Marketing Idea #104: Host a Field Trip

Marketing Ideas Field Trip

A great way to gain exposure and provide entertainment is to provide public tours of your facility. This is especially powerful for agriculture, arts and history, manufacturing; essentially, any place where something is grown, created or built. Try not to schedule such an event around any deadlines or busy periods you might have. Take your time with the tour to ensure your captive audience remains engaged and make sure to tailor your presentation to your audience. A class of first-graders may be more interested in learning how apple cider is made than watching giant steel presses shape red-hot bars into orthopedic implements.

Or, then again, maybe not..

Marketing Idea #8: Selling Online (Do It)

Marketing Ideas Order Online

Make sure your customers can order from you online. If they can’t order from you online, make sure they can order by phone or by fax. You’re in the business of making it easier for your customers to do business with you! Your challenge is to analyze how easy it is for customers to get what they want from you. Have you ever tried to buy something from yourself? Go through the process. Have your staff go through the process. Survey your customers; how did they feel about their first experience with you? Compile your notes and discuss your findings. Then, fix what’s broken.

Marketing Idea #87: Demonstrations Work

Marketing Ideas Demonstrations Work

Many a cheap diaper has been bought because of commercials showing it can hold the contents of an entire water balloon. Whether at trade shows or in your TV ads or videos, demonstrations prove your products work. This is why those late-night infomercials are so successful. Even brochures can illustrate a step-by-step series of images that prove success.

What can you do to illustrate your product in action?

Marketing Ideas #32-37: Navigating Networking Events

Marketing Ideas Who to Look for at Networking Events

You’ve arrived at the latest networking event. You have your name tag. You have your drink. You’re looking sharp. Now what?

If you arrived at the event with someone else, you shouldn’t be standing around talking to that person all night. You’re there to make new connections.

#32: Don’t be afraid to smile, extend your hand, and introduce yourself. This is why you’re here: to meet people.

Trick: If you don’t know anyone, stand in the food or bar line. This way, you’ll always have at least two people to talk to: the one in front of you and the one behind you.

#33: Don’t interrupt a conversation. Not only will this create a poor first impression, but everything you say after that will be received at a deficit. Instead, stand close, and when a pause presents itself, ease into the conversation gracefully.

#34: You have two ears and one mouth. Use them proportionately. It’s about them, not you. Ask about them and show a sincere interest. “They don’t care what you have to say, until they know that you care.” —Zig Ziglar

#35: Ask smart questions. Listen and learn. Prepare several qualifying questions before going to a networking event. If you find a prospect, qualify him before arranging a follow-up.

#36: When it’s your turn to talk, be brief but succinct and powerful. You must be able to present your case in sixty seconds or less. This may include who you are, what you do, what benefits you offer customers, and why you are better than the competition.

#37: Be enthusiastic and positive. People don’t want to hear you complain about your day, your boss, or your lot in life. (Save that for your spouse, therapist, or best friend.) People enjoy working with positive people.

Remember: Your goal at a networking event is to meet as many people as possible, qualify them, and arrange appropriate follow-up. Sell yourself first, and then your products and services.

Marketing Idea #40: Make Your Waiting Entertaining

Marketing Ideas Waiting Rooms

If appropriate, have toys, books, magazines and puzzles in your waiting room. Both parents and children appreciate having the distraction. If your office is a little more highbrow, simply keep the toys in a nice chest and offer them only when children are present, rather than leaving the toys out at all times. Waiting rooms are not ideal places for high-energy children, so even having these things available for staff to hand out can go a long way toward making everyone’s visit a more comfortable experience.

Marketing Idea #52: Join an Art Hop

Marketing Ideas Art Hop

Participate in a local gallery hop, where local artists bring their wares to display at a collection of stores and businesses. Maps of participating businesses are provided, and the event is advertised throughout the community. Businesses may serve appetizers and beverages to visitors on the tour, and artists may be present to talk about their work. This may be done for free (for the exposure, sharing the expense for printing the maps, posters, and so on), or you might charge a small fee as the maps are handed out. (You would charge hoppers only once—not at each location.)

