Cost Effective Small Business Marketing Strategies and Tips – Part Four

In my Part 3 article on Marketing Strategies for your Business, I discussed Marketing Research and Targeted Marketing and how the two work together. In this article, I will show how the Mass Media can be effectively used, even on a tight budget. Let’s get to it!

Using the Power of Mass Media

Why use Mass Media? Well, it gives you a wide spread identity and recognition, which in turn, makes your Targeted Marketing more effective. It helps you establish and maintain a brand. Mass Media is far less expensive now, and it now targets small businesses.

MASS MEDIA OUTLETS

Newspapers

While Online Marketing is really giving newspaper advertising a run for its money, you will find that newspaper ads are getting cheaper and cheaper as a result. Moreover, a newspaper can add flexibility and can be quite targeted if necessary. Always test your ads by including codes so you know which ones are most effective. Narrow your ads to the most effective papers by contrasting ads and gauging the differences.

–Send in good artwork and confirm with the production department that your Ad will print well.
–I like to run smaller ads in different sections with tracking codes to determine your best as placement.
–I like the Classified Section Ads because this is where serious buyers go.
–Always point to a specific Sales Page on your website which is designed around the Ad you place.
–Always ask about volume discounts and reduced ad rates when testing the paper’s effectiveness. Everything in Advertising is negotiable!
–Offer something for FREE (Bold it & Capitalize it).
–Use a Graphic or Logo to increase the effectiveness of your ad by 30%.
–Repeat your message three times in a small area by using a Logo, Headline and Copy that relate.
–If you advertise on the TV, using one frame from the TV ad can increase the print ad’s effectiveness by 40%.
–A good ad can make good circulars and help brand your name / product.
–Newspaper advertising requires consistency to get any traction or ROI but make sure it is working for you before committing to a long run.

Magazines

I like Magazine advertising as it is Regional and National in scope and you can target your audience effectively. I like to test classified ads in different Magazines to see what works then I consider Display ads (and keep the classified ad).

–Magazines lend credibility
–You can use your Ad effectively in a Circular or other company medium. Always say, “As Seen in Entrepreneur Magazine (insert the magazine the ad appeared in).” This gives you instant familiarity, credence and credibility with the reader.
–Consider running a low cost classified Ad in a multitude of Magazines which target your prospect verses running a Display as in a couple. Your ROI for dollars spent will typically be much better.
–A prospect reading a classified as will think you are cheaper than the advertiser with the expensive Display Ad. If you aren’t selling a luxury product, this can be a great start to communicate with a price conscious prospect. They think money is being saved even before they call you and discuss price. What a win-win for both the prospect and the business owner!
–Multiple Ads run through a Ad Media Company in several magazines can get some great discounts. If your credit is decent, you can be extended payment terms which correspond with your Ad ROI. Therefore, no money out of pocket until revenue is generated from the Ads (if timed correctly). Powerful!
–Take advantage of Split Runs with Magazines to see what Ad works best, in what section of the magazine. Great way to test a Headline or Copy.
–Magazines are more targeted for the type of reader verses a newspaper. A newspaper is more geographically targeted. Using the two in conjunction can be powerful!
–If your product or service is business oriented, consider advertising in a Trade Magazine.
–MediaFinder.com is a great way to find the Trade Magazines to advertise in.
–Magazines lend themselves to color. Use it!
–Magazines life cycle or longer. People go back to them over and over, as well as, hang on to them. Your Ad has a chance of being read multiple times.
–Organize your Magazine Display Ad with Boldface sub-heads. These will be read first, should grab attention and get the reader to either read more or act. No more than 50% of a Display Ad should be text.
–Consider blowing up your Magazine Ads into posters and mount them strategically around and outside your business, with the Headline: “As Seen in Entrepreneur Magazine….”
–Ask the Ad Space Rep to call you when remnant space is available. You will save big bucks!

Radio

I like Radio when it’s a Question & Answer type scenario; ask an expert show; something which sets you up as an Expert. You can negotiate the price as it provides the public valuable information, which is the mandate of Radio. It’s an Ad disguised as a Resource! A Win-Win for you and the radio station. Make sure to give out a short website address and phone number. Make both easily memorable. Track the results!

