Tutorial Marketing basics

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dungdm004

White Belt
Seminar Marketing: How to Choose a Mailing House That Will Save You Time, Effort & Money

Seminar Marketing is the quickest way to grow your business. It allows you to do a face-to-face, credibility-building meeting with 40, 50, 100 and even 1000 prospective customers at a time.

In fact, in the last 8 years, financial advisors and business owners that were making $50,000 per year saw their incomes soar to over $1 million a year.

But the market has changed drastically.

How the Seminar Marketing Business Has Changed

Five years ago, you could get a 2% response rate for a financial seminar mailing. Today you are lucky to get a quarter of that. Why?

Because the same mailing houses have been sending the same mailer, with the same headlines and the same bullets for years. The people getting these invites are simply throwing them away. That means your profits are going into the dumps!

Now, don't get me wrong.

I highly recommend that you utilize seminars in your marketing mix, regardless of your profession. However, if you want to build a highly profitable 6 or 7 figure income professional practice using seminars, then you must spend some time picking the right mailing house to send out your seminar invitations.

Top 7 Questions You Should Ask Your Seminar Mailing House Before Hiring Them:

1. Are you a seminar marketing company or a postcard printing company?

There is a huge difference between lead generation direct mail and seminar invitations. When you work with a mailing house company that does NOT specialize in seminar invitations you are rolling the dice with your hard earned money.

2. How will you make sure my seminar invitations stand out from my competitions?

This is one of the MOST important questions to ask. You must make sure that your seminar marketing mailing house will help you write successful copy and headlines for your invitation. Make sure NO ONE else is using it in your territory. If they are using the same old copy and headlines they have been using for years RUN away fast. If they cannot help you create something unique to you and your specialty, you are wasting your money.

3. What is Your Guarantee?

Many mailing houses offer response guarantees as a way to get your business. However, most have no intention of ever honoring their guarantee. When the response comes in below the guarantee, (and it invariably does) they will continue to offer you discounts on future mailings instead of giving your money back.

4. What are the niche markets you work in?

In order to succeed in seminar marketing, you need to work within a niche. The more specific your niche is the better. It is extremely helpful to work with a mailing house that specializes in your niche. When they understand and have experience with your niche, you are much more likely to have success using them to fill your seminars.

5. Who Will Be My Seminar Marketing Liaison?

Make sure that you're assigned a professional at the mailing house to walk you through the whole mailing. You need someone to make sure that the mailing is done accurately and on a timely basis. A little mistake on an invitation can send people to the wrong address or at the wrong time, costing you thousands of dollars.

6. What is your turnaround time?

Seminar mailing is very time sensitive. Your mailing needs to hit on a certain date. Most large mailing houses will tell you that they have a 30 day or more turn around time. This will make planning your seminar very difficult. A long turnaround time is an indicator of a large print house vs. a smaller, more service oriented mailing house.

7. What is Your Pricing? What are all the services included in that pricing?

Remember, cheapest is not always best. Best value for your dollar is what you should be shooting for. Do they give you unique and creative invitations? Have they been able to explain to you why they will make you more successful than other mailing companies will? Do you get the feeling that they are truly interested in your success? Or do they just want to mail some junk out for you to make a buck on you?

Seminars can skyrocket your business if you do them right. Hiring good vendors is high on the list of doing things right.

So invest some time in finding the right mailing house. It will save you thousands of dollars in the end.

Once you find a great seminar invitation mailing house, your seminar marketing begins to work just like a big ATM machine. Do a seminar...Grab a bunch of happy new. clients. It's that simple.
 

dungdm004

White Belt
10 Easy Ways to Make Your Flyer Stand Out in the Crowd

A flyer is an inexpensive and highly effective way to grab attention in a very busy marketplace. How do you make your flyer stand out in the crowd? Here are some techniques that professional designers use to make flyers "pop."

1. Write a snappy headline or title.

Make it memorable, unusual or provocative using a few carefully chosen powerful words. Popular titles contain one or more of these words: Easy, The Secrets to, Unlock, Finally, Insider, Time Sensitive, How to, Free Bonuses, Now You Can, Discover, Proven.

2. Use colorful or striking graphics.

One large image will have more impact than many smaller images. A stunning photo or illustration grabs attention, creates a mood, and supports your story. This image is your "focal point" and will draw your readers in. You can purchase inexpensive but quality stock photos on the Internet. Download individual photos or purchase a CD with hundreds of images.

3. Focus on the benefits of your product or service.

Your prospects will ask the question, "What's in it for me?" Write from the their perspective using the words "you" and "your." Avoid using the following words: we, us, I and our. Be sure to keep your text short and to the point. Some of the most powerful words to use are: free, save, love, new, results, and guarantee. Break up long paragraphs with bullet points and place them in a separate box.

