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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.
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Day 5. What about the competition?

Welcome back! Hopefully you now have some ideas simmering and are getting closer to finding a way to make money. So today I want you to start investigating the competition.

Competition is a good thing. Competition means that people want what you have to sell. A lack of competition indicates that there is no market. I believe we can learn from our competitors and even do business with them. In the 21 years I have been in business my most lucrative contracts have come by working collaboratively with my competitors.

What form does your competition take?

The obvious form of competition is from your direct competitors, people offering a very similar service to yours. Of course these people can be a threat but they can also be really helpful to our businesses. Have you noticed how restaurants in proximity to other restaurants usually do much better than those that are isolated? The more you understand about your direct competitors the better.

  • Exactly what do they offer?
  • What do they charge?
  • How do they trade?
  • What are their operating hours?
  • Who are their customers?
  • What do they do well?
  • What do they not do so well?
  • How busy are they?
  • What marketing do they do?
  • Are there gaps in their service provision that you could fill?

Most businesses also have indirect competitors, in other words another business competing for your customer’s pound or dollar but in a different way. For example, you might take your hostess a bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates, a bottle of wine, some handmade toiletries or something else. Your customers have a budget and can only spend it once, what options do they consider? Understanding how your prospects think about what they will buy will help you to identify your indirect competitors. When you know that you can go through the questions above to understand where you can compete.

Be inspired by your competitors

CompetitionStrong competition will keep you on your toes. It will encourage you to look for new ideas, to challenge yourself and your colleagues to even better customer service and to find your point of difference. Take an in depth look at your immediate competition. Look at what they do well and where there is scope for you to compete.

ACTION: Draw up a table to record your findings.

You probably know who your local competitors are but if not talk to potential customers about where they currently go to meet their needs. Take a walk around your neigbourhood with your eyes wide open. Look in local business directories or talk to your Chamber of Commerce or local authority. It might even be worth trying out their services.

For competition further afield do an internet search, visit their websites, track them on social media, look at review sites such as Trip Adviser if appropriate. Read their blogs, watch their You Tube videos. These will usually give you an insight into the personality and interests of your competitors which might help you find your point of difference.

Read your trade press, some of your brightest competitors are probably using PR to build their businesses so may well be featured in articles. What can you learn?

Don’t be intimidated!

I go back to my first point, competition is a good thing, don’t be put off by it unless your market is already saturated and you are only offering a ‘me too’ service. Use your understanding of your competitors and your understanding of your own unique personality to craft an offering that is right for your target market. One that will appeal, that will have a character of its own and one that you will be proud to be associated with. I look forward to reading about how your offer is different.

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. When you have completed today’s task  why not tell us how your offer will be different to your competitors?
  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 Today I’m working on understanding my competitors on Day 5 of @Glenda_S 21 day challenge, #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow when we’ll be starting to look at tools to evaluate our ideas.

Day 4. How will you make your money?

Hello again.

As we discussed yesterday the best way to make money is to find a target market with a problem that you could solve at a profit. If you struggled with that exercise then today’s activity might help you to identify other ways in which you could make money.

Ideas for businesses

If you are already in business then your best source for making more money is your existing customers. These are the people who already know, like and trust you.

  • Ask these people what else you could do to help them.
  • Review your existing customer’s purchase history & offer them a product/service that they haven’t bought before, perhaps as a special deal with something they buy regularly
  • Remind customers that it’s probably time to buy again. For example we have a water filter that needs changing every six months or so, if the supplier reminded us it was time for a new one we would probably buy from them rather than going back to Google!
  • Offer your existing customers a reward for introducing new customers when those people buy from you
  • Put your prices up!
  • Run an exclusive ‘customer and their friends’ event. Make it a party but use the opportunity to sell.
  • Consider joining an affiliate scheme to sell other people’s products which would appeal to your existing customers.
  • Introduce a new product or service based on your understanding of your current customers’ needs.
  • If you run a delivery scheme could you charge another business a service fee for delivering a product on their behalf? For example a greengrocer could deliver bread or flowers.

