Marketing Archives

The main aim of any business is to acquire and then retain the customer for life if possible. Sales and profits are a bi-product of acquiring a customer, without the customer you don’t have a business.

 

Ways and means are being devised to acknowledge the importance of customer satisfaction. However, a much-less-publicized yet fundamental lever is “customer intimacy.”  Customer intimacy is the formal or informal set of relationships which impacts Business Growth and earnings per share, by creating long-term sustainable competitive advantage.

Regardless of industry segment, progressive CEOs and Board of Directors are looking for the “silver bullet” to consistently deliver top-line revenue and business growth, as means to increase share price and shareholders’ value.

Numerous articles are being published promoting the importance of customer retention through satisfaction, and ways to improve it, or touting the needs and means to flawless execution, or the benefits of process reengineering, or of outsourcing to lower-cost regions such as China, India, Latin America or Eastern Europe.

These can, indeed, be good strategies towards better business growth. However, a much-less-publicised yet fundamental lever of higher and sustainable shareholders’ returns is “customer loyalty.” Customer loyalty impacts shareholders’ returns for both sides: the supplier side as well as the customer side for business growth.

What is “customer loyalty”?

Customer loyalty can be defined as the formal or informal set of relationships established between supplier and customer, with a diverse array of partners, from corporate leadership to functional leadership (engineering, marketing, operations, maintenance, or service) and end-users of products or services. These dynamic relationships provide multiple points and frequency of contacts between the company and its customer, as well as multiple points of view about the relationship and its benefits to both parties.

What are the benefits of “customer loyalty?”

First, from the supplier side, customer loyalty impacts revenue and business growth and earnings per share, by creating long-term sustainable competitive advantage through the early identification of unsatisfied needs.

Contrary to the all-too-common syndrome of “if we can make it, they will buy it,” that is prevalent in technology-driven companies; customer loyalty allows the adoption of a “customer-need-pull” strategy, as opposed to a “technology-push” strategy.

By establishing long-term relationships with key customers, representative of their targeted market segments, companies set a framework within which they can have repeated opportunities to tap into their knowledge base. Voice-of-the-customer (VOC) interviews, focus groups, and users’ group meetings are well-practiced means used by marketing teams to access that knowledge base. But, much more simply, sales and service engineers can provide feedback as they are in a position to interact much more frequently with the end-users, allowing the business to grow.

Establishing very close and frequent relationships with key customers allows companies to be aware of the evolution of their processes and unsatisfied needs in advance of the competition. The corollary is that the investments for research and development of new products can then be focused towards differentiated product features and away from “me-too” products, thus reducing the risk of commoditization.

Commodity products and services are essentially differentiated by their price. As a result, competitive positions must be based on lowest cost of manufacture. In the case of business-to-business dealings, commoditization is essentially driven by purchasing organizations. In order to obtain price concessions from suppliers, purchasing officers tend to negotiate with suppliers under the assumption that offerings from competitors are providing the same value, and that price is the deciding parameter. It is rarely the case, but, in front of weak or poorly trained sales people, this ploy allows them to obtain discounts from list prices, therefore no business growth.

In any industry, however, commoditization leads to profit erosion and destruction, rather than increase of profit that is necessary for shareholders’ value. Commoditization can transform the market for a unique, branded product into a market based on undifferentiated price competition. Commodification can be an unintentional outcome that no party is actively seeking to achieve.

Fighting this trend to protect some pricing power requires market and application knowledge on one front. On another front, training and development of the workforce are required. Differentiated products and services that bring an innovative solution to recognised but unsatisfied customers’ requirements are obviously easier to price and sell, on the basis of real value, thus avoiding the setting of list prices as “costs plus.”

Second, from the customer side, considerable advantage can be generated when dealing with a supplier who is well aware of the details of the business and operations, its main drivers and constraints, as well as its objectives. If this vendor is willing to listen to issues with existing products and services, or to new requirements which may fall outside of their current offering, and is willing to invest in finding solutions, each of these situations corresponds to opportunities for reduced costs or increased capacity, and obviously leads to improved earnings and business growth. Key progressive customers are very willing to partner with strategic suppliers to develop unique solutions to their most tangible, high-impact problems.

The next question is how to establish or improve “customer loyalty”?

Every business has some level of customer loyalty, loosely exercised by its various customer interactions: Internet, emails, phone calls, sales and service calls, etc. Every customer interaction is an opportunity to improve customer loyalty and growing the business. It requires the right attitude, and the motivation to ask the right questions.

Attitudes can be developed through communications, training and development. Motivation can be enhanced by the quality of the talent hired by the company, and by the compensation and rewarding systems. Employees, who clearly understand how their behaviour in front of customers can cause increased customer loyalty and how customer loyalty relates to profitability and business growth, are more likely to pay attention to their attitudes and to strive to bring value to the customers.

In summary, beyond customer satisfaction, which is essentially transactional, another layer is developed in terms of relationship between supplier and customer. Customer loyalty brings with it a virtuous circle of additional opportunities for companies to avoid the pitfalls of commoditization and “bubble-hype,” secure sustainable competitive advantages, and protect pricing power and profit margins, which then in turn enables additional investments towards business growth (marketing, new product developments, sales channels, etc.). All of which promotes increases for shareholders’ returns.

Moe Nawaz Mastermind Coach and Mentor

We Buy What We Want Not What We Need

Power To Sell

People buy what they want not what they need, take for example your current car that you are driving, did you buy the car because you needed a car or did you buy that particular car because you wanted that car. In today’s fast moving society it is rarely that we buy what we need … that is we buy because the experience and the feeling that comes with the purchase.

Why do we buy what we want rather than what we need, have you ever asked yourself that question? In our daily lives we have adverts coming to us from every angle from a mobile phone, email, TV, news paper, bill boards and so on…. So if you were running an advertising campaign what sort of factors would you need to take into account?

1.                   You will need to make clear what the benefits of your widgets or your Accountancy service are

Visualize for your customer the way your he/she will feel and see his/her lifestyle change for the better when they make the purchase of your widget  or your Accountancy service.  At the very top of your advert you will need to make it clear of the benefits he will get when buying your accountancy services “You will help him to double his profit’s” Then go on to explain how you will do this for him.

If you look at some of the adverts they tend to go on and on about the features of the product or service that they provide, boring boring, yes I did say boring. The only thing the customers are interested in is what’s in it for them; remember they are just ordinary people like you and me.

                2.            If you can visualize the benefits make them see the picture in their heads in words.

As they say paint a picture with words, that’s what you need to do so they can imagine the benefits just like you can.  An accountant may convey a message like “work less and earn more! Get to spend more time with your loved ones rather than working 14 – 16 hours a day.”

A good marketer may go on to express the benefits of an accountant who cares about his clients to want to see his client succeed without anyone to answer to by being his own boss. When you paint these pictures in the customers head in an advert you need to inspire him to such an extent that he will be ready to sign up on the dotted line and ready to go.

3.  Reach into the mind of your potential clients and inspire him to take action

Just think about yourself when you see an advert on TV or newspaper and you have said, yes I will get in touch with that company or buy that product and 5 minutes later you have forgotten the whole thing, right or wrong? You must have a call to action in your advert that inspires him to act immediately.

When you make an offer in the advert you can limit the number of clients or widgets you are offering or set a deadline so they act immediately rather than later or never.

