Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Seven Promotional Marketing Ideas Gleaned From a Box of Detergent

As an owner of a service-based business, finding different ways to position your offerings doesn't have to be a struggle. In fact, it could just as simple as taking a stroll through your local grocery store. You can get great promotional ideas by looking at products on the shelf in the store, flipping through magazines and reviewing ads and paying close attention to commercials airing on television.

When brainstorming campaign ideas, look to strategies that are being employed by consumable product manufacturers. Whether it's laundry detergent or a bottle of salad dressing, we are exposed to special offers throughout the day.

Here are several ways you can market your services like a consumable product:

Bonus features

When a movie goes onto DVD or Blue-ray to sell for in-home viewing, many times the release will contain deleted screens, optional endings and interviews with performers. What bonus can you offer to entice a client to make a purchase? A free, 30-minute consultation, a bonus question and answer session, a free report or analysis?

Co-branding

Co-branding occurs when you join together two or more products into one promotion. Think about how the Keurig single-cup brewing system. It is co-branded with a litany of iced and hot beverage manufacturers, including Green Mountain Coffee, Celestial Seasonings Tea and Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa.

Let's say you own a CPA firm and you want to create a special offer for tax season to attract more clients. You could partner with a bookkeeping service and strike an arrangement to offer bookkeeping and tax preparation for one price. You can have co-branded materials created and cross-promote the special to both of your ideal client lists.

Coupons
Americans love their coupons. In fact, there's a television series that demonstrates how extreme couponers can buy massive amounts of products and take advantage of manufacturer coupons and in-store promotions to walk out the door paying next to nothing for their haul.

Couponing can work for just as easily for your service-based business. You can create a coupon for a percent or dollar discount on specific services or a buy-one, get-one half-off or free offer.

New and improved

You see the use of "new" or "improved" on products when they've been reformulated to perform better or provide more value than before. Have you revised or upgraded one of your services? If so, make bold note of it on your packaging.

Rebates
Rebates are ways to reward customers for making a specific purchase. For example, I recently attended an event that offered an incentive on the registration fee. I paid $1,495 upfront to attend. After I attended the event, I received a $500 rebate check in the mail for attending the actual event.

Redesigned packaging

How many times has your favorite laundry detergent had its packaging refreshed? It could be a different bottle or a change in the artwork on the actual bottle.

Simply redesigning your marketing materials is way you can redesign your own packaging.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Top 7 Reasons to Use Printed Posters to Promote Yourself


1. Location and Visibility

There is nothing more important than location to reach your target audience. With TV or Internet marketing, you have to hope that your audience is watching your advertisement or visiting your web pages. Posters give you the advantage of allowing you to place them right in front of your target audience.

For example, if you are advertising for a new seaside restaurant, you can start by putting up posters around the beach and parking lots around the area. There is a good reason why subways and banks are cluttered with posters. These are places where people wait and are sure to have the time to read your poster and jot down your contact information.

2. Attention span of your audience

A long rambling advertisement can cost you more air time but cannot retain the attention span of your audience. Brief, concise information of your services is more likely to impress people and encourage them to call for more information.

3. A picture can convey a thousand words

A good layout and use of appropriate colours in a poster are sure to attract more customers than an entire website full of attractive videos and images. Your poster does not have to be elaborately designed. It just needs to have all the details presented against an impressive background that draws attention to the content rather than the design.

4. Cost effective

It is by far the cheapest form of advertising. But it does not mean that prospective customers might view your business as down-market. All the biggest products and services in the industry are sure to use posters to advertise.

5. Serves to highlight your product

Almost all the biggest products in the market put out posters in malls and supermarkets to emphasise the availability of their products in the respective stores. Without such posters to guide customers, they may even be unaware of its availability.

6. Flexibility of size

The best thing about posters is that you can customise them to any size you want. You can print an array of sizes and use them according to the space available.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Marketing for Manufacturers - How to Ensure a Successful Trade Show


Do you want to take the hassle out of exhibiting and get better results every time you put yourself on show?

