Archive for January 2013

Marketing with Email Signatures

January 31, 2013

Think about how many business emails you send each day. Now think about the email signature you’re currently using on your emails. While email signatures are commonly used as a way to identify the sender and provide important contact information, many people are missing out on the valuable opportunity to use their signature line as a marketing tool. Here are a few tips to help you create an effective email signature that your recipients will remember:

* Create brand recognition by including your logo, tagline, mascot, or other graphic that is tied to your brand.
* Choose images carefully and use them sparingly, so your signature doesn’t overpower your message.
* Increase web traffic by enticing readers to visit your web link for a free sample, free white paper, or to subscribe to your newsletter.
* If you include a web link, spell out the address rather than using hyperlinks. This will eliminate trust issues caused by opening an unknown link and will also make it easy for recipients to copy and paste the address into their browser.
* Offer a teaser that entices the reader to ask for more information or to click a link to learn more.
* Personalize your email signature with a photo to help readers put a face with your name.
* Consider adding a brief quotation that represents your business or provides an insight into your personality.
* Create a consistent brand image by standardizing email signatures throughout your company.
* Change up your messaging frequently to keep it fresh and interesting for email recipients.

Lessons From the Greatest Direct Mailer of All Time

January 23, 2013

Direct mail has been a proven money maker for many years and continues to prove its worth to this day. In this age of all things digital, it’s ironic to note that many who have tired of wasting valuable time and resources with unproven tactics are once again turning to direct mail.

If you’re one of the wise ones who have penciled this powerful strategy onto your marketing calendar this year, it would be smart to learn from one of the best direct mail sales letters ever written.

In 1974, Martin Conroy wrote a simple, two-page sales letter which was continuously mailed out with very minor changes between 1975 and 2003. Not only did it have amazing longevity, but it was responsible for raking in over a billion dollars in new sales.

This letter was a simple story. The best salesmen, teachers, CEOs, and communicators know that stories told well sell! Whether you’re selling something or trying to get others to take action, simple but powerful stories can do much of the heavy lifting for you.

There are many reasons this piece proved to be so successful. The classic formula of attention, interest, desire, and action are beautifully articulated in the piece. Here are a few other lessons to learn:

1. It pulls you in with a story and emotional hook which makes you want to read more. 2. It’s simple and clear, so you can follow to the end without getting lost.
3. Emotions and hot buttons are weaved throughout the copy so your interest remains high. 4. The benefits are crystal clear.
5. There’s a clear call to action.
6. It offers a risk-reversal and guarantee for those on the fence. 7. It makes a promise and restates that promise at the end. 8. It provides three options: Good, Better, and Best.

These simple 781 words proved to be a key circulation builder for subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal for over 30 years. There are seminars and courses which have been taught using this letter as a prime example. Studying the letter and learning the techniques and power can make your next direct mailer a big success as well.

Here’s a link to the letter’s text, along with some information about its amazing success.

The Right Mindset

January 16, 2013

Many people start off the new year with high hopes and aspirations for a successful future. They dutifully set goals, make plans, state their objectives, and promise themselves that this time they’ll really stick with it.

But sometimes life gets in the way and throws a curve ball (or two or three!), diverting our eyes from our path just long enough to derail the whole plan.

If you have plans this year to ramp up your business and want to really see it all the way through, there’s one thing that can help you stick with the agenda even when things seem to be going sideways.

Solve their pain.

If you can remember that one phrase and make it a theme for your entire year, you’ll be much closer to achieving all of your goals than you have ever been.

Your customers, prospects, and even your friends and family have some kind of pain. They’re all either actively or unknowingly searching for someone to help them cure their problems. Your task should be to find out what these ills are and then help provide solutions. You’ll become the one they always look forward to hearing from because you care about them.

The late Zig Ziglar once said: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” It’s somewhat ironic that achieving goals in your life and business requires a mind shift change from “me first” to thinking about what’s in the best interest of other people.

So as you set your sights on having the best year of your life, remember to always strive to be the one that presents answers to problems and puts the best interests of others before your own. If you can master these skills, you’ll never be without a friend and will achieve more goals than you ever have before.

