Here are a few things that caught my eye over the last few weeks that I thought you might find interesting.
Sportsnet has started sponsored posts. On Wednesday morning I noticed a post about Lebron James and the heading read “Sportsnet with Sonnet Insurance”. When I clicked on it, the story was “presented by Sonnet Insurance”. Interesting, it’s better than the annoying ads that have to play before you watch a video.
I also noticed a Facebook ad from a hotel in Fredericton and the photo in the post was a great shot of the St. John River with another hotel in it. I scratched my head over that one.
Sometimes you are at the mercy of things that happen beyond your control. I spent the weekend in Maine and was quite surprised to see a lot of stores out of business in the Bangor Mall, including Macys. There were also a few restaurants boarded up as well.
We carried on to Freeport and were the only vehicle in the parking garage with a Canadian license plate. Many of those businesses rely on the favourable exchange rate and there is nothing they can do about it. Better for business on this side of the line though.
Wow, it’s great to see all the big events in Fredericton lately. There is another one coming later this summer that will be huge for our city. The TSN Everest Skins Game will be here in late August. It will attract the top 32 curlers in the world and will have the biggest purse ever offered. Almost 20 hours of live coverage on TSN. It will be a great opportunity for a sponsor to get some national exposure.
Clients often ask: “Are we putting too much information on our website?” Their concern is not giving too much information to a potential customer, but that their competitors have access to all of their content.
I usually tell them not to worry about it, their competitors already know about them, and I hope they know all about their competitors.
Want to know the very best way to find out how your competitors are doing? Sure, you can Google them, visit their website, creep them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, but the solution is about as low-tech as ideas come: spy on them. It’s not illegal and you are not doing anything wrong. In a way, you’re helping your business.
Simply put, buy something from them. Walk into their business and place an order. Pick up the phone and ask a question. Go to their website and order an item. By doing this, you are seeing your competitor as their customers do. If you have time, wander around their place of business and see how they conduct themselves – that is of course, if they don’t know you. If they do know you, send a friend.
When you are there, think like a customer. Is buying from the competitor easy, convenient, and logical? Is their product or service what you expected? Are they doing a better job with their customers than you are? You might find that they really are not much different than you.
Keep a sharp eye and you will quickly find things that could be improved. Implement these improvements in your own operation. Actually, implement and make them better.
Pride aside, look for things they are doing better than you. Maybe it will be an eye-opening experience or it could be a very rewarding experience, depending how well you are looking after your customers.
A few weeks ago I flew to Toronto to visit family and friends. I got off the plane and was taking the long walk to pick up my luggage. Looking around, I was actually surprised that there wasn’t more advertising along the way. However, the first ad I saw was for Dalhousie University. Of course I noticed it because of the maritime connection. Two days later, I was speaking to a family friend and he said his daughter was going to Dalhousie University in the fall. May be the ad worked. Who knows? It is smart of them to put the ad near the gates of the maritime flights.
Email Subject Line
Found an interesting article online about email subject lines on sales emails that result in the highest open rate. The top five are:
5. Checking in
2. Follow up
That’s right. The number one subject line was blank. It had an open rate of 92%. Go figure.
Trade Show Season
Trade show season is quickly approaching and a lot of companies are ramping up for this. If you want some real good advice on getting the best ROI for your trade show buck, I will be doing a webinar next Wednesday through our friends at the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce. Hopefully, if you are a member you will register and login.
Having the lowest price won’t help if your prospect doesn’t trust you. Offering the widest selection and the most convenience won’t help if your prospect does not have confidence in your company.
You’ve got to face the glaring reality that prospects won’t call if they aren’t confident in your company’s abilities.
Think of this from a marketing perspective. Entire marketing efforts fail because inattention to seemingly unimportant details undermines the prospect’s confidence, even if that confidence was earned elsewhere.
Absolutely everything you do, that is called marketing, influences your credibility. This influence will be positive or negative, depending on your taste, intelligence, sensitivity, and awareness of this power.
A do-it-yourself logo or video can make your company appear amateurish. Any hint of amateurism in your marketing indicates the potential for amateurism throughout your company.