4. Use compelling testimonials and case studies.

Nothing strikes a chord like an endorsement from a happy customer, especially if it demonstrates the results they've had with your product or service. Be sure to include the first and last name, company name and location of the person providing the endorsement.

5. Organize your page with boxes, borders and areas of contrasting colors.

You don't need to fill your flyer with wall-to-wall text and graphics. Incorporate some white space to make certain elements stand out and to make the flyer easy to read.

6. Make your points easily identifiable.

Highlight titles and subtitles in bold, but avoid using ALL CAPS because they are more difficult to read.

7. Don't get too complicated.

Make it simple with two typefaces, and align items to a grid. Your page layout program will provide non-printing guidelines. Use the "snap to guidelines" function to align items easily to the grid. Be aware of printing margins. I suggest you create your layout with 1/2" margins on all sides, or add 1/8" for bleeds on items that print off the edge of the page.

8. Don't forget to proofread.

Have someone else proofread your work. Check your contact information. Dial the phone numbers on the flyer to make sure they are correct, and type in the URL of your website to make sure it is correct, too.

9. If you are on a tight budget, try this.

Select bright-colored or unique paper, and print with black ink. Use shades of grey to provide tones and contrasting background areas.

10. Offer a discount or special limited-time price.

Design a coupon on the bottom quarter of the flyer. Be sure to clearly state the deadlines and limitations of the offer. If it is a mail-in coupon, be sure to include the payment specifications with areas for filling out credit card information, mailing address, etc.

You don't need to re-invent the wheel when creating your flyer. Use these proven techniques and you will see big results in your marketing efforts.
 

dungdm004

White Belt
Miss This in Your Marketing and You May Destroy Your Business!

It never ceases to amaze me when I hear about or experience a company that forgets the basics of Marketing 101. Lots of companies use all the latest and greatest marketing strategies to attract business, yet forget one of the most effective forms of marketing; stellar customer service.

It seems more and more companies are overlooking this type of marketing. Or, they think that offering so/so customer service is good enough.

That may be fine for an average business, selling an average product or service, to people who don't care about anything but the cheapest price and the greatest bargain. For companies who want to be known as above average, who want to command top dollar, be in the game for the long haul and be recognized as one of the best, good enough is hardly good enough. You have to go above and beyond. One of the most important aspects of going above and beyond is paying attention to what your customers need and what they are asking for.

Case in point. When I relocated my home and my business about a year and a half ago, I was in need of finding new service providers for a number of things; home and auto insurance, a dentist, a doctor, an auto mechanic and an accountant to name just a few.

My experience of finding the right people to do business with was likely similar to what others go through. There is the first level a customer goes through to find service providers. Often it is based on the recommendation of a neighbor, colleague, or member of church or association we belong to. At this level, we are relying on what someone else says about a company, primarily because that's all we have to go on.

The next level is the actual experience the customer has when they do business with the recommended company. When I went through this process my overall experience with the vendors who were recommended to me was quite good. In some cases exceptional.

Such was not the case with the accounting firm I selected based on a personal recommendation. I called the firm, set up an appointment and spent a good hour talking to the CPA about my business, my needs, goals for my company, how I preferred information to be communicated to me and the billing process. Something I emphasized is that I wanted no surprises.

All seemed in order as I left my first meeting. However, within a short period of time it became evident my needs and wants were not being honored. A phone call to the CPA's assistant seemed to clear up the misunderstanding. We were back on track, or so I thought.

Another couple of months passed and once again, it became apparent that the agreements we made were not being honored. The fact was, I wasn't asking for anything out of the ordinary.

After the third occasion of talking to the CPA's assistant in frustration and the assistant giving me yet another series of excuses I decided to pull my business from the firm. I had far too much at risk to continue this song and dance. Besides, now each time I had a conversation I felt angry and frustrated. This was not how I wanted my relationship with my accountant to be.

Amazingly, this wasn't a bargain basement accounting firm. The firm is known as one of the top in the area. Yet, from my experience this was not evident.

The CPA and assistant seemed genuinely surprised when I chose to take my business elsewhere. It hardly seemed that it should have been a shock to them because I had let them know of my displeasure with how my account was being handled on three occasions.

Apparently, the accountant was going through some personal problems and had let her personal life impact her business relationships. Her assistant had to continually smooth things over and cover for her. I was to discover it was not just me who had this experience.

Everyone goes through personal problems. That's a part of life. But to let personal problems impact one's business to the degree this accountant did can have detrimental effects on a business; theirs and that of the client.