Marketing Idea #49: Community Day

Marketing Ideas Community Day

Hold a Community Day. Offer your goods or services to your local community at a free or reduced cost. Work with other local businesses and the media to promote your event. This is a great way to give back to the community and bring in new customers who have not visited your business yet. It is also a great way to get to know your neighbors. Work with them to make Community Day a larger event, offering even more value to the community!

Marketing Idea #70: Make the Media Your Partner

Marketing Ideas Editorial Reviews

Consider approaching your local media stations (radio, television, newspaper) to discuss the possibility of a partnership to raise community awareness on your issue or industry. With the right spin, you will be able to broaden the awareness in your local market while also sponsoring community discussion at city council meetings, festivals, and other community events. In joining forces, you bring value to each other; your outreach efforts are improved, and the value and local impact of their programming is increased.

Marketing Idea #69: Rush-Hour Interviews

Marketing Ideas Rush Hour Interviews

Offer to be available for comment or interviews on your effort. Television or radio news programs are always interested in talking with local experts who can speak to the issues faced by the community, especially during rush-hour radio broadcasts or early morning/late evening TV programming. The broader your topic, the more appealing you will be to these news producers. Contact program producers or hosts, and offer your contribution. If they like your eloquence and topic, they’ll gladly put you in front of their audience.

Marketing Idea #80: Send Cards

Marketing Ideas Send Cards

Send greeting cards to mark social events, such as holidays, wedding anniversaries, or birthdays. This adds a personal touch that will be remembered.

Tip 1: Too busy to fill out all the cards? Hire it out. These services are available.

Tip 2: You know those custom cards you had printed out? If you had left them blank, they could have become all-purpose, and could have easily fulfilled these applications as well.

Marketing Ideas #13-17: Provide Value First

Marketing Ideas Provide Value First

One of the best ways to stay in front of your audience or market is to provide value first. One of the best ways to provide this value is to deliver great information, especially important in today’s information-based society. Pulling together information and knowledge for people accomplishes a few things:

  • First, it helps you clarify your thoughts. Taking even a small amount of time to write on matters important to your industry will greatly assist you in those instances where you’re called upon to speak on such topics.
  • Secondly, in providing useful information to others, you make yourself a resource, which is paramount in gaining credibility.
  • Third, in writing or compiling information, you are furthering your own education.

Marketing Ideas Boy with FlowerExamples: Here are a number of ways you might deliver valuable information to others:

#13: Write an instructional brochure.

#14: Start a quarterly, monthly, or weekly newsletter.

#15: Submit an article to local newspapers or business magazines.

#16: Produce and distribute an audio or video presentation on a topic in your industry. Deliver this valuable information through an interactive CD or via the Internet.

#17: Publish a book.

Marketing Idea #73: The Casual Survey

Marketing Ideas Casual Survey

If you aren’t doing so already, casually survey all clients before they cash out. Kindly request their permission to ask them basic questions about their occupation, their use of time, the reason why they’re in front of you, what they like (and would improve) about their experience, and so on. This will give you a better idea of who comes to your store and why. Train your staff to do the same. Ask the same questions of everyone.

Tip: You don’t have to ask a flurry of questions from every customer that walks through your doors. Ask a single question of every customer one week, another question the next, and so on, and you will begin to shape a picture about the people who shop from you.

Marketing Idea #74: Exit Interviews Are a Must

Marketing Ideas Exit Interviews Are a Must

Conduct exit interviews anytime you have an employee submit his resignation. In conducting this survey, you begin to determine where you’re falling short in keeping your people. Often, you’ll find that money isn’t the top issue. What you’re looking for is how you are able to improve your internal marketing. How do you craft a culture that keeps and nurtures the best employees? How do you build fierce loyalty and pride among your employees? Among your customers? Your vendors? Begin asking the tough questions. The sooner you get the answers, the sooner you’ll be able to emerge as a company people aspire to work for and with.