You must keep your advertising messages the same throughout in order to maximize your return on investment.

Moe Nawaz: Author – Mastermind Business Coach – Insolvency Auditor

Website Back Links

Getting links to your site increases traffic and boosts your rankings in the search engines queries.

Here are the 10 methods I used for getting links to your site:

1. Directory submission

If you don't have time to do it yourself, you should hire someone to do this for you, as this is the best and the safest way to increase your back links.

2.  Link Exchange With Other Webmasters

This is a slow process and not always reciprocal linking is a good idea, causes search engines place more importance on one-way links than two-way links. Still, it can bring you valorous links, if you have what to exchange with. But make sure the links are relevant to your site. In other words if you are selling apples you don’t want links coming in from fashion website nor do you want links going to them.

3. Can I build A Network Of Websites And Interlink Them? Not a good idea as Google will suss what you are doing and might shut you down totally. Talk to other site owners who are in the same situation as you and exchange links by being up front.

Building multiple websites is always a good idea, but be careful to host them on different ips, not on the same server, as the search engines will believe you are manipulating their results and will most penalize your sites.

4. Write articles like this one. You can see in the footer our bio-box, that has 3 links. as you see, we are not writing these article for nothing.

5. Building a reciprocal directory is very good

If you build a niche directory related to your site, many people with similar sites to yours will want to submit a link to it, and, in return, you could ask for a link to your site.

6. Build a theme / template for used scripts

Like WordPress, or phpld. Put in the footer of the theme, your link, as in "Designed by yourlink.com". If you can't do one, you could always buy it from people that can. The catch here is to advertise it well.

7. Post on forums that allow you to have a signature

You won’t get a great deal of page rank, as most forums do not have a high page rank for their threads, but you will build up a good number of links, and as forums are generally very crowed by search engines, bots will follow the links to your site and crawl your site on a regular basis.

8. Leave Comments On Blogs sits And Guest books

Don’t abuse it and start spamming other people’s blogs or guest books. Make comments to the subject, and make it look like you actually have something to contribute.

9. Write Good Testimonials

By writing and submitting testimonials to websites that you have previously purchased products or services from, you can get high-quality links to your site.

10. Buy Links

This can have a dramatic effect on your page rank and subsequently your search engine rankings if you can get links from PR6+ sites, however the only problem with this is that most links for sale are often for a set period of time, but be very careful as Google has started clamping down on this method.

Moe Nawaz  – Author – Speaker    Small Business Coach

"Cold Calling – Sales Lead Generation Tips"

12 Cold Calling Telesales Tips

Cold calling can be a great way to generate quality sales leads. You get to speak to the gatekeepers and stakeholders, and you get a great insight into their requirements and influences. 

But cold calling is an art-form. Cold calling can be daunting, cold calling is always a lot of work, and you always need to make a good impression. So you need to do it right. Following are some tips which will help you do just that with your cold calling.

1) Record everything when cold calling

Any cold calling work always write down all details of every phone call. Write down any names and titles you learn when cold calling a prospect. Not just the name of the person you’re trying to contact. The receptionist's name can be vital to remember as they're often gatekeepers. Write down when you called, and when you said you'd call back. 

2) Use a database or spreadsheet to record everything

You’ll never manage by hand, and Excel spreadsheets aren’t user friendly in the long term. If you’re prepared to invest in a real CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool, that’s a great idea. If not, you there is a cheaper alternative. I created my own database using Microsoft Access for all my cold calling database. 

3) Always call back when you said you would

Don’t let them down. They may not even remember that you committed to calling back. But if they do, and you don’t meet your commitment, you’ll lose valuable credibility and respect. And wherever possible, work to their schedule. You're here to help them, not make things harder. As it is most people hate calls from cold calling, so turn it to your advantage by keeping your word.

TIP FOR COPYWRITERS: If you’re an advertising copywriter or website copywriter, ask to speak to the Marketing Manager (or if the person who answers the phone says they don't have a marketing manager, ask for "the person who looks after your advertising & website" – all businesses have that person – it's generally one of the owners).

4) Always try to get on with the gatekeepers

When cold calling the receptionists and personal assistants have great influence, and quite often do more of the real work and decision making than the person you’re trying to contact! Make friends with them and you’ve got a foot in the door. (But don’t waste their time or crawl – they get a lot of that!)

5) Keep it short ‘n sweet

When you do get to speak with someone, keep your cold calling calls short 'n sweet unless they want to talk a lot. The purpose of the phone call is to get their attention, let them know you're there, get their name and contact details, and assess whether they have any requirement for your services. (TIP FOR COPYWRITERS: If you’re an advertising copywriter or website copywriter, you might have called about brochure writing and then find out they need web writing.)

6) DON’T HARD SELL!!! 

When cold calling don’t pressure people or make it hard for them to get off the phone. Tell them what you do and that you'd like to send them an email with a link to your website with samples and testimonials (or with an attachment containing samples), then leave them to it.

7) Follow up with an email

After your cold calling call if you have permission, always send a follow-up email – and do so immediately. Be specific in your subject line. (TIP FOR COPYWRITERS: If you’re an advertising copywriter or website copywriter, use the words "advertising copywriting" or “website copywriting” in the subject. Most people don't get many emails with this in the subject line, so it'll be distinctive and probably won’t be snuffed by their spam filter if they have one.) Address the email to them (e.g. "Hi Joe"), keep the email short 'n sweet.

Include only the essential info, make it easy to read and conversational, and bold the important words or phrases as they'll probably only skim it. Include a link to your website, reference the day and date you talked on the phone (and thank them for that time), mention any names you learnt (e.g. receptionist's name, especially if the receptionist gave you an email address but you didn't actually get to speak to the decision maker), tell them that you'd like to follow up in a few weeks (assuming the conversation indicated that this would be a good idea).

8) Follow up with another call

If the lead looks promising, make sure you follow up. And when you do, always mention the day and date of the original call, as well as the fact that you sent an email. Give a quick summary of who you are and what you do, and say that you're just calling to make sure they got the email. Most of the time, you’ll find the lead will talk to you about your services, if only to remind themselves of what you do!

9) Don’t expect to make too many calls

On a really good day, I've made 80 cold calls when cold calling. Most days, though, you should be very pleased to average around 40 cold calling calls. You’ll spend a lot of time playing telephone tag.

10) Don’t leave message

Unless you absolutely have to (or you’ve just about given up on the lead), don’t leave messages. Most people have trouble returning phone calls from people they know and like; returning phone calls from someone who’s trying to sell them something isn’t high on their list of priorities.

11) Don’t expect to qualify too many leads

Cold calling results depending on your business, if you get one good lead a day, you're probably doing very well. 

12) Don’t expect immediate conversion

Unfortunately, most cold calling leads take a long time to come to fruition depending on product or service. So you have to be prepared to be patient.

Good luck and happy cold calling!

Remuneration – Motivation In Organisations

The 1980's motivation and remuneration went hand in hand with the business culture in the USA and internationally, which put a considerable emphasis on personal reward on the basis that highly motivated individuals could transform organisations and societies. The extreme example in film was Gordon Gekko in Wall Street stating that greed was good. The 90's, however, have seen companies traumatised and bankrupted by the inappropriate use of remuneration as a motivator. Yet major corporate successes have been built on reward based remuneration systems. Phones4U recently and Allied Dunbar in the financial services market is an earlier example.