First you need to understand what exhibitions do better than any other medium:
  • The opportunity to present your product or service to a targeted audience
  • Meeting pre-qualified active prospects for fast market penetration
  • Powerfully combining face-to-face contact and live demonstrations
Most exhibitors at trade shows fail to achieve the maximum out of the opportunities available there. Yet exhibitions are one of the most powerful, versatile and cost-effective tools available to your manufacturing business.

To get the most out of them, you need to understand everything from setting objectives and designing your stand, to following up and measuring effectiveness

These simple steps reveal the tactics and tools used to generate interest engage visitors and stimulate enquiries.

Establish your reason for exhibiting at a show


Your company must ask itself why it is exhibiting at a specific trade show. Write out your trade show objective. Once you have determined the objective, concentrate your stand messages to complement that one show objective. Work hard to create a single objective.

A manufacturing business that has multiple strategies cannot successfully focus its efforts. Select a single show objective and concentrate your energies to meet that objective. Don't dilute your energies.

Pick the right show

Do your homework in advance. Does the show selected attract the correct audience for your products or services? Does it have the proper attendance to justify your anticipated expenditures? Call the trade show sponsor to obtain a list of previous show attendees. Call a small sample (5-10) of your target accounts to see if they will be attending the show. If all the answers are positive, it is probably a good show at which to exhibit.

Set your trade show budget and how you will spend it

Determine how much the company is willing to spend, prepare a written budget, apportion the money properly, and record your expenses for future review. Determine why the budget amount was exceeded for any reason after the show or if you held to the pre-determined budget.

Market your trade show exhibition

Depending on your budget allocations, market to potential target companies, as well as current customers, before the trade show. Use a short clear direct mail piece letting target companies know your company will be exhibiting, what the stand number is, where your stand is physically located at the show, at what their benefits will be if they stop by your stand.

Create a clean, clear, simple stand design and layout

You don't get much time to make sure a show attendee understands your stand's message. Don't confuse them. Flashy stands with many areas that attract a visitor's visual attention will overpower and confuse. Keeping a stand simple is the key. Ensure your visitor receives the information they need to make a decision favourable to your company. That's all they need and that's all you want.

Grab the trade show visitors' attention

Attendees at any trade show pass by hundreds of stands. Your company will have only a few seconds, sometimes as little as 5 seconds, to catch the attention of a show attendee. Make sure your stand is designed to create a single focal point using easy to read text with clean simple graphics so trade show visitors will understand your message quickly and correctly.

Create a stand that makes visitors feel comfortable

Remove physical barriers to visitor exchange. Too often stand designers create a stand that they believe "looks cool." While it may, it doesn't encourage visitors to your stand to stop and want to talk to you because they don't feel comfortable. Make it easy for visitors to enter your space and obtain the information they desire.

Many stands are designed as barriers with tables between you and your potential customers. A U-shaped trade show space removes the barriers between stand operator and visitor and encourages exchange. If visitors are comfortable and want to enter your stand, it is more likely they'll listen to your sales pitch and your show will generate better success.

Visit your booth before the show

Put your creative ego in check and "visit" your booth just like the trade show attendee will do. Take an objective look at your booth and ask yourself if you would be attracted to the display and would you actually remember your booth. If you have selected the correct trade show and know the audience for that show, you should be able to create a display that will motivate visitors to stop at your booth. Understand the reasons they are attending this show. Give them a reason, a real benefit to them, to stop at your booth. Do a little pre-show research on your target audiences' show motivations.

Record visitor interest and key contact data

If you have successfully attracted visitors to your stand, you need to record their key contact information and what they were individually interested in, especially if it is one of the products or services your company offers. Most large shows offer easy ways to scan in key contact data, but they don't provide a means to record individual interest. Use a prepared spreadsheet, or simple lined paper to record what the visitor was interested in so you can properly follow-up with those that are real targets.