Friday, January 29, 2010

Marketing for entrepreneurs – first steps

In the beginning, you won’t have the resources in order to conduct large-scale advertising campaigns. However, this is not absolutely necessary.

What you should definitely spend some money for in the beginning:
  • In order to increase the recognition value of your new business, you should have a professional logo.
  • Also have a graphic designer make you a business card. These can be used in place of an elaborate and expensive promotional leaflet.
  • Get a quote here from a designer for logo and business card together, so you come off a bit cheaper.
    You should get your business card as a PDF file that you can then upload to a supplier on the Internet in order to have it printed.
    Do not forget any important information on your business card, such as company name, logo, your name, phone, fax, email, website, address, and eventually what you sell.
  • A web site now belongs to the basic equipment of a company. Here, it is advisable to start small. In the beginning the same information that is on your business card should be enough.
    If you want to update your website periodically, without HTML or other skills, you should switch to a site with a CMS (Content Management System). You will be able to login on any PC - without having to install software - and update your website easily.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing campaigns differ from the familiar and rely on unconventional means. Instead of spending money, creativity is crucial.
An often used example is graffiti on sidewalks. The Seattle Art Museum (Seattle Art Museum) sprayed an indication of a current exhibition on sidewalks in Seattle (Seattle Weekly Blog).
The Zurich Zoo relies on viral marketing with a Youtube-Video in which an elephant falls off a bridge, because he does not live in the Zurich zoo.
For more ideas about guerrilla marketing, please visit the following blogs and websites: Guerrilla Communication, Guerilla-Marketing Blog, Webseite von J. C. Levinson.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Google Analytics on your website

Google Analytics is a free service - offered by Google – that shows you detailed statistics on the visitors of your website.
With the help of Google Analytics you can collect and analyze the behavior of the visitors. You can see how many visitors your website had at a specific time, which search engines visitors used, or which key words people used to find what they wanted.
With the help of all the collected information you can optimize your website and reach goals - such as number of visitors – much easier. The service can be set up and used easily.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Book review - The Guerrilla Marketing Handbook

by Jay C. Levinson and Seth Godin

• Paperback: 396 pages
• Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (November 19, 1994)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 0395700132
• ISBN-13: 978-0395700136
• Price: $19.95

Levinson and Godin are very well-known in the U.S. in the area of guerrilla marketing. The first edition in the U.S. was published in 1994 – therefore the Internet is not really mentioned. However, there are many useful tips – great for people not working in the marketing industry.
The book is written in a very practical and useful way and mainly targets newcomers to marketing and advertising.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Word-of-Mouth (WOM)

Word-of-Mouth (WOM) is a very effective and also cheap way to advertise.

Many business owners believe they are not able to influence word of mouth advertising. However, this is not entirely true. Just think of what you tell others after going shopping at a place with outstanding services or how many people you tell if you had a very negative shopping experience.
Since there is a vast number of products and services, we look at what our friends and coworkers buy and what they had positive experience with.

With WOM, the customer is being influenced through a recommending person, instead directly through ads or commercials. A satisfied customer will tell about three people about his positive experience, whereas an unsatisfied customer will tell his negative experience about 10 times.

Stimulate a positive referral among your customers – for example with a call, asking whether they are satisfied. To get this far you will have to offer your clients a lot: your services have to be convincing and they have to be outstanding. Offer your customer a positive experience that customers do not expect like that. People who get more than they expect will talk about it. Of course, this works best when you define your target clearly and you know what they expect.
Take it serious when your customers give you negative feedback. Try everything to make it better so your customers will have to fight with the same problem in future anymore. Don’t forget to ask new customers who told them about you.

Count on the oldest and probably most effective way of marketing – as a trustworthy referral is better than every ad.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Your website

Most businesses and also organizations – even the smaller ones – have a website with more or less the latest content. However, a website alone does not do the trick. Why have a website, if nobody knows about it?