The notorious Barings Bank had individual traders on bonuses in the millions yet in the long term these motivated individuals were not fulfilling the company's objectives. Moreover even when an individual's reward system is based on entirely appropriate performance indicators, resulting in the organisation’s success and he or she is rewarded, there may still be problems arising from the large differential between salaries of senior people and those of middle management. A payment system that depresses or demotivates 10 people for every one it motivates may not be the best for the organisation.

Staff Motivation or Not?

Wise organisations are therefore trying motivation for all staff levels so that staff act energetically to further the corporation’s interests both short and long term and feel they have been treated fairly. However there must be properly in place the link between the items on which they are being rewarded and the actions they are able to take to influence the desired outcome.

A wise organisation accepts that:

• It is reasonable for the individual manager to act in his or her own interests.

• Managers work for people not organisations and want to please the superiors closest to them, or failing that, their peer group.

• Managers want to achieve and will be attracted to those tasks at which they know they can succeed, usually favouring the short term at the expense of the long term.

The clear implication is that an organisation should lay some groundwork before relying on a remuneration structure to change the motivation performance and behaviour. In other words the management and organisation system must be in balance with the remuneration and motivation systems.

There are 5 major pre-conditions to the installation of an effective reward structure.

1. Measurement: “If you don’t measure it you won’t get it”. There are various measurement systems of which Balanced Scorecard, which sets multiple objectives and is used by Tesco, is perhaps the best known.

2. Monitoring: If the performance measures are not monitored properly or only monitored in a review at the year end, it can give the manager signals that they don’t really matter or, worse still, that failure is acceptable providing all the managers fail together.

3. Control of the tools for the job: The organisation must ensure that the individual is not over dependent on factors outside his control to achieve the performance measures set out (this is the ‘how’ part of the equation).

4. Consistency: Ensuring that short term organisational factors don’t over-influence managers or drive them from their real objective. The organisation must also ensure that its own design (be it bureaucratic or loose) is appropriate to what is being asked of managers.

5. Reward and strategy in line: An organisation's achieving a clear strategy is not an event that will take place in the future; it is a journey. A motivation remuneration system can be put into an organisation even when it has a relatively muddled strategy providing that organisational and management disputes are resolved by reference to strategy and the “balanced score card”. Only then will there be pressure on the organisation to refine its strategy, motivation and remuneration systems.

Based on these 5 pre conditions, there is a checklist of 10 factors that the effective motivation,  remuneration and reward structure must achieve:

1. Motivation to support the business strategy

2. Encourage the desired behaviour

3. Reward relevant performance

4. Be fair

5. Be substantial

6. Be tax efficient

7. Be timely (The reward must take place close to the achievement)

8. Incorporate non financial rewards (Recognition can be as important as cash)

9. Be firm (A bonus lost through missing target should not be recoverable whereas a salary increase should only be delayed until target is reached)

10. Be crystal clear about motivation and rewards.

Executive Coach Moe Nawaz

Small Business Networking

Networking

The last couple of days the weather has been beautiful, almost near perfect for this time of the year and some of us are suffering from fear of winter coming while others are simply struggling with their small businesses. This time of the year reminds me that winter is coming and things are about to slow down – in networking world. I would like to take just a moment and discuss this trend and what I believe may be the cause of it.

Let’s begin in the fall. At this time of the year we are working feverishly trying to procure new business because we realize that around the holidays things will slow down. As December draws near, some of us become preoccupied with things like parties and shopping and our attention furthest from building our small business. Others find it increasingly difficult to make contact as people begin long vacations.

Then the Christmas holidays pass. We put our marketing and networking efforts into high gear at the start of the new year, going to several meetings a week, trying to get things cranked up again. The result is increased business and increased profits. Have you ever noticed that in the early part of February that things begin to pick up almost at a maddening pace? When this occurs, unless we are prepared for growth, we start to back off on our promotions as we scramble to complete the work that has been generated by our networking and marketing efforts.

In effect, we stop networking. We lose contact with those we have been meeting and asking for referrals, and they begin to feel as if we are not interested in them any longer. When this happens, they may look for someone else to refer when that target prospect comes along. 

By early to mid summer, we are starting to crawl out from under the workload and we again look for opportunities. Unfortunately, the holiday season starts all over again as children break up from school for the summer holidays, so our networking comes to a holt. Thus it is very difficult once again to find the contacts that were out there just before our business picked up again early this year.

By mid August, the children are back at school and people are coming back out into the networking world again. Of course we are seeing some of the same people that were there before, but there are also a lot of new faces as well in the networking world. Because we had slacked off from our promotion efforts, we were not there to greet the new faces as they started their new business. So the people who have a balanced networking and marketing strategy are there to greet them.

These are the people who have businesses that seem to be growing. They have a marketing and networking plan that is consistent all the year round. When many businesses are experiencing that new small business rush in the spring, these small business owners are ready to absorb the new business with new employees or temporary help. They realize that to maintain growth means to be ready for any upsurge in the economy that could help propel their business to the next level.

Small Business Networking System

So how do we accomplish this? First plan for growth. Have a system ready for when you have more business than you can handle so that there is help you can call call on or depend on. This is managed by building relationships with temp agencies, headhunters, and placement firms. Hire people on a contractor basis if necessary. This saves money on benefits and salaries when thing are a bit slower. It also reduces the amount of paperwork when it comes to payroll processing and taxes.

Next, develop a system for networking that is manageable. Set a goal for the amount of meetings that you would attend when business is just Good and stick to it when business gets better. Attend functions year round, even during the holiday seasons. 

 

"The ants think winter all summer. That's an important perspective. You can't be so naive as to think summer will last forever. So ants are gathering in their winter food in the middle of summer".

Plan vacations when necessary, but don’t assume that everyone is going on vacation simply because it is summer. Most people have to accommodate the schedules of others and entire companies usually do not go on vacation at the same time. Notice that larger corporations always have staff on hand to do business while an employee is on vacation. Also take note that large corporations do not stop promoting just because it is the month of July or December. They are consistent year round. Learn a lesson from the ants.

The lesson here is that, if you want to grow from being a small business into a large company, take a look at what large companies do. Emulate them if they are successful and you may be able to duplicate their success. You must be constantly marketing, networking and promoting to ensure consistent business year round. If you decide to slack off now because business is good, I guarantee that when autumn comes you will be working twice as hard to get things going again. If, on the other hand, you keep on consistently marketing the way you did when times were slow, you should be able to experience the growth of both your company and your bank account during the entire year. Networking will show results only if you keep at it.

Small Business Marketing

No two small businesses are alike, but most want to be like their larger counterparts in some key respects. For example, even if you own a company with only a few really great customers, you want to be visible enough to attract new customers, boost your odds of securing repeat business and do all you can to improve customer satisfaction. 

Small Business Administration 

The key, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), is having a business Web site. The SBA's own Web site notes that the Web "levels the playing field between small business and big business" because it is such a dynamic, inexpensive medium for advertising and customer service. "The Internet is making it possible for small- to medium-sized businesses to compete with the big guys," the SBA said.

Conventional wisdom says that any business without a Web presence these days is at a distinct disadvantage, but the latest International Data Corporation (IDC) small-business research exposes a surprising gap. The IDC research found that of the 6.8 million businesses in the United States with fewer than 10 employees, only 3.8 million have a Web site. "That means 3 million U.S. small businesses-or 44 percent of the total-aren't using the Internet to promote themselves online or engage customers and prospects," said Ray Boggs, vice president of Small/ Medium Business and Home Office Research at IDC. "In today's connected world, companies that take that step generally find that having their own Web site can deliver a significant opportunity to grow their business, especially if the site is updated regularly."