Local Marketing Tips

January 15, 2013

When people buy locally, the money spent in the community stays in the community to sustain local jobs, pay local tax dollars, and support local schools and organizations. It also promotes a family and community atmosphere. Here are a few creative ways to promote your business locally:

* Introduce yourself and spread the word about your business throughout your community. For example, you could strike up a conversation with someone while waiting in line at a post office or attending a community event. Break the ice with something like this: “I’m Bob, the owner of Bob’s Bagels down the street. If you haven’t tried us out yet, here’s a freebie!” Then pass them a business card and/or coupon.
* Distribute promotional pieces to spread the word. Consider mailing postcards to recipients in a particular zip code, distributing door hangers in local neighborhoods, posting flyers or posters at local businesses, and so on. Offer an enticing discount or coupon to encourage people to visit your location.
* Focus on networking with other area businesses, schools, churches, and civic organizations. Consider cross promotions to increase local traffic, such as distributing coupons or brochures for each others’ businesses or causes.
* Create a loyalty program to reward customers and encourage repeat business. Use punch cards or stamp cards, recognize customer birthdays, provide exclusive coupons or upgrades, and consider a customer review panel that receives free products or services in exchange for their valuable feedback and input on how to improve your business.
* Support local fundraisers. For example, a restaurant could donate 50% of profits for guests who have a voucher for John Doe’s Cancer Benefit on April 5th. This would not only increase restaurant traffic, but also support a good cause.
* When marketing locally, always use your full street address, rather than a PO box, which doesn’t indicate your physical location. Also provide a local phone number in addition to a toll-free option.
* Ensure your business is listed on major local search platforms, including Google Maps, Google+ Local, Yahoo! Local, Bing Local, and similar websites.
* Promote the advantages of purchasing locally, including personalized attention, convenience, and the ability to stop by anytime to see products, ask questions, or get ideas.
* Promote ways your business gives back to your community and supports area organizations. Be an example and make sure you’re supporting other local businesses as well.

Be a Real Partner

January 9, 2013

Business used to be much simpler. The formula for success was to provide value, convenience, and great customer service, which in turn led to referrals that became new clients. This tried and true cycle kept the business world moving forward.

Somewhere along the way, however, the rules seem to have changed, and the apple cart has been upset.

To win business today, you must provide more than value and customer service.

Change is an inevitable part of life and must be dealt with. Change can lead to transformations in which we are active and willing participants, or change can occur despite our best efforts to stop it. In these cases, the outcomes are not necessarily in our power.

An important part of transformation and evolution is to learn from the past. This is a great time to review the past year and make decisions about changes that need to be made for a successful new year.

Reflections On the Past Year

Was 2012 a success for you? If not, where did things go wrong?

There is No I in This TEAM

January 3, 2013

You may be surprised to learn that Richard Branson, the famous and sometimes brash entrepreneur, when speaking about his many companies or successful ventures, rarely mentions “I” and always refers instead to “we.” Why? Because he knows that his success has been due in large part to a team, each of whom brought a certain strength to turn the vision into reality.

There are three essential characteristics of any successful business:

1. A Product or Service — You must be able to make or provide a fantastic product or service.
2. Marketing — You must have a great story and be able to sell your story to the market.
3. Financial Management — You must be a smart money manager and reinvest the cash wisely.

Since each of these skills requires a vastly different mindset, no single person can do all of these with any degree of high expertise.

The most successful businesses have all three of these skills spread among their team. The long-term success and viability of your business depends on these three areas. Therefore, it is vital that you have the best-qualified hires for each skill.

Whether you’re a micro business or a global brand, the success and growth of your venture depends not only on making the correct hire but also on getting out of the way and letting the experts manage what you hired them to do. Both of these skills are critical to the long-term success of your company. One does not work well without the other.

Your company may not be the size of Richard Branson’s companies, but the lessons of hiring the best possible candidates and giving them the necessary space to manage their parts of the business are lessons that apply to all successful enterprises.

Are You the One?

January 3, 2013

Are you in control of your life, or does it feel like life is tossing you around like a boat in a storm?

Only one person in a hundred may look ahead, picture in their mind what they want, and set a plan to work toward their goals. The other ninety-nine may think about what they aspire to, but that vision will quickly fade, as they consider all the reasons why they can’t make their dreams a reality. So they settle for what life throws their way. That’s why life for the ninety-nine feels out of control and chaotic.

In order to go from the ninety-nine to the one, you must answer three important questions:

1. What do you really, really want out of life?
2. What is your plan to get there?
3. What is your next step?

All three of these are critical steps to get off the out-of-control merry-go-round and take control of your destiny.

Some people will take the first step and stop. Some will even go to step two. But very few get to step three. The people in the “one percent” group take step three and continue on until their goals are achieved.

Ninety-nine people will read this and believe they knew all of this already. Yet they still won’t do anything about it. One will take action.

Life throws challenges in everyone’s paths. The ones who are not easily discouraged and remain resilient because they believe in their dreams are the people who end up as the one in a hundred.

Which are you?