Chevrolet introducing their "Nova" in Spanish-speaking countries. The car tanked because 'nova' means "doesn't go." Fiat found they had to rename their "uno" in Finland, since "Uno" means garbage in Finnish. Canadian products require labeling in both English and French, which is why on some cookie boxes, the English phrase "without preservatives" has been unintentionally translated into the French "sans preservatives," which means "without condoms." ‘Nuff said.

<b>Shun fads</b>

The shelf life of a faddish name is short and sweet.  It rises to the stratosphere of recognition then nosedives into obscurity faster than you can say, “radical,” “tubular” or “outta sight.” Another problem with fads is they’re often limited to one demographic or clique.  In a market as broad and diverse as the U.S., it’s better to be safe than sorry.

<b>Protect your image</b>

If you’re like most companies, you worked hard and spent some real money creating the image of your company. So it only makes sense to protect your investment with a product name that’s consistent with your existing brands and image. Rolls Royce had to pull the name of its newest addition to the Silver Cloud line, which they tentatively named the "Silver Mist," since in German, "mist" means manure. So build on what you have.  A good example:  Google’s entry into online shopping with Froogle. Incidentally, if you’re wondering where “Google” came from, it’s a variation on the math term googol, a huge number with endless zeros.

<b>Don’t forget legal</b>

Once you’ve settled on a few ideal prospective names, hire a good lawyer to make sure they’re not already being used and not confusingly similar to someone else’s in your industry.

Hopefully, this brief overview will help guide you through the subtleties of product naming.  Remember, try to be unique and benefit oriented without being confusing or offensive.  Avoid fads, abbreviations and tongue twisters.  And, by all means, protect your image.

Monday, 26 July 2010

9 Packaging Trends That Will "Connect" You With Consumers

Today’s consumer is a moving target. Choosing the right consumer and the right demographic to target is an important decision. Monitoring what is hot and what’s not can dramatically influence a package design’s success or failure. Package design is an integral way to connect with your customer. But do you clearly understand the needs and wants of these elusive markets?

Understand the customer is critical. The problem today is that one package may not satisfy the needs and requirements of all buyers.

There are many niche markets out there and each one requires specialized packaging. So if you are targeting one of those, do your research first. What works for one target market may not work for another. So....

1) Find out what package attributes appeal to the customer you are targeting. If it is a harried homemaker shopping for your product then convenience of use had better be at the top of the list. Those over 50 are seeking convenience too but issues like the size of print on the package and ease of use top their priority list. Make sure your package employs the characteristics that appeal to your target market.

2) Understand how the package will be used. Families no longer sit and eat a meal with everyone at the same time. There are special diet requirements or dieting in general in most households. It’s not uncommon to serve different meals to different individuals. Package sizes will vary accordingly. EX: People who travel a lot buy sample or trial size packages because they are small and easy to deal with

3) Know your customers current buying trends. Several years ago, we went through the supersized phase. There are still a lot of supersized packages; however, buying trends are changing to smaller sizes in general. To package smaller does not mean less profit, in many cases it means more. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for convenience, ease of use and a smaller quantity. Remember the three premium baking potatoes in a package cost almost the price of a 5 lb bag. If you live with just one other person, do you really need 5 lbs of potatoes?

4) Keep abreast of new packaging technologies. Creative, new products have the advantage in the marketing world even if their technology is not new. Several years ago, Metedent took the world by storm with the duel aperture dispensing mechanism. Recently hosts of new cleaning products have revived interest in this type of dispensing. Look for innovate ways to combine two products into one package.

5) Watch where people shop. There is a shift from traditional retailers to new and innovative store formats. The convenience store, once considered a low-end marketer, has now transitioned into store that provides premium products at a premium price. This evolved from the hurry up and go mindset demonstrated in today's shopping habits. Recent studies are showing that consumers no longer make one big trip and stock up but make several trips a week and get just what is needed at the moment at the most easily accessible retail outlet. EX: The grab and go cups of snack foods convenience stores are now offering. This category did not exist a couple of years ago.

6) Keep pace with "hot button" packaging issues. This includes legislation too. People do really care about the environment and the amount of excess packaging. There is a move afoot to expand the number of vegetable-based plastic materials used in food packaging. If packaging consumers give these products their endorsement, look for other new products to surface. Legislation can change packaging mandates overnight. There have been "bottle bills," surcharges and bans that prohibit the use of certain packages. EX: Several fast food companies are test marketing corn-based plastic packaging materials. Ex: Ban on juice boxes in Maine and aerosol cans in Chicago.

7) Security in packaging is becoming increasingly important. This will continue to come into focus as more people become concerned about product integrity. One major security scare could force everyone to change their packaging methods immediately. Look for new tamper evident and security devices that can be incorporated into your packaging. Cost efficiencies are now making many of these devices more affordable and will soon become mainstream.

8) Competition of various packaging materials is increasing. From the imports that are readily available to the merger and acquisition mania that is taking place, keep current on your chain of supply globalization. Certain products such as plastic bags that used to be the mainstay of American manufacturing have now gone offshore. Ethic diversity both her and abroad is demanding that all packaging be multi-lingual and people really don’t care where the product packaging is manufactured.

9) External influence of power players. The big box retailers are driving packaging procedures and policies at retail. Mandates from these companies such as RFID tracking are in their infancy. This type of requirement could become mandatory overnight. If you want to do business with companies such as Home Depot and Wal-Mart, you will need to include the design and selection of your packaging materials as per their demands and others will follow suit.

Remember, the customer depends upon you, the designer, as a resource. They expect you to keep up with packaging trends and technologies and provide the latest and greatest innovations the industry has to offer. If you cannot connect with the consumer through package design, do not expect your products to fly off the shelf.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

9 Low Cost/No Cost Marketing Tips & Techniques

Copyright 2006 Sandra P. Martini

Do you need to get more clients?  Are you trying to get your first client?  Is your marketing budget equivalent to the cost of a Happy Meal?   The following tips and techniques are not by any means hidden secrets, but they are some of the most overlooked ways to market a small business today.

1.  Know your target audience.

As silly as it sounds, many small business owners kick off a marketing campaign without regard to whom they want to target.  If you send out a coupon for NASCAR tickets to the first 1,000 people in the phone book, some will undoubtedly be thrilled and will do what’s necessary to earn the tickets  (akin to dropping 1,000 mailers from an airplane -- some will hit the target).  But just imagine the response rate if you sent out the same 1,000 NASCAR ticket coupons to only those people who attended a NASCAR event in the last year.   You’ve gone from wildly shooting to steadily aiming your campaign, thus increasing your response rate and decreasing your cost per customer.

2.  Publish an e-zine (or newsletter).

Publishing an e-zine or print newsletter (even as short as a page) is a great way to keep in touch with your customers and clients.  You can produce one online using a program such as Constant Contact for little to no money and can even set your e-zines up in advance using easy-to-understand templates.

