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Offline Marketing Advice | direct-to-market

Archive for the ‘Offline Marketing Advice’ Category

Top of Mind Awareness – Brand Awareness

You may not have heard the expression Top of Mind Awareness before but I’m prepared to bet that you’re familiar with the idea of Brand Awareness. In simple terms, it’s about making sure that whenever your prospect thinks of a particular product or service they automatically think of you as their most-likely (and first choice) supplier.

One of the best examples of this for many years was the vacuum cleaner, as manufactured by the Hoover company (http://www.hoover.co.uk). How many times have you said “we need a new hoover” or “I’ll just hoover the carpet” without even thinking about it? Their name, and thus the word, has become so common in the English language that we have even started to use it as a verb!

Hoover is 100 years old this year, so it’s taken them a while, but they have definitely achieved top of mind awareness. Dyson is pretty much there too now, of course, but not so ingrained that we use their name as a verb, as in “I’ll just dyson the carpet”!

As a business owner you should strive to achieve this same top of mind awareness with your own prospects and customers to ensure that, when they need to purchase whatever you are selling, you are the first person they think off. It doesn’t matter if you are an accountant or run a beauty parlour, an estate agent or provide a septic tank emptying service, sell newspapers or the fish & chips that once used to go in them …the principle is the same.

Whenever somebody thinks of whatever it is that you are selling, you must ensure that you are right there – at the top of their mind – as the most obvious, and first realised, solution to their need.

You do this by keeping your name – your brand to be precise – in front of them, at the top of their mind, hence the term top of mind awareness. And it really is as simple as ensuring that your brand is the first one they think of: i.e. brand awareness. If you run a large company then obviously the company name is the brand, but if you are a sole trader or small partnership it may well be that your own name is the brand of which people should be aware: “Bodgit & Scarper Builders” for example.

If you have a huge advertising budget then it’s easy enough to keep plastering your name and logo in front of people, but we’re in a recession at present so for most people throwing money at advertising isn’t as easy as it once was. The answer then is to use effective and well-targeted advertising (as should really have been the case all along anyway).

For most small businesses the most cost-effective advertising by far is to keep in touch with your existing customers: build a list of them and then stay in touch. Your current customers are almost without doubt your business’s most valuable asset (I’ll cover the psychology behind this in another post) so don’t neglect them; keep yourself, and your brand, at the top of their mind. After all, you don’t want them saying “I know that the last time I bought XXX from YYY I was really happy with the product and the service, I just can’t remember who I bought it from!” …and then going to your competitor, do you?

So stay in touch with your customers.

The same principle applies to prospects too (you know, those browsers that take up your time and then leave without spending any money). They expressed an interest in you, your brand, your company and what you sell. You have spent time and money educating them; you have begun to build a relationship. So don’t now sit back and let them go and buy from one of your competitors.

Stay in touch with your prospects.

Achieve Top of Mind Awareness – Brand Awareness – with all your prospects and customers by making, and maintaining, regular contact. And if you use direct-response marketing to do this, your messages are laser-targeted and thus very effective (a high ROI).

Does this need to cost you a fortune? Absolutely not! Certainly postage is now becoming expensive and by the time you have printed a letter, folded it, stuck it in an envelope and (the most expensive part) stuck a stamp on it you can easily find yourself approaching a cost of £1.00 per letter. If you need to contact 1,000+ people each month, that can become very expensive, very fast.

But how much does it cost to send an email?

The answer is nothing if you do it yourself, but you do need to ensure that you don’t spam people (send them unsolicited email they didn’t ask for and don’t want), handle requests from those that wish to unsubscribe from your list, manage those that want to stay subscribed but change their email address etc. So while it’s cheap, it can take up a lot of your valuable time, and time is money!

The good news is that we have systems in-house that can do all this for you, and as we’ll even write the sales-letter (sorry, monthly newsletter :)) for you if you wish, achieving and maintaining that vital top of mind awareness with your prospects and customers can take as little as 15 minutes of your time each month, for the phone call to tell us what you want in the email.

Our prices are very reasonable too, and I can practically guarantee that you won’t find a cheaper way to stay in touch with 1,000 (or whatever) people each month, or achieve a higher ROI on your advertising spend. To learn more about how we can help you cut your advertising costs and simultaneously increase your sales, either phone us on 0333 444 0340 (and leave a message if you get voicemail as we are often busy with clients but we will always call you back) or send us an email through our Contact Us page.