Clearly, small businesses (and many of their customers) are online, yet more than half aren't exploiting the full power of what the Internet can do to help build their business. That power includes creating a dynamic Web site to attract and retain customers, taking advantage of search engines to heighten awareness of a company in today's global marketplace, and communicating with customers around the clock or at their convenience.

What stops small businesses from stepping up to this level? For many, the barriers are cost, complexity and inconvenience. By its nature, a small business typically has a small budget and an equally small staff. Unlike the larger companies it competes with, a small business generally can't afford to spend thousands of dollars to buy a server, create a complicated infrastructure and hire an IT technician to keep it all running smoothly.

The good news is that some new offerings are cropping up that allow you to establish a Web presence without heavy-duty in-house technical resources and a big cash outlay. For example, Microsoft Corp. has a new Internet-based service called Microsoft Office Live, which at the most basic level provides a small business with a domain name, e-mail accounts and a Web site for free.* It's one of the quickest and easiest ways today to get your business on the Internet. And, because it's supported by advertising revenue, and the advertising is designed to be unobtrusive and not appear in the customer's public-facing Web sites, the basic offering is free. Yes, it's free, and you can sign up to test-drive the service at http://www.officelive.com.

"I need an attractive, easy-to-navigate Web site that I can update frequently and efficiently. With Office Live, I can create a slide show of a sailboat race and have it online before the boats even get back to the dock," said Elizabeth T. Becker, a freelance writer and photographer and owner of Seaport Photography. "That means I get to spend less time in front of my computer and more time behind my camera. It's smooth sailing." Becker's Web site can be seen at http://www.seaport photo.com.

With such an all-in-one solution, a small-business Web site really is a no-brainer. Look at it this way: In a day and age when the majority of Americans use the Internet regularly, it's highly likely that a large percentage of your customers do, too.

Small Business Marketing

Small Business Website

Key visitors to your small business website commercial pages include web robots that crawl the internet and catalog your content. Having proper HTML source code, plus the right combination of text and graphic presentation, is just one secret to success. Proper code may mean higher robot ratings, and the "look" is equally important. Once a new prospect finds your web site, you have 5 seconds to get them to stay.

As a small business web site owner, you may have asked "Why don't we get any hits?". Did you know web pages can load and appear correct with improper or deprecated HTML code? A browser may ignore your mistakes, and display what it thinks you meant, and it may look great. Web robots may not be as forgiving.

Must Have For Any Small Business Website

Following is a list of 8 basic elements for good search engine placement for any small business website that need to be considered in your design and web site promotion. For details on code issues from the worldwide authority, visit the World Wide Web Consortium to view DOCTYPE and other quality standards.

1. DOCTYPE Statement

2. Page Title

3. Proper HTML Code

4. META Description

5. META Key Words

6. First Paragraph of the Home Page

7. An Extra Page of Just LINKS

8. Backlinks (Links to your pages)

These 8 key items are either missing or poorly designed in 85% of all web sites. If you want your small business to make money online then do some homework. Some search engines may only list the other 15% in their directories. In other words, as few as 15% of the 6 billion web pages online ever make it into some search engines. Even worse, there are mistakes that may result in your page being blacklisted, and the search engine web crawlers may never come back to see if it's corrected. This could explain why you "never get any hits".

Web sites can be simple and professional without using fancy software to create your small business website. Veteran programmers hand code and many create the HTML in NotePad. Web authors who choose to use flash, frames, or the latest software may be losing a significant portion of new visitors (customers) because the visitor may lack the technology or newest version of browsers. If they are turned off and leave without giving your site a fair viewing, it could mean lost profits for your small business website and you.

Most designers use prepackaged software to create web pages. If the software leaves out any of the key elements, the code is hidden, and you'll never know your site was not optimized for search engines. The designer may not know, or care, about these items as long as the page looks attractive. Note: Search engine algorithms vary by company, so some elements such as "an extra page of links" may not be as important today with some search robots.  Backlinks refer to marketing your site and getting other web sites to link to your small business website.

Finally, business visitors want information. They do not visit your home page to be entertained. Most have a need (problem) and want a fast answer (solution), so designs should be created to minimize the use of music or video unless that's your core business.  Anything that distracts from a positive first impression may violate my "5 Second Rule".

Avoid Small Business Website Mistakes 

Just take a look at this site and see how much FREE content we provide to help small business owners to grow their business. Get your small business website right the first time follow the above rules and you will be a winner.

Tactics For Small Business Owners

For most folks, owning your own small business is a dream come true.  The freedom of being your own boss and succeeding to the best of your ability are facts of life for the small business owner.  Sure, there's more stress than what you probably imagined when you were creating your grand plans, but with a little strategy and planning you can overcome any tough spot you get in.  There are 7 tactics developed by successful marketers that are sure to make your small business as successful as any other small business.

Small Business Success

1. Create A One of a Kind Selling Point

If you want your small business to stand out from the crowd, create a unique selling proposition that stresses the benefits the customers will receive from doing business with you.  Will they get faster service?  Go ahead and dramatize it, but keep the customer at the focus…"Get free overnight delivery!"  Hey, it tells the customer…you get quick service and a discount on shipping.   Two definite benefits in one statement.

Why should someone buy from you and not your competitor?  I hate to deal a blow to your ego, but it really has nothing to do with you , your product, or your service or your small business.  Yeah, its a little self-centered, but customers are attracted by offers that point out the things that benefit THEM.

Don't go out on a limb to create new products and services to get attention for your small business.  Just, add a special benefit to the ones you already have… maybe it's quicker service.  The most effective things to emphasize are benefits that your competition cannot or is not willing to give.  

2. Use Testimonials

Hey, we all know that small business owners think their product or services are the best thing going, but it's what the current customers think about it that really matters to your prospective customers.  They're the ones who see things from their point of view… what they have to say about the business has an impact.

Testimonials play an important part in advertising – especially for small businesses.  Yeah, big businesses with well-known names don't have to worry about it, but small business owners can use testimonials as marketing tools to build credibility.

Think about it…how else can we gain credibility than by creating a group of satisfied customers and shouting what they have to say?  Let's look at some ways we can make testimonials an effective part of our marketing campaigns for our small business.

3. Upsell

Upselling is one of the most successful marketing trends today.  Everywhere you go, someone is trying to get you to buy more.  From McDonalds with its supersize options to clothing stores that try to sell you shoes to match your outfit, everyone's jumping on the band wagon.  Why?  It works!

Once your customers know that you have great products and provide satisfactory service.  They will trust you to come through for them.  Think about it…  it's much easier to make sales to someone you already have a relationship with.

Use every opportunity to increase your sales volume within the customer audience you already have.  Do you have a product that goes with the one they are purchasing?  Offer it to them at the register.  It's a proven and effective method for increasing sales for your small business.  You may be shocked at the additional sales you can generate from those who are already buying from you.

4.  Make Your Price Seem Smaller

Divide and conquer…  The old war tactic works in marketing too!  When the price seems too steep, break it down into "buyable" size bites.  An $120 item is only 12 low monthly payments of $10.  A $365 purchase would only cost $1 per day.  Now that sounds affordable!  