3.  Have a website and keep it updated.

All businesses, no matter your size or field, need a website these days.  You can get a domain name for as little as $2.95/year and, using templates, have a basic design done in a few hours.  Once your customers, clients, and potential customers and clients have visited your website, they will find fresh, quality content in the form of new e-zines, articles, blog posts and tips.  This will keep them, and the search engine spiders, coming back for more.

4.  Opportunity is calling.

While not usually viewed as a marketing technique, answering the phone and follow-up is critical in this day and age of limited valuable time and impersonal service.  Have you ever called someone only to not get a call-back or sent an email and waited days for a response? More clients and prospects become lost revenue these days due to inadequate, or non-existent follow-up.   If you receive a phone call from a prospective client or from an existing client, call him back as soon as possible or, better yet, immediately!

5.  Get involved online.

Find out where your target audience hangs out and participate in those online discussion groups and forums.  Yahoo Groups is a great place to find a wide variety of discussion groups.  Several business owners also belong to Ryze -- an online networking forum. By consistently offering your help to others, you will position yourself as an expert that others will turn to when the time is right for them.

6.  Get involved offline.

Getting involved with local organizations can help to build your reputation as a “doer”, a “go getter” or just a really dependable individual (all things which will help your business). Just remember that you are representing your business in everything you do and act accordingly.

7.  Word of Mouth/Referrals.

We’ve all heard the saying that a happy customer tells somewhere between 1 and 3 people about her experience while an unhappy customer tells up to 12 people about hers.  Keep your customers happy,   ask for feedback as to what you could do better, and once you know they’re happy, then ask for a referral.  People generally are willing to help those they like.

8.  Use postcards.

Whether you are an online-only business, a brick & mortar establishment or a hybrid, you can effectively use postcards to market your business.  Postcards are easy to do, inexpensive to mail and have a high readership.  Many people associate postcards with personal notes from friends and family and don’t even think before they turn it over to read the message.   With this method, you have already gotten into the hands of many people that wouldn't take the time to open junk mail.

9.  Have others do it for you or with you.

Never underestimate the power of cooperation and reciprocal agreements.  Is there a vendor that has a related, but not directly competitive, target audience to yours?  If so, form a strategic alliance where you recommend his products/services and he recommends yours.  For example, a movie theater and a restaurant could share customer information and play off each other for promotions.

While many of the above tips and techniques will arouse the “DUH” response, it’s constantly surprising to me how many businesses – small and large – overlook these basic items in their day-to-day marketing and operations.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

9 Easy Ways to Find More Customers Fast

1.    Email (opt in)

If you're not sending your own personal email newsletter you're missing a huge opportunity.  I don't care if you're an employee of a Fortune 500 company or a self-employed consultant.  You MUST develop you own email newsletter.

An eZine will allow you to build your relationship, credibility and trust with the people that subscribe.   Provide them useful, unique and pertinent information and watch your sales skyrocket.

2.    Pay-per-Click (PPC)

Pay-per-click or PPC ads are a very effective and cost efficient way to drive prospects to your website.  Whether it be a one-page sales letter or a "squeeze page" for them to sign up for your ezine, PPCs are an easy way for you to build awareness.

By using PPCs you can achieve laser like focus on your target market by using specific keywords.  Then run ads for only those keywords.  The benefit is when the prospect clicks on that ad they are not going to a general site with all kinds of garbage on it they are landing on your specific, targeted site.  Niche marketing at its best.

3.    Customer Referrals

This is old school.  But if you're not asking every single person you come into contact with, "Do you know of someone who may benefit from my services/product/whatever?" Then you don't know what sales is all about.  Sorry but you don't.

Sure, most of the time we won't get a referral.  But all it takes is one to make it all worthwhile.  Imagine if you made one more sale a month.  What would that do to your income?  Well, that's easy to attain no matter what industry you're in.  If you just ask for referrals.

4.    Ask Co-workers

Have you ever thought of asking a co-worker for a business referral?  Most people don't. It's amazing.  They think that since their co-worker works their they would have already talked to everyone they know about their company.

However, over 90% of non-sales employees have top quality prospects sitting in their brain.  You just need to ask them for the information.

5.    Ask friends, family and neighbors

Same here.  Most people do not want to mix business with their personal life.  Get over it!  Your friends, family and neighbors have a keg of referrals.  They're just waiting to be tapped.

6.    Joint Ventures

Who do you know in your industry that is not a competitor but that calls on the same customers and/or companies as you?  Great!  Call them right now and ask them how you can build a mutually beneficial relationship together.

Remember, they're going to ask, "What's in it for me?"  Be prepared with a deal they can't pass up.

7.    Flyer Distribution

It doesn't matter if you sell to consumers or businesses.  Design a compelling one-page flyer and hire a company or a high school kid to deliver them to your target area.  This is a great way to get quality leads for very cheap.  Try it.  I promise you'll be surprised and impressed.

8.    Postcards

This is one of my favorite, low cost ways to drive traffic to my websites.  The key is to use a simple, targeted message on your postcard.  No fancy graphics or fonts.  Simplicity is key here. 

You can increase your response rate by up to 200% by using the simplicity formula.  The message should be in paragraph form and only 2-4 sentences.  If you can personalize it that's even better.

9.    Cold calling

Ah yes.  Good old fashioned cold calling.  You may not want to hear it or like doing it but you can't argue with results.  When you do it right of course. 

You need an effective plan, technique and outline to make it work best.  No cheesy scripts with canned responses.  You need to sound genuine, caring and be focused 100% on the prospect.  If you can change your mindset into one that you are simply talking to a good friend you will experience tremendous results.

Drew Laughlin helps salespeople who struggle to exceed sales goals and quotas on a consistent basis with his "How to Triple Your Sales in 30 Days" training system.  Read sales success stories at his website

Friday, 23 July 2010

8 Tips to Help You Become a Networking Guru!

Effective business networking is the bringing together of like minded individuals who, through relationship building, become walking, talking advertisements for one another.

Keep in mind that networking is about being bona fide, building trust, and seeing how your relationship can genuinely help others.
1. Always figure out before you even walk into a room, what your specific goals are in attending each networking meeting.  This helps you to pick groups or associations that will help you get what you are looking for.

2. Ask open-ended questions during your networking conversations, questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how. Try to avoid questions that require a simple yes or no response. By using this line of questioning you can open us the discussion and show listeners that you are interested.

3. Become a walking resource centre. When you become known as a strong resource, others remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc. This keeps you at their "top of mind".

4. Make sure you have your "elevator speech" prepared and know it like the back of your hand. An elevator speech is the commonly known as the response you would give in the amount of time it would take to reach the tenth floor in an elevator. Always rehearse your spiel and be genuine, so that you don't sound automated when you relay it to someone who asks what you do.

5. Always know what is going on in current affairs, if you don't feel comfortable just rolling into a spiel when you first meet someone, have a back up topic to break the ice until you do.

6. Never just throw your business card at someone the minute you meet them, you must get to know the person and their business as well as explaining your business before you even contemplate a business card exchange.  Some people will find you rude, pushy and unprofessional which will in turn reflect badly on your business.