–Another strategy is to run cheap, short ads on less popular stations, bundled for maximum savings but make sure you test and track them to ensure a good ROI. Cheap isn’t good unless you get viable, profitable results.
–Be sure to personalize your Ads and you do the talking. This is a great opportunity to connect with your prospects.
–Partner up with other strategic businesses to offer complete solution radio talk shows, like a panel of experts to give out advice. This is important: Have the moderator give out one website address and one phone number and the prospect can choose the company (or better yet companies) to follow up with. You can offer discounts for combined services and meet the customer as a dual solution. A marketing fulfillment company can help you set up and maintain a coop partnership. For instance, a Landscaper can partner with a Landscape Designer, which are two services that can be combined for a total solution for the customer. You can coop the cost with your Strategic Partners. You can kill the competition with this strategy! Make sure you choose your partner(s) carefully.
–Put your Ads on the website for people to listen to, especially your Q & A Expert Sessions.
–Interviewing the President of the company can be a great way to start, giving you plenty of material to draw on to make a variety of Radio and Online Ads. This is a very effective use of your Ad dollars.
–Consider the afternoon for peoples drive home for your radio ads, you’ll have their attention.
–Always mention your website and an easy to remember number. 9 times out of 10, if the website is easy to remember, the listener will find it.

TV

You can cost effectively target your audience. The average U.S. Household watches an average of 8 hours TV per day, with the average viewer watching 41/2 hours per day. With Cable, you can cost effectively target an audience.

–TV is a great set up for your Sales Page on your Website.
–Avoid prime time and take advantage of fringe time. Consider a media buying service to really save on your ad times; they often buy unsold TV time for pennies on the dollar.
–Consider hiring an inbound telemarketing cal center to take the calls off your ads, no matter the hour of the day. If you use a different phone number from channel to channel or ad to ad, you can easily track them.
–Direct Response TV can offer your prospects the entire sales process. This is a powerful system! Some direct Response advertising can be bought on a per inquiry or sales basis, taking a lot of risk out of your capital outlay.
–The TV station can provide all the Production services, saving you thousands. However, with a good marketing consultant, you should write the script. I like a Storyboard because it helps you visualize the Ad. Save money by having a pre-production meeting to ensure things run quickly and smoothly on production day. The less the editing, the more economical your ads will be – plan ahead! You normally can create three good ads in one production day – good planning can help you achieve this great use of time and money, which brings your production cost per ad to about $300. Shoot in digital so you can replay it immediately and quickly make any fixes.
–Concentrate on 30 second spots. Direct Response sales ads should be about 2 minutes and keep the phone number visible during the entire ad.
–Show your product or service in Action. This is the real advantage to TV ads.
–Don’t make the Ad more interesting than your product.
–Remember a TV’s volume may be muted so tell your story visually!

Outdoor Ads

I really don’t like Outdoor Ads because most aren’t visual enough or have an ad conducive to someone driving by it at 55 mph. If your Ad tells someone to Exit Now; has a big arrow; something very Visual, and your Ad is in a good location, then maybe it might be worthwhile. Things like Next Exit or Two Miles Ahead work, while being a constant reminder to commuters. An Outdoor Ad can establish an Identity for your business. However, these ads can be very expensive depending on the location.

–Use no more than Five Words; use one large Graphic; make sure it is well illuminated.
–If it is a Digital Board, make sure your Ad stays up long enough for passer bys to visually take it in and act on it.
–Consider sharing the Billboard with another business in your Office Park or Retail Center and / or have your Office Park or Retail Center mentioned for even greater cost savings!
–Consider other less costly alternatives like bus, taxi or bus stop Advertising if it serves your market well.
–Remember, an Outdoor Ad should be clear from afar as prospects will be viewing typically from a moving vehicle.
–Be careful to design your sign with the character and taste of your community in mind.

Direct Mail

Generates leads that can lead to a sale. Direct Mail sets up your leads.

