Top 5 Marketing Strategies for Insurance Companies

marketing strategies for insurance companies

Having an incredible marketing campaign can go a long way in determining your company’s future. It’s crucial to know what your marketing goals are and how to achieve them. A great marketing strategy will definitely help you improve and expand your business to reaches that are usually far beyond your grasp. But you can’t do this if you don’t know how to run a proper marketing campaign. Sure, you might have a great idea, but if you can’t realize that idea, there’s no way that any change will happen. What you need is knowledge and imagination because both of these traits will enrich your marketing campaign and let you create something unique. Your main goal should be to create an amazing marketing campaign that will bring even more customers your way.

Regarding insurance companies, if you’re an owner of such a company you shouldn’t have any difficulty running a successful marketing campaign using these tricks. You’ll even be able to negotiate lower car insurance. Without further ado, here are the top 5 marketing strategies for insurance companies!

Be aware of the market

Being aware of the market will bring you an advantage over your competitors plus you’ll be able to know exactly what the people are looking for. If you don’t constantly keep track of the market, there’s a high possibility that you will lag behind others. Don’t allow this to happen by monitoring the market at all times. As the market changes, so should you and your marketing campaign. Staying in the past, even though it is more stable, generally means that you won’t be able to stay in front of the competition. Dedicate some of your resources into keeping track of the market, and you’re all set!

Initial situation and project goal

Once you start your company, set an immediate goal that you’ll strive to achieve in a personally given amount of time. Goals are crucial for all companies because you must have something to strive for. If you don’t, then chaos appears, and chaos isn’t good. The organization is key and, we can’t stress this enough, invest in some great organization – it will make your life easier. Take a look at the initial situation, and you’ll get an idea of what exactly you want to achieve and which way to take to that destination.

Measure the effectiveness of marketing

Once you develop a marketing campaign, make sure you check out all the variables and see if the campaign is any good. If there are too many faults and possible room for error, then it might not be a good idea to go through with that particular campaign. Otherwise, simply polish the plan and start working. Measuring the effectiveness isn’t only necessary at the beginning of your marketing campaign as the effectiveness itself can change depending on the circumstances. In short, you should constantly keep checking on things, so you know everything is going great and if, in the case of an issue or two, you need to make changes, you’ll be able to make them quickly and efficiently.

Project results and outlook

Once you run your marketing campaign and strategy, you’ll need to keep checking on how well they’re doing. Of course, we covered this in the previous part of the article. This is the part where we talk about the end-result of a marketing strategy. You should project the results and check if there is any room for improvement. Of course, you should fix the bad parts and issues, but you should also perfect the good parts. Once this is done, take a look at the results as a whole and see which smaller part simply doesn’t fit. If you do this with enough attention to detail, your next marketing campaign will fare much better.

Accumulate feedback

Finally, listen to your customers and employees. Listen to what they say because their feedback is incredibly important. If there is anything wrong with what you chose to do, then your customers will notify you. Accumulate all of this feedback and take a long, hard look. You’ll know if what you’re doing is right or wrong, which lets you plan what to do in the future accordingly!


Andy Bell a content writer who loves reading and writing different blogs. He writes about the categories like Money, Networking, Business, Insurance and many more.

Blog to Grow Your Email List

email marketing

Okay. One of the realizations that has just slapped me in the forehead has been by Internet marketer, Terry Lamb.

Guys, I’ve been marketing online, I’ve been marketing in the online and offline worlds for over 20 years, right? So I should know this stuff. I should know this one little jewel, and I needed to be reminded of it because I had strayed from the path.

The path that I strayed from, the learning that was brought to me by Terry, was this: He said in one of his recent webinars that his number one purpose for his website is to entice people to sign up onto his mailing list.

That’s his one, singular purpose.

At that point, then he can have a conversation with them. Once he’s gotten somebody added to his list, he can teach them. He can bring value to them. He can offer them recommendations—product recommendations, solution recommendations—that kind of thing. But until then, they’re not a captive audience. They’re visitors. They hop onto the site and if they leave the site without ever signing up to your list, you may never see them again.

You know, for the last year or so I had kind of fallen away from that. I’ve been building an email list for a while, but I realized I had been falling away from it. I have been pushing people more towards the Facebook channel, or more towards the Twitter.

Really, the destination is the mailing list.