7. Always phone or email your new contacts and let them know that you enjoyed meeting them.  If possible mention things that you discussed on a more personal note (i.e. I hope you enjoyed that movie you were going to see that night.) people will come to know you as someone who listens, remembers them and they will form a trust with you.

8. The most important thing to remember is to follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection on them. Respect and honor their trust and your referrals will grow exponentially.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

8 Tips to be Successful with your own JV offer

Most likely you have already heard other people getting all excited about JV's and how they can help you build your online business.

Or maybe you belong to that group of people who are not familiar with JV offers, which is short for joint venture offers... also known as business proposals.

Either way... you can benefit tremendously from the following 8 tips to be successful with your own JV offer. Let's get started...

1. A JV offer doesn't require a JV partner to buy your products or services to become a JV partner.

Asking you potential JV partner to buy the product or service would be considered a sales offer and not a JV offer. A JV partner is usually offered a free review copy of your product or service.

Doing that drastically increases your chances to gain a JV partner as this makes him or her feel obligated to return the favor by doing his part of the partnership and e.g. promoting your product or service to their lists.

Why am I mentioning this? Yes, you guessed it right... I had people contact me to do a JV with them and when I asked for a review copy to check first the value of the product... I was referred to their sales page!

2. A JV offer has to be a win/win or better a WIN/win. :)

A JV offer has to provide your JV partner with one or more additional benefits for becoming your partner... his WIN. Your win will e.g. be to be able to tab into your JV artners list and gaining extra sales.

A JV offer that offers a win/win could e.g. be:

"I am looking for JV partners that can promote my product or service to their list of contacts.

In return for you are recommending my product or service to your list, I will not only provide you with a free review copy of my product or service, but also pay you a 10% higher commission than regular affiliates."

Another example... a JV offer for a service you provide could e.g. offer this:

"I am looking for a JV partner who needs a small to medium sized software product developed in Visual Basic. I can offer to do that for you free of charge in return of 10% of the profits you generate selling that software for the first year starting at your first sale and 5% for the time after the first year."

Again, a win-win situation... the JV partner has a product without out of pocket expense that he can sell exclusively to his lists, his WIN. And you can earn royalties for live without your own list.

3. Don't make the initial JV proposals too lengthy. Especially when you propose to a well know marketer, this can be the JV kill. Those people often have very limited time and will not even read your message all the way to the end if it's pages long.

It is better to send a short teaser email first and then follow up once they reply with all details.

4. Make your potential JV partner feel like you're a peer and not a salesperson.

Do your research before you send your first email to a potential JV partner.

Make the style of your JV offer personal, mention details about their business and how the JV offer can help them in what they want to achieve.

5. Don't let your JV partner do all the work, participating in the JV should very as little work as possible for them.

Be prepared and offer them to provide marketing material for your JV partner. This can be solo-ad copy, banner and text ads and other materials your JV partner can use to share the word about your product or service.

The less work it is for them, the more likely they will become your JV partner. It is that simple.

6. Don't just go only for the big player.

Overlooking smaller publishers that have a very loyal and responsive list can be another mistake. Besides, those will be much more likely interested in your JV offer as they are not flooded with them (yet).

7. Show them how you can help their clients and customers.

Give an example how your product or service compliments your potential JV partners own products or services. This way you help them to provide an even better service to their clients and customers.

This will also build trust that doing a JV with you will not only earn you and them money, but show that you are interested in helping them to look good in front of their own clients and customers.

8. Test your web copy and conversion rates and provide details.

By letting them know your conversion rate, they will know that sending traffic to your is not a bottomless pit. They can estimate how much they will be able to earn by doing a JV with you.

If you know e.g. that you will generate 1 sale out of every 70 targeted visitors your sales page gets, then let them know that you have a 1.4% conversion rate on targeted visitors.

Knowing all of the above, your next question might be... where do I find JV partners to contact?

Here is a list of resources in alphabetical order that will help you getting started:

- Anthony Blake Online - Entrepreneurial Success Forum:

- JV-Network: Free membership site to become a JV partner of   top marketing experts or to post your own JV offers for a fee:

- jvAlert: Paid membership site to become a JV partner of top marketing experts, post your own JV offers and search their offers database:

- jvAlert Member Forums:

- JV Money Makers Forum:

- Mark Hendricks's Inner Circle Marketing Forum: Free section to post and find JV offers:

- Mark Hendricks's JVdealmaker Players Club Forum: Free section to post and find JV offers

- Michael Green's "How To" Internet Marketing Forum:

- MikeFilsaime's Marketing Forum: Free section to post and find  JV offers

- The Warrior Forum: Free section to post and find JV offers  (Note: Before posting, first post helpful feedback in other  sections of the forum)

- Warrior Discussion Forum: Free section to post and find JV offers (Note: Before posting, first post helpful feedback in other sections of the forum)

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

8 Dynamic Marketing Tips

Here are 8 dynamic marketing tips to help you increase your sales and profits fast.

<B>1. Don't Just Sell Benefits</B>

Don't just tell prospects what they gain when they buy your product or service. Tell them what they lose if they do not buy it. Most people fear loss more than they desire gain. Customers want your product or service to enjoy the benefits it provides. They will want it even more when you remind them of what they lose by not buying it.

<B>2. Use Pleasant Surprises to Close Sales</B>

An unpleasant surprise can kill a sale. But a pleasant surprise can help close a sale. For example, adding an unexpected bonus immediately before your prospect takes the last action to complete a sale will eliminate any last minute hesitation.

<B>3. Provide Fast Delivery - Even When You Can't</B>

The faster you can deliver your product or service the more sales you will get. If you cannot deliver all or part of your product immediately, add something to the purchase that you CAN deliver immediately. It could be as simple as a series of helpful tips related to your product posted on your web site ...available only to new customers.

<B>4. Make Buying Easier</B>

Every non-essential action in the buying process is an opportunity for customers to reverse their decision to buy. Look for ways you can make your buying procedure easier and faster. For example, many marketers use a multi-step shopping cart to get online orders when a simple online order form would do the job with just 1 or 2 quick clicks.

<B>5. Improve Your Offers without Lowering Your Price</B>

You don't have to reduce your price to improve your offer. Instead, simply load it up with bonuses. Make sure your bonuses have a high perceived value to your customers ...even if they cost you little or nothing.

<B>6. Keep Your Advertising Up to Date</B>

If you never make any changes in your advertising, your sales will eventually decline. Don't abandon advertising that's working - but do keep trying to improve it. And regularly test new advertising to see how it works for you.

<B>7. Outsmart Your Competitors with Alternative Marketing</B>

Look for some alternative marketing methods your competitors are overlooking. That's how one internet marketer discovered direct mail postcards. They proved to be a highly effective and very low-cost way to generate traffic to her web site ...while concealing her marketing activity from competitors.