Marketing Idea #50: Hold a Cooking Contest

Marketing Ideas Hold a Cooking Contest

A restaurant might have a cooking contest for newly graduated local chefs. During the event, the restaurant would charge ten dollars per person to sample all the showcased dishes. Attendees must vote on which dish is the best. The dish that wins gets on the menu (which should tell the story about how the dish came to be). To make the stakes higher, the restaurant might even hire the winning chef.

Tip: This idea also works when you need an event catered and don’t have a large budget.

(Image source: Heinz.)

Marketing Idea #45: The Power of Aroma

Marketing Ideas Power of Aroma

Create an aromatic environment by using vaporizers or oils. Have you ever walked past a restaurant or café and been captured by the rich or appetizing aroma wafting from inside? Studies have shown that customers linger longer in aromatic environments. Our sense of smell is the only sense that isn’t filtered by the brain. (It bypasses the limbic system entirely.) What can you do to appeal to this sense? What scent might coincide with your branding effort?

Better: Coffee and cookies are better than air fresheners. Many people may be allergic (or think they are—same thing) if the wrong scents are used. Some offices ban their use.

Marketing Idea #89: Collect Testimonials

Marketing Ideas Collect Testimonials

Collect testimonials from your best clients as a regular part of your follow-up survey process. Make sure you tell them you’ll be using all or part of their testimonials in your ongoing marketing efforts. Then, incorporate the best testimonials into every touch you have with your clients, such as invoices and marketing collateral (newsletters, ads, and so on). Remember: If you say it about you, it’s bragging; if someone else says it about you, it’s true.

Tip: Do you have a stellar client who would love to write you a testimonial but is always extremely busy? Offer to write it for her, and tell her if she approves, she may simply sign off on it. This allows you to mention the important stuff. The best testimonials state:

  • the problem the client was having,
  • why the client chose you,
  • what you did for the client, and
  • why others should choose you.

Below is a link to a form you can download and revise to help you collect testimonials from your customers. Enjoy!

» Click Here To Download The Testimonial Form «

 

Best Marketing for Realtors? Word-of-Mouth Referrals

Marketing Ideas for Realtors

As a group dedicated to finding people homes, realtors provide a pretty valuable service to others. One of the best ways realtors can drum up extra business is by going above and beyond for their current customers. Word-of-mouth referrals are one of the best forms of advertising and people will talk about their realtor for years; whether good or bad. At the close of a sale, make sure to also ask your clients for a testimonial for you to use in your marketing literature.

Marketing Idea #47: Host a Competition

Marketing Ideas Host a Competition

Host and promote a competition. You can call it “The Great ____________ Race.” Set up a small number of teams, each with a small number of participants. One team wins upon accomplishing the appropriate task you set before them. The entry fee may be the cost (or reduced cost) of your service. The grand prize can be more of your product or service, or you may find a sponsor to provide the prize(s) in exchange for promotion through the event.

Variation: Donate your product or service to a charitable cause in the winner’s name.

Marketing Idea #57: Offer Great Music

Marketing Ideas Offer Great Music

People love to hear great music, so if you would like to offer music at your next event, make sure the band is well-known and worth your audience’s attention. Nothing screams cheap like bad or inappropriate music that is forced upon would-be customers. Your band should understand your business and your clientele and be able to produce music that fits. If you pick the right band, adding it to the list of cool things to see and do at your event will be a draw.

Marketing Idea #22: Be a Panelist

Marketing Ideas Be a Panelist

If you are aware of an annual conference in your industry, offer to be a panelist. If it’s too late for this year’s conference, contact the event coordinators and voice your interest in attending next year’s conference. Anytime you’re able to present valuable ideas on your topic of specialty, you bring value to the effort of marketing yourself as an authority.