5.  Paint The Benefits Pretty

Customers buy because they want to enjoy the benefits of the purchase.  A lady might buy a dress because she wants to feel sexy, or a man will buy a book because he finds pleasure in reading.  Emotions are the key element that drives purchases for any small business.

Use word pictures to stir up the emotions that will instigate the sale.  Let them "feel" the benefits, and they'll be more apt to head for the cash register.  Put them where you want them.

6.  Create Attention Getting Headlines

Are you ready to capture your reader's attention with great copy?  The headline is the place to start.  How often do you scan the newspaper's headlines before you decide whether or not to read the article?  Yeah, that's where we lose or gain the reader's interest, so it's a pretty important part of the advertisement for your small business.

A good headline should telegraph its message in twelve words or less. Double check those headlines.  Do they make a promise of a positive benefit, or ask a provocative question? Don't settle for less than attention grabbing statements. 

7.  Provide An Offer They Can't Resist

Is your deal too good to pass up?  If not, you need to improve it.  Hey, I'm not talking about cutting prices even more…you've still got to make a profit.  You can make the deal sweeter just by increasing the readers knowledge of the value of the product, or adding bonuses that are perceived as valuable, but cost you little.  

Increased Sale = Increased Profits For Your Small Business

Motivate buyers with expirations.  Yeah, an open ended offer encourages procrastination…which leads …yep, nowhere.  When the customer knows he has until Saturday to purchase an item he'll pay more for on Sunday, he'll make it a priority to head for your shop. Make it happen for your small business.

Small Business Online

Websites For Small Business Online

For years, the website design market used to fall into three separate entities for website design and development: (i) graphics and animation studios, specializing in custom graphic design and creative animations, (ii) website marketing/promotion firms, (iii) Web programming companies specializing in database-driven website development. Nowadays, however, you get to see a fusion of these three entities in several dynamic Web Development and Promotion companies operating from any part of the globe.

These web design, development and web promotion firms are virtually allrounders that cater to a diverse range of clientele, include those coming up for creative web design, web databases CRM / ERP as well as for SEO (search engine optimization) needs. 

Small Business Online With Over 300 Sales Leads

Most small business firms all over the world heavily rely on the services of such web development firms as they usually cater to small business online website design by providing web based marketing methods that small companies can afford due to small budgets. Depending on the effectiveness of such web-based marketing, clients often see incredible successful results from clicks to conversion. There are some case studies which show that utilizing their marketing equation; some sites have gone from 10 leads a month to 300 leads.

However, to achieve this is easier said than done. Web marketing firms that create a full plan for their clients using both the strategic and tactical methods crafted by specialists/consultants in turn are able to give small or large businesses increased sales. After all, that is the reason one can zero down on in order to be in a business, right? To have more sales and offer value.

Therefore, the objective behind any web development or website promotion project is to create a unique selling proposition through your website that can set you apart from your competition so your customers should only think of doing business with you, regardless of price.

Small business online firms today look forward to the professional creative website design and strategic web development and web promotion companies for the simple reason that they want their site to have the look and usability of a Fortune 500 company site without having to spend huge bucks for it. Yes, it is definitely considered a plus if the website is designed as a tactical marketing tool that aims to engage and educate their clients in turn. And most of these businesses have a concern in their minds: can their web site provide a means to gather analytical data for them to offer better service for all? 

Yes, definitely they can. However, for this, optimal, effective website design strategies need to be incorporated. In a word, small business clients should be enriched with at least some of these features in order to fetch more conversions: 

* Cutting-edge website design for small business online, tailor-made to provide broad market exposure of the products and services to potential clients.

* Highly scalable digital website designs, aimed at boosting up the growth and realization of the full perspective of the small business houses.

* Websites for small business online design strategies including full-featured e-commerce solutions, to help these businesses deploy cost-effective, powerful e-commerce stores.

* Customized search engine optimization services, based upon individual needs and goals.

 

However, there are umpteen so-called 'cheap, quick' solution-providers, and any small business firm must think twice before taking the plunge with them. Ideally, one should always trust a professional web development firm that gathers relevant information about their clients' business through hours of discussion, clear up ideas about the requirement, nature and goal of the clients' business. Based on these details, experienced, skilled web designers and developers carry out extensive research to find out the best small business website solution.

On the other hand, creative, innovative content writers create specific and unique content for small business website requirements, thereby enhancing business prospects. Finally, website maintenance and search engine optimization techniques that comprise scientifically proven techniques available at a competitive price are sure to give your business a boost. Flash Presentation, Multimedia Presentation, Multi-lingual website development and E-Commerce integration solutions complement these customized website solutions for brightening the online and even the offline image of small business firms. 

The Five Steps to Success: 

  1. To ensure success of your small business online through a unique website presentation, it is important that you develop a five-step process for creating websites that meet your customer's goals. Whether it is a small business firm eager to generate leads, sell online, provide information about their services, connect their vendors to their company electronically, or start an entirely new kind of service, this five-step process not only takes them from concept to completion, but also is the trademark of any Internet development company. Consulting: Every website starts with an idea. Perhaps you've been thinking about developing a website, or redesigning your existing site. At the consulting stage, a professional website development firm would strive to clear all doubts about the clients' requirements. Consultation for this usually comes free in case of small to medium-sized businesses. 
     
  2. Small Business Online Website Design: After the initial consultation, the website development firm solidifies the clients' ideas by creating a blueprint for their site by employing something they call "Strategic Design".
     
  3. Small Business Online Website Development: The website development project is then handled by a creator' hive, composed of specialists who handle their own respective pieces of the site development. Remember, for successful website development, it is necessary to be handled by a versatile team of expert graphic artists, content writers, programmers, database specialists and technical personnel. This ensures that a qualified professional handles each task of the given project. 
     
  4. Small Business Online Web Hosting: Since websites are an intricate interplay of graphics, text, programming and computer resources, building your site on a rock-solid web hosting foundation is critical to its marketing success. 
     
  5. Small Business Online Website Maintenance: Once the site is available to the public, it must be maintained with the help of ongoing updates and continued development to the site so that they don't give clients/visitors of the site a chance to complain about its quality and content. Small Business Online and offline need to be combined to work together.

Extra Income From Google Adsense

Money From Google With Adsense

Please pardon us if this article doesn’t sound all slick and hyped-up—we’re not professional marketers, like many of the so-called gurus you see on late-night TV, or on the internet. In fact, you’ve probably never heard of us. That’s because we’re just a couple of real guys, like you. We’ve played around on the internet, noodling with sites, for years.

There’s just one out-of-the-ordinary thing about us: we're real guys who’ve stumbled onto an amazingly simple system for making BIG money online. Our system is so simple, in fact, that ANYONE can do it and it only takes a few hours a week! This isn’t rocket science—it’s something even high-school drop-outs can do! Search Google for adsense and you will find loads of results. 

Our system is safe, it's simple, and it's remarkably powerful. And yes, YOU can easily learn it. It’s not complicated! It’s called Google Adsense. If you learn to leverage the power of Google Adsense You could be down at your bank cashing a check for €3,000 €5,000, €10,000 — or even more — in 28 DAYS or LESS! Picture yourself standing at the teller’s window, handing her the check, and getting all those €100 bills counted out right into your hand. Feels good, doesn’t it?