<B>8. Neutralize Customer Complaints Quickly</B>

Handle customer complaints quickly and with a positive attitude. Strive to preserve your relationship with the customer instead of your immediate profit from them. They will reward you with repeat sales and referrals instead of punishing you by telling everybody they know about their unhappy experience ...causing you to lose future customers.

Each of these 8 marketing tips reveals a proven low-cost marketing tactic many other small businesses have used to boost their sales and profits. Integrate them into your marketing program now and you'll quickly start enjoying the same results too.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

7 Ways To Make Money Using Nothing More Than Your List

An opt-in list can be quite crucial to any site or internet based company. Even for a small venture such as a niche profit site an opt-in list can make a world of difference and also add some extra income for your pocket. Rarely would you see an e-commerce site, big or small, that is without an opt-in list.

An opt-in list allows for a company to market their wares and site via an e-mail. With an opt-in list, a site and a subscriber consents to sending and receiving a newsletter from your company. Through this, you can keep your subscribers abreast of what is currently available in your site as well as whatever is coming out.

And because there is mutual consent between the two parties, any mail sent to the list is not considered as spam mail. There is a great number of successfully read promotional materials such as catalogs, newsletters and such that are sent because the subscribers themselves have signed up for them, meaning, they do want to be sent those items.

Building a list is crucial, only a small percentage actually subscribes for an opt-in list. Many people find promotional mails annoying but of you provide a good newsletter or promotional material, you will see your list build up and grow. You can also achieve this by having good content on your site. If people like what they see and read on your site, then they surely would want more. Newsletters would be a way to attract them back to your site. A little teaser or appetizer if you will.

But other than marketing your wares and your services, an opt-in list can also be used to earn extra profit. Not all lists can be used though. It would be good to first build a successful list with a huge number of subscribers. The more subscribers you have, the more money you can get. Here are seven ways to make money using nothing more than your list.

1) Place advertisements. There are many corporations who will be willing to pay to put their banners and ads on a list with many subscribers. Selling or renting out lists is not a good idea so rather than doing that, many companies would just rather place ads with lists that have a huge subscriber base. Your newsletter could be placed with many ads and each one spells money.

2) Have affiliations with other companies that have at least a semblance or relation to what your site is about. Here other companies will provide links and brief descriptions of what they offer, products and services. With every click made on the link that directs or leads a subscriber from your list to their site, the company will pay you. This P4P or pay for performance.

3) Make deals with other companies by asking for a small percentage of sales done through your list. With every sale done by customers that have come from your list and have gone there because of your newsletter, the other company will pay you a small percentage of your sales. The more people who buys from them, the more earnings you get.

4) You may also get products from other sites on a consignment basis and sell them to your list via your newsletter. Place descriptions, articles and photos of the product in your newsletter. There will be those who will buy from you and when that happens, you can order the product from the other site and sell it to your buyer.

5) Sell e-books or a compilation of your articles on your list. Manuals and how-to articles are in great demand. Many people will be willing to shell out money to gain knowledge about a certain topic and subject. With your existing list trusting your expertise in that area, an e-book could be offered and sold or used as an incentive.

6) Create a network out of your list. Get people to invite more people to view your site and subscribe to your list. The larger your list is, the more people will be able to click on your links and affiliate links as well as make your advertisement rates higher.

7) Subscribers are willing to pay for information if they know that it can be trusted and relied upon. Use your list to get more and more people to subscribe to you as well as browse your site. Lastly, you can use your list to earn money by making them your partners. Your list will be the bloodline of your growth and increase.

Monday, 19 July 2010

7 Ways To Advertise Your Business For Free

1. Free directories: directories are perfect for customers that are searching for a particular topic. What’s great about them is that you only have to post once and they are good for long periods of time. It saves a lot of your time when you don’t have to resubmit your information every week or every month. The bad news is most of your traffic won’t come from here. I still feel it is worth it to get your link out there. Just take one day and set it aside for posting to free directories. You won’t need to do it again for at least 6 months.

2. Classified Ads: These are great for work from home businesses. Think about it. Where do people go when they are looking for a job? That’s right-the classifieds. The only downside to classified ads is that you have to resubmit them quite frequently. Once you find which classifieds bring you the most traffic you can concentrate on them and weed the others out. So it is really more time consuming in the beginning, and doesn’t have to be later on when you get the hang of things.

3. Free article submissions/ezines: The best way to inform others about your product or service is to write an article about it. In your authors resource box, you can tell readers about yourself and where they can go to check out your product or service. This is also an excellent way to get free links to your site if you have one. There are a lot of webmasters out there who are looking for good articles they can post on their site. If they post yours, that is another site that is doing the advertising for you. All for free.

4. URL Submissions: Probably the quickest and easiest thing to do to advertise your site. Just type “Free URL submission” in your search engine. When you get a list just enter the URL you are promoting and click submit. That’s it. It only takes a few seconds and your done. Just set a day aside once every 3 months and do this.

5. Forum Posts: Put your product or service website in your signature file when you sign up on some forums. It will be displayed every time you make a post. Try to look for topics that you have some knowledge on, and can give a relevant answer too. Do not spam anyone, you will get kicked off the forum and you will get a bad reputation. Get involved asking and answering questions that pertain to your area of business. Forums are great because once you make a post it stays there forever. It will get moved to the archives eventually, but someone could still find it if they were searching the archives. Yes, there are many people who do.

6. Traffic Exchanges: Probably the most time consuming way to advertise for free, but definately the most effective. Most forums I have visited have said in many posts that they received a lot of their profit from traffic exchanges. If you don’t want to spend the time surfing for credits, you do have the option of buying them. I would look into a program that lets you surf multiple websites at once like crazy browser. There are others and they are free to download. That way you can just spend one hour a day and get all your surfing in at once.

7. News-groups: Become involved in a group that has to do with your kind of business. You can usually mail the group once per day, but I would encourage you to find something fresh to talk about each day. People will tune you out if they see the same message all the time. Remember to never Spam anyone. Only join groups with the same interests as yours. In other words, don’t sign up for a recipe swapping group when you are advertising shaving cream.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

7 Traffic Techniques for Network Marketers

Network marketing is a numbers game. The more people you introduce to your opportunity, the more money you’ll make. To start generating a steady stream of traffic to your site, try these 7 creative techniques:

1. Write and Distribute Articles, Reports and Ebooks. Internet users are all interested in one thing – information. Use this to promote your business by creating high quality content and allowing others to reprint it for you. One great way to do this is to distribute a brandable ebook or special report. This is one that a website or list owner can change to include a reference to their website. This doesn’t mean that it looks like they are the publisher, it’s just a way for them to include information on where the ebook was downloaded from and (if applicable) to include their affiliate link for your products and services.

2. Participate in Newsgroups, Forums, and Mailing Lists. There are hundreds of forums online and you can find one for almost any topic imaginable. Most allow you to include a signature line that will be attached to every message. This is a chance for you to advertise your site. Visiting these forums to post thoughtful questions and offer your expertise will mean your signature is viewed by others and will bring you free, targeted traffic. Of course how much traffic you get depends on how often you post and whether your signature makes people want to visit your site. A good approach is to use an ad you’ve had success with elsewhere as your signature.

