Wednesday, June 29, 2005

"Ten Marketing Truths You Must Never Forget"

Yesterday's blog post reminded me of a book I read a while back. It motivated me to pick up an old marketing book off the bookshelf last night; sometimes I like to re-read the highlighter marks I made when I first read it. The book was printed around 1984, and is called "Guerrilla Marketing - Secrets for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business" by Jay Conrad Levinson. I stumbled across some relevant points that are fairly basic, but that one should never forget. Sometimes we could use a refresher...

1. The Market is constantly changing.
2. People forget fast.
3. Your competition isn't quitting.
4. Marketing strengthens your identity.
5. Marketing is essential to survival and growth.
6. Marketing enables you to hold on to your old customers.
7. Marketing maintains morale.
8. Marketing gives you an advantage over competitors who have ceased marketing.
9. Marketing allows your business to continue operating.
10. You have invested money that you stand to lose.

Here's another Guerrilla Marketing Book by Jay Levinson:

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Orlando, FL Student Internship Opportunity in Marketing with RMI

The Internship Opportunity

We are looking for a self-motivated, creative, up-beat sales representative to help in acquiring new customers while having fun during their school internship in Orlando, Fl. We work as a team. We are a business to business based company, open to your improvement and suggestions. This job has: Unlimited income potential, Flexible hours, A fun work environment, & Possibility for advancement and placement out of school. Your requirements are simple: Creative, Energetic, Willingness to learn, Willingness to have fun, Must have own transportation, Business attire, & 3 Personal references. We would prefer someone with: Some marketing experience (school courses / education OK), & Some type of previous employment history. Do you have pep? Do you want to help build something that offers room for advancement? Would you like to set your own income (via commission), get school credit, and a future reference for your resume? What are you waiting for? Apply, and come work with RMI today.

About Royall Media, Inc.

Royall Media is a creative ideas company. We have fun with what we do. We hire people who can balance fun with personal success in the business world. We promote the advancement of the hard-working individuals whom we employ. We provide complete marketing solutions for small businesses by researching their products and respective markets, formulate plans based on the information gathered, and then create advertising materials for distribution through the web, radio, television, and other print mediums. If you don't have pep or energy and are not willing to help build a company, you need not apply! Otherwise, what are you waiting for?

"Don't Buy That Mailing List Yet... Here's One for Free."

Two marketing tools often utilized by small businesses are direct mail and telemarketing.

If you aren't using either of these two guerilla marketing techniques in your small business - you're missing out on some big profits.

Contrary to popular belief, there are people who do buy things over the phone. (Or at least take free-trials.) The great telemarketers with their customized scripts will make 1 sale every 12 minutes. I used to work at a telemarketing job in high school and earned about 20-22$ per hour on commission, while my friends were stuck with minimum wage in the $4 range. This lead me to believe that sales is something trainable, perfectable, and profitable! - when scripted and practiced. (duh!)

Both methods cost very little to implement, and only require a little time and effort to make happen. You can expect about a 3-5% response rate for your direct mail and telemarketing calls on average, and maybe up to 15% or more if you have your postcards professionally designed, or telemarketing scripts professionally written.

Having your marketing materials created by someone who professionally practices marketing for a living, usually pays for itself, and then some. I mean, really - would you perform a surgical procedure on yourself, or leave the job to a medical surgeon? Chances are you'd come out with less scaring, opting for the professional, and the same is true in marketing.

However you decide to create your postcards, direct mail letters, or telemarketing scripts, there is a business to business source of mailing lists that most people tend to over look - and best of all, it probably won't cost you a dime because it's sitting in your drawer right now.

When looking to start a direct mail or telemarketing campaign, it seems that all businesses rush out to buy a list of names, numbers, addresses, and whatever other contact info they can get their hands on. Most people forget about The Yellow Pages as a source for hundreds of businesses' phone numbers and addresses in their areas. What's more is that The Yellow Pages are categorized for you so you can easily find your target businesses if your product is industry specific.

If your a business that caters to individuals, although its not as targeted as purchased lists are, as long as you have a product that would benefit no one person in particular, there's a book out there called The White Pages for you!