Tip: Nervous speaking in front of groups? Join Toastmasters to sharpen your public-speaking skills.

Marketing Ideas #96-101: Be Remembered After Your Next Tradeshow

Marketing Ideas Be Remembered After Your Next Tradeshow

When getting ready to host a booth at a trade show, once you know the size and area dimensions you’ll be working with, the next step is deciding what information and content you want to display. Here are some tips:

#96: Your company name and logo must be visible. If visitors don’t know who and what the display is about in a matter of five seconds or less, their interest will be lost. The company’s name and logo should be easy to see. Remember: Always include your website address.

#97: Don’t make the overall design too distracting. Too much information and clutter will create confusion. Neatness, simplicity, and visibility are some of the most important aspects. Images should be crisp and professional-looking—no low-resolution images. All content should be appropriate and pertain to the rest of the display.

#98: For maximum impact, use color to make a statement, and let your display pop out. Color schemes can help set a specific mood or tone. Pick colors that will correlate with your company’s tone and theme.

#99: Successful trade show booths make it easy for visitors to retrieve information. Pass out flyers or business cards. Consider creating interactive displays, such as games, contests, drawings, or giveaways. Think of anything that will get the visitors intrigued and involved. This is a great way to add some flair to your display!

#100: Prior to a big day of participating in a local trade show, make sure you’ve e-mailed your customers and prospects to let them know 1. of the trade show (in case they hadn’t heard) and 2. of your participation in it. A short e-mail broadcast is a quick, easy, and low-cost way of promoting both the trade show and yourself. The more people who turn out for the trade show, the greater its success; likewise, the more people who stop by your booth, the greater the chance for your success.

#101: Say thank you. Show your appreciation for those who have taken the time to stop by your booth and engage you (when they could have invested their time elsewhere among the hundreds of other booths). This should be viewed as a critical part of your follow-up strategy and can be done over the phone, via e-mail or direct mail, or through a face-to-face visit afterward—just do it. The most powerful showing of gratitude is delivered in person.

Marketing Idea #1: Schedule Your Marketing

Marketing Ideas Schedule Your Marketing

Mark in your calendar a time each day to market yourself. Even as little as fifteen minutes a day of pure focus on marketing activities will offer returns. If you don’t schedule time in for this, it’s possible you will place your focus elsewhere. Remember: They have to know you exist!

Variation: Instead of a mere fifteen minutes, set aside an hour a day for either yourself or a member of your staff to work on marketing activities.

Example: The Blog Editorial Calendar

To create and maintain a truly useful blog you need to create new original content on a regular basis. This is not only great for your readership but it is also a proven way to improve your organic search engine rankings. However, unless your blog is a full time venture you probably have other responsibilities and it is easy to lose track of when and what you last wrote on your blog as well as what you should blog about next. To address this common issue, today’s marketing tip is the use of a blog editorial calendar to implement your content strategy.

An editorial calendar is basically a schedule you use to implement your content strategy. It can help you see what you’ve written about in the past and what topics you need to write about in the future. You can use anything from a physical notebook to an on-line tool, though most users either create their spreadsheet or purchase an editorial calendar application. Fields you may want to include are:

  • Blog or website
  • Due date
  • Topic
  • Industry associated events
  • Keywords
  • Word count
  • Author
  • Notes

The idea is simply to organize your content strategy in such a way that you know what you will be publishing for the next six months to a year. This will help you match your blogs with industry events, you can also request articles far in advance if you are using guest bloggers, and of course you can start outlining your own articles or blogs months in advance instead of the night before you publish.

Editorial calendars also help you make sure you are not writing about topics you previously covered and they are great as an idea scratch pad where you can jot down interesting ideas as they come to you. You can always expand upon them later or simply delete them. Writing definitely becomes less stressful since you can sit down and know exactly what you need to write about.