3. Join Networking Sites to Build your Personal Network. Networking sites are designed to make it easy for people to meet others in their industry and to advertise their products and service. Similar to offline networking events where lots of people come together for the sole purpose of meeting people, online networking sites work the same way.

4. Use Classified Sites and Traffic Exchanges. Classified ad sites and traffic exchanges have gotten a bad reputation, but they really do work if you know how to use them. If you’re promoting a product or service that advertisers can benefit from then they’re a great place to get traffic. Although not very many consumers visit this type of advertising sites, lots of website owners do in order to make sure their ad appears on the site. While there they can’t help but notice other ads and if one catches their attention you’re likely to get a visitor.

5. Run a Contest. People love the prospect of winning something – that’s why a contest can be a great traffic generator. The key is to choose a prize that will attract people from your target audience. If you make the grand prize a new laptop you’ll get entries from everyone who would like to win a new laptop (which is basically every computer user in the world!). Get more targeted traffic by choosing something that your target audience is interested in but wouldn’t mean much to other people. To start promoting your contest do a search in Google for “Contest Directories” and you’ll find lots of places to list your contest for free.

6. Include a Powerful Signature on all Outgoing Email. Every time you send a piece of mail you have the potential to get a visitor to your site. Simply create a “signature” that is automatically added to every outgoing message. Use the signature to briefly explain what you do, give your USP or slogan and add a hyperlink to your site. Once it’s set up you don’t have to think about it again!

7. Try Newsletter Classified Ads. There are lots of newsletter publishers who give classified ads to new subscribers. Although these don’t typically bring a huge response, they can generate some traffic if you offer something with a high perceived value but low price tag. They’re also a great way to test new ads to see which ones get the best response. Once you’ve found a winner use it in a PPC campaign, make it your new email signature, run it as a top sponsor newsletter ad or use it as your forum signature.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

7 Tips To Save Money on Marketing a Business

The most effective marketing methods such as advertising in newspapers, popular magazines, on TV are very expensive for small businesses, especially for most start-ups.

Thanks to Internet, in the recent years, some very powerful, and cost-effective, even free marketing strategies have become popular.

Here are some tips to help you save money on marketing your business without sacrificing quality or results. In fact, some of them are very affective to boost your business cost effectively and fast. Implement them repeatedly and save a lot of money and time while attracting hundreds of thousands of more visitors to your website.

1. Link Exchanges

To exchange links with other Web sites is the most popular marketing strategy used by travel and tourism related businesses. Link exchanges help increase link popularity, and the chances to get higher search engine placements and ranks.

In addition, you will have higher chances to be seen by more surfers, to attract more visitors to your Web site, which will highly increase your sales, and return on investment (ROI).

To find the Web sites which are willing to reciprocate links, without the risk of spamming anyone, go to a major search engine such as Yahoo!, Google, MSN, and write in the search bar, for example, "Travel & Tourism Link Exchanges" or, "Travel & Tourism Reciprocal Links".

The Web sites listed in the first 20 in these sections will provide you with the high quality link exchange resources. To exchange links with these higher ranked Web sites will also help your Web sites get higher ranks.

2.  Directories

It is a good strategy to submit your Web site to Travel & Tourism Directories. Because directories have a lot of surfers and visitors who are trying to find the travel and tourism related businesses who offer the best deals to match their needs.

You can reach millions of targeted prospective buyers among these directories' visitors who might be your loyal customers later on. So, you should not underestimate the power of Directory marketing, and start to submit your Web site to the Travel & Tourism Directories as soon as possible. They will help you promote your business affectively, and mostly for FREE.

You can also find important marketing tips and resources in Directories to grow your business fast.

3. Pictures & Photographs

Images are vital elements to attract readers' attention to your ads, to your articles & press releases, to your Web sites. Make sure you use charming photos everywhere you can.

How and where to get such charming photos? Always keep in mind that almost all photos and images you can find on the Internet have Copy Rights, which means it's illegal to use them, so you should never re-publish them without the written permission of the original owners.  Or, you will have to pay big amounts of money to settle the possible sues.

You can buy photos online if you find the ones you would like to use. But, the prices of real nice photos are high.

The best cost-effective solution is to take photos yourself, which will also give you the freedom to choose the places, angles, lights, and colors before taking the pictures to your heart's content.

When taking  photographs, try to get as many shots in as possible. Then you would not need to pay other photographers to  purchase  photos  to use in your websites, articles, press releases, and advertisements.

To take photographs yourself will save you a lot of money. If you have a library of images for your advertising needs, you will not only save tremendous amount of money, but save a lot of time, too. You can use them in your brochures, articles, press releases, as well as in your websites, and in your advertisements whenever you need..

4. Try to do What You can Yourself

You can, of course, hire experts to design your website, for writing press releases, articles, copy writing, advertising, photography, professionally.

But, you can do them, at least some of them, yourself when you want to save money. You will then spend money only for tasks that really need the expertise of a professional.

Keeping this in mind, we have provided information in the 'Grow Your Business Fast' program, on how to write a successful article yourself, how to write press releases in a traditional news story format, that will look real professional, how to market your products, services, informational material, affiliate programs to become a marketing champion in a few months very cost effectively, saving a lot of money.

5. Articles

When you write an article you can send it out yourself, or send it to a free or pro article distributor who will disseminate it to newsletters, e-zines, magazines, local and national newspapers, websites; follow it up and see if it was published in any of these publications. If it was, you can be sure that it covers certain required values.

Then you can use your 'accepted & published' article, or at least parts of it, in your website, in your sales letters, in your advertisements, you can even write it in the traditional news story format, and send it to a press release distributor to be sent out to media outlets.

6. Press-Releases

The best way to send your press releases out, is to submit it to a free or pro press release distributor. If you select a good one, they would send your press release to the media outlets where you would get the best results.

Some of them are experts who know how to do it, depending on their own experiences. If you choose a pro distributor, your chances to get outstanding results would be higher.

Your press release(s) that an editor wrote a news on and published in a popular publication would attract a lot of visitors to your Web site, eventually increases your sales tremendously;  also it would be a good sample for you to use the same values in your future press releases.

7. Your Ads

You can implement the same strategies explained in  #3 above, for your ads, too. Watch closely which of your ads generated more traffic and sales. Then, use them at your website, in your newsletter, other related newsletters, use the most powerful lines in your signature file, in your classified ads, in the safe mailing lists, e-zines, in your solo ads ... everywhere possible, over and over again. Get the same positive results repeatedly.

Friday, 16 July 2010

7 tips in creating publicity for corporate events

Organising corporate events can be exciting and interesting but simultaneously stressful and nerve-racking. This is especially true when corporate event managers are faced with a dilemma in balancing the need to create an enjoyable and beneficial event, and at the same time entrusted with the responsibility to create publicity for it.

Nevertheless, if the right approach is used, creating publicity for corporate events will become an easier task to manage. The following tips will provide you with an insight on some of the best practices used in creating publicity.