Hey, we know it’s hard to believe you could make this kind of money working only a few hours a week. But it’s all true! Don’t take our word for it, listen to Rick, a 27-year-old guy who got laid off from his tech job and put Google Adsense system to the test and used it to create his own wealth and freedom. For us it is easy money from Google Adsense.

Exciting isn’t it?

What could YOU do with €1,000, €2,000, €3,000 or MORE in extra money coming in like clockwork each and every month from using our system? Would you…

* Pay off that credit card balance that’s been hanging over your head?

* Buy that new sports car you’ve been wanting? You know the one!

* Upgrade the kitchen in your house, or buy a new whole new home?

* Finally take a real vacation—not just to a nearby city, but to the Caribbean?

* Get rid of your student loans?

* Help your mom, dad, siblings, or friends out financially?

* Donate to your favorite charity?

* Maybe even quit that job you hate and never have to sit in a cubicle again?!

Totally Amazing But True:

Google Will Send You Checks In The Mail Just For Using Their Adsense Program! You Can Create Killer Content That Draws Thousands Of Hits A Day To Your Site Using Simple Tools! Users Click On The Ads, You Get Checks. It’s That Easy!

By now you might be wondering, Yeah, sure, it sounds good but if this system of yours is such a money-maker, why are you taking time out from it to teach this course? Why aren’t you out there using your system to keep on making money?

That’s a perfectly valid question!

For me, it’s that I've always wanted to teach. The deep-down satisfaction I gets from mentoring others touches my heart in a truly special way. And, quite honestly, I've made enough money that I can easily afford to indulge this dream of teaching now. I don't like people to know this, but I keep a little shoebox on internet marketing on my desk with letters from my successful students, like Jack, and every week I reads them because they keep him going…and they make me smile.

Google keeps me smiling with adsense.

And now, it’s time for you to stop dreaming and start forging your own reality of SUCCESS TODAY by using our brand new program:

Your Guide to Google Adsense Profits:

How You can Make a Fortune Online with Google Adsense!

This powerful training course contains everything you need to know  and I do mean EVERYTHING so you can start making dramatic profits from Google Adsense FAST!

You'll learn:

* How YOU can get Google to stream ads onto your website for free.

* How Google Adsense ads are specially selected to match your site’s topic.

* How YOU earn money every time a visitor to your site clicks on one of the ads.

* The difference between putting ads where they’ll be seen on your site and where they’ll be overlooked—would you believe it can make the difference in a click-through rate of 2.3% versus 40%???

* How YOU can get killer content for your site that you don’t have to write yourself!

 * How YOU can use a few simple tools to direct massive amounts of traffic to your site.

 * How YOU can automate your content, yet avoid being blacklisted by the major search engines for doing so.

 * The secrets of keyword-rich content—what it means, what it does, how to get it!

 * How YOU can figure out which keywords will bring you the most money!

* Plus, much, much more!

Finally–your big chance to learn from real people just like you who have been using these systems to make a fortune with Google Adsense! 

Downsizing and layoffs have left thousands of tech-savvy people just like you without incomes or jobs. Don’t let it happen to you! Learn how a few simple, easy steps can help you 

* Build your nest egg

* Get out of debt

* Give yourself the confidence to never worry about losing your job

* Become the captain of your own financial life!

 

Try and enjoy a new life and make some money with Adsense.

Branding & The Media Mix

Branding Is It Just A Visual Thing?

Branding is no longer simply about visual appeal (or the cherry in the apple pie example, as given in my earlier article). Unfortunately, many graphic design firms who position themselves as advertising agencies believe that branding your corporate identity is all about developing great looking visual solutions.

However, there is much more to branding than just looking good. Particularly in this web 2.0 eras, where a powerful web presence has become a vital ingredient of your branding strategy, developing the right media mix holds the key to building powerful brand equity. 

For Branding In other words, a right media mix would mean: 

Creative design solutions (the design, color, and content of your ads, marketing collateral and website enhance your brand equity, attract customers, and generate sales) 

Web development (every product/service worth its name has a web presence these days, some have truly interactive, animated sites encouraging customer involvement), 

Viral marketing (vitally important in today’s age of social networking, tagging, podcasting, blogs, forums, wikis and what have you) 

Television commercial production, print media advertising (traditional media cannot be overlooked) 

Strategic films (have become necessary elements of roadshows, exibhitions and other promotional campaigns) 

Corporate video production (a very important tool for branding your corporate identity) 

Direct marketing (marketing collaterals need to be just as effective and resonant with the overall branding scheme as the communicate directly with the customer)  

Outdoor advertising (hoardings, roadshows, participations in business fairs, exhibitions, etc)

There are some interactive advertising agencies that have recognized the need of the hour – developing creative design solutions that employ user-centric investigation and involve critical and systematic thinking. User-centric means understanding of needs and priorities of end user; the clients' customers, their channel partners, users, and brand communities.

So if you want to register your brand as one that is synonymous with customer loyalty, you must develop a complete package, keeping the customer as the prime objective and organizing product stories around the way they prefer to learn about, compare, select and confirm purchases, connecting brands and their experiences.

I hope you are a bit more wiser about branding now?

Promotional T-shirts For Your Business

Promotional T-shirts have been a part of business promotion and marketing of brands for a long time.  Promotional T-Shirts can be given to clients, to prospective customers, and also to your employees to give them the added feeling of belonging to a brand. You do not need be a world famous brand to benefit from promotional T-shirts.  Even new busineses have used T-Shirts to create awareness of their product, brand or business.

Giving Away Promotional T-Shirts

Giving away T-shirts to your employees is a great way for brand endorsement. You can design T-Shirts with your company brand and marketing message for your employees and if you are hosting a conference, exibition or promotional event, make it mandatory for your employees to wear promotional T-Shirts.  It is a very inexpensive method to make your staff stand out from the crowd and you present an orderly unity among your employees, the same way in which a uniform serves. 

Some businesses think  that it is too expensive to buy a t-shirt online but they are often incorrect. Purchasing t-shirts online is a fast and easy process and the choice of online shops is very much better than you expect it to be with some allowing you to undertake the entire design process and payment online.

Brand Awareness With T-Shirts

Corporate branding on T-Shirts can significantly improve the brand awareness of a business in a very short period of time and aside from the obvious marketing advantages branded T-Shirts and other clothing can enhance the perception of customers to your business.  Considering the relatively low cost of purchase and printing T-shirts against the length of time a good quality T-Shirt can last makes branded T-shirts one of the most cost effective methods of marketing for many businesses.

It is widely believed that DTG t-shirt printing is more environmentally than screen printing. DTG uses water-based inks to print directly onto clothing, this means that there are no excess inks used in the actual printing and the only waste that occurs is from the occasional print head cleaning – it’s worth noting that head cleaning does not involve any external materials only ink. Then as long as waste ink is disposed of correctly, printing t-shirts using the DTG method should have virtually no environmenal impact. Screen printing however has excess inks from parts of the stencil not printed to the t-shirt and when screens are cleaned these excess inks are usually washed down the drain. Promote your brand with T-shirts.

The media is a powerful thing — the average person spends an enormous amount of their life consuming it in one form or another, and will spend a significant percentage of that time looking at, listening to or watching advertisements. If you want to use the power of the media, though, you need to know what you're doing.

 

 

Advertising in Newspapers and Magazines.