Advantagesof Direct Mail:
–Measure results immediately
–Can target your audience
–Can be personalized
–Receives some of the highest response rates of all media
–Great for repeat sales
–Important Elements of a Successful Campaign:
–Ask the reader to take Action
–Find recipients who have bought via mail before
–Include a testimonial in your letter
–Ask for the business in your first headline
–Use Black and Red color types. Red for important words or headlines
–Have a good logo or graphic
–For success, repeat your mailings with different content

The Numbers on Direct Mail:
–90% chance of reaching your targeted audience
–60% read the letter
–50% make it to the decision maker at a business
–60-30-10 Rule: 60% of your Direct Mail success depends on the right list; 30% of it depends on the offer; and 10% depends on the Creative.

Direct Mail Tips:
–Oversize the Addressee’s Name
–Consider putting no return address on it to increase curiosity
–Use mail as a follow up for:
–Sales Call
–Appointment Confirmation
–Bad Customer Experience
–Recognize Achievement
–Introduce a new team member
–Holidays
–A Thank You for a demo, presentation, sale, no sale, referral

Note: If possible, I prefer Direct Email over Direct Mail because it is instant, automated, easily tracked and cost effective. However, obtaining good email lists without violating Spam Laws can be a challenge. Always consider using Direct Mail with Email or Point to a Website with Direct Chat to enhance the dialogue and personalize your campaign.

Resource: Consider getting the Magazine Direct Marketing to learn as much as possible about the art of Direct Mail.

More Direct Mail Tips:
–Keep a detailed database and manage your mailings with a Customer Contact System.
–Repeat important items / benefits
–Photos are good and increase response rates
–Best individual Direct Mail months are January, February and October. Best business Direct Mail months are January, February and March.
–Offer a Free Trial or Free Product
–Bundle your Product and Service Offerings
–Offer payment terms, discounts and a guarantee
–Address the reader / audience directly and personally
–Keep your wording short and concise
–Provide a list or Problems, Benefits and the corresponding solutions
–Test Mail until you have all the kinks out
–Repeat mailings combined with email and phone really increase your odds of success
–When marketing to Business Owners or Executives do not use labels. And follow the mailing with a handwritten note.
–Consider putting a Teaser on the envelope and don’t forget that a great Teaser location is the back of an envelope
–A handwritten P.S. gets people’s attention – use it wisely. I.e. Call to Action, an Added Benefit, a Bonus, Discount, etc.
–Toll Free Phone Numbers can triple your response rate.
–Treat every Direct Mail order as a Rush Order.
–Test, Test, Test to ensure your Direct Mail will work. Your goal is to break even during the testing period.
–Include publicity about your Company on your mailings
–Test many different lists to find the best ones
–Check out Direct Mail News

Post Cards

I like Post Cards over a letter. Why? No decision whether to open or not. Costs 1/3 less. Easy and quick to print yourself. Post Cards force you to be concise, which can be the main reason they are so effective.

–Consider using Email Audio Post Cards

Combine Direct Mail with Email

The combination of mail and email can double your response rate. You can send out mass emails and then mail a postcard to the ones who actually opened the emails. You can alternatively send a post card introducing your company and benefits, then follow with a more detailed email that calls for action and points the prospect to a web sales page (by the way, a phone number and web sales page should be included with the postcards for Your “hot” prospects).

Catalogs

You need @ 25,000 customers for this to make sense. @ 30 pages is the optimum length. 40% of prospects save their catalogs – this is the primary benefit.

–Needs to be well organized, indexed and have categories.
–Too cost prohibitive for you now? No problem: put it up on the web and grow your catalog customer base organically.

In the next article (Part 5) I will discuss Marketing Tactics, The Customer and Essential Marketing Elements.

How Can Professional Chefs Also Become Environmental Activists?

Many professional chefs are also environmental activists

With the changing times and more and more emphasis being paid to saving the environment, professional chefs too are getting into the act. They understand that the food they cook and how it is cooked can have a big impact on the environment. There are many ways in which professional chefs can help save the planet through their cooking.

Some chefs have become vegetarian or vegan in order to reduce their carbon footprint. Others try to buy locally sourced ingredients as much as possible to reduce the amount of fuel used in transportation. Chefs can also use methods like sous vide cooking, which uses less energy than traditional methods.

Many restaurants are now starting to compost food waste, saving both money and resources, and of course, one of the best things professional chefs can do is educate their customers about environmental issues and how they can help too.