1.    It’s always a good idea to work in a team, and delegate the task of creating publicity to a particular team member. This way, you won’t be caught up in the legwork, but rather be involved from an event manager perspective. Your responsibility then is to make decisions and guide others in getting things done for you.

2.    Selecting the right person to delegate this task to is also an important factor in making your event a success. It is essential for this person to possess the necessary contacts with media companies, such as television stations and newspapers, way before the event kicks off.

3.    Use short copywriting for direct mailers or newspaper advertisements. Good editing and good writing go hand-in-hand to create impact for your publicity pieces. Also, thick information packs are out of the question, unless specifically requested by the recipient.

4.    Try not to use copywriting that may be a tad too creative or flowery. Your audience has no time trying to figure out your message, and it is best that you send them something direct and concise.

5.    Although it may be common sense to include a contact number or an email address in your publicity pieces, you may be surprised that many corporate event organisers actually overlook this. Keep this in mind so that you can be contacted for further information.

6.    No one wants to read outdated information. That is why your press releases should be kept as relevant and up to date as possible.

7.    Always stick with the truth when you are answering questions from the media, or holding a press conference. Many corporate event managers tend to exaggerate and end up presenting an event that falls short of expectations.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

7 Surefire-Tips For Writing “Make-People-Read” Article

It’s not something new that writing article can bring considerable amounts of traffic to your web site thus give you more profits.

Today all net has been flooded with articles, which purpose to capture instant traffic for their owners. Millions of articles writing and publishing everyday.

The competition has become a fierce battle and it’s getting tougher everyday to drive a great deal of traffic to our site.

With that being said you have to do something to stand out from this crowded place, and make sure that your article gets noticed in front of your potential customers one step ahead from your competitors.

Here’re 7 surefire tips you can do to give your article more superiority…

1) Eye-Catching Headline

No matter how good your article, if people not see ‘invite-to-read’ headline, they won’t bother even for just take a glance on the body of your article.

Here’re some tips you to write ‘invite-to-read’ headline:

> Write your headline based on something that derives from personal experience. Personal experience will always arouse others’ curiosity

For example:

“How I Made $17,917 In 3 Days Using Options”

> Use exact numbers in your headline:

$17,917 will make people see it’s real rather than $17,000 thus helping creates picture in their mind. Ideal mental picture, where they can see themselves in that favorable conditions. In this case, they can see themselves making that $17,917

2) Simplicity Your Words

Write your sentence with words that’s easy to understand.

For example, instead of using ‘ornamental’ you can use ‘attractive‘.

If there’s certain specialized terms from your field explain the meaning for your readers.

For example, ‘7 PR‘.

While it something common for someone with Internet Marketing basic, but it’s new lingo for accountant.

Your readers will appreciate for saving their times when otherwise they have to drill down all the net meanwhile on the other hand they got a lot to do.

Remember simplicity always works.

3) Shorter Your Sentence

Break your article up into short sentence. No more than 5 lines. Read through screen is difference with read though paper book.

Read through computer screen makes your eyes tired faster.

Beside, it’s easier to read and devour through short sentence rather than over-crowded sentence.

You can see this article as an example.

4) Inject Your Personality Into Your Article

Write something about yourself.

What’s your experience related with your article? Do you love something that related with your stuff? Or

You can slide some jokes in the body of your article (jokes not mean you tell something stupid).

This way you’ll appear more human, than unknown behind the screen which eventually will lead to create relationship with your targeted customers.

5) Change Confusing Words Into Understandable Words

For example: night-blooming cereus into flowering cactus.

This will make a whole world change for you.

Imagine you came across two articles with headline “7 Rules Upkeep of Night-Blooming Cereus” and “7 Rules Upkeep of Flowering Cactus”

Which one you’d like to read?

Trust me there’re a lot who have night-blooming cereus but don’t know its name.
Though I don’t have one but I know Flowering Cactus.

6) Give a Lot of Bullet Points

All books which discussing about copywriting will screaming benefit, BEnefit, BENEFIT…


Because for one thing only, it works.

So the same as writing article. Different purpose but same rules. For example:

What you have to before doing any business?
> research the market
> survey prospective customers
> determine your budget
> write proposal for bank’s loan

Another reason, this way you can tell exactly what you want to tell without need to write back and forth many sentences just to tell one point.

Not only confuse your readers, but also exhaust yourself.

7) Use Conversational Words Often

Try to use as many of blended words we use in everyday conversation as possible.

You can write “you’re” rather than “you are“, if in that way you break the barriers between you and your readers.

Final Note

Different cases need different approaching. Sometimes you can use all of the above techniques but sometimes there’s only one or two that fit with your current conditions.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

7 Strategies & Benefits Of Using Online Coupons

online coupons, coupons, printable coupons, free coupons, customer loyalty, online discounts, e
1. Increased Traffic - Introduce your business to new customers and send a reminder to your existing customers, driving traffic back to your store, office or Web site. Give your customers and prospects a reason to choose your business over the competition by offering exclusive coupons and discounts.

2. A Larger Email Marketing list - Make your customers or visitors sign-up for your email newsletter before they are able to receive your coupons. That way you'll have an opportunity to follow back up with them to resell.

3. Increased Sales and Repeat Sales - Remember, when customers visit your store, office or site to redeem a coupon, they will very likely buy more than just the item promoted thereon. Same goes for a discount. Both new, and existing customers may be motivated to try a new product or service they would not have considered otherwise.

4. Viral Marketing - Take advantage of word-of- mouth referrals by encouraging your customers to forward your coupons to interested friends or family members. It is the oldest and least expensive form of advertising.

5. Increased Customer Loyalty - Develop relationships with your customers by offering them added value, letting them know how much you appreciate their business. Keep their minds on you, and they'll forget about the competition.

6. Affordability - Save your marketing dollars. Online coupons are far less expensive than traditional coupon advertising because they require no production expense or mailing costs.

7. Targeting - Reach the right customers. Companies like Loyal Email target precisely where your customers live, where they like to shop, and what they like to buy, making your coupons highly relevant and, accordingly, more effective.

8. The Better Your Coupon, The Better Your Response- Use online coupons to offer savings of money (a dollar amount or a percentage off), time (free pick- up/delivery or gift wrapping) or to promote any aspect of your business. For example: a restaurant may offer a "buy one entrée and get the 2nd at half price." A landscaper may offer a "free crabgrass eater application" with a yearly contract, a movie rental store may offer a "2 for 1 midweek" rental, and a retail store or website may offer "$20.00 off any purchase of $100.00 or more."

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

7 Step Plan To Get Going With Networking

<b>Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert,</b> feel like you have the gift of gab or just don’t know how to make small talk, networking know-how is very important for your business success. There is a notion in business that I believe most of us subscribe to that says “all things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those they know, like and trust.” And the key to this is obviously being able to develop relationships.