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Why Clients are Better Than Customers – The Vital Relationship

Why would anybody say that a business is better off without customers? The short answer is: when it has clients. But there’s more to this that, it’s about the nature of the business relationship, so don’t be put off by the title here!

To better understand what I’m talking about, let’s take a look at the dictionary definition of those two words:

Here’s what customer is defined as (from http://www.answers.com/customer):
1. One that buys goods or services.
2. Informal. An individual with whom one must deal: a tough customer.

And here’s what client is defined as (from http://www.answers.com/client):
1. The party for which professional services are rendered, as by an attorney.
2. A customer or patron: clients of the hotel.
3. One that depends on the protection of another.

Now, and this is something that I properly teach and explain the psychology behind in our e-Commerce Marketing Workshops, consider for one moment who it’s easiest to sell to: somebody who has bought from you before, or somebody who hasn’t? If you properly satisfied your purchaser the first time, then the answer is of course somebody who has bought from you before.

So now consider the third bullet under the definition of client “One that depends on the protection of another.” If you can aspire to form this relationship with those who purchase your goods or services, by looking after them properly, over-delivering, and protecting them from problems, then it is clear that (all other things being equal) they are more likely to make a repeat purchase from you than go to your competitor. Why on Earth would they want to?

So look after your clients, treat them as you would your friends (and in time they just might become your friends), and you will very probably have a “customer for life”.

Which brings me neatly on to the origins of the word customer, which (without delving still further into the Latin origins) is of course derived from custom. Here’s what the dictionary says about custom (http://www.answers.com/topic/customs):
1. A habitual practice of a person: my custom of reading a little before sleep. See synonyms at habit.
2. Habitual patronage, as of a store.
3. Habitual customers; patrons.

So looking deeper still into the meaning of the words themselves, perhaps I’m not being quite fair in saying that you don’t want customers?

The bottom line is that, however you term them, regardless of what you call them, what you really want most in your business is for people to come back to you and buy again: if you run a hair salon, you want them to return to you for their next session with a stylist; if you are a solicitor, you want them to return to you the next time they need legal advice; if you are a radio DJ, you want them to tune into your show the next time they turn their radio on; and if you run a garage, you want them to return to you the next time their car needs a service.

So it’s not really about words at all, it’s about relationships. First you need to build a relationship, then you need to maintain in. I’ll discuss how to do that in more detail in another article.

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Business Card Design – Getting Your Marketing Message In Front of The Prospect

With the exception of your website, your business card is the single piece of your marketing literature that will be seen by the greatest number of your prospects. With this in mind, it never ceases to amaze me how many people seemingly put so little effort into the design of their business cards.

Certainly it must carry your name, usually also such essential contact details as phone number(s), postal and email addresses, and of course the URL (address) of your website.

But why stop there?

Your business card is a piece of marketing literature, so use it as such! Make sure it includes your strap-line, obviously, but you can go much further than that!

Your business should have a USP (variously Unique Selling Point or Unique Sales Proposition depending upon who you ask – but universally abbreviated to USP) so make sure that is clearly included on your card. And if you have any further sales messages or special offers that will reasonably fit on there, make sure you include them too.

If you use just one side of a standard 9cm x 5cm business card, then you have 45cm2 available, the majority of which will be filled with your contact details, leaving room for little else. If you use both sides though, you have 90cm2 available of which at least half can be used to sell yourself and your business.

In terms of production cost, printing double-sided may cost 10%-20% more than printing single sided, so the extra cost is negligible. Putting that into hard currency, Vistaprint will sell you 250 ‘free’ business cards for less than £10 ‘shipping’ (with 5,000 printed double-sided on heavy card delivered to your door for less than £100 – so ultimately a much better deal than the 250 ‘free’ ones!). So on 5,000 cards you could perhaps save £15 by printing single-sided …a supremely short-sighted move indeed!

The cost of getting your business card into the prospects’ hands remains the same regardless of what’s printed on it of course, and if you consider the time, effort and cost of getting your business cards into the hands of 5,000 prospects(!) then it’s a rare person indeed that wouldn’t benefit from having a sales message on there too (especially if it only costs an extra £15 across all 5,000 to achieve it)!

Why on Earth then would anybody want to go to all that trouble, and expense, to present somebody with a business card, and have 50% of it just plain white card? But looking through my business card file now, an awful lot of the ones I have been given are just like that!

So, with it agreed that double-sided printing on your business cards is pretty much a necessity, look out for my next article on this subject when I’ll talk about the design of the business card in more detail. If you wish to ensure you don’t miss either that, or any other marketing articles that I write, then either subscribe to the RSS feed or follow me on Twitter.

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