If you don't have a version of the book in print, or want to extend outside your local community - try The Online Yellow Pages.

You have hundreds of leads in your drawer right now, and millions more on the internet. - use them up and save some money before buying a list!

Friday, June 24, 2005

"Create Synergy -Team Up With Someone In Your Field"

Everyone knows its easier to do things when you have qualified help. The more people you have working towards a common goal, the easier it seems to reach it. Its the laws of synergy. Why not team up then with someone in your field as long as they are not a direct competitor?

For example, recently RMI was hired to help create a marketing plan for a local wedding videography company. One of the core ideas we decided would be most beneficial to the company in its early stages, that was most cost-effective, was the partnership between this video company and several bridal shops around the city. It didn't stop there though, as they can repeat the solution we produced with others in the wedding field such as caterers, wedding planers, photographers, and more.

Here's what we did:

First, we created 20% discount coupons for the company. Of course, the marketing and branding of the coupon reflected the company's brand and quality.

Second, we created $50.00 referral reward on the back of the coupon. Again, the same quality and brand was represented. (Notice a theme here? - Brand everything you do with your company's logo and quality standards.)

Third, we partnered them with several wedding bridal shops in the area who share the same target market the video production company was looking for - BRIDES + GROOMS!

Here's how we set up the Win / Win / Win situation:

The bridal shop owner gets the added benefit of:

A) Giving her customer some added value by being able to discount another service her customer might need.
B) Receiving $50.00 for handing out a coupon! (Believe me they will hand out a lot of coupons.)

The bride herself gets:
A) Added value of a 20% discount off her videography services.
B) Contact information for a video production company. (If she didn't already have one.)
C) The ability to refer her friends for $50.00 in cash!

The production company gets:
A) An automatic marketing / advertising / referral program that works itself.
B) The ability to give their customers value by honoring the 20% discount
C) The chance that they are "first" amongst other video company's to get in contact with the bride. (Bridal shops are usually the first place a bride stops when she finds out she's getting married. - How did we find this out? Market research!)

Of course, you must make sure you can still turn a profit. The company adjusted their prices slightly to insure that between paying out $50.00 per referred customer and honoring the %20 discount that they are happy with the ROI. (Return on Investment)

You may also negotiate with the bridal shop owner, maybe sending your customers to their shop, or handing out their coupons as well for a commission based fee. Maybe you will decide no one needs fees and that trading coupons is incentive enough... (However in my past experience you never know then if the other person will be motivated to hand out your coupon even though you're handing out theirs.) Plus, in this case the bride will want a $ incentive as she probably has no coupons to trade you.

All in all - teaming up with someone is a great way to insure that more people are reaching out to your target market for you. Trade customers with people and watch your sales soar!

PS - Don't forget to check out our new Daily Business Cartoon located on the blog!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

"Create a System of Selling to Produce Results"

There are five main steps you should include in your selling system. Practice and rehearse your sales presentations before you leave your office, and you'll increase your sales 400%. The best sales people practice. Period. They find what works and use the same lines over and over. They script what they will say, what order they will say it in, what objections they might come across and how to handle them, and even how they'll posture themselves in front of perspective clients.

To sell successfully you should:

1. Identify customer decision points in your sales presentation, such as a Yes or an Objection.

2. Follow a written script (like that from a theatrical play) that will lead the customer to a "yes" decision, to and from every other Yes or Objection in the conversation.

3. Memorize of the scripts.

4. Produce physical marketing materials that accompany the written script.

5. Train your salesmen to be attentive and communicate effectively by watching, listening, and acknowledging the personal needs of your customers, while leading them to the solutions.

Finally, none of this works if you don't have anyone to sell to. Get on the phone and set some appointments. Your goal on the phone should be to build rapport and get a commitment for a personal meeting where you can show off your selling system. If you've perfected it, once you set the appointment - your product should be as good as sold.

Remember, you're solving customer's personal needs and problems, even if they don't realize they have them! Make them aware of the issues, and then allow them to proceed to tell you that they are experiencing the same frustrations or have the same personal needs.