When something like this happens, not only are customers frustrated, professional relationships are deeply impacted and trust is lost.

No matter what a company says about themselves by way of their advertising, website or blog, the reality is, your customer's experience either works for you or against you.

What is the experience you create for your customers?
 

dungdm004

White Belt
Are You Utilizing Push/Pull Marketing?

An important aspect of marketing has to do with what is referred to as Push/Pull marketing. Push/Pull marketing is exactly as it sounds. At times you are "pushing†information out to your market and at other times you are implementing strategies to "pull†consumers to you.

Regardless of whether you are selling someone else's products and services or your own, if you do not implement a complete marketing strategy that includes the Push/Pull philosophy, you are likely defeating your purpose.

To create a steady stream of revenue for products and services you offer you have to have a very targeted approach. Not only will a systemized marketing approach help you make money directly from your online offerings, you can definitely enhance your offline offerings as well as live presentations, consulting, and coaching.

Keep in mind, there is a process people go through in order to buy your products and services. It is built on need, want and desire. Additionally, the greater the investment on the part of the consumer the more you must build confidence, trust and credibility in the consumer's mind.

If all you are doing is selling $10 widgets that is one thing. If, on the other hand, you are seeking to build long-term relationships with your market and be viewed as a professional, you must approach things in a systematic way.

The fact is, my clients want to do far more than sell a widget. They want to make a difference in the lives of their clients. They want to provide long-term solutions and create ongoing relationships with their clients. They want to build their business based on trust, value and integrity. To achieve these results requires they implement effective systems.

Realize that no matter how great your product or service, most people will not buy a high-ticket eProduct or a $1,000 plus mentoring course or consulting contract without first buying a $20 - $50 eProduct. There is what is referred to as the funnel approach to marketing. Clients will enter your "funnel†by way of something that is very low risk such as a free item or very inexpensive item. Based on their experience they will decide what the next course of action is.

What you do every step of the way, including someone's initial introduction to you and your way of doing business, will determine how likely it is that someone will become a loyal customer. Never discount the power of a free offering or a low-ticket item to be the catalyst to someone becoming a premier client.

To introduce consumers to your and your product offerings as well as get people to the point they will even consider the $20 item you will find the Push/Pull marketing process is second to none.
 

dungdm004

White Belt
7 Ways to Improve Profit Through Both Long- and Short-Term Strategies

Your marketing mix is the combination of promotions, products, places (distribution channels), and prices you choose for products, services, and the overall business. It is important to strike a balance between those four "Ps". By including both short- and long-term marketing strategies of each, you can create an even more profitable marketing mix.

Long-Term Marketing Strategies

Long-term strategies build brand and company awareness, and give sales revenue a gradual, permanent boost. Some of the benefits are indirect and cannot always be directly associated with profit. For this reason, long-term strategies can be difficult to execute when the focus is short-term.

Branding activities.

High profile activities and general-purpose advertising contribute to your company's image by building familiarity and trust. This, in turn, can create customer loyalty. Successful branding can have a large impact on market share, but is a gradual process so cannot always be definitively measured.

Industry relationships.

Building healthy relationships with distributors and others involved in the industry puts you in a position to know about new opportunities and potential problems as they occur. Long term, this improves the flow of product from you to your customers and creates new distribution channels.

Giving.

Donating money, services, and time can build a positive image with customers and employees. Over time, this increases a company's trustworthiness. When they see you consistently giving something back to the community, they are more confident you will take the same care with them.

Research and development.

A new product pipeline and research are short-term expenses, but represent future sales. Conduct research with customers (or potential target markets) and design products to meet their needs. This ensures future growth.

Short-Term Marketing Strategies

Short-term strategies create immediate revenue. Sales and accounting people often prefer these to long-term approaches because the results are direct and quantifiable. The disadvantage of relying strictly on short-term approaches is the effect is temporary. They tend to be limited-time techniques that do not work well over time. Some examples ...

Reduced price sales.

Sales encourage customers to act. Holding a sale will give customers who have been "meaning to buy" an incentive to do so, resulting in a revenue boost. Frequent sales can erode profit over time as customers become "trained" to wait for a sale instead of buying at full price.

Group discounts and offers.

This is a good way to introduce your products or services to a new set of customers, or give important groups a permanent discount. Carefully evaluate long-term impact, however. Over time, the gain in sales may not offset the cost of continual price reductions.

Blended Marketing Strategies

Some marketing strategies have both long- and short- term benefits. Pay per click (PPC) advertising, for example, is a way to communicate temporary price reductions or highlight a promotion. PPC can also build long-term brand awareness, however, as you expose more people to a Website.

