Category Archives: Marketing

Day 19. Using PR.

With just three days to go how is your Money Making Plan shaping up?

Today we’re going to consider how you can use Public Relations to raise awareness of your money making venture. In essence what we want is for other people to do the promotion for you without being paid!

Referrals and recommendations

One of the best ways to generate interest in your money making venture is to get existing customers and people in your network to recommend you. Some will do so without being asked, others may be willing but need prompting. Think of ways that you can encourage referrals and recommendations:

  • Ask for them, include a note on receipts (e.g. if you are happy with your purchase tell your friends, if you’re not tell us)
  • Thank people when they pass on a recommendation, send a card, write a letter, call them, thank them publically at a networking event. If the lead turns into significant business go a bit further by sending flowers or taking your recommender out for a meal
  • Set up a recommend a friend scheme perhaps with a money off voucher for both the new customer’s first purchase and for the introducer, or formalise it into an affiliate scheme
  • Use your networking events to make it clear what kind of referrals you are looking for
  • Produce some marketing material that those willing to recommend you can have  to pass on to their associates

Media coverage

Advertising can be very expensive and is rarely as effective as an article in a publication read by your target audience. If you have a big budget then you can appoint a PR consultant to get you into the media but this can be expensive and results are not guaranteed. You can improve your chances by choosing your consultant carefully. Make sure that they specialise in your area of interest and that they have contacts in the relevant media; ask to see examples of the coverage that they have got for other people.

There is a lot you can do yourself with a bit of time and effort. Remember that journalists are not there to do your advertising for you but to produce stories of interest to their audience. This means that, to get news coverage, you need to have a story not a sales pitch. Surveys are often popular, can you turn your market research into a story without disclosing confidential information or giving away your competitive advantage? Can you celebrate your launch? Are you breaking new ground with your idea? Are you doing something unusual? Can you create a story? Take a lesson from Richard Branson who makes stories when he needs press coverage e.g. by dressing up as a Maharaja and riding an elephant or by abseiling down a building when Virgin Atlantic is opening a new route.

Daiva, Ursula and Yemi from our Hounslow Enterprise Club had their new businesses featured in the local press this week.

Daiva, Ursula and Yemi from our Hounslow Enterprise Club had their new businesses featured in the local press this week.

Turn your story into a news release and send it to named journalists who write on your topic in publications that target your market. Do your homework, Don’t be tempted to blanket mail all journalists, they will bin your release. Think carefully about possible media, you may have success on smaller publications produced on a shoestring than in the mainstream. Think about your local media, small special interest magazines, company newsletters, customer magazines, student media, local radio, smaller TV channels etc. Click on this link for more about how to put a news release together.

Remember to keep an eye on your target journalists in your Twitter stream. Are they requesting help with stories? If you can’t help do you know someone who could? Reply to the tweet with an introduction. Re-tweet the message, Compliment them on interesting articles. Share some knowledge or information that will add to the article. Build a relationship.

A word or warning. Unlike paid for advertising or advertorials you will have no control over what a journalist publishes so be especially careful about what you disclose in an interview. Off the record conversations don’t always stay that way. Don’t tell a journalist anything you wouldn’t want to read about! Remember a journalist’s primary interest is a good story.

ACTION: How are you going to incorporate PR into your promotional plan? Devise a system for getting recommendations and referrals and/or develop your story into a news release and send it to at least one journalist.

Should you be running an event?

This one isn’t low budget! However running a launch party, an open evening, a party or some other event to which you can invite customers, prospects, journalists, local dignitaries and perhaps celebrities can go a great way to creating a buzz about what you are doing and get you some press coverage. This 21 Day Make Money Challenge has been a PR activity for me and whilst I’d love to see more of you commenting, tweeting or joining us on Facebook it has got people following across the world which was one of my objectives.

If you are going to do an event make sure you are clear about what you want to get out of it, set a SMART objective. Set a budget and think what you can do for that money. Get the word out early and often to make sure that people come; there’s nothing worse than having the press and a local dignitary as your only attendees! Ask your friends and family for support if need be. Consider bringing in a professional events planner if your budget will allow.

Think what message you want people to take away. Will you deliver a speech? What do you want the press to write about? If you want a celebrity or local dignitary to say a few words brief them about what you want them to say. Do you need business cards, fliers, brochures or a promotional gift for people to take away with them?

Don’t just do an event for the sake of it. If you are raising money for charity have lots of ways in which people can donate. If you are doing it to win new customers or raise your profile tell your guests how they can help you. Then go and have some fun!