If the customer says it, its true. If you say it, its just an opinion.

Friday, June 17, 2005

"Increase Your Product's Chance for Success"

Its not what you say, but how you say it that gets your customers to buy.

Customers purchase benefits. They rarely are looking to buy the product itself; they are looking to purchase that which your product can provide for them. Doesn't it only make sense then to present it to them in this manor?

Here are the rules you must follow when marketing a product to your target market:

1. Focus on Detailed Benefits
2. Give Yourself Credibility
3. Define a Dramatic Difference

Most people list their product's features when trying to sell something to someone. However, if your customer isn't directly told how that feature will benefit them, it is very unlikely they will buy the product.

Remember, its OK for a customer to say no if what you offer does not apply to them, but never let a customer say no because they don't understand how your product will benefit them.

Here's an activity to turn your product's features into Detailed Benefits:

1. Start with a list of your product's features.
(At this point the customer sees your product like every one else's.)

ie. If you are selling cars:

*AC
*CD Player
*V8 Engine

2. Transform them into benefits.

*Cooling AC
*CD Sound System
*Powerful V8 Engine

3. Transform the benefits into Detailed Benefits.
(At this point the customer should feel an emotional connection with your product and imagine themselves experiencing it.)

*Cooling AC for those hot summer days.
*Play your favorite CDs on the incredible sound system.
*Drive and feel the powerful V8 engine and leave others behind in the dust.

It also helps to associate your marketing images with the same idea in mind. People usually buy products with an image already in their mind of what it will be like when they own your product. Capture this image correctly on your marketing materials, and it could mean the difference between having a winner or a loser.

Now take the detailed benefits and apply the credibility and a dramatic difference. (The dramatic difference should be 10 times greater than you think to really draw peoples attention.)

ie.

"Feel the Power of This V8 Engine" (title that describes a detailed benefit)

Come on down to "Cars-R-Us" this weekend and we'll give you "Tires for Life" (dramatic difference) when you invest in our new model ___________. Drive and Feel the powerful difference a V8 engine can make and leave others behind in the dust. Crank your ice cold AC on those hot summer days and listen to your favorite tunes on our incredible CD sound system. (detailed benefits) At "Cars-R-Us" we've been helping people like you own the cars they want for less, for over 20 years. We guarantee you'll be happy with your purchase or we'll buy it back from you. (credibility) Come see us this weekend and get "Tires for Life!" (call to action / dramatic difference)

Test it on yourself before you try it:

1. Go through the news paper and highlight the ads that capture your attention.
2. Evaluate them for the benefit they provide you.
3. Compare them to the ads that didn't grab your attention.

The ads that didn't grab your attention at first should contain no benefit at all or not apply to you. Remember its OK if it doesn't apply, but not if you can't understand how the product would benefit you.

Until next time...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

250 FREE Business Cards

I'm sure most people know that its absolutely necessary to have a business card stating who they are, what they do, and how they can be reached. If you don't have a business card yet - or you simply need new ones, check out Vista Print.

They have a great quality stock for a professional look, and offer 250 matt finished business cards FREE. You only pay shipping and handling. You may change the quantity, upgrade to a glossy finish, or even upload your own design for a few dollars more.

They also offer post cards, magnets, calendars, and a ton of other promotional items for your business.

Get 25% off their products now through this link only!

Friday, June 10, 2005

"16 Ways to Promote Your Business"

Here's a FREE eBook provided by Paypal, written by Jim Caroll and Rick Broadhead. You have to fill out a short survey (4-5 questions), but I figured it would be beneficial to some of my readers. The content is fairly general speaking, but would be great for someone just starting out in ecommerce. If you've been around a while though, you're probably already using most of these techniques. RMI creates a lot of the same marketing materials, and coding for ecommerce websites they speak about, including cross-selling code, featured items, opt-in permission marketing + list building, target market research, etc. If you see a good idea in the ebook, and would like to find out how your business can implement the tool - I can help. will@royallmedia.com

Here's the table of contents:

(1) Know your audience
(2) Your brand name
(3) Offline marketing
(4) Your retail store
(5) Gift certificates
(6) Cross-selling
(7) Product referral services
(8) Affiliate programs
(9) Permission marketing
(10) Search engines and Web directories
(11) Search engine optimization
(12) Online shopping directories
(13) Online advertising and sponsorships
(14) Keyword-based advertising
(15) Links from other Web sites
(16) Monitor activity on your Web site

16 Ways to Promote Your Business

Entry Chance for the Free Website Drawing

For those not familiar with the contest, we will be giving away 2 custom designed business websites with domain name registration and a year's worth of hosting each. This is over $5,000 worth of professional services! We have been offering two entries into the drawing by posting to our new forum.

Right now the forum is being upgraded. When it is finished, you will receive two entries for posting a question or starting a topic on marketing. Find the forum at http://royallmedia.proboards42.com

For now, get an entry to the website drawing by joining our mailing list by the 20th of June:
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

Be on the look out for another chance to enter and win in an upcoming post.

Free Google Style Advertising for Your Website

Thursday, June 09, 2005

*** Step 3. MP - "Don't Bet the Farm!"

This is step three of the Marketing Plan series of posts. First, read steps one and two if you haven't done so already.

An explosion occurred in my office today. The ideas were billowing out of my head like that of a fire from a burning building.

I now have a new product in mind, and I'll be testing it within a new market shortly. Dealing with new territory or new products in your marketing efforts can be, well... "risky business."

That's why I say you limit all your experimentation to only 30% of your marketing budget. This means if you have two new products and want to venture into two new territories, you should only be allocating 7.5% to each. 30/(2X2)=7.5 If you're unsure about a new product you have (as I am currently), and what the response will be... test it, but don't bet the farm.

Face it. We're in the business to make money, and you can't make money without taking some risk, however I don't think risking everything which you've worked so hard for is a smart thing to do. Yes, if things begin to work you may allocate more money to these parts of your marketing plan (see "Embelishing Your 70% for Growth.") but doing so in the beginning is like putting your house on the line at the black jack table in Vegas.

Ideas are good. Explosions of creativity are good. New markets mean new customers. Hand in hand, new products mean new profits. It is necessary to develop and change with the world around us, but it also makes sense to try new things slowly and patiently, and in the meantime stick with what you know has created explosive growth for your bottom line in the past.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Free Website Drawing UPDATE

In an effort to further promote our online marketing community, we have decided to give away TWO custom designed business websites to our readers. Originally stated as one website, we have upped the anti. Two lucky business owners will receive more than $5,000 dollars in internet marketing services.

For now, business owners are able to receive two entries in the drawing by signing up and posting to our marketing forum.

Look for a third chance to enter in an upcoming post.

Monday, June 06, 2005

"Use the Resources You Have to Your Advantage"

Marketing is one of many aspects needed in order to succeed in a business. The strategy by which a person develops the marketing plan, should be derived from the actual product they are trying to profit from. Like my colleagues have said, only utilize what resources you need. If you do not need a Web page, then why have one?

However, I'd like you to consider this:

Billions of people surf the web every day. If you own your own business and are having trouble thinking of products to create, why not create something that is computer-based? This way, production costs are low, and potential buyers include everyone that surfs the net.

Many people do not take advantage of what the Internet has to offer: information. That is all that Web pages, the Internet, and even computers are about. All from the comfort of your own home, you can look up almost anything; from different napkin folding techniques to creating atomic bombs. Within this research lies the beauty of the Internet. Having information readily available like this cries for attention. You, the entrepreneur, need to learn how to harness this information - for profit.

Only recently has something such as open source become a wide-spread notion. The idea of someone writing a program or creating something in demand, usually for non-profit where everyone has access to it and is able to edit it, is really being taken for granted.

Take blogs for example. It is the exchange of information which is user-driven by people like you and I. Now, you read it, take the information and move on. But, what about the people who created the actual blog? For simple blogs, the creators who take credit for the generation of traffic did not create the actual code or underlying structure for how blogs run, but have used prepackaged ideas which come with manuals on how to implement them. Then, the same person can approach companies whose motif are similar to the theme of the blog and see if they are interested in advertising some of their information, for a price of course. Now, other than effort, what monies, excluding the computer, did the person invest? Nothing. Blogging is a great marketing technique.