Being an environmental activist does not mean that they compromise on the quality and taste of their food; rather they can use their skills and creativity to come up with delicious, sustainable dishes that will make a difference. By being environmentally conscious while they cook, professional chefs can help make the world a better place for everyone, one meal at a time!

Chefs can make a difference by speaking out about the food industry’s negative impact on the environment

One of the ways in which professional chefs can help make a difference is by speaking out about the food industry’s negative impact on the environment. Many chefs are already doing this, and their voices are being heard!

In October of 2018, nearly 100 chefs from around the world gathered in Copenhagen for an event called “Chefs Feed The Planet”. The goal of the event was to get more professional chefs involved in environmental activism, and to show them how they can make a difference through their cooking.

Some of the ways that these chefs plan to make a difference include:

Using seasonal ingredients.
Reducing waste.
Choosing sustainable seafood.

They can also create more sustainable menus and work with local farmers to reduce their carbon footprint

As the head of the kitchen, senior chefs have the chance to make decisions that can positively impact the environment and still bring in business for the restaurant they are working at. Creating sustainable menus is one of these decisions. By using seasonal ingredients that are sourced locally, they can reduce the amount of energy needed to transport food from one place to another. They can also work with local farmers to get their produce, which will cut down on the number of miles food needs to travel.

In addition, by composting and recycling kitchen waste, they can help divert materials from going into landfills. This reduces the amount of methane gas that is released into the atmosphere as well as conserving valuable resources like water and oil. When it comes to seafood, these professionals can make sustainable choices that don’t harm our oceans. For example, they can choose species that are lower on the seafood totem pole or avoid eating endangered fish altogether.

Some restaurants have even started growing their own vegetable and spice gardens where they use their own compost to fertilize the plants. This allows them to get creative with their menus and also reduces their reliance on commercially-grown produce, which can often come from faraway places.

Professional chefs are in a unique position to help save the environment. Not only do they need to be aware of ways that they can reduce their own carbon footprint, but they also need to educate their staff and patrons about these issues.

Chefs can inspire others to make small changes that will have a big impact on the environment

Celebrity chefs especially have the opportunity to inspire others to make small changes that will have a big impact on the environment. For example, they can recommend bringing your own reusable water bottle to restaurants or choosing sustainable seafood options.

Chefs can also help reduce food waste by coming up with creative ways to use leftover ingredients. They can create recipes that use scraps such as carrot tops, onion skins, and stale bread, or they can compost any unused food instead of throwing it away.

By making these small changes, as professionals they can help raise awareness about the environmental impacts of our food choices and inspire others to do their part in preserving our planet.

Connor Logistics – A Case for Direct Marketing on a Multi-National Scale

The Problem
Connor Logistics is a film industry logistics firm with over 45 years in business and operations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Connor’s sales for logistics relied solely on Account Manager sales efforts, limiting the firm to the size and time of their sales staff. With the recent business climate changes, Connor’s yearly sales dropped by 15%, a total of $35 Million. The firm’s marketing team was only focused on creating marketing collateral for the Account Management staff with little efforts in customer acquisition marketing other than sponsoring a few industry events every year.

The Solution
Marketing Director for Connor and their CEO planned customer acquisition campaigns by targeting 250 film studios located in 4 countries. These firms held a potential revenue stream of $40 million for Connor Logistics. The acquisition campaign involved a robust variable-data direct marketing campaign that included customized marketing materials for each studio, with specific messaging that was relevant to the individual firms. Connor sent out postcards and brochure materials to key executives in every film studio, along with personalized calendars for secretarial staff. The investment in this marketing material was not cheap, Connor spent over 4 months generating the materials and nearly $2.5 Million to produce and mail it.

The Results
Connor’s Account Managers would follow up after ever marketing piece was mailed with a phone call to schedule an onsite visit with every studio. Over a period two years, 185 of the original 250 targeted studios had signed contracts with Connor Logistics. This produced a net increase in sales of $37 Million. 

Connor’s results are a clear example of the potential of personalized marketing campaigns. Studies show that personalized direct mail pieces produced using variable-data equipment raise response rates by nearly 55% over non-personalized materials.