Bring in new customers

  • Every business needs new customers, do you have a regular marketing campaign to enable more people to hear about what you do? (We’ll be developing a marketing plan later in the challenge)
  • Use your shop window or exhibitions etc. to showcase your offer in a way to appeal to new customers

Explore new routes to market

  • Take your business out into new spaces. For example, Simon Osborne of Poisson fishmongers in Ealing is getting great results from a stall in Brentford market.
  • Look out for pop up shop opportunities, for example Barclay’s Bank in Hounslow is offering opportunities for businesses to display their wares in their banking halls
  • Should you have an Amazon or Ebay shop?
  • Are you selling online either through your own website or via Facebook. Facebook seems to work particularly well for craft type businesses.
  • Look for opportunities to collaborate with other businesses

Getting new ideas

  • Read relevant trade press, visit exhibitions and trade shows to make sure you are aware of new developments and opportunities in your industry (more about that tomorrow)
  • Keep your eyes and ears open, it’s surprising how easy it is to pick up new ideas by seeing what other people are doing or hearing people discussing their problems, likes and dislikes. (You might find this article useful http://thetrainingpack.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/are-you-an-entrepreneur/)
  • Do a customer survey
  • Borrow ideas you see on your travels especially when you are in a different environment
  • Watch some of the business TV shows such as Dragon’s Den or the Apprentice
  • Try some creative thinking techniques. Read the works of Edward de Bono or search ‘Creative thinking techniques’ on the internet.
Stimulate your creative thinking by coming up with a list of different uses for this plastic bottle. Try doing the exercise with other people to get even more ideas. I challenge you to get 50!

Stimulate your creative thinking by coming up with a list of different uses for this plastic bottle. Try doing the exercise with other people to get even more ideas. I challenge you to get 50!

Ideas for new businesses  

  • Do you have a skill or a hobby that you could make money from?
  • What problems frustrate you? Do other people have the same problems? Can you find a solution that other people would pay for?
  • What are other business owners struggling with? Could you offer a product or service to help them?  (Book keeping, marketing, administration, deliveries, customer research are just a few ideas)
  • What new technologies are in development? Do these offer you an opportunity (think iPhone/iPad apps etc.)
  • Are there any infrastructure developments where you live that you could take advantage of?
  • What government initiatives could you exploit? (energy efficiency, recycling, employment support immediately come to mind)

Ideas for all

  • Have a clear out! Have a sale or sell on Ebay
  • Re-package your products and run a limited time offer on your existing range
  • Christmas is coming, how about putting together some gift packages, maybe in collaboration with other traders.
  • Sell your time by offering a service other people need: cleaning, ironing, gardening, baby-sitting, shopping etc. (This doesn’t have to be a long term option but can be a way of making cash whilst you get your big idea off the ground. A friend of mine did early morning cleaning when she was setting up her marketing business, it gave her immediate cash without encroaching on the time she needed to be available for her clients. Just make sure that you comply with relevant legislation)
  • Do you have a skill that can make you money? Have you noticed how many cooks are turning their hands to running supper clubs?
  • Write a blog, build your audience and then use it to generate an income from advertising. This is not easy but is working very well for some people.

ACTION: Read this article and then take some time out to let the ideas form. Go for a walk, do some gardening, go to the gym or just sit. Switch off interruptions. Put up the ‘Do not disturb sign’. Tell other people to go away! Just give yourself some thinking time. Write down your ideas today but don’t evaluate them, we’ll do that on Day 7 when your ideas have had time to develop.

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Why not use the Facebook group or the comments section to share your ideas and seek input from other challengers.
  2. Click to Tweet this I’m busy generating money making ideas on @Glenda_S Training Pack’s 21 Day Make Money Challenge #21DMMC 
  3. Join us tomorrow when we’ll be understanding our competition.