Here are a few tips, that will help you get more people to your internet presence:
• Print the address of your website (URL) on everything – business cards, stationery, envelopes, bills, offers, leaflets, cards, brochures, product boxes, ads, signs.
• Add the URL to your email signature.
• Add the URL to the text on your phone mailbox.
• Print the URL on t-shirts.
• Put the URL on your company vehicles.
• Don’t just put the URL – also add the company name, address and phone and fax numbers.
• Exchange links with other companies – add the link of another company to your website and have them add the link to yours on their website.
• Participate in industry-specific forums: give expert advice and add your URL
• Send online newsletters, which contain a link to your website
• Only send the newsletter to people who want it and make it easy for people to unsubscribe from it again
• SEO (search engine optimization) – have your website analyzed and optimized regarding to search engines (relevant key words, optimize text regarding marketing)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Quote - Henry Ford

„If you want to put one dollar into your business, you need to have one more to make it public.“ /Henry Ford I.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Direct mailing

Direct mailings are one way of many in order for a small business to win clients. As with other advertising campaigns, you have to remember the A.R.A.-principle (Action-Reaction-Action): your action will lead to a reaction in your client, which will then lead to your next action.

Direct mailings are relatively cost-efficient. However, you should not expect a high rate of response. Depending on the industry, the response rate should be between one and three percent.
Through exclusive campaigns and sweepstakes, you can try to increase the rate of response. Additionally, you can set a time frame for recipient to answer.

In order to run a direct mailing campaign, you need addresses of prospective customers. These addresses can be bought or leased. According on the target, addresses are available starting at around 30 cents per address. However, you can only use them once. That means, after the mailing you are not allowed to call up on people you sent the mailing to or put the addresses into your database.
A more cost-efficient method is to look for addresses yourself. This will need a lot of time, but at least you will be able to tell immediately with every address whether it is usable or not. On many events, such as fairs and congresses, you can meet people. You can also get addresses from professional organizations, journals, through competitors or chambers of trade.

You can hire an agency with running your direct mailing or you can divide the work and hire a graphic designer for the print material and send it out to peple yourself. Whether you decide to hire an agency or graphic designer you have to make sure that you hire people you will get a long with and you will be able to work with easily. Also, the agency/graphic designer should fit the size of your business. Make sure you don’t hire an agency that is big and expensive, if you are a freelancer yourself.
Once you choose an agency or graphic designer, make sure to give them a complete briefing. That means telling them the reason for your direct mailing, as well as the aim and when it has to be done. Provide them with all necessary information and answer in detail to any questions they might have. If your briefing is good you will save a lot of time and ÄRGER. If you don’t provide the agency with enough information, they will have to research facts and come up with answers themselves, which can be expensive for you.

Your direct mailing should contain the following elements: an envelope (you can have something printed on it to get more attention), a letter with information (should be personalized), an envelope or card for people to send their answer back, as well as a present (it does not have to be expensive, but it should have some use for the recipient). Let the recipient know what he or she has to do. Do you want her/him to call? Do you want him/her to send you an email? Or do you want her/him to send you the card back? Make it clear, what people are supposed to do with your direct mailing, otherwise nothing will happen.

When you write the text for your letter or have it written, make sure you already get the recipients attention with the headline and the introduction. This can happen through speaking to the emotions of the recipient. If the reader is bored, he or she will not continue reading. You should know who your target is, in order to speak to them in the appropriate language.
Also make sure that you do not praise your product or service too much, as this will make it sound implausible. Instead, you should emphasize the customer value. Additionally, your mailing should not have any spelling mistakes and all phone numbers should be correct.

To find out whether your direct mailing will be successful you can test it before. You can hire marketing research institute to test your mailing. Or you can run a mailing test with just sending out a certain number of mailings (for example with different gifts), to see how the target group like it.

For your direct mailing to be really successful, you should not just rely on the mailing alone. Instead, you will have to target your target market over and over again. Therefore, your mailing should be accompanied by an ad, a flyer or a special mailing. Of course, a consistent appearance is very important here.

Before running your direct mailing, you should be prepared for recipients to call you. Also, you should have a plan, as to what you will do after the mailing. For example you can call all recipients or send additional material if they do not react.