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘I’m working on my PR on @Glenda_S 21 Day Make Money Challenge #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be taking action.
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Day 18. Using off line marketing.

If you listened to some experts you might believe that the only place to be is online but this isn’t true. Yes there are opportunities to make money online but it can be easier to cut through the noise when we do what others are not doing so today’s challenge is going to consider some offline marketing activities and tactics.

Build a database

Every marketing expert will tell you that you need to build a database of prospects and customers and who am I to disagree? There are a number of different ways to do this but you need to make sure that you operate within the data protection legislation in your own country, typically this means making sure that you have the recipients permission to contact them.

I think people are becoming more reticent about handing over their details because we are all struggling with the amount of information we are bombarded with. We therefore need to make sure that we offer something of real value in return for someone’s contact details and that we keep offering them value to retain their interest. It’s probably easiest to collect names and email addresses in return for an interesting e-book or a valuable report but then the only means we have of staying in touch is by email. It is very easy for someone to unsubscribe once they’ve taken advantage of your free offer.

A direct mail letter may get more attention than an email.

A direct mail letter may get more attention than an email.

What we really need is someone’s mailing address. One way to get this is to follow up your free online product with an offer of a sample or a physical product, for example a CD or DVD or a book (but remember that you’ll have to pay postage so the lighter the better). Another option is to rent a mailing list. Check that the company you are using is reputable and that they collect data legally. Typically mailing lists are compiled from membership lists, magazine subscriptions, company information etc. so it should be quite easy to be very specific about the kind of contacts you want. For example you should be able to refine a request by, for example, location, job title, type and size of company or interests of an individual. So if you are very clear about your target market you should be able to purchase a mailing list of people who fit your specification. Think carefully about what data you would like to pay for. Given that it typically takes eight or more approaches to turn a prospect into a customer it can be a good idea to purchase a name and mailing address together with email and phone number so that you can vary the methods by which you follow up your approach.

A word of warning, a mailing list does not belong to you so you can’t add the names to your database unless you get a response from a name on the list and then you can add that person to your database. Mailing lists are typically sold for single or multiple use. If you buy for single use you can only mail that list once, it will be seeded with names to catch you out if you use it more often. A multiple use list will usually specify how many times you can use it over what period. I recommend buying a list for multiple use as you will rarely make a sale on your first contact.

Another way to build your list is to run a competition in which entries have to be accompanied by the data you want to collect. Do be careful to check that you are operating your competition legally. If you decide to sponsor a competition in a newspaper or magazine make sure that your agreement with the publication allows you to collect entrants’ contact details otherwise you may find that the data belongs to them.

ACTION: Decide on at least one action you will take to build your mailing list.

Crafting your message

Whether you are going to send direct mail letters to named individuals, brochures, fliers, postcards or any other print material there are a few things that you will need to consider when producing your material:

  1. Focus on your prospect and their needs, If you really understand your target market you will be able to ‘speak their language’.
  2. Use your headline to gain your prospect’s attention. A question will make them think. A question that helps them ‘feel the pain’ is even better.

    This postcard has worked well for one of my clients.

    This postcard has worked well for one of my clients.

  3. Rub a bit of salt in the wound so that your prospect is really intrigued by how you can help them.
  4. Show how your solution will help them.
  5. Make sure your copy is benefit rich. Too many people focus on features not benefits. Turn your features into benefits: ‘We offer one hour delivery slots’ (feature) ‘so you don’t have to stay in all day waiting for us’ (benefit); ‘our trousers are teflon coated’ (feature) ‘so you don’t have to iron them’ (benefit). Make sure that the benefits you describe are the ones that are most important to your target audience.
  6. Use testimonials and guarantees to make a purchase less risky.
  7. Make sure you have a strong call to action preferably appearing at several points throughout your communication. Use action verbs: Call, visit, ring etc.
  8. Consider offering a time limited incentive to take action now. Make this really clear.
  9. Check that you use ‘you’ much more frequently than ‘we’. Customers are not interested in your history but in what you can do for them.
  10. Resist the temptation to put your business name at the top of the page, a prospect isn’t interested in who you are until they are interested in what you can do for them.
  11. If you are writing a letter use a P.S. to encourage your reader to take action now. The PS might be the only thing they read unless you can make them realise that they could be missing out if they don’t read the whole letter.
  12. Long copy outperforms short in most tests. In other words longer letters allow you to work on your prospect’s emotions and make them want to take the action you want them to take. Remember people buy with their emotions far more frequently than they buy with logic.
  13. Consider using photographs to grab attention and to appeal to your target. If you can find a photo to increase emotional connection so much the better. Take a lesson from charities who show the suffering that they are trying to relieve in order to persuade their targets to support them.