There are two kinds of advertising you can get in newspapers and magazines: classified and display. Classifieds are the small ads towards the back of the publication, while display ads can be almost any size, from a small corner of a page to a massive double-page spread.

If there's a publication you're interested in advertising in, either go to its website (the rate card section) or call its advertising department to find out the rates it charges. Now pick your jaw up off the floor. Yes, advertising in the print media really is that expensive, and for most home businesses it probably just won't be that economical.

There is, however, an exception: niche and trade magazines. If you've ever looked around in a newsagent, you will have seen just how many magazines there are out there, filling every conceivable gap in the market. You need to find the magazine that people who are interested in your services might read. For example, if you're a wedding photographer, look for a magazine called 'Your Wedding', 'Bride', or something similar. Advertising in these magazines will be far cheaper than placing an ad in a general-audience publication, and far more likely to actually get some responses.

Advertising on the Radio.

Wherever you are, the chances are that there's a local radio station. Once your home business grows to a decent size, you might consider buying some time on it.

Really, though, the only kind of home business that can benefit enough from radio ads to justify the cost is one that does anything to do with cars. Since radio is almost entirely limited to use as in-car entertainment now, you know that almost everyone your ad reaches will be a car-owner, and so might be interested in what you're offering. If you offer something that people need cheaply or even for free, you can get a big response.

Unfortunately, that response could be a little too big — thanks to the time-sensitivity of radio, you'll get mobbed the next day, and then everyone will forget you again. Radio advertising offers the listener no opportunity to keep your ad and refer to it later, or to find it again in the future. You will find that any ads involving a phone number are spectacularly useless.

Advertising on the Television.

Unless your business is getting pretty big, this would be quite a bad idea. You'd have trouble producing and airing an ad even on local cable channels for less than $10,000. Of course, if there's a market for your product and you've got the budget for this, you could take a gamble and make a mint. The home businesses that tend to do best out of TV ads are ones that have a 'unique and useful invention' product with easy-to-demonstrate benefits — think infomercial. Research shows that you can sell almost anything given a 60-second ad, a free phone number and a price point of $19.95.

Advertising on Billboards.

Here's one that gets overlooked pretty often, but can be very effective if you do it right. Billboard ads are relatively expensive, but they do generally stay up for a long time, and they can be very specifically targeted to an area — the one where they're physically located. You'll have the best results with this if you can put one near enough to your business that it could say 'turn left at the next junction', or something like that. Phone numbers are, again, pretty useless, although you could have some luck putting a website address up there.

Advertising at the Movies.

Finally, here's one that often gets overlooked. If you turn up to the cinema early, you might have seen that before the big-budget ads, ads for local businesses are run. This can be a great place to advertise relatively inexpensively in quite a high-profile way, and it works especially well for takeaway food businesses.

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

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.

 “When in doubt, tell the truth.” 

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.  

 “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.” 

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.  

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

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. 

 “The difference between the right word and almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” 

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).  

 “Great people make us feel we can become great.” 

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.”

 “The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession.” 

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. 

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

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. 

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

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."

How To Design A Logo

Have You Thought About How To Design A Logo For Your Company

When it comes to design a logo design, you ultimately want it to convey your brand in the best possible manner. At the same time you don’t want it to take up too much space. That is the greatest challenge – to be able to create a winning impact within the space constraints. Here are the 7 factors you need to consider to have a logo that spells success!

1.  Research always helps in effective logo design

Never make the mistake of rushing into creating a logo design. It will only make matters bad. You need to do a fair bit of research to understand the company, its objectives and mission as well as its business goals – both short and long term. You also need to know the demographics of the target audience. 

2.  Attractive and unique: two elements of great logo design

You would obviously want your logo design to catch the attention of the customer. At the same time it should not be screaming for attention. It should test the intellect of the customer; make him or her think a few minutes after seeing the logo. If you notice some of the top logo designs each of them have a unique aspect to it that depicts something about the company. 

3.  Simple and memorable logo design

One of things you need to really focus on is to make sure your logo design is not too cluttered or too fancy. This will just confuse the customer. Ultimately you want the customer to remember your brand. That will only happen if the logo is easy to remember. Also be sure that the logo sends out positive signals to the customer.

4.  Flexibility is a major issue in logo design

There are so many companies who invest a fortune on their logo design only to realize later that their logo doesn’t work on a product wrapper! What a waste of time and money! Your logo needs to be flexible enough to work and create a lasting impact on any medium whether it is a product wrapper, your company website or even any promotional materials you send out!  That means you need to consider the size of the logo and the usage of appropriate colors. The colors used need to match well with any background while also helping the brand to stand out.

5.  Never clutter your logo in logo design

One critical mistake people make is to cram in too much information in their logo design. This makes your logo look cluttered not to mention the fact that customers will fail to remember your brand!

6. Use fonts that promote readability in your logo design

You might select a font that looks great on paper but when you use it in the logo it hampers readability. There is absolutely no point using classy fonts in logo design if they are going to prevent customers from remembering you. Make sure fonts are easy on the eye.

7. Usage of color in logo design

Great logo design will always focus on using complementary colors that looks good against a black or white background.

There are many ways to market a product or a service and providing the potential clients and customers with testimonials is one of the best ways to market.

The power of testimonials can never be underestimated. People, especially nowadays, will only purchase products or avail services which have been referred to them by people whom they know. But most of the times, this is not an option that is in the hands of the business owner, he has to do the next best thing, which is to get testimonials from his past clients. 

Testimonials are living statements from past customers or clients which states that they were satisfied by the product/ service. Every business must have testimonials to be able to stand out in the ever crowded markets.

There are many benefits of having testimonials. Here are some of them.

Testimonials appease the target market

Testimonials usually lessen the doubts of the target market. There are a lot of scammers and con artists nowadays, and this has turned the market into a fearsome one. Credible testimonials provide security to the people who are eyeing at a certain product or service. The provision of testimonials gives people a much more relaxed attitude towards a product or service.

Testimonials assure quality

Aside from confirming the existence of a business and lessening doubts, testimonials provide assurance to potential customers and clients of the quality of the product or service. The fact that they took time out to be able to write testimonials about the product reflect their levels of satisfaction towards the product/service.

Testimonials give advantage

Credible testimonials provide a competitive advantage for the product/service. There are many products and services out there and one of the ways to stand out from the rest is the use of credible testimonials.

There are many types of testimonials. Testimonials are usually categorized according to the source. Here are a few examples:

a) Testimonials from satisfied customers

This is probably the most effective type of testimonial. Nothing beats a testimonial from a satisfied customer because it is a picture of what the product/service is all about.

b) Testimonials from experts

Experts can be credible sources of testimonials.  If a renowned dermatologist writes a testimonial for a beauty soap, it will surely help in boosting its sales, wouldn’t it?

c) Testimonials from celebrities

In a world that is run by mass media, celebrities have become powerful sources of testimonials. Today, even infomercials are infested by testimonials from celebrities. 

People may think that getting testimonials from celebrities will cost a lot, but if it’s a real testimonial, celebrities may even waive their talent fees.

There is much more to making a testimonial an effective tool for marketing than gathering them.  Good testimonials are the ones which can be compressed into a few catchy words. “I lost 20 pounds in two weeks time!” is an example of an eye-catching testimonial. However, one must never rephrase or edit what the client had said. How to get the right kinds of testimonials will be discussed later.

