Marketing and Business Strategies

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Don’t Throw Away Another Dollar on Advertising till You Read This

I can’t believe how long I’ve been involved in advertising, marketing, copywriting, etc without anyone having recommended INFLUENCE: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini to me before.

I purchased the audio book version (Wow, someone is still creating a CD version) and started listening while driving to work. The reading is a little dry, but the content of the book is really eye-opening. The person who recommended it to me was talking in terms of advertising, but frankly I thought it shed light on a huge variety of topics — anything from cult mentality to the origins of the Watergate break-in.

Some of the stories and evidence are kind of scary, but the concepts are all based on facts with plenty of entertaining examples to bring those facts to life. Before you spend one more dollar on advertising, you HAVE to read this book and understand Continue reading

Life 101: 5 Marketing Tips You Never Learned In Business School

Marketing Tips
1. Different marketing strategies suit different personalities.

While marketing courses will teach you the multitudes of different marketing methods out there, the truth is that for the small business owner, there may be only a handful that really suit you and your business. You want to find what works for you and weed out those marketing avenues best suited for someone else. For example, if you craft a great product but have an introverted or socially awkward personality, you probably want to avoid networking groups. Instead, focus on getting your product itself noticed. Use your strengths when you market, not your weaknesses.

2. Regularly ask your customers and staff for input.

When it comes to brainstorming, two heads are better than one. Continue reading

Advertising that Sticks

My last post was about effective promotions at trade shows. But attracting people to your booth and handing them a corporate freebie does no good unless that exchange actually results in the booth visitor becoming a customer, right? So, what are you going to put on your corporate freebie, trade booth banner, or handout? Obviously, you have to have a way for the customer to find you again: a website, phone number, street address. But that’s not enough. You want something that appeals to that potential customer, makes them want to BE a customer, and sticks in their brain.

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Trade Show Tips

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Advertising Option: Social Networking for Freelancers

In addition to traditional advertising, freelancers may want to consider social networking to promote their services and products. This guest post is written by Derek Kirk, a freelance travel writer and copy editor.

When I started pursuing my freelance career, all I could think about was getting out of the office. At first, it didn’t occur to me how much networking was actually taking place across the tops of cubicles and at the water cooler. When you make the leap to working from home, you miss out on serious networking potential, and you have to supplement this one way or another. Luckily, there are social networking communities for freelancers.

The Giants of Social Media

Take a moment and consider the following: China is the world’s most-populous country, with more than 1.3 billion residents, and India is right behind it with just over 1.2 billion. If Facebook were a nation-state and its netizens were bona fide citizens, then it would be the world’s third-most-populous country. Not only that, Continue reading

Advertising Ideas That Make People Work For You

There’s no form of advertising that’s more effective than word of mouth. When customers spread a brand on their own accord, it’s free advertising and it is advertising of the highest quality. Instead of businesses spending inordinate amounts of time trying to convince potential consumers that a brand or product is worthwhile, there are agents doing the work for free. If companies can regularly find ways for individuals to do their marketing for them, they can save a lot of time, energy, and money in the process. Continue reading

Bribing People to Be Your Friends and Pretend to ‘Like’ You

The idea of word-of-mouth advertising being important is not new, though online social media as a form of it is relatively new. People ARE definitely influenced by what other people like.

“Oh, look how long the line is for that restaurant that must be GOOD. We should try it.”

And you can substitute ‘movie’ or many other products for the word ‘restaurant’ and the same concept applies. I had read advice to new restaurants to park employee cars in customer parking until you get enough customers for spaces to be hard to find. I know I once worked a fundraiser food booth at festival. Our business was very slow and we all looked a little too greedily at each passerby. After 10 or 15 minutes of this, I put my jacket on (masking the t-shirt that identified me as being with the group) and walked around to the front of the booth, ordered a hot dog and chatted with my co-workers while I ate the hotdog. In the 5-10 minutes that I stretched eating the hotdog into, we had 4 customers, versus none for the previous 15 minutes. Human psychology is definitely influenced by other’s actions. Why else would all those “bestselling” books splash how many copies they have sold all over their cover.

So, what’s this got to do with social media. Simple. Continue reading

Something You May NOT Know about Claude Hopkins Author of Scientific Advertising

Claude Hopkins was born in 1866. His parents didn’t have much money, but Hopkins felt this helped him in the long run, saying he grew up expecting to work hard. Hopkins understood the common man, who struggles to feed his family and pay bills, because he came from that background. As young as 8, Claude Hopkins earned money by sweeping out two school houses and starting their fires each morning, then delivering both newspapers and ‘bills’ or single page ads to homes after school.

Hopkins father died when Claude was only 10 years old putting even greater financial strain on the family. His mother made a silver polish, which Claude molded into cakes, wrapped in decorative paper and sold door to door. Hopkins noticed that if he could talk his way into the house to demonstrate the polish that he was almost 10 times as likely to sell some.

While still a teenager, Hopkins worked as: a guest minister delivering sermons, a teacher, a fruit picker on his uncle’s farm. Then as a young adult, he worked as a bookkeeper and general errand boy at the Felt Boot Company. Within a year he had meet one of the investors in the Felt Boot Company, Mr. M. R. Bissell, president of Bissell Carpet Sweepers. Hopkins soon began working for Bissell Carpet Sweepers as a lowly assistant bookkeeper at $40 a month. Six months later he had been promoted to head bookkeeper and was earning $75 a month.

Despite this rapid rise, Hopkins wasn’t satisfied. He realized that he could go no further in this position, nor expect further raises — because a bookkeeper is an expense and a good businessman must limit expenses. He realized that he could never be worth more than another person doing the same quantity and quality of work. He recognized, from keeping the books, that the large salaries were paid to the salesmen, or to men in the factory that could reduce costs. These employees contributed to the business’s profits. Hopkins quickly saw the difference between an employee who contributes to profits, versus one who is only an expense. At that moment, he decided Continue reading

Customer First? A Must for Advertising and Marketing

A lot of business advice talks about putting the customer first – from product design to marketing to product delivery and customer service. But what does putting the customer first really mean?

To put the customer first, you must identify your customer or potential customer and understand them.

Identifying your customer must be more Continue reading

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Expert Advice Column

Advertising in Sound Bites

Fame isn’t just for American Idol singers, Lady Gaga, and CEO's. Publicity coverage is available to anyone who has the right idea at the right time for the right audience— and can deliver it in the right way.

The last part is key. And it’s where most people fail.

Media coach, marketing strategist and author of Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul, Susan Harrow has been working with both famous and unknowns for over 20 years. She claims to have the secret sauce that can turn anyone into a media darling virtually overnight.

It’s called sound bites.

Click here for information on Susan's Sound Bites Course and tips on getting publicity
for your business (a.k.a Free Advertising).

Radio Publicity Guru

If you are looking for information about how to get on radio talk shows, then you should start at Alex Carroll's web site, get his free list of top radio talk shows, and discover if radio could be the right way for you to get your message out.