Together, long- and short-term marketing programs help achieve immediate sales goals while building business reputation and goodwill. Implement both and your business will prosper for years to come.
 

dungdm004

White Belt
What Are Your Marketing Decisions Based On? --part 1

We all like to think we base our decisions on hard facts, but that's not always the case. Business leaders will talk about doing their due diligence prior to making a decision; but in reality, when it comes down to it, what really pushes us to select one thing over another is our feelings.

While instinct and intuition do play a role in business (stories abound of business people who refused to pay attention to the facts and created a success out of what should have been a disaster), 9 times out of 10, cold hard facts and reality cannot and should not be ignored.

This new mini-series of BrandReturnâ„¢ (our newsletter's new name) will introduce the basic concepts of business and market research, share some methods of obtaining data, and prod you to begin collecting data and analyzing that data.

Market research consists of two primary categories: primary data and secondary data.

Primary data is made of information obtained through focus groups, surveys, and observation.

Secondary data is provided by another group, such as the Census Bureau, a professional association, or think tank. A problem with using secondary data sources is their information may not relate to your target market or geographic area.

Obtaining primary data yourself is time consuming and can be expensive; but how much money have you or your company wasted on advertising or activities that ended up not generating the business you thought they would?

You already have some primary data in your customers' buying patterns. If you don't have a system that provides you with mechanisms to breakdown data into various groups, then you need to begin investigating how to acquire one.

Here's an example of how data review and analysis can become important:

A large hotel was experiencing an increase in revenue but not an increase in profit.

As the hotel began to study expenses, it discovered that managers were over-scheduling employees on the weekends and even paying overtime to deal with the expected increase in customers that marketing was driving in. Naturally most business would come in on the weekend and the facility would staff up on Friday afternoons and evenings. When check-in data was examined, management discovered that most visitors were checking in on Saturday morning. By making scheduling adjustments and cross-training employees, the hotel was able to use fewer employees to handle the influx of customers. More employees were given time off on Friday nights, raising employee morale which resulted in improved customer service. Soon, expenses were down, revenue was up, and most importantly, profits were up.

None of that would have happened if management didn't take the time to look at the statistics, analyze the data, and make adjustments.

Surveys can also provide important information a business can use to improve the customer experience, the employee experience, or extend the brand through additional product offerings.

Surveys are labor intensive since they take a bit of time to create, administer, then compile and analyze the data. If spending a couple of thousand dollars can lead to tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands or more in revenue, it's money well spent. The same can be said if that investment saves you from spending even more money to invest in something that your customers don't want (and remember: Customers don't buy what they need. They buy what they want.).

There are lots of ways to conduct a survey. The method used depends on what data you're trying to obtain and what customer segment or segment of potential customers (or former customers) you're trying to reach.

For example, if you own a bricks-and-mortar store, you can ask your customers to complete a quick comment or survey card while you package their purchases. Of course, they may not be as entirely honest as they could be since you're standing in front of them and, assuming you read the card right after they walk away it's not anonymous (you could have them drop it in a box for an extra level of anonymity).

You could also mail surveys to customers (with a self-addressed, stamped envelope or SASE), try phone surveys (you can just imagine how hard they are to conduct), or email surveys. All of these techniques have pros and cons and we can't stress enough that the method you pick should be the best method to be used with the population you're targeting. If your customers are in a certain age group who are not heavy internet users, an internet-based survey administered through email would be a mistake.

Focus groups can be a great source of information but you'll need to consider how you recruit the participants, what characteristics (demographic and psychographic) should your participants possess or not possess, and what will you give them as an incentive to attend.

That's right. You have to incent people to attend. Only the rarest of the rare will participate in a focus group just because it sounds like a fun thing to do. Even surveys need some level of incentive to increase participation. Including a SASE is a bare minimum. No one is going to provide the envelope and postage to complete a survey for your business.

We hope this introduction to research has motivated you to begin thinking about your decision process, the information you're collecting, and how research could possibly benefit your organization.

In our next issue we'll discuss how research impacts advertising and marketing decisions and how it gives you more bang for your buck.
 

dungdm004

White Belt
Guerrilla Marketing Attack

Succeeding with a guerrilla marketing attack is a very simple seven-step process. Take all seven steps and watch your profits rise and your competitors cringe. It's not as hard as you may think to succeed at a guerrilla marketing attack. And if you launch one properly, you'll find that succeeding at business is also not as hard as you may have thought. Don't even think of skipping any of the seven steps to success because all seven are necessary. We're not talking about playing with marketing. We're talking about succeeding with marketing.