Credible testimonials should also contain the complete attributes of the people who gave them. Their titles, location and age should be included whenever possible.

Visual appeal will also be a great help in using testimonials. If the clients are willing, one must insist in taking photographs or videos for their testimonials. 

So how does a business owner get started with the whole testimonial thing? 

Here are some steps on how to archive testimonials.

1. Before anything else, only products/ services with outstanding quality deserve testimonials, so one must make sure that his product/service possesses exceptional quality.

2. Ask the help of your customers. One must be able to communicate to his customers his need of getting their testimonials. If they are really satisfied with the product/service, they would be more than willing to participate.

3. Interview your customers. Ask them about what they like about your product/service, why they chose your product and other questions like these.

4. Ask them if they are willing to make a written testimonial. You can offer to make the testimonial yourself based on their responses during the interview but the testimonial is still up for their approval. You might want to make the wordings catchy and let them approve the testimonials.

5. Ask them if you could record the testimonial using a tape recorder or video cam. A video testimonial is better, but of course, many people are camera-shy and this can be a limited option for most.

6. Choose the best testimonials. Use the best ones so as to maximize the benefits that your product can get from the testimonials.

Testimonials are very powerful and this is the reason why every business should have them. They provide assurance and security and reflect the real essence of a product or a service.

1. Using web graphics on printed material.

With many young designers coming from a pre-dominantly web design background the transfer over from web design to traditional design for print can bring with it a multitude of design sins. Images supplied at 72dpi and crunched down to load fast on a website are going to reproduce very badly in print you can get away with small thumbnails but blowing things up to any appreciable size is going to be pushing your luck. There are a number of online sites offering free or very cheap quality hi resolution images which are a good source for suitable imagery.

2. Forgetting about or not allowing enough bleed.

A very common error is to send to print a document or flattened image that has no bleed at all. Generally speaking you should allow at least 3mm around every cut off edge. Failing to do so will give the printers no leeway and will either crop off the side of the page or give you a white border. It is always a good idea when supplying image files to save layered psd files then if things need extending or cropping you can do this on the background layer and hopefully cut down your work

3. Using obscure fonts and not embedding or outlining them for output.

We've all been guilty of this at some point and things are generally fine if you are going to be the only person accessing your artwork or documents. However if someone else needs to amend the files or use your vector logo on one of there publications. Unless you package up the used fonts, they are not going to be able to open the files correctly and some software programs may replace any unknown fonts with a default. This is a particular problem when you need to dig out stuff that was created several years previously and you no longer have your old fonts installed.

4. Supplying print ready artwork using spot colours or rgb

There are valid reasons for using spot colours in artwork, logos that need to reference particular pantone colours for example. In general design work however most print is sent through on 4 colour presses CMYK with occasional 5th colour for luminoius or metallic colour or for spot UV varnish. It is very common for lazy designers to just place rgb images into files and expect the vibrant colours seen on screen to reproduce in print.

5. Allowing design illiterate clients to lead you round the houses

The customer is always right, goes the old adage. However it is often said with gritted teeth and a sense of patience that recognizes that these morons will at some stage be handing over a fat cheque for your troubles. It is often a good idea when first submitting visuals to throw in a couple of stinkers to hopefully get them to appreciate the design you would like them to accept. There is the very real danger of course of them loving the piece of absolute arsewipe that you knocked up in five minutes to make them think you've been earning your money. Still it's a living.

What a great invention it is, this thing we call the Internet!

Today I am going to share with you 5 great ways to get FREE online advertising for your business.

If you would just take your time to know your way around, you could discover a lot of premium products and services being offered for free.  What's best is that there is a seemingly endless number of these wonderful finds, what with the Internet being a vast network of constantly evolving ideas and all!

Among these magnificent benefits is the chance to be able to promote your business, any business, online, free of charge!  It doesn't matter if your enterprise is a purely online or offline venture, the World Wide Web is home to a great number of marketing opportunities that you could avail of, with no damage to your business' budget whatsoever.

Advertising can be a big problem otherwise.  A lot of companies reserve a big chunk of their budgets to cover marketing expenditures.  Sometimes, these gambles pay off, but there are occasions when they fail miserably, putting to waste some good money that could have been used in other areas of development for the business involved.

But with the many channels available online, marketing has become a less risky course of action.  There are so many avenues available online where you could advertise your business for free and attain more exposure for your products or services.  Here are some of them.

1. You could advertise through your own website.  Ordinarily, you should pay a nominal fee for web hosting and your domain name.  A paid web hosting service is more reliable.  Your own domain name would impress upon your visitors an immediate sense of professionalism.  But if you don't want to spend money on hosting them, there are a lot of free web space providers on the Internet!

 

2. You could advertise through other people's websites.  And you could do this in a lot of ways too!  You could create a banner that would summarize your business' offers and have it displayed on existing pages.  Or if you have your won website for your business, you could use the said banner to link to your pages, or you could even settle for simple links.  Additionally, you could have other webmasters rave about your venture and they could talk about it in their own websites.

 

3. You could create your own affiliate program.  By giving commissions as incentive, you could invite a lot of Internet users to become your affiliates.  Each affiliate would work to help you make a sale.  It's like having a battalion of sales representatives that you'd only have to pay if they manage to refer a willing customer! It is like having sales people working around the clock for you on commission only, No Sale – No Commission. 

 

4. You could try viral marketing.  Viral marketing is the online equivalent of word o mouth advertising.  By giving away something for free, for as long as that something has a link or a simple reference to your business, you're encouraging the recipient to spread the word about your business to the people he knows.  This would result in the exponential expansion of your business message like wildfire.

 

5. You could advertise in online communities.  Forums and mailing lists are popular venues that could likewise convey your business message.  Membership to these groups is usually free.  Additionally, you could also create your own mailing list and start capturing leads for future sales by doing some helpful follow-ups.

The Internet is a great place for promoting your business.  There are five million people online at any given time and the world is, quite literally, your market.  It would be best for your business to capitalize on this wonderful opportunity and expand your audience a thousand fold bigger!

And you wouldn't even have to spend a penny while you're at it.

Here are four things you should keep in mind as you build your company’s brand:

 

1)  Own the “Significant Thing”:  Dole tried to be all things to all people spend your time focusing on a single clear message.  Mercedes-Benz owns “ Engineering “ in the car industry because it’s focused on that singular message for decades.

 

2)  Consistency is key:  consistent presentation will ensure that your customers recognize you. Be consistent in the use of logos, taglines, visual elements, tone, and ad copy.  Coca-Cola it is one of the most recognized brands in the world because they haven’t changed in decades.  Make sure your brochures, website, Direct mail, and all the other advertising have the same feel and message.

 

3)  Make your message relevant:  know your audience, know what they care about and how to speak to them.  Make sure what you sell is what they need.  Remember the conversation should always be about your audience, not you.

 

4)  Use a strong offer to motivate:  you want your audience to remember you and you want its members to buy from you.  You need to move them to action.  A strong offer should give them a reason to buy.  Make the offer clear and appropriate for your brand.

 

Every time a customer comes in contact with your brand, they will have either a positive or a negative experience.  Those experiences will add to their perception of your brand.  Those experiences are recalled later when it’s time to make a purchasing decision.  How do you want your brand to be remembered when the time comes for a prospect to buy? You need to start building that positive perception today and do whatever is necessary to maintain it.

 

Good luck.

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