Friday, November 14, 2008

Marketing Tips Part 2

Keep in mind that the more people see your logo and company name, the more familiar and trustworthy your business will seem. So get visible!

The general guideline is that 3% of the business' gross income should be applied toward marketing. Try out different methods and adjust as you go along.

Logos are key to creating a memorable business personality. I used thelogocompany.com and I'm very happy with them. It's only $199 for a logo design, and upgrades are available. I recommend them highly.

They say old clients are the best new clients. Keep in contact with your old clients. Send a thank you note after meeting for the first time, another after completing your transaction, and after receiving referrals or positive reviews online/ letters of recommendation. Send Christmas cards, birthday cards, anniversary of the service ("your new kitchen is a year old!")... Give good clients a gift after completion, such as logo imprinted items (tee shirt, water bottle, etc.), gift cards, anything that seems appropriate. My maternity photographer included two photo magnets with our print order, which not only seems warm and fuzzy of her, but of course I'm going to use it because it's a photo I love. She has her web address tastefully printed on it. Everyone who sees my fridge sees a great photo and her contact info. She essentially put up an ad in my house and I love it! Sweet but sneaky.

Offer customers referral discounts or gifts. Offering an incentive gets people motivated to spread your name (and if it's a gift certificate for your business, even better! Odds are they'll spend over the certificate amount).

Compile a beautiful, professional portfolio, whether you're selling design services or homemade soap! One great way is to scan in any letters of recommendation (ASK EVERYONE FOR THESE!!!) and pair them with photos of your work (you are taking lots of photos, right?) in a printed photobook from one of the many online photo printing services. Keep the design simple and polished.

Donating your services (or even just time and money in your business' name) can sometimes get you a mention in the paper if you're donating it to a real need. Silent auctions are also good to watch for. The full value of your goods or services are tax deductible, people will see your name, and you have very good odds of upselling. I won a photography session at a La Leche silent auction, which included the sitting fee and a $50 print credit. I got it for $20 and I was thrilled, but the photographer is really who won. He was exposed to his target market (young families - oh the little ones grow so fast we need a million pictures!), he got free advertising, he gets a tax deduction, he gets a new client who wouldn't have heard of him otherwise (who could be recurring), and he'll get a sale (as expensive as prints are, I'm sure we'll spend over that $50 credit). Donations are great for everyone involved!

Sending out press releases is something that's often recommended, but honestly, I don't know how to do that! I'm determined to figure it out, and I'll let you guys know! If you know how, we'd love a comment with some info.

Sponsoring a Little League team in an area you'd like to do business is fairly inexpensive ($150-$300) and something we'll be trying out this next season. I'll keep you posted on the outcome.

Advertising in large papers is usually expensive and not worthwhile, but small local papers are a cheap way to spread your name. A one by one ad in our town's weekly paper is $72 a month. I placed the ad a month ago and haven't seen any leads from it, but I think I'll keep it just for the visibility. The more the prospective client sees your logo, there more they subconsciously "know" and trust you.

Car decals/ magnets. Vistaprint has really low prices on these! Again, visibility.

Get yourself a nice logo jacket and wear it EVERYWHERE! This raises your visibility and people will notice it and ask you about it. Even if you only get one lead from this (you'll get much more, though) your return on investment is huge. Keep your business cards handy when wearing your logowear!

If you have employees, consider uniforms or at least logo shirts. A professional appearance helps your credibility.

Pens - the higher the quality the longer they'll be kept. My escrow company gave me a nice pen and it's been in my purse for a year and a half, and I won't forget their name anytime soon because of that fact. Buy a huge quantity and "accidentally" leave them everywhere you go. Leave a few with every client or customer you meet. Sign your receipt at the store, leave one behind. Leave one (or two) with the bill at restaurants. I worked at a steakhouse for a bit and the servers were constantly complaining that customers swiped their pens. The server will appreciate a new pen being left behind, lots of people will see it, and odds are eventually someone will steal it and then your company name will circulate around a new group. A stylish pen design will make even more of an impression. Just be ready to say, "Oh, keep it!" when someone invariably says, "You forgot your pen!".

Networking: I'll discuss further in another post, but those who attend marketing groups are typically a good demographic to be friendly with. They're business owners or salespeople, they know lots of people, and they probably have money!

Contact papers, magazines, and websites about writing a column in your area of expertise. A personal organizer I know writes about organization in the Seattle P-I and DivineCaroline.com (easy place to start writing articles - just create a free account and click My Account, My Articles, Begin Writing An Article) and this gives her a ton of "street cred", if you will. (Her name is Laura Leist and she owns the largest personal organization company in the state and was voted one of Washington's 40 Under 40 Entrepreneurs. She's remarkable.).

Imagine your ideal customer. Now walk around in their shoes. Where do they hang out, what do they read, what will catch their eye? We just placed ads at golf courses because 95% of golfers are homeowners. Then there's the trusty list notepad with magnet backing. We all love those notepads, don't we? So they get used, which means the recipient of that notepad sees your name on an almost daily basis. Understanding their point of view is essential to the success of your marketing.

The most important thing is to be creative. Some of the tried and true things work, but do what no one else thought of and you set yourself apart.

Finally, ask every single person who contacts you how they heard about you and keep a spreadsheet of this info. The trends will start to emerge and it will be clear where your marketing dollars are working and what to rethink.

More marketing tips to come!

5 comments:

*Dani* said...

http://www.Ezine.com is a good place to start writing articles also! :)

telecommutingtruths said...

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angiedoula said...

Thanks for all of the great tips!