1. The first step is to research everything you can. That means carefully investigating your market, your product or service, your competition, your industry and your options in media. What media reach your target audience? What media makes them respond and buy? Should you focus on advertising or direct marketing or a combination of the two? There are answers to these questions and guerrillas have the knack for coming up with the right answers. As a person who is already connected to the Internet, you've got a head start in the research department. There is loads of information online that can propel you in the direction of success.

2. The second step is to write a benefits list. Have a meeting. Invite your key personnel and at least one customer -- because customers are tuned in to benefits that you may not even consider to be benefits. Example, my wife patronizes a certain bookstore regularly, not because of their books, but because of the carrot cake they serve in their cafe. Once you have a list of your benefits, select your competitive advantage because that's where you'll hang your marketing hat. If you haven't got a competitive advantage, you'll have to create one because you'll need it. After all, anyone can come up with a benefits list. Figure out why people should patronize your business instead of that of a competitor.

3. Step number three is to select the weapons you'll use. In my third guerrilla marketing online column, I listed an even 100 weapons from which you may make your selection. My recommendation is to use as many weapons as you can. Fifty of the hundred weapons are free. After you've selected the weaponry, put the weapons into priority order. Next to each weapon, write the name of the person who is in charge of masterminding the use of the weapon plus the date it will be launched. Consider each date you write to be a promise you are making to yourself. Guerrillas do not kid themselves or lie to themselves, so be realistic. The idea of a guerrilla marketing attack is to select a lot of weapons, then launch them in slow motion -- at a pace that feels comfortable financially and emotionally. My average client takes 18 months to launch an attack. Don't rush.

4. The fourth step, and this is a toughie, is to maintain the attack. The first three steps are extremely simple compared to this fourth step. Maintaining the attack means sticking with your plan and your weapons even though you don't get the instant gratification you want so much. Everyone wants success to come instantly, but it doesn't happen that way in real life. The Marlboro Man and Marlboro Country helped make Marlboro cigarettes the most successfully marketed brand is history. But after the first year of marketing, they didn't increase sales one bit for Marlboro. Maintaining the attack made it happen.

5. Step five is to keep track. Some of your weapons will hit bulls-eyes. Others will miss the target completely. How will you know which is which? By keeping track. By asking customers where they heard of you. By finding out what made them contact you. Keeping track is not easy, but it is necessary. If you aren't ready to keep track, you aren't ready to launch your attack in the first place.

6. Step six is to make a guerrilla marketing calendar. This should be 52 rows long and five columns wide. The first column is called "Week" -- listing in which week of the 52 weeks you did what you did in marketing. The second column is called "Thrust" -- referring to the thrust of your marketing that week. What were you saying? Offering? The third column is called "Media" and it refers to which media you were using that week. The fourth column is called "Cost" and lets you project how much you'll be spending that week. The fifth column is called "Results" so you can give a letter grade to the week -- you know, an A, B, C, D or F. After one year, you compare your calendar to your sales figures and eliminate all but the A's and B's. It takes about three years to get a calendar loaded with slam dunks. Once you have one you'll feel like the client who said of his, "It's a lot like going to heaven without the inconvenience of dying."

7. The seventh step is to create a guerrilla marketing plan. Seven steps to succeeding with a guerrilla marketing attack. If it sounds easy, reread this column. It works, but it's not easy.

Jay Conrad Levinson in the Father of Guerrilla Marketing. Mitch Meyerson is the author of Success Secrets of the Online Marketing Superstars, Founder of the Guerrilla Marketing Coaching program and Co-Founder of The Product Factory and Traffic School. He has been featured on Oprah.
 

dungdm004

White Belt
How to Build your Opt-In List

How to Build your Opt-In List

By Wayne Van Dyck

To get an email list, some companies decide to send customers a free newsletter. Yet there are many other ways to get email addresses. Having a newsletter doesn't always make sense for your company. For instance, if you happen to sell microwaves, how much information could you send your customers, daily, on microwaves? So, well explore a few other options for increasing your email list.

You could run a contest. The objective, puzzle, game, or task should be easy and straightforward so that you don't confuse or frustrate the customer and you still get their email address in the end.

A free eBook as a great incentive to collect email addresses. People love getting free things, especially eBooks on topics that interest them. Remember your eBook doesn't have to be 100 pages long it can be five to ten pages. That length will work just fine.

A great way to collect email addresses is to survey the customer. You can find out what the customer likes and dislikes and also what they have problems with or need answers to.

You should advertise your opt-in offer in an e-zine or classified ad. It actually isn't that expensive and if you find the right place to advertise, you could quickly see dramatic results.

An email signature or electronic signature, otherwise know as a sig file, is a three to six line footer that you can add to the bottom of each email message you send out with your name, personal info, company info, website, and a free report with a link attached. You will be pleasantly surprised how many visitors you get this way. Be sure that you track where you are getting your traffic by the different links you send out.