ACTION: Draft one letter, brochure or flier and test it on a small sample of your target market, if it works send it to more people, if it doesn’t change one thing and test again.

Networking

I can’t write a challenge about off line marketing without mentioning networking. There are plenty of people who will tell you that it doesn’t work but I’m not one of them. I believe that networking with your target market will work but it may take time. Networking is about building relationships so never go for the hard sell and be as generous as you can. This post is long enough without me writing reams on successful networking so I’m just going to direct you to some articles on my regular blog:

http://thetrainingpack.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/a-networking-conundrum/

http://thetrainingpack.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/if-networking-doesnt-work-its-your-own-fault/

http://thetrainingpack.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/how-to-make-networking-work-for-you/

http://thetrainingpack.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/12-top-tips-for-networking-success/

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘I’m busy developing marketing ideas on @Glenda_S 21 day make money challenge #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be working out how to generate PR.

Day 17. Using social media

With very few exceptions I believe that every one trying to make money should use social media. If your prospects go anywhere near the Internet when making purchasing decisions then you should be on social media. Yes I know it can be time consuming and fraught with danger but those things can be managed. So today I’m going to invite you to develop a social media strategy.

Which channels should you be on?

Infographic from mashable.com using data from Pew Research

Infographic from mashable.com using data from Pew Research

I’m not going to suggest that you go mad and get active on every platform especially if you are not currently active on any but, if you are not already active on social networks, I do want you to experiment. As with all marketing you should go where your customers and prospects are but you can also use the networks to find suppliers, journalists, employees, freelancers and collaborators and to keep an eye on what your competitors are up to. Don’t tell me that your target audience are not on social networks because some of them will be, even my nearly 90 year old Dad has a Facebook account! One survey found that 32% of over 65s use social media and that number is likely to continue growing, so which platform to choose.

Facebook: Love it or hate it you should be on Facebook, it is by far the biggest platform with over 1.15 billion users of whom 40% are said to be in the 45-54 age range. This is interesting since the perception is often that Facebook has a younger user demographic. With Facebook you can have a personal page where you encourage your ‘friends’ to engage with you; you can control how much information different people see with the way you set your privacy settings. You can also have a business page which you invite people to ‘like’ your page which then has them receiving information you post. You can also set up groups within Facebook where members can connect with each other, discuss issues and share items of interest, Click the link at the bottom of the page to be taken to the 21 Day Challenge group. I’d love you to pop along and ‘like’ the Training Pack’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheTrainingPack

TwitterMy personal favourite! It is a micro blogging site so you tell your story in 140 characters which you ‘Tweet’ to your followers. Your followers can then retweet your messages to their followers which can extend your reach considerably. Twitter enables you to share links to websites, blog posts, booking media and more. It is very well used by journalists looking for quotes or people to feature in articles. Twitter makes celebrities and industry notables much easier to contact than any other medium, replies aren’t guaranteed but many do engage with their genuine fans. It would be great if you could follow me on Twitter at @Glenda_S

Linked InIs generally seen as the professional site and is used to find employment, professional services contracts and/or employees. Again Linked In has interest groups which you can join and contribute to to enhance your online profile and establish your expertise. If you are selling a product or service in the business/employment arena then you should have a Linked In profile at the very least. I’m on Linked In as Glenda Shawley, I’d be happy to connect with you there.

Pinterest is a very visual medium where you ‘pin’ images to boards with a suitable comment. It is especially useful if you are selling a product as you can upload images and links to your sales pages. I also find it useful for developing vision boards such as the one recommended on Day 2 of this challenge. I also like the fact that I can support my clients by posting images of their products or services too. I’d love you to follow my new business Pinterest account at www.pinterest.com/thetrainingpack Have you visited the Pinterest board I set up for this challenge yet?

Google Plus: I have to confess that I’m still getting to grips with Google Plus but I can see it has the potential to be a really useful tool. The big advantage is that it integrates effectively with other Google services such as You Tube and it certainly helps with search engine optimisation. You can post messages, pictures, videos and more to the site and organise your connections into circles so that they only receive the most relevant of your communications. The Hangouts feature within Google Plus allows you to have online meetings with a small group using your computer’s webcam so this would be a great bonus for trainers, coaches and others working remotely.

