Monthly Archives: March 2011
Many of you keep thinking about launching a Direct Mail or other Advertising Campaign but for some reason keep putting it off. Could it be that you are waiting until you can find the time to fine tune your plan and make it perfect? When will you find that extra time?
“A good plan violently executed today, is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” – that quote from General George S. Patton inspires me nearly every day.
In the current economy, procrastination can be a recipe for disaster. You have got to work harder than ever just to maintain market share let alone grow your business. However, smart business owners know that there are opportunities during strong or weak economic times. Advertising can help you exploit those opportunities.
What’s that old saying, “…if you keeping doing the same things over and over again, you are going to keep getting the same results!”.
Do something different this week. Advertise.
IS FLATTERING YOUR COMPETITION A GOOD IDEA?
You know the old saying: “Imitation is the highest form of flattery”. Every week I talk to dozens of imitators. Small business owners, who don’t realize they are flattering their competition. Chiropractors, pizza shop owners, lawn service operators, owners of just about every type of business you can imagine. Honest, hardworking and hopeful.
IF THEY ARE DOING IT, IT MUST BE WORKING. RIGHT?
They call us, ready to grow their business with a direct mail advertising campaign. For many of them, it’s their first mailing and they are full of optimism. When we get down to discussing a message and special offers, they often rely on what they have seen others do. If most of the competition is doing it, it must work. Right? The problem is, the competition’s advertising may not be working so good, in fact, it may not be working at all.
THIS IS NOT JUST ABOUT ADVERTISING. IT’S ABOUT MAKING YOUR BUSINESS A SUCCESS!
The idea of imitating the competition goes beyond advertising. It’s a factor that is fundamental to the ultimate success of a business. It’s the difference between just getting by and doing great. We are talking about defining a “Claim To Fame”. Something that separates a business from their competition. It’s a chance to break away from the pack of competitors that are hard to tell apart. Once a business is separated from the rest, it starts to move to the next level of sales and profitability.
HERE’S A JOKE ABOUT OWNING A SMALL BUSINESS.
Two friends are talking. One says to the other. “You are so lucky to have your own business!” The business owner thinks for a moment and replies: “Yes, it’s great. I get to work half days, and as the owner, I get to pick which 12 hours I want to work!”
Sound familiar? Are you tired of working hard and finding yourself in the same place month after month?
If you really want to grow your business into a successful operation, work on creating a “Claim To Fame”. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t come up with something right off the bat. If you ask many small business owners to tell you their “Claim To Fame”, most would be at a loss.
WANT A FREE OPINION? SEND US YOUR CLAIM TO FAME.
Want to brain storm? Send us your “Claim to Fame” and we’ll give you our honest opinion on how it measures up with others in your industry located around the country. No obligation or sales pressure. CLICK HERE.
AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE YOU WILL HAVE A CHANCE TO VOTE
Your experience as a business person and consumer is valuable. Share it by voting in our anonymous poll. Click the link at the bottom of this blog to cast your vote on which type of special offers work best. The results are updated in real time. So check back in a day or so and compare the most popular tactics with your own.
WHAT KIND OF RESPONSE WILL I GET?
Everyday I speak to small business owners all over the U.S.A about Direct Mail Advertising. What question do I get asked the most? By a margin of more than 2 to 1, the most asked question is: “What kind of response will I get?”. I always give the same answer: ”….it depends on the strength of your Magnet”.
WHAT’S A MAGNET?
“Magnet” is the term we use to describe the lure, hook, special offer or incentive that will motivate the prospects you are targeting to respond to your advertising. Yes, it’s the bait that is most important when you are fishing for new customers.
THE MAGNET IS IMPORTANT… SO TEST IT
The Magnet is probably the most important factor influencing the success of a direct mail campaign. So how do you know if your Magnet is strong enough? It’s not rocket science. Test it. Show it to your family, friends, employees and even a few loyal customers. Look them in the eye. Tell them to be honest. And listen.
PEOPLE LOVE TO SAVE MONEY, SO GIVEN THEM A DISCOUNT
Discounts are probably the most common Magnet used in advertising. You can minimize lost revenue from discounts by limiting them to time periods when business is slow or to new customers only (but don’t forget to reward your loyal customers from time to time).
