Thursday, September 29, 2005

"New Media & Video Testimonials"

Television still provides us with the most impact when it comes to fast paced motion graphics, video, and audio, which can attract potential clients to a product or service. However, video on the web has more recently become a part of most online entrepreneur's marketing campaigns.

Although there are several ways for using video on the web, including product showcasing, demonstration, and general advertising like your standard TV commercials, by far the most common use for online video is for testimonial purposes.

By now, you probably know that testimonials can be an effective way for you to gain a potential client's trust, and you have probably included text forms in some of your marketing materials. (If you haven't, I suggest you start!) But there are some benefits to taking the extra time and effort to record, edit, and place on the web (or sales DVD) some video testimonials as well. Just remember to always ask permission before using a testimonial, if you are given a compliment by one of your clients.

Unlike your standard text testimonials, video testimonials are more effective for the following reasons:

• They allow the client to associate a real person with your product or service.
• They allow the client to read the person's facial expressions and body language to judge if they are really telling the truth or not.
• They eliminate any doubt in the prospect's mind that you made up the testimonial.
• They are more interesting because they stimulate your eyes AND ears, and you don't have to read them.
• You can generally include more of the testimonial on video than you can in a text format, allowing your prospective client more time to "warm up" to you and your product or service.

As I mentioned above, there are several mediums for showcasing your video testimonials once they are produced. You can have them on your website. You can have them on sales DVDs or CDs. And you can even play them on a monitor at your trade show booth. All in all, more people will be exposed to, and believe in, your testimonials (and product!) when they are captured on video, rather than in a plain text format. And although video testimonials do not replace text testimonials for marketing pieces such as your brochures, they will add yet another valuable weapon in your arsenal of marketing tactics.

Learn more about marketing with video testimonials here.

Friday, September 23, 2005

"Three Ways to Generate Business..."

And probably the ONLY ways to generate business:

1. Referrals

2. Previous Customers (Upgrading, Selling New Products)

3. Cold-Calling New Contacts (Advertising ie. TV, Newspapers, Telemarketing, Direct-Mail)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

"Marketing is an Anticipation Game"

In marketing, we essentially invest dollars for the future cash flow return it is expected to provide us. The problem arises sometimes, that once the initiatives are enacted, the information, method, or system has fallen out of popularity.

For example, brochures that quote pricing are dated by nature, and by the time you get them designed, printed, and effectively being passed around from client to client, your pricing structure is probably ready for a review.

Trends die, and new trends are born, anticipate the next hit and be first.

• Digital New Media will be the wave of the future. Instead of watching the tube, you'll be watching the computer screen, so start planning for it. (The new RMI website will feature some high-impact video, to be released towards the end of October.)

• iPods are already big, podcasting popularity is growing, and "broadcatching" (of video) will be the next major hit, delivered to devices like your cell phone for example. Plan for it.

• Digital business cards are growing in popularity. One product we at RMI develop are Mini DVD rom discs (don't confuse this with the MiniDV video format - these are actual DVDs that are small), some of which are even shaped like business cards. As these make sense for tech companies, giving out previews or examples of their products, they are not yet cost effective for everyone - but they will be.

• Digital memory cards - like those memory USB chips we're now familiar with, will contain games, ads, and other information, and will be available for purchase, or possibly as promotions to get you to plug them into your cell phones or PDAs.

The point is, you have to do more than keep up with the technology, you have to stay ahead of it.

Bill Gates is a prime example of practicing this, as he always has Microsoft developing software which needs more computing power than currently available on the market; but he knows that computers will continue to get faster, and memory cheaper, so that it only makes sense to stay ahead of the game and be first to market with new and innovative products.

This is the future of advertising!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

"Search Engine Optimization and Back Link Building"

By now, if you've been attempting to raise the position of your website in Google, Yahoo, or MSN, you know that one of the ways to do so is through "back links." (There are others too, like fresh content and updates, meta tags, and more.)

If you're not sure what back links are, back links are links to your site from someone else's. Each back link acts as a vote for your site. In other words, the search engines think that if others are willing to link to your website, you must have relevant worthwhile information on it. However, there are a few points to remember:

1. The quality of the pages linking to you matter.

2. The higher their ranking, the more their vote weighs for your site.

3. Be careful not to get banned from the search engines by creating many different junk sites that link to your site.

4. Don't SPAM all over the web, linking your site however and whenever you can. You should only be leaving your link on other relevant sites when you have something to contribute!