A customer will have no problem providing you with their name and email address if they are interested in downloading an article from your web site. They will love to receive more articles from you or have access to a members only area of your site with plenty of resources.

You should offer your customers a free course or a free download to collect email addresses. They will appreciate and love to get something for free. Customers who opt-in when something free is being offered think to themselves what have I got to lose. It a great deal for both of you.
 

dungdm004

White Belt
Use Drop Shipping to Expand into New Markets

For retail businesses, expanding into a new market can be a risky proposition. Aside from additional marketing costs, there are also the costs of storing new inventory that may or may not sell.

This is just one more situation where drop shipping can help save you time, money, and a lot of unwanted stress. Just like drop shipping is a low risk way to break into the retail business, it can also help your existing business get its feet wet in new markets.

Let's take a look at an imaginary online retailer that sells camping equipment. For years, this retailer has focused on specializing in tents and sleeping bags only. Now, to increase sales and profits, he wants to expand into more camping accessories such as cookware, backpacks, propane, emergency equipment, and so forth. The problem is, he's worried that he won't be able to overcome his reputation as a "tents and sleeping bags only" store, and he'll be stuck with a lot of inventory he can't sell.

In comes the drop shipper. Now the tents-and-bags-only retailer can start offering an expanded offering on his website without risking an investment in inventory.

One of four scenarios could possibly occur:

1. He is unable to sell any items from his expanded catalog, and goes back to selling just tents and bags. He only loses a little time from the effort. 2. He sells some items, but not enough to justify bulk purchases of the additional items. He sticks with drop shipping the new items to keep his new customers happy and coming back for more. Hopefully, sales continue to increase and his expanded selection becomes a major part of his business. 3. The expanded selection is a huge hit, so he starts purchasing inventory to save money by purchasing in bulk. 4. He finds that he loves the time he saves from drop shipping so much, he expands his drop shipping operation to include his tents and sleeping bags!

Whatever you're thinking about expanding into, drop shipping could be the solution for your business. Using a drop shipper will allow you to run your tests without the risk of losing money on inventory.

When looking for a drop shipper, the usual rules apply: make sure they provide real-time inventory reports to minimize the risk of backorders, make sure they use a reliable shipping provider that also provides tracking information, and make sure they process orders in a timely fashion so you don't end up with angry customers.
 

dungdm004

White Belt
Promoting Marketing Campaigns Via Affiliates

Introduction If you are a merchant that uses coupons and special promotions such as clearance sales, site wide free shipping or other marketing tool that have a limited life span and also have an affiliate program which you use as sales channel to promote those campaigns, then this article is intended for you.

Avoid mistakes that can cause problems during or after the campaign which are in most of the cases customer service issues that probably harm your image in the minds of your existing or potential customers and will potentially hurt your brand in the long run.

Announce it, but announce it right Before you launch your marketing campaign through your affiliate marketing channel consider the following tips and check if you have everything ready and in place that your affiliates can to their job right. This article is focused on the proper announcement of the launch and discontinuation of your marketing campaigns.

Always provide an expiration date and time. Provide your affiliates with the expiration date and time for any coupon or marketing campaign you want them to promote. If it is an ongoing promotion let them know that.

If you don't know the expiration date of a promotion yet, provide the information how long you expect it to run and the goal you want to accomplish with it, which will have important impact on the expiration because you will probably discontinue the promotion earlier if you don't meet your goals at all and extend it much further than originally planned, if it is exceeding your expectations.

Use your affiliates campaigns to boost yours You can also announce a campaign before it launches, but make sure that you provide the date and time of the launch and make clear what they can and can not do with that information. Specify if you allow or even recommend affiliates to announce an upcoming campaign to their customers.

You don't want then to announce all the details of the campaign, of course not, because that would damper the effectiveness of the campaign in general, but enough to get their customers attention and make them curious about what might be coming.

Provide Teaser material in those cases. Even without having a teaser can it help to increase the effectiveness of a campaign if you announce it to your affiliates, because it gives them more time to plan and make preparations on their end.

Affiliates might be preparing a campaign for their Site at the same time and your campaign would be perfect to launch parallel to increase each others "bang" or may be it could be incorporated into their campaign, mentioned or referred to. This is often the case with campaigns for specific holidays (Christmas, Valentines Day, Thanksgiving, St.Patrick's Day etc.) or national events (Super Ball, Stanley Cup, Olympic Games, Mardi Gras and Spring Break etc.).

Discontinuation of long running promotions There are only a few cases where you would not know at least a few days before the fact when an ongoing promotion will be discontinued for whatever reason.