The way discounts are presented can make a big difference in the response generated. When using percentages, always give a reference price point. You may think 10% OFF is a great offer, but the prospect is thinking “10% OFF What?”. Are you afraid to show your prices? If so, why? (and don’t say because your product or service is too complicated) If you are advertising a great offer, make it big and bold and easy to understand.
DISCOUNTS ARE GOOD, BUT THERE ARE OTHER TYPES OF MAGNETS
In this economy, that last thing you probably want to do is cut your prices. So here are some other ideas.
- A Unique, Interesting or One of a Kind Product of Service
A pizza shop advertising their “Famous Upside Down Pizza” (are you curious?)
- A Donation To A Worthy Cause
We had a propane provider purchase a helmet liner for solders in Iraq and Afghanistan with every fill up.
- A FREE In Home Estimate
More valuable today than ever. I remodeled my kitchen recently and went to Lowe’s Home Improvement. I was surprised when I was told that I would have to pay for an in home estimate (that would be applied to my purchase) until they explained how much time was involved measuring and going over options. So if a Free Estimate is your Magnet, make sure you describe what’s involved and perhaps even put a dollar value on it.
SO HOW STRONG IS YOUR MAGNET?
If you are not getting the results you want from your advertising, take a look at your Magnet, some fine tuning may be in order. Resist the impulse to do what everyone else is doing. Run-of-the-mill Magnets will generate mediocre results. So be creative, generous and aggressive.
SHARE YOUR OPINION ON WHAT WORKS BEST
Take our poll (takes less than a minute) and see what business owners around the country think about using Magnets in their advertising. CLICK HERE!
MY WIFE RENEWED HER WIRELESS PHONE CONTRACT LAST MONTH
My wife’s cell phone contract came up for renewal last month, so it was time to shop for a new plan and phone. Up to this point she was content with the call features, the ability to keep in touch with family and friends using texts and taking the occasional photo with the built in camera.
YOU DON’T KNOW YOU NEED IT, UNTIL SOMEONE SHOWS YOU, YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT IT!
She wasn’t looking for the latest and greatest in technology. She has a laptop, but never thought she would need to go online with her phone. Didn’t matter. Remember that old saying,: “Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention”? Well, I’m convinced that in this day and age, we can change that to: “Invention Is The Mother Of Necessity”! In other words you don’t know you need it until someone shows you, you can’t live without it. You guessed it, the smart phone has arrived and the way the plans are priced, by the time you sign on the dotted line, you’ve got a phone that, in many cases, is faster and can do more than your old desk top computer at home.
IT DIDN’T TAKE LONG FOR HER TO DISCOVER QR CODES
What are QR Codes?
They come to us from Japan where they are very common. QR is short for Quick Response (they can be read quickly by a cell phone). They are basically a bar code, but can store much more data. Many cell phones today come with built in readers. QR readers can also be downloaded for free.
Back to my wife’s QR discovery moment. She’s at the store looking at some towels. She spots a QR Code on the tag which says, “Scan With Your Phone”. She does. Instantly she gets more information than anyone should need to make a towel purchase, and in the process gets hooked!
IF QR CODES ARE THE NEXT BIG THING, MY CLIENTS SHOULD BE USING THEM, NOW!
With more and more smart phones being introduced, it won’t be long before QR Codes are everywhere. So don’t wait. You can create a QR Codes for free online. Give it a try at this link: http://goqr.me/ .
Here are a few example of how businesses are using QR Codes:
- Business Cards – A QR Code can create a vCard when scanned including phone numbers, web address, email etc.
- Postcards & Door Hangers – Someone reading a postcard or door hanger, doesn’t have to be at his computer to view a website. Another benefit, is that the QR Code can be saved on the phone. Now URL addresses that are long or hard to spell can be loaded with the touch of a button.
- Storefront Window – Some restaurants have a QR Code hanging in their window with a quick link to a menu or daily specials. (QR Codes can be any size – some advertisers are using them on billboards)
- Coupons – Advertise the QR Code of a webpage containing special offers that are updated regularly.
- Videos – Links to videos on You Tube or a website can be launched instantly.
Envelopes, stationery, brochures, T-shirts, signs – your imagination is the limit.
Even if you are not the most “tech savvy” individual, using QR Codes will impress those that are and peak the curiosity of those that aren’t.
By the way, the QR Code in this Blog happens to be the web address on our Blog. If you have a smart phone, I hope you will scan it.