Will an editorial calendar improve your web site, get you more conversions or more visitors? Indirectly, but the work still needs to be done. An editorial calendar is simply a tool designed to help you organize your content strategy, which should improve both the frequency as well as the quality of your writing, both good SEO practices to follow.

Marketing Idea #48: Hold a Children’s Art Sale

Marketing Ideas Childrens Art Sale

Hold a children’s art sale. It may be as simple as having a local class draw on gift bags then selling those original artwork pieces to raise funds to sponsor a needy family for Christmas.

Better: A less labor-intensive way to get the same thing done would be to scan the artwork, and then create iron-on transfers of it. This allows you to sell more copies of each piece, realize greater profits, and maintain happier artists (and parents.)

Marketing Idea #23: Teach a Class

Marketing Ideas Teach a Class

Teach a class at your local community college. For as little as one or two nights a week, take a few hours and guide a class through the curriculum of your specialty. Students want real-world information from someone who is spending most of his time in the trenches. Bring your successes and failures to them. Let them learn from your experience—and place another feather in your marketing cap while you’re doing it.

Marketing Idea #53: Start a Sidewalk Sale

Marketing Ideas Sidewalk Sales

Just because you provide a service instead of a product, it doesn’t mean you can’t participate in sidewalk sales. Use sidewalk sales to:

  • Get to know your neighborhood and its foot traffic.
  • Educate the public on what you do.
  • Survey the public for what they want. Get suggestions and ideas from people on what they need and how you may best provide it.
  • Conduct free demonstrations of your product or service.

Tip: Don’t worry if you don’t have a sidewalk. Find out when the next big local sidewalk sale is, and work out an arrangement with one of the participating vendors (one that compliments your own offerings would be preferred) to share its space.

Marketing Idea #6: Use Hook Paragraphs in Newsletters

Marketing Ideas Use Hook Paragraphs

In your weekly, monthly, or quarterly e-newsletter, don’t place entire articles. Instead, place only the first few sentences—just enough to generate interest and give an idea about the content. Then, place a link back to your website, where they can continue reading the entire article.

Explanation: This serves two purposes. First, you’re able to save your precious newsletter real estate for packing in more articles, news, or offers. Second, you’ll be able to track the interest in each article (and therefore, each topic being presented) as people click through to your site.

Marketing Idea #75: Mystery Shoppers

Marketing Ideas Mystery Shopper

Mystery shop your competition. Mystery shopping is shopping with your competition, under the cover of anonymity, with the intent of seeing how they perform. Consider this marketplace espionage. While much less direct than simply introducing yourself and swapping stories about successes and follies, this still gives you vital information about what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and how you may better leverage your own efforts.

Better: Pay someone to mystery shop you. Look for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Act on what you discover.

Variation: While there are professional mystery-shopping organizations widely available, there is another way. Seek out strategic partners within your network, and arrange to have them shop you. Tutor them on the facets of the customer experience you would like to know most about. This may even be a reciprocal effort, where you shop them in return.

Tip: You must remain open to criticism if you’re going to have yourself shopped. Being closed-minded to the results may render them useless and leave you in the dark.

Marketing Idea #72: Create a Public Service Announcement (PSA)

Marketing Ideas Public Service Announcement PSA

Especially if you’re a nonprofit, public service announcements (PSAs) can go a long way to getting the word out about your latest effort. PSAs are often aired on local radio and TV stations, and often placed in newspapers. They often raise awareness of topics important to their audience through funny, emotional, or compelling thirty- to ninety-second productions. As long as the announcement has benefit to the public, and as long as it’s not gratuitous self-promotion, the media agency will likely mention it to their audience.

Example: “That’s Public Health” PSA (approximately fifteen seconds)

Ever have a vaccination? That’s public health.

Expect the water from your tap to be safe? That’s public health.

Ever taken your baby to a clinic for a checkup? That’s public health.

Think public health has never touched your life?

Think again.

A message from ________________________

(Thank you to the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) for their contribution to this idea.)