<b>Think of networking as the cultivation of mutually beneficial, win-win relationships.</b> In order to be win-win, there must be GIVE and take (notice the emphasis on give). Networking shouldn’t be viewed as “events” where you go to sell your business. When effective networking is taking place, the parties involved actively share ideas, information, resources, etc.

<b>Ok, so you know that you should be networking</b> because it is one of the most cost-effective lead generation activities when used wisely, appropriately and professionally. But, maybe that seems easier said than done. Here’s a seven step plan to really get going with networking for your business.

<b>1. Check out several groups to find the best chemistry and perceived value.</b> Most groups will allow you to come and visit at least a couple of times before you have to join. Go and ask around to find out why others have joined and what value they get out of belonging.

Resist the urge to just go join the Chamber of Commerce simply because everyone tells you that’s what you need to do. If that’s not where your target group can be found, then you might just be wasting a considerable amount of time (and money).

I’m not telling you not to join the Chamber. Just be clear about what you’d like to get out of this or any other group. If it’s to find prospective clients or referral sources, then you need to be networking where those resources can be found.

<b>2. When you find a group or two, join and go to all the meetings you can.</b> Don’t go just once or twice expecting things to happen and then if they don’t quit. Building mutually beneficial, win-win relationships will take some time.

The contacts you make need to constantly see your face and hear your message. Continual contact with others over time will open up opportunities for you to go deeper and learn more about each others thoughts, ideas and capabilities in regards to your respective businesses.

Know, like, and trust generally only happens over time. Being regular and persistent will pay off.

<b>3. Get involved - be visible.</b> Do as much as you can to make yourself more visible within the organization. Volunteer to help with meetings, be on committees, or become a leader or board member.

Being involved does a couple of things for you and your business. First, you’ll get more opportunities to establish connections and get to know some of the contacts you’ve made even better. Secondly, the higher the visibility you have in the group, the less you’ll have to work to make new connections. Instead, as new people come into the group, they will likely seek you out because they view you as a leader within the organization.

<b>4. Keep your circles of contacts informed.</b> Don’t just assume that running in to someone once a month (or even once a week) will cause them to start doing business with you or sending it your way. You need to let them know what’s going on when you’re not at that particular group in order to inform and educate them.

Send them invitations to your events or open houses. Send them email or letters to share big news or success stories, especially anything of relevance to them or those in their networks of contacts. If you believe that you have valuable ideas, information and resources to share with others, then doesn’t this just make sense?

<b>5. Work at GIVING referrals and sharing valuable information.</b> That’s right, you need to be willing to GIVE before you get. That means you need to get to know other members and what makes a good prospect for them. What kinds of information might you have access to that could be useful to them?

You may initially think you don’t have much of value to share with others (besides your business and what you provide). Part of the key to getting good at giving is to not make assumptions. For example, don’t assume that some basic resource (e.g., a web site) that you’re aware of is familiar to someone you might be talking to just because they are the “expert” in that field. Be willing to ask if they know about the resource and ready to share if they don’t.

Want to get better at actually giving referrals? Here’s a simple question to ask someone you’re connecting with. “How am I going to know when I meet a really good prospect for you?”

Just the fact that you are willing to explore giving will elevate your know, like and trust factor.

<b>6. Focus on Quality, not Quantity, Quantity, Quantity.</b> It’s not necessarily about the number of connections you make, but about the quality of the ones you do make. Are they mutually beneficial, win-win relationships?

Quality connections will be identifiable because all involved parties will be actively sharing ideas, information, and resources. Yes, it is true that you need to spend some time and effort getting to know the other person(s) and what’s important to them. But, you also need to be clear and actively thinking about what information or resources you want and need.

Staying in touch with and following up with a smaller number of quality relationships will generally be much more productive than trying to follow up with a larger number of superficial contacts.

<b>7. Be persistent, but be patient.</b> The goal of a networking event shouldn’t necessarily be to come away with prospects every time you go out, but to come away with great connections. Networking usually takes time to get the relationships developed and nurtured.

Don’t approach networking as a scary proposition or a necessary evil for being in business. Take the pressure off yourself and really focus on how you might be able to connect with someone you meet. Focus on them first and look for ways to be useful to them. As you become known as a connector you’ll eventually be ready to reap what you sow.

Monday, 12 July 2010

7 Small Business Marketing Tips

Here are 7 low-cost but highly effective marketing tips to help any small business find customers and generate sales quickly.

<B>1. Don't Advertise Like a Big Business</B>

Big businesses advertise to create name recognition and future sales. A small business can't afford to do that. Instead, design your advertising to produce sales One way to accomplish this is to always include an offer in your advertising - and an easy way for prospective customers to respond to it.

<B>2. Offer a Cheaper Version</B>

Some prospective customers are not willing to pay the asking price for your product or service. Others are more interested in paying a low price than in getting the best quality. You can avoid losing sales to many of these customers by offering a smaller or stripped down version of your product or service at a lower price.

<B>3. Offer a Premium Version</B>

Not all customers are looking for a cheap price. Many are willing to pay a higher price to get a premium product or service. You can boost your average size sale and your total revenue by offering a more comprehensive product or service ...or by combining several products or services in a special premium package offer for a higher price.

<B>4. Try Some Unusual Marketing Methods</B>

Look for some unconventional marketing methods your competitors are overlooking. You may discover some highly profitable ways to generate sales and avoid competition. For example, print your best small ad on a postcard and mail it to prospects in your targeted market. A small ad on a postcard can drive a high volume of traffic to your website or generate a flood of sales leads for a very small cost.

<B>5. Trim Your Ads</B>

Reduce the size of your ads so you can run more ads for the same cost. You may even be surprised to find that some of your short ads generate a better response than their longer versions.

<B>6. Set up Joint Promotions with Other Small Businesses</B>

Contact some non-competing small businesses serving customers in your market. Offer to publicize their products or services to your customers in exchange for their publicizing your services to their customers. This usually produces a large number of sales for a very low cost.

<B>7. Take Advantage of Your Customers</B>

Your customers already know and trust you. It's easier to get more business from them than to get any business from somebody who never bought from you. Take advantage of this by creating some special deals just for your existing customers ...and announce new products and services to them before you announce them to the general market.

Also, convert your customers into publicity agents for your business. Develop an incentive for them to tell associates and friends about the value of your products or services. An endorsement from them is more effective than any amount of advertising - and it is much cheaper.

Each of these 7 marketing tips provides a simple, low-cost way for any small business to find customers and generate sales quickly.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

7 Questions Consumers Ask Before Buying Your Product

1.  What's the deal?
Customers want to know what they are getting into before they open up their wallet.  One of the best ways to upset them is to give them unexpected fees at the last minute.  Make the deal plain and simple... no unexpected and unpleasant surprises.

2.  How do I benefit?
Let's face it... customer really don't give a hoot about who you are, your hard earned credentials or your company history.  They want to know "what this product will do for me?"  Spend your time wisely;  emphasize the benefits the consumer will enjoy... and you've got a sale!

