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.)

Marketing Idea #55: Host an Adult Spelling Bee

Marketing Ideas Adult Spelling Bee

Host an adult spelling-bee competition to help raise money for your cause. Much like a walk-a-thon, participants are called upon to gather donations from their support network, based on the number of words they spell correctly, as opposed to donating so much money for each mile walked. Conduct the event on a weekend or evening so kids can attend and see adults sweating in the spotlight.

Tip: Pull in community leaders to make things more interesting. They will also lend wonderful support to the event.

Marketing Idea #12: Accept Credit Cards

Marketing Ideas Accept Credit Cards

Why is it, in this day and age, that there are still some stores and restaurants that don’t accept credit or debit cards? This is the epitome of making it difficult for your customers to do business with you. There is nothing worse than to make it through an entire meal, only to discover the place only accepts cash. At this point, you will either end up washing dishes or hunting around the neighborhood for an ATM. This is ridiculous. If you’re in business, find a way to accept credit cards. Expanding your ability to collect on funds immediately will pay dividends in the long run.

Tip: Some entrepreneurs are deterred from processing credit cards because of things like a 3 percent processing fee, monthly gateway fees, and so on. Here’s a reality check:

I once had a client ask me if he could pay his installment for web design services with a credit card. The payment, the second of four, would have been over $1,000, which was a lot of money for me at the time. I had only begun that week considering the notion of accepting credit cards, so I told the client I had to decline the offer and wait for the check. “The check is in the mail,” the client said.

Well, that check never arrived. Turns out, that would have been the last payment I would have received from him, as his business folded in the weeks to come.

Still concerned about the additional monthly cost of accepting credit cards? A small raise in your rate or your prices will cover the cost. Look at the nature of your business. If you are in retail, offer high-ticket items, or have the need for recurring billing due to subscriptions, memberships, or regular donations, you are a good candidate to accept credit cards.

Marketing Idea #68: How to Write a Press Release

Marketing Ideas How to Write a Press Release

A news or press release about a new program or event is a wonderful way to inform the local media and its audience about your latest efforts. Before you do this, however, you must know exactly what your intent is for your news release. Make sure you can answer the following questions:

  • Who am I trying to reach?
  • What is my message?
  • What am I trying to accomplish by providing this message? (For example, are you trying to educate, motivate to take action, or persuade?)
  • Why should the community care?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you are ready to begin crafting your release. Below is a brief list of steps to take. We have also provided you a press release template and press release sample to assist you in building your own news releases.

Basic Format of a News Release

  • Print the release on your organization’s letterhead.
  • Type “For Immediate Release” and the date along the upper-left or upper-right margin.
  • Directly across from “For Immediate Release,” include the label “Contact for Reporters” and place your contact person’s name, phone number, and e-mail address below.
  • Next, clearly describe the news event with a short, compelling headline. Center your headline on the page, and display it in bold font. Then, position a short sentence below the headline to summarize the release, and type it in italics or bold font, using a smaller font size.
  • Begin the first paragraph with your dateline. The dateline identifies where the news originated. Following the dateline, give a one- or two-sentence summary for your press or news release. Include the date, time, and other time-critical information related to your activities. Concisely summarize the who, what, when, where, and why. For example:

Lansing, Michigan – Best-selling author Matt Schoenherr discusses marketing strategies at a two-day Culture of Success event beginning Wednesday, December 12, 2012, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Tickets for the event sold out during the first week of sales.

  • In the second paragraph, provide a quote from a leader or key person within your organization. The leader quoted should be closely connected with the event, and his role should be clearly identified.
    • Note: Ensure all quotes add value to your story. Limit the number of quotes captured in your release to one or two people.
  • Type -more- at the bottom of the first page if your release goes beyond one page. Limit your news or press release to no more than two pages; one page is preferred.
  •  The third paragraph may contain additional details on the event or program, as well as information on its history. This is also the place to include contact information for those who are interested in learning more.
  • End your release with information about your company or organization. You can also do the same for a partner or sponsor; however, if you want to list more than two, avoid placing them here. Instead, include the list as a separate attachment. Your goal is to make the news release easy to read and digest for reporters and editors.
  • Finally, typing ### or -30- at the very end indicates the end of the copy.

General Guidelines

  • Use short, explanatory sentences.
  • Avoid the use of jargon. Explain any acronyms at their first appearance, such as, “Public service announcements (PSAs).”
  • Avoid glorifying or demonizing within your release. Your goal is to report news without driving public opinion about it. Avoid judgment words like “very,” “thrilling,” “massive,” and so on. Your descriptions should be as objective as the lens of a camera.
  • Link the facts of the project or event to an important issue or need in your local community. Using real-life examples helps make the human connection. Highlight benefits of your work to the community.
  • Review for clarity and flow, and ensure all words and names are spelled correctly.