Check out this great article at Entrepreneur's Journey on back links, and this article at Charlie Cook's Marketing Blog

Friday, September 16, 2005

"Meet Five New People Per Day"

One of the easiest ways to insure that you are marketing yourself and/or your business on a regular basis is to meet five new people per day.

If you met five new people per day, you'd have met 150 people per month on average, for a total of 1,825 people by the end of the year.

How many potential clients, out of 1,825 people, could you find?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

"10 Rules for Successful Peer to Peer Networking"

10. Expand your network and continuously find new events, new faces, new groups to belong to, and new areas to make your presence known.

Find out more about your peers - WHO ARE THEY? Ask questions, find out how their business works, who their clients are, how you can help them. Shut up and turn your ears on.

Give and you shall receive. Don't expect people to help you if you aren't helping them. No one wants a dead beet's business card in their pocket. PROVE YOUR WORTH. Help them out and you'll see them go out of their way to help you out.

Go where people know you and you already have a presence. These people are already willing to help you.

What will you do to motivate your new sales team members? What's in it for them?

Give and you shall receive.

Know who you're looking for. Clearly define it. Avoid asking for referrals for "anybody who..." or "everybody who..."

Network everywhere. Network at the mall, grocery store, online, at the gas station, everywhere.

Did I forget to say give first? You'll build relationships this way and people will want to thank you.

And the number 1 way to network successfully...

Be a real, sincere, friend to you business partners. Talk about OTHER THINGS besides business. Have meetings OUTSIDE your scheduled business meetings. Have a BBQ. Go to the beach together. Do something, but stop looking at people like a simple source of revenue. They are people too - treat them like it!

Monday, September 12, 2005

"Have Another Business Gladly Cover Some of Your Marketing Costs"

If you have been reading past posts on this blog, you know that I am a fan of partnering up with another business that targets the same client base you do, but is not in competition with you. For example, a Printing company could partner with a Design company, etc.

As a general rule, you should strive to partner with 2-5 businesses that are willing to help with your marketing efforts. (Of course, you should be willing to help with theirs too.)

One way this helps is by doubling the amount of leads and research each business generates. You share your leads with me, since our customers need the both of us, and I share my leads with you.

Another way to help each other is by cost sharing in your advertising. This works for the both of you because a larger ad is usually cheaper, per inch, than a smaller ad. To effectively share costs, buy the larger ad space and divide it up amongst the two of you. Have your designer create two separate ads that fit in the larger ad space.

For example:

A half page ad in a small newsletter sent to your target audience might cost $500.

A full page ad in that same newsletter might cost $750.

Therefore, each business saves a total of 125$ per ad!

Little ways of teaming up together can help reduce your costs, and marketing efforts!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Marketer's Advantage . NET

A great resource for anyone involved in marketing, this site contains other marketing articles and a directory of many other helpful marketing sites.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

"Growing Your Business with Referrals"

In previous posts, I've discussed many ways to grow your business through referrals; some of them include offering incentive programs for customers, teaming up with other business owners in your field - however not in competition with you, and even joining your local Chamber of Commerce.

I've come across another, and I think it's well worth the small yearly investment to become a member!

Business Network Int'l (or BNI) is an internationally based organization that helps small business owners build their business through a referral network of other business owners. Most major metropolitan areas have local chapters, and some such as Orlando, have several. (We have 7!)

The premise is built on the fact that if you know, and hang out with, a select group of business owners every couple of weeks, you'll be able to refer people you come across to them, who need their services. (And, of course, in return they'll do the same for you.)

Unlike your local Chamber of Commerce, these chapters only allow one representative per field. This way there is no competition within the group! For example, Royall Media creates influential marketing media - we create videos, print materials, and web sites. No one else in my chapter does this, and no one else will be allowed to join my chapter that does, so long as I am a member.

Yearly dues are $295.00, and the group meets about once a month. Depending on your type of business, one referral can easily help you to recoup the yearly investment.

Check out the international BNI website, and find your local chapter. When I joined, they even let me come to a few meetings without paying dues, just to check it out. With the free trial, what do you have to loose?