3.  How soon?
Our economy has come to expect immediate gratification.  The quicker your customer has the purchase in his hands, the happier he is.  Invest in quicker service, for higher sales volume and increased customer satisfaction.

4.  Can I return it?
Hey, there's always risk in a purchase.  What if it's not what the box made it look like?  The knowledge that it can be returned soothes the customers fear of making a poor investment.  Money back guarantees go a long way toward banishing the last minute purchase jitters.

5.  Should I trust you?
The best way to turn away a potential customer is to offer a "to good to be true" deal.  No one trusts exaggerations or even claims that sound like exaggerations.  Do you have a deal that really is too good to be true?  Be careful how you word it.  Remember that a customer who discovers his product is even better than promised is an extremely satisfied customer.

6.  Am I making the right choice?
Emotions and logic work together to create the right balance for the buyer.  Usually the purchase is based on emotion.  It's later that the customer looks for the logic to justify the purchase.  Be sure to include logic in your advertisments so the customer will feel that his purchase was justified.

7.  How do I pay for it?
You probably remember standing in line at a place of business, while the customer 9 people ahead of you tried every method of payment under the sun.  Everyone was shifting from foot to foot impatiently, and some even laid their products down and walked out empty handed.

Hey, it happens in the virtual world too.  Consumers wait and wait for a page to download... they become frustrated and with one click of the mouse... you've lost a sale. 

Make sure purchasing is an easy and painfree experience for your customers.  If it's too complicated and lengthy, they'll just forget it... and you can kiss your profit goodbye.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

7 Positive Ways to Turn Complaints into Assets

1. Be Prepared...
Let's face can please some of the people all the time, but you'll never manage to please all of the people all the time.  There will be unhappy customers...that's the way life is.  There's not a lot you can do about it...or is there?  Being prepared to take a loss to keep a customer happy may seem like poor business sense at first glance, but think of it this way...if you make him happy today, he'll reward your efforts by returning to your store time and time again.  Yep, taking a loss today, will pay off in the long run.

2. Be Ready with a "Quick Fix"...
Dissatisfaction multiplies at a rapid rate!  Have you ever complained and waited...and waited...and waited for someone to get back to you?  Yeah, the whole time you're impatient and disgruntled the problem seems to grow bigger.  Let your unhappy customer know that you are getting right on the problem.  Even if it can't be fixed immediately, he'll know that it's important and a high priority. 

3. Be Professional...
One angry customer plus one angry salesman doesn't add up to a great solution.  Forget about the mannerisms of the ticked customer, and keep your cool.  Often a professional and calm response will in turn calm and quiet the tirade of the unhappy customer.  And that my friend, is much more likely to get the results you are looking for.

4. Be Responsible...
Go ahead...take the responsibility for the problem...even if it wasn't your fault.  Hey, an "I'm sorry," goes a long way toward fixing the problem.  Once you've apologized for the inconvenience your customer has experienced, you can get down to the dirty business of fixing the problem.   It never pays to fix the blame or make excuses. Customers see right through it, and respect honesty rather than excuses.  Keep your credibility intact with a simple apology.

5. Be Considerate...
Disgruntled customers often fear their complaints will be overlooked and overreact to get the attention they feel they deserve.  Let them be surprised with the sincere consideration you give to the problem, and watch their anger dissapate.  They'll walk away from a possibly explosive situation with a pleasantly surprised attitude.  They'll remember that much longer than the problem that brought them to you in the first place.

6. Be Confirming...
It pays to double check on the satisfaction of a one-time dissatisfied customer.  You may even want to reinforce a good relationship with them by offering a special discount on their next purchase!  Getting them back in the habit of shopping with you can only benefit your business in the long run.

7. Be  Attentive to the Cause of the Problem...
Once the customer has been pacified it's time to get to the root of the problem.  Hey, chances are pretty good that others have been unhappy about the same problem, but haven't vocalized a least to you.  They may very well take the time to gripe to their friends!  Take the time to fix the cause of the problem to avoid similar complaints in the future.

Don't let customer complaints get you down or cause you to lose future sales opportunities.  In a few minutes you can turn their frown upside down, and make loyal customers out of the most disgruntled.  It just takes keeping your head on your shoulders, and implementing these 7 steps to ensure positive results.

Friday, 9 July 2010

7 Marketing Ideas to Expand Your Customer Base and Profits

Copyright 2006 Joel Sussman

How do you grab people's attention, arouse their interest, trigger their desire, and motivate them to take action? Answer that four-part question correctly and you've identified the secret to achieving tremendous sales and marketing success in your chosen business or field. To complicate matters, however, the potential answers are as numerous and multi-faceted as the growing number of niche markets, products and services, and marketing trends in our culture. While not all inclusive, the following list of priorities and small business marketing tips can help put your small business on a faster track to growth.

Marketing Tip #1: Gain Customer Confidence. Customer indecisiveness, skepticism, indifference, or confusion are among the top sales killers in the business world. It's up to you to project an image of experience, quality, dependability, excellent customer service, and/or value to your prospective customers in order to win their confidence. If you haven't clearly communicated the advantages and solid reasons for them to do business with you, then they'll be hesitant to commit, and the sale will go to your competitor.

Marketing Tip #2: Penetrate awareness of your target audience by using some form of integrated marketing. In other words, the more ways the public hears about you, the better your chances are for achieving brand recognition, credibility, and greater market share. Effective marketing is partly the result of exposing your target group to your name and your selling points (unique selling proposition) as often as possible(frequency), in as many ways as possible, and as cost-effectively as possible.

Marketing Tip #3: Enthusiasm, in both print and in person, is contagious (and I'm not talking about using multiple exclamation points after sentences!!! That detracts from your credibility.) If you deeply believe in your products, services, your company, and yourself, then your prospects will pick up on that passionate attitude and feel confident and optimistic about doing business with you.

Marketing Tip #4: Purchasing is an emotional decision. Instill in your prospects good feelings about your company, your business relationship with them, and how you can improve their lives or solve their problem. Accomplishing that is at least as important in the sales process as focusing attention on product features and benefits.

Marketing Tip #5: Dispel distrust. Gain customer confidence and overcome potential feelings of distrust by offering written guarantees of satisfaction, customer testimonials, references, and by joining respected and well-known professional organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau, Chambers of Commerce, and industry associations.

Marketing Tip #6: Impose a deadline. Counteract one of the biggest obstacles to closing a sale known to mankind: procrastination. To overcome the natural human tendency to deliberate, postpone, and delay, it's often necessary to inject a sense of urgency into your ads, sales presentations, and marketing messages. Whether supplies are limited or prices are going up at the end of the month, some prospects need to have a deadline or an incentive to motivate them to take action now.

Marketing Tip #7: Create a business marketing plan to identify and capitalize on your strengths and opportunities. Your strategic plan should also take into account factors such as your weaknesses (and possible remedies), external threats (competition, economic factors, etc.), your marketing mix strategy (products/services, promotional goals, pricing strategy, and distribution decisions), media strategy, sales and expense budgets, and target market analysis (know your customers).