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


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Marketing Idea #86: The Fortune Cookie Effect

Marketing Ideas Fortune Cookie Effect

Use the Fortune Cookie Effect. Engage your customers with a collection of cute or hidden messages in your packaging. Chocolates, fortune cookies, ketchup and beer are just some of the products that have successfully used this technique for drawing interest to their branding. The idea is to embed a message into your merchandising to inspire interest and conversation around the message—and therefore the product and, finally, the brand.

Story: When my wife was five months pregnant with our first baby, medical experts told her he was measuring small, and that it was possible he had stopped growing, which of course lent itself to scary self-talk about a myriad potential birth defects. During the course of that day, she was given a Dove chocolate, which came wrapped in purple foil and contained a message inside, as they all do. This message said, “There is greatness in smallness.” The timing being perfect, we took it as a sign, and it helped us relax.

Of course, the happy ending is that the next time she went in for an ultrasound, everything measured fine, and we’re pleased to say that our boy is a happy, healthy, and complete individual. The foil wrapper has been glued to a magnet and now resides on our refrigerator. That little piece of marketing by Dove will now be a part of our family story for many years.

This can be the power of the Fortune Cookie Effect.

P.S.- Below is an example of how Dove has infiltrated popular culture using this marketing technique!

Marketing Ideas Dove Ad

Marketing Ideas #30: Join a Networking Group

Marketing Ideas Join a Networking Group

Join a networking and referral group like Local Business Network (LBN) or Business Networking International (BNI). This may also take the form of joining a local business association, rotary, or other similar group. Joining these groups offers you an opportunity to meet and network with other small-business owners in the spirit of bringing opportunity to one another. By getting to know your fellow entrepreneurs, you broaden your personal network—and therefore the value you bring to your prospects and clients through your ability to refer problem-solvers to them—while maintaining a finger on the pulse of the local market.

Tip: These groups can be wonderful sources of referrals, as well as training in the world of business-to-business relationship building.

Tip: Websites like Meetup.com and LinkedIn.com can also be a great source for meeting and networking with local entrepreneurs.

Marketing Idea #92: Videotape Your Event

Marketing Ideas Video Your Event

Step 1: Get quotes from people at several of the local video shops, interview them, and look at their portfolios. Pick the one that you feel best about.

Step 2: Have them videotape your seminar and make it web-ready. Ask them to send you all raw and edited footage. You should have this in case you want to use it later.

Step 3: Have your video folks send the finished product to your web designer/developer so the video may be added to your website.

Step 4: Put the video in a secure place on your website, and ask visitors to register for the free information. Collect their e-mail addresses for future e-newsletter mailings!

Step 5: Repeat.

Marketing Idea #5: Follow Your Customers

Marketing Ideas Follow Your Customers

In the client database you should already be maintaining, track who ordered what service or product and when. This will assist you when you reach out to those customers again. With this knowledge, you will have a better understanding of what they do as well as what has been important to them in the past. More important, you will be gaining a picture about who buys from you and why.

Marketing Idea #11: Tell Your Story

Marketing Ideas Tell Your Story

Tell your story. Oftentimes, in our attempt to be consummate professionals, we are leery of telling our story (why you do what you do, what makes you tick, what ticks you off, and so on). As any seasoned public speaker will tell you, stories have a way of intimating us with our audience. A good story can work wonders for an ailing brand.

Tip: A good story is often sacrificed in lieu of political correctness, making it stale and dull. You can help your employees tell those inspiring, slightly off-center stories by encouraging a culture that assumes the best intent.

Example: Family values win. By the cash register, the store owners show a picture of their three beautiful children grinning at the customer. Below is a handwritten note that says, This is why our hours are what they are. The story is brief and clear, tells the customer about the values of the owners, and inspires loyalty through this intimacy.

How can you accomplish the same through use of story?

Marketing Idea #21: Speak at Career Day

Marketing Ideas Speak at Career Day

Be one of the speakers at your local high school on Career Day. This gets you practice in front of what could be a tough group. (If you can keep their attention and inspire them, you can approach any audience.) Be sure to research the school first. Have they won any big games lately? What sport season are they in? What are the students focused on? What are their challenges? How can you make your own story something they can relate to?

Remember: Your audience isn’t limited to the students; it includes their parents and the school faculty.