Ideas like this are all out there, free, for the taking.

What about something more in-depth? For the more advanced user, who actually creates their own Web site, or is interested in something more complex, there are plenty of tools out there such as message boards, and other Web and non-Web related products that can be implemented within the site's design. Learn them, just by doing the research and reading documentation on how the items and products work.

Just by reading, one can learn, and more than likely make money from, the comfort of their own home without investing anything other than their time.

"Positioning Your Company for Success"

Positioning is the art of putting your business and its products where they need to be at the exact time they need to be there. It's the age old saying, "Being in the right place, at the right time." It's about claiming a territory so that a prospect who enters that territory has no choice but to buy your product because they need it. It's about having a clear vision of who you are, who your employees and co-workers are, and what service your company can clearly provide to the market place.

A lot of companies have a "positioning statement", yet most of their employees could never tell you what it said. The positioning statement should work side by side with your business plan. To achieve success in marketing your products you, and your employees, must first make an appeal to the customer with your business and its brand. Unless you developed a mind-blowing new invention that stands attention all on its own (good luck in doing this), everyone from the janitor to the CEO must know what the goals of the company are (your plan), and why it will stand to succeed and reach those goals. (your positioning statement)

If everyone knows where they are headed - through the synergy created by working together, great things can be accomplished.

If your company has yet to develop its positioning statement. I have one cliche for you. "Get-R-Done." It may not be an easy task to accomplish (writing out the company's stance within a given market in just a few sentences), but you can start by answering the questions below.

1. How is the company unique?

2. What makes your company valuable to others?

3. What is your competitive advantage?

4. What do you do that creates a lasting experience?

Don't hesitate to shout if you have any questions. will@royallmedia.com

NEW Marketing Forum & Community!

We've added a forum to our blog. Readers can now post their own ideas or questions regarding their specific marketing issues and needs.

To get people to sign up and start posting, we're giving away TWO entries in the FREE website give-away drawing to be held later next month!

Get your questions answered! Get fresh ideas! Brag to the world what worked for you and your business! Network with, and meet other marketers!

http://royallmedia.proboards42.com

Friday, June 03, 2005

Royall Media, Inc. Announces a FREE WEBSITE GIVE-AWAY

Are we crazy?

Maybe.

Royall Media, Inc. will be giving away two FREE custom designed business website (no strings attached), domain name registration, as well as a year's worth of hosting.

Look for the upcoming post to this blog for your chance to enter and win!

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

"Your Marketing Plan is More Than a Component of Your Business Plan"

All to often when developing a business plan the marketing aspect plays a minor role giving way to other areas such as management or finances. You can't develop a business plan until you identify someone who wants to buy what you have to sell; therefore I say that the marketing plan should be written first and foremost. This should be set as priority number one. A new marketing plan should be made every time your business develops a new product, offers a new service, or enters a new market. It doesn't have to be a long, drawn out, formal plan each time, but it should give you a strategy to reach your desired market.

The best marketing plan will specify what is distinct and unique about your product or service; it focuses on what will make your company stand out from the rest. It should identify the size of your expected market and the share which you can reasonably expect to capture. It should describe who your typical customer is, why they will buy from you, and how you plan on attaining them. It should identify competitors and highlight advantages and disadvantages your business has in the market. And of course, no plan is complete without a time table, budget, and means for measuring results.

Without a strong marketing plan a company simply cannot grow. Unless you have developed a cure for aging, a time machine, or car that runs on water, people are not going to run to you. You must run to them. The marketing plan will provide a strategy to efficiently and effectively find, reach, and attract your customers.

Never forget profits come directly from customers; they don't come from managers, and they don't come from accountants. When the accountant starts paying you, then they can receive your primary focus. Until then the only way your business can flourish is with a steady market base, and that can only be achieved with a strong marketing plan.