Send a notification before it expires to give your affiliates some lead time to prepare and ready exactly when you want them to be. Don't do it on the day or worse after it expired, demanding the immediate removal from the affiliate site and a complete stop of any other way of promoting it.

The earlier you can send the notification the better. Don't give the impression to your affiliates that your company decided unexpectedly to discontinue the campaign today and had your own Webmaster jump through hoops to get it of your own website that very same day, if it did not happened that way.

This is still too often done like that by many merchants and very unprofessional. I explain the case where it is appropriate a few chapters later.

Bad timing Most merchants run monthly campaigns. A lot of coupons are valid for one month only and often targeted to aid and improve the effectiveness of that month's campaign.

Sites that are specialized in promoting merchant campaigns, like coupon and other sites that target and attract bargain hunting customers have their busiest days right at the end of the month and the first days of the following month replacing expiring campaigns with the new ones. If possible, announce upcoming or to be discontinued campaigns that used to be ongoing outside this timeframe.

This will increase the chances that your campaign will get more attention and decreases the chances that the announcement of a discontinuation gets unintentionally missed. Affiliates are humans and humans make mistakes especially when they are under stress.

Unplanned discontinuation of any promotion Keep in mind that the chances are good that affiliates promote long running promotions in multiple different ways. To stop all of them might takes more than a few minutes.

Affiliates are busy too and the ones that do it right and successful are doing also resource planning as any other healthy business and are not able to halt their business operation for you, because you want them to do something immediately you knew already earlier.

Only if there is very good reason (Legal Issue, Natural Disaster, End of the World and that sort of things) is it acceptable and also understandable for your affiliate if you demand an immediate stop of a promotional campaign. If you have to demand an immediate stop, explain why.

The promotion and even the release of new action movies that involved terrorists was stopped or delayed immediately after 9/11. TV Stations changed their programming and replaced what was considered inconsiderate with more appropriate programming.

This could not be planned ahead, but the right thing to do and nobody was complaining about the extra time it took to do it or the fact that I had to be done fast. It is not acceptable and bad business practice in any other case.

Announcements via email Regardless what, when and why you announce something important and/or time critical to your affiliates via email, make sure that you state in the subject of the email your intention and content of the email and not just "Affiliate Newsletter" which is fine if you are providing general information and news to your affiliates.

It is the worst subject you can use for emails that do require immediate attention or actions to be taken by the affiliates that have a due date. Your emails are not the only emails an Affiliate receives.

Clear email subjects allow quicker, more efficient and better processing by the affiliate and reduce the chances that critical emails get overlooked.

Final words Affiliate Marketing RRule No.1: Affiliates and merchants are business partners, treat them as such.

Carsten Cumbrowski has over 5 years experience in the Affiliate Marketing Industry and knows both sides of the Business, as Affiliate and Affiliate Manager. He operates an Affiliate Marketing Resources Site at http://www.cumbrowski.com
 

dungdm004

White Belt
How To Make Marketing Simple

Quite a few clients have told me that marketing is difficult for them. It is difficult to get started with marketing; it is difficult to figure out how to market, and it is difficult to understand how to market effectively. Even if you are already using marketing techniques to promote your business, there is no guarantee that your marketing efforts will bring the results you are looking for.

I have put together a simple plan for you to take charge of your marketing and to simplify at least some of the process. Here are five marketing steps:

- Define What Needs To Be Done. What are you marketing? Is it a product or a service? What are the results you are looking for? Would you like to generate more sales, more leads, more partners? Which online marketing techniques are you planning to use? Search engine optimization, article marketing, newsletter publishing? The better you define these points, the easier it will be for you to put your marketing plan into motion.

- Break Your Plan Into Bite-Size Pieces. Divide-and-conquer is a proven, time-tested technique for managing complicated tasks. If your goal is to optimize your web site for search engines, your bite-size pieces will include learning about search engine optimization, performing keyword research, optimizing your pages, optimizing your copy, etc. It is much easier to follow along when you map out the steps.

- Understand The Marketing Process. It is really difficult to apply a marketing technique if you do not have a good understanding of the process. For example, if you do not know how to use article marketing to promote your business, you will not be able to use it to market. Learning about marketing is essential. It will help you market now, and you can use your newly acquired marketing knowledge to continue marketing your business for years to come.

- Don't Try to Do Everything At Once. Don't start using five marketing techniques at the same time. You will simply end up jumping from one method to another, without spending a proper amount of time on any one of them. If you do not devote sufficient time to applying a marketing technique, you will not get results. Take some time to learn and apply a new marketing technique. Then, once you are seeing results, move on to the next one.

- Track Your Results. Tracking your results (or lack thereof) helps you understand what has produced results and what hasn't. It also helps you compare different marketing methods and to determine which one(s) produce better results for your business.