You Tube: is the second biggest search engine after Google so you should be on there! You don’t have to film yourself or even do a voice over if you don’t want to. You can make your PowerPoint presentations into videos as I did in Days 15 and 16 of this challenge, you can make an Animoto video as I did on Day 2, you can record testimonials from your customers as Valerie Smith of Viva Videos did for me below or you can film an event, product demonstration, talk or anything that takes your fancy.

Instagram: is another visual medium where users can share photographs and videos. One way to use Instagram would be to get your customers to take photos of themselves using your products, attending your events or gathering information for you. With their permission you could share those photographs in your marketing activities.

Managing your communications

It is essential that you manage your social media engagement or there is a chance that it will take over your life. I know that you will come across people offering to manage it for you but whilst that has its uses I don’t think you can abdicate all responsibility yourself. The most important thing is to have a strategy, or strategies. You may have a different strategy for each network, for instance you might use Twitter to connect with journalists, Facebook and Pinterest to sell product and Instagram to engage with your customers.

ACTION: Choose one or more social networks that you are not currently using effectively and decide what your objective will be for being there. Who do you want to engage with e.g. prospects, customers, suppliers journalists etc.? What do you want to achieve, is it to build your prospect list, to sell £x amount, to get press coverage or something else? Integrate this with the marketing plan you started developing on Day 15.

Here are just a few tips for the most widely used networks.

Which ever network you decide to focus on be active, spend at least 10 minutes a day taking part. Engage people in conversation. Be interesting. Use any insight tools they have to see when your audience is most engaged and be there then, this often means first thing in the morning, lunchtime, just before close of business and maybe evening.

Use a tool like Hootsuite to manage posts in advance across a number of platforms. For instance if you are organising an event you’ll want to make promotional posts across your different networks at different times of the day, you can use Hootsuite to schedule these in advance. This is particularly useful when you have a very busy day, you remain visible on social networks without having to find time you don’t have!

Facebook: building a following takes time, watch what other people are doing successfully and think how you can adapt their ideas to suit you. Photographs tend to be more popular and readily shared than words. Join in conversations, be encouraging, share tips. Many users, especially in the ‘craft’ sector run contests open to people who ‘share’ and ‘like’ their pages, they draw a winner when they hit a predetermined  target for number of likes. Facebook has an enormous amount of data about their users which allows them target your advertising very precisely, you can give it a try by putting a cap on how much money you want to spend a day or for the campaign.

Twitter: Build your own followers by following other people who meet your strategic objectives, many will follow you back. Use the search function to find people. Re-tweet messages for people you’d like to build a relationship with and whose messages would be of interest to your followers. To make seeing important messages more easily create lists and add the people you are following to these so that you only see their messages. For instance I have a list of journalists so if I’m looking for a PR opportunity I will click on that list to see if there are any suitable requests there.

Use the # function to find and join conversations that meet your objectives. For example #bizitalk will find people talking about business; #London will find people talking about London. Use Twitter to drive invite people to open events and to drive traffic to your website or blog. A word of warning, Twitter has some controls in place to keep things personal this can be a disadvantage if you follow a lot more people than follow you back. It tends to kick in for the first time when you follow 2000 people whilst your own following is a way off that number.

Linked In: make sure that you have an up to date professional profile and look for, and then participate in groups that allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and personality but be very careful about making an overt sales pitch, they are generally frowned upon in Linked In.

ACTION: Take the channel that you set objectives for and start building your following and posting interesting content. Use the comments function here to tell us how to tell us how to find you on your chosen channel and then follow the other people who list their details here or in our Facebook group. Connect with me using the links above and I’ll follow you back (unless Twitter still has me in jail!)

Recommended reading

I can’t cover all there is to know in one, even rather long, challenge. I suggest you use the link below for plenty of quality content which will answer many of the social media questions you are likely to have. Why not post some questionsin the comment box or in the Facebook group and see if we can share expertise with other challengers.

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘Now which social network am I going to try to grow? #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be considering our offline marketing.

Day 16. Should you be blogging?

This blog about a controversial advertising campaign was one of my most successful.

This blog about a controversial advertising campaign was one of my most successful.

Did you start to think about how you are going to market your money making venture yesterday? Did you consider blogging? Today we’re going to think whether a blog would be useful to you.

Why blog?

If you need to be online but don’t have the budget for a purpose designed website then a blog might be the answer. You can run a website and blog for very little or even no money. A blog is particularly useful if you need to demonstrate your expertise and reach out to a global market.