Be aware of this the moment you start your business, and if not then, right now. Begin the quest with the name of your company, your logo, your positioning statement, location, stationery package, brochure, business forms, interior decor, website, social media, even the attire worn by you and your staff. Do you look credible outside your business?
Credibility is not automatic but it is do-able. The idea is for you to establish your expertise, your integrity, your confidence, your professionalism, and therefore, your credibility. You have to look good and create a positive impression on your prospective customers.
There are so many ways to market your business. Based on the type of business you are in, some ways work better than others. Thought I would have a little fun this week and give you some thoroughly researched examples. Besides, it is Valentines Day week.
Hope you enjoyed these, and had a smile for the day…some weeks it’s hard to come up with new material.
I had lots of positive feedback on my last marketing tip on networking. Networking is critical to the long-term health of any business so you just have to get out there and do it, and do it right.
Keep these five benefits of networking in mind as you venture out.
It’s natural that networking will result in opportunities, but you don’t know when or how they will materialize. Whether it’s a referral, partnership offer, or request for your service or product, it is important to be ready to seize opportunities when they come along.
Remember, you are not just gaining exposure to the people in the room; you are building connections with their network too. If someone they know has a need that matches your business, and if you have made an impression on them, you will likely get a referral.
3. Increased confidence
By regularly networking, and pushing yourself and your staff to talk to people you don’t know, your confidence will increase. This is an important attribute as a business owner, because your business growth is dependent on talking to people and making connections.
4. Raising your profile
Being visible and getting noticed is a big benefit of networking. By regularly attending business and social events, people will begin to recognize you. This can help build your reputation as a knowledgeable, reliable and supportive person.
Lastly, this one is more personal-related rather than business-related, but is a big benefit. Many friendships form as a result of networking because you are all like-minded business owners that want to grow your businesses.
So grab your business cards and go meet some new people. It can only be good for business.
The better question is, do you plan your marketing or do you fly by the seat of your pants? Many companies know today, what promotions they have planned for the year. Many companies know today, what trade shows they are attending this year. Many companies plan ahead of time and are a lot less frantic throughout the year than those who do not.
Put some time aside at the start of the year and make a basic outline of the promotions you want to run and when you want to advertise. Share the plan with your media reps and put the onus on them to remind you when it has to be done. Don’t be the type of person who decides you should run ads next week and puts pressure on everyone to get it done at the last minute.
Don’t think of marketing and advertising as the ad you will run next week; but rather, think about the marketing or ad you will run for the next six months, the next year, or even longer.
Planning this far ahead may seem like an impossible task, but you get surprising results just for trying. Once you start to look at marketing as a long-term plan you will see how it can help your business. Plus, if there does come a time that you need to react quickly, you and your staff will have the time to do it.
All your sales letters, email offers and follow up letters should have a P.S. at the end.
Think about the last time you received a letter or offer by email. Before you looked at the body, did your eyes go to the bottom to see the P.S.?
Why? Because studies show that 60% of people read a P.S. BEFORE they read the rest of the letter. That’s why it makes sense that your P.S. contains important information to help you make the sale.
Here are some ideas to try in your P.S.:
This really does work and you should use this marketing method whenever you get the chance. People will look down. I’ll prove it.
P.S.: See I told you this works.
This week we received a project from a previous customer. The customer decided to buy from us again because of the great turnaround on his last project.
On his previous project, he was attending a trade show and needed a last minute poster designed, printed, laminated and ready for shipping the next day. We met his deadline and he was very grateful. The project we received from him this week was much larger than the last one and it looks like he will turn into a regular customer.
Our society runs at a lot faster pace than it did ten years ago. With instant messaging, Twitter, Facebook and other electronic applications, we have spurned an “I want it now!” attitude. One thing that hasn’t changed is that few things please customers more than fast turnaround. In a lot of cases, turnaround time and reliability is more important than price. Deliver fast and many customers will choose you over your competitors.
Making any purchase is based on emotion. When you make the decision to buy you want it right away. Whether it is a new car, a computer for your office or even a chocolate bar, you want it now. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If they want to buy your product or service, deliver when they want it, not when it is convenient for you.
State your turnaround time in your marketing materials. If you can provide a fast turnaround, say so loud and often and watch your sales grow. If a customer “wants it now!” then give it to them NOW!