Use this five point plan to better market your business and get results from marketing your business online.

Learn how to make marketing simple! Biana Babinsky is the online business coach, expert and author who has taught many solopreneurs how to become better known online, get more clients and make more money. Now you can learn all of her online marketing secrets, described in simple steps, in the Complete Step by Step Online Marketing Course at http://www.avocadoconsulting.com/rlinks/zcourse
 

dungdm004

White Belt
Guerrilla Marketing Yourself

Whether you know it or not you're marketing yourself every day. And to lots of people! You're marketing yourself in a quest to make a sale, warm up a relationship, get a job, get connected, get something you deserve. You're always sending messages about yourself.

Guerrillas control the messages that they send. It's all about intention. Guerrillas live intentionally Non-guerrillas send unintentional messages, even if those messages sabotage their overall goals in life. They want to close a sale for a consulting contract, but their inability to make eye contact or the mumbled message they leave on an answering machine turns off the prospect.

Guerrillas send no unintentional messages

Unintentional messages erect an insurmountable barrier. Your job: be sure there is no barrier. There are really two people within you -- your accidental self and your intentional self. Most people are able to conduct about 95 percent of their lives by intent. But that's not enough.

It's the other 5 percent that can get you in trouble -- or in clover. I'm not talking phoniness here. The idea is for you to be who you are and not who you aren't -- to be aware of what you're doing, aware of whether or not your actions communicate ideas that will help you get what you deserve.

Who do you market to without even realizing it?

Employees. Customers. Prospects. Teachers. Parents. Children. Bosses. Prospective employers. Mates. Prospective mates. Friends. Sellers. Landlords. Neighbors. Professionals. Members of the community. The police. Service people. Family. Bankers. These people can help you or stop you from getting what you deserve. You can influence them with how you market yourself.

The three big questions to answer

To market yourself properly, answer these three questions:

1. Who are you now? If friends described you, what would they say? Be honest rather than complimentary.
2. What do you want out of life? Be specific.
3. How will you know when you've reached your goals?

If you can't answer these questions, you're doomed to accidental marketing, spending your life reacting instead of responding, the odds against you reaching your goals.

How do you send messages and market yourself right now?

With your appearance, to be sure. You also market with your eye contact and body language, your habits, your speech patterns. You market yourself in print with your letters, email, website, notes, faxes, brochures and other printed material. You also market yourself with your attitude -- big time. You market yourself with your ethics.

How people judge you

Again, you may not be aware of it, but people are constantly judging and assessing you by noticing many things about you. You must be sure the messages of your marketing don't fight your dreams. What are people using to base their opinions, to make their decisions about you?

* Clothing * Hair * Weight * Height * Jewelry * Facial hair * Makeup * Business card * Laugh * Glasses * Title * Neatness * Smell * Teeth * Smile * What you carry * Eye contact * Gait * Posture * Tone of voice * Handwriting * Spelling * Hat * Thoughtfulness * Car * Office * Home * Nervous habits * Handshake * Stationery * Availability * Writing ability * Phone use * Enthusiasm * Energy level * Comfort online

You're fully aware of your intentional marketing and possibly even invest time, energy and imagination into it, not to mention money.

But you may be undermining that investment if you're not paying attention to things that matter to others even more than what you say: keeping promises, punctuality, honesty, demeanor, respect, gratitude, sincerity, feedback, initiative, reliability. They also notice passion -- or the absence of it. They notice how well you listen to them.

What to do now

Now that you know these things, what should you do? Although Ben Franklin himself said that three of the hardest things in the world are diamonds, steel and knowing yourself, here's a three-step plan to get you started on the road to self-awareness and self-marketing acumen:

1. Write a positioning statement about yourself. Identify just who you are and the positive things that stand out most about you.

2. Identify your goals. Put into writing the three things you'd most like to achieve during the next three months, three years and then ten years.

3. State your measuring stick. Write the details of how you will know when you've achieved your goals. Be brief and specific.

To guerrilla market yourself, simply be aware of and in control of the messages you send. Do that and your goals will be a lot easier to attain.

Mitch Meyerson is the author of Success Secrets of the Online Marketing Superstars (Dearborn Trade 2005) and three acclaimed psychology books. Get your free marketing jumpstart kit at http://www.gmarketingcoach.com
 
J

james90

Marketing

I always found with marketing that the most important aspect is that with marketing is should not in isolation to what your overall plan is. I.E that many people especially students forget that marketing is basically about getting stuff done making the sell building the client networks and ensuring continual success. It should not just be about research or planning it needs to out their and be a part of the corporate ethos.
 
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