A blog will allow you to build a following and track where your visitors are coming from and what they are reading. You can promote engagement with your prospects by encouraging comments and polls as well as integrating your posts with other social media channels. To be most effective you will need to post articles on a regular basis and keep on subject.

Successful blogging

There are millions of blogs online which makes it really difficult to get your voice heard. However there are a number of things that you can do to improve your chances:

  • be really clear about the audience you are writing for (this should be the same as your target customer)
  • be consistent in what you write about, e.g. if you are wanting to recruit people to your diet programme write about healthy food, if you are raising money for charity write about the work of the charity and the problems they are solving
  • be regular, commit to posting on a regular basis to build your readership. Try to post at least once a week, twice is even better but if you can’t manage that write at least one post per month
  • develop your voice, let your personality shine through. People buy people, not everyone will like you but that’s OK. If you’re too bland you’ll win few readers. Don’t be afraid to be controversial or to write about controversial subjects. I always get more engagement on my blog when I write about a topic where people have strong opinions.
  • use other social media to drive traffic to your blog
  • comment on other people’s blogs from your blog account, choose people whose audience is similar to yours
  • seek opportunities to write guest posts especially on high traffic blogs targeting your audience
  • promote your blog on your business card, email signature etc.

Setting up your blog

In most polls WordPress emerges as the clear winner of the most popular blog host contest but some swear by Blogger, others like Posterous and Tumblr is growing in popularity particularly for blogs with high visual content. My personal favourite is WordPress which is easy to use, integrates well with You Tube for uploading video and gives great insights into where visitors are coming from and what they are reading.

If you haven’t set up a blog before this video might help to get you going on WordPress.

ACTION: Think whether a blog would be useful as part of your promotional strategy and if the answer is yes, set up your blog. Write your first article and share it in the comments here and in our Facebook group. We’ll share the links and promote your blog on Twitter too.

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘I’m thinking about blogging #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be working out how to use social media to promote sales.

Day 15. Developing your promotional plan.

Welcome to the third and final week of the challenge. By now you should have a plan and a budget and be ready to start selling. We’re going to spend the next five days looking at how you are going to find and win customers for your money making project.Today we’re going to start thinking about your promotional plan, you’ll probably want to add to this as we cover different marketing activities in the following days.

First things first.

There are a number of things we need to think about before you can develop your promotional plan. On Day 3 you identified your target market, how specific were you? Did you really drill down until you had a narrow but deep niche of potential customers? If not I suggest that you take another look. The more precise you can be the better. When you know exactly who your target customer is it is easier to find them and speak their language. Try and build a picture of your target in your mind’s eye, give her a name and a personality, then you’ll be able to have a conversation with her when you start promoting your offer.

On Day 5 you researched your competition. What did that tell you about where your offer is different? How is your offer better than your prospect’s? Why should customers buy from you in preference to your competitors? You need to understand this in order to communicate it to your prospects in a persuasive manner. Some people refer to this as your USP or Unique Selling Proposition, others as your points of difference.

What problems are you solving for your prospects? How do those problems make them feel? What would life be like for them if their problem was solved? These are the messages your prospects need to hear. This is what you should be promoting.

N.B. If you are doing this challenge to make money for a good cause you will need to find an emotional reason for your prospects to connect with that good cause. You might have to make them feel guilty, sympathetic or sad.

Remember people buy more with their emotions than with their reason!

ACTION: Be specific about your target market and the problems that you will be solving for them and identify how your solution differs from your competitors. Write this down.

Developing your promotional plan

Nobody can buy a product or service that they’ve never heard of so your promotional plan needs to be focused on raising awareness and desire in your target audience and then getting them to take action and buy.

Here’s a template for you to use to scope out your promotional plan. Be clear about which target market you want to sell to, if you have more than one you may wish to focus on different groups in different months. Set your self a clear objective for what you want to achieve each month. Your objectives might include:

  • a sales target
  • number of signups to your mailing list
  • number of downloads on a free product given in exchange for names and contact details
  • number of enquiries
  • number of hits on website
  • number of people booking a trial session

As you will see all of the objectives should be very specific and measurable, they should also be achievable and have a deadline. So set yourself a specific objective for each month. You might find this example helpful.

ACTION: Complete at least the first two columns on the marketing plan template. You might also like to start thinking about activities that you could do in the remaining columns but I’ll have more ideas for those in coming days.

A quick lesson in marketing.

 

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘I’ve started work on my marketing plan with @Glenda_S #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be thinking about blogging..