If we have conversations over at Facebook, if we have conversations over at Twitter, or Google+, or wherever, that’s all great. But ultimately, you want the ability to reach into people’s inboxes to say “Hi. How you doing today? What is it that I can help you with? This is what I found to be helpful on my mission (and on our combined mission) to get from point A to point B.”

That little bit of awareness I needed. That’s my lesson for today. What can you guys do to help make your website more of a destination, first? So are you building value into your website?

Then, secondly, how do you keep the conversation going? How do you keep yourself on their forefront?

There’s your challenge for today. All right guys. This is Matt Schoenherr, MarketingIdeas101.com. In support of your efforts.

P.S. – Interested in how to grow a captive audience online? Get the Internet marketing training I use!

Infographic: Can Celebrity Endorsements Influence Sales?

Celebrity endorsement has always been seen as a viable option for companies to promote their products. Many companies believe having their products associated with a popular celebrity will help drive sales. Consumers seem unsure of their influence with 51% stating that celebrity endorsement makes little to no difference on their purchasing decisions.

While the ROI on many marketing techniques is measurable, ROI on celebrity endorsements can be more difficult to quantify. There are many potential benefits associated with celebrity endorsements but there are also many potential pitfalls that need to be monitored carefully.

These pitfalls are created when you rely solely on one celebrity to promote your product. The reputation of your company is potentially in the hands of one person whose image can change overnight as a result of some celebrity scandal. Is it really worth running this risk?

As a result of this, the success of celebrity endorsements vary greatly and it really is a case of some working and others not. The importance of choosing an appropriate celebrity is paramount to minimizing the risk of negative publicity for your company. It is worth keeping in mind that the risks associated with celebrity endorsement can never be nullified completely, and reacting to the negative impact of celebrity endorsement will need to be dealt with carefully.

infographic celebrity endorsements

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This infographic from Sign A Rama Toronto provides you with the statistics on how influential celebrity endorsement really is, as well as the stories behind the successful and unsuccessful celebrity endorsements throughout the years.

What are the best examples of celebrity testimonials you know? What are the worst?

The Importance of Consistently

by Lori Saitz

According to Dictionary.com, the definition of the adverb “consistently” is “in a systematic or consistent (reliable, steady) manner.” No matter what you’re doing, doing it consistently is the key to success. Now that I just wrote that, let me add the caveat that whatever you’re doing also needs to be in harmony with the universal concepts of good. I’m thinking someone who consistently robs banks will eventually get caught and therefore not be successful. But I digress.

Recall all the times you’ve started an exercise program. After several weeks of working out consistently, you start to see results. It’s not as important that you work out really hard or for a long time each session as it is that you do it consistently. Maybe the results are not coming as quickly as you would like; that’s okay. Trust that changes are happening. If you continue to work out consistently, after a few more weeks, you’ll see definite and positive improvement in your physical and mental conditioning.

If you want to talk about things moving at a glacial pace, we can look at, well, glaciers. They move incredibly slowly, right? But they are moving consistently and eventually you (okay, maybe not you, but a scientist) will notice that they’re in a different place than they were.

We can apply the same principle of consistency to your business and the good news is it won’t take millions of years to see the changes. Research has discovered that communicating with your clients at least 25 times a year is optimal. WHOA! That’s the initial reaction I get from people when I say that. “Twenty-five times a year is way too much for my business!” No, it’s not. Here’s how you “touch” clients 25 times without being a pest.

Personal contact

You probably talk or meet with each of your clients at least once or twice a year just in the normal course of doing business. Personal contact is very important to keeping the relationship going. If you can’t manage to make a phone call or have lunch with a client once in an entire year, he’s probably not that good of a client. And for sure he won’t be a client for very long.

So that’s two times of contact.

Send birthday acknowledgement

A card, a little gift, something to let him know you remembered his special day. When is the last time one of your vendors or business partners acknowledged your birthday? Has it ever happened? Generally your birthday is a day that is yours alone; it’s not like a national holiday that everyone is celebrating, so it’s your special day. If you have a good relationship with your client, sending a birthday acknowledgement is not a hollow gesture and will be much appreciated.

That’s one more time, so we’re up to three.

Share industry information or tips

You can do this through an e-zine like this one, regular e-mail, a printed newsletter, copies of articles from a magazine, whatever works for you. I recommend sending this kind of information at least once a month. You may argue that you don’t have time to compile stuff that often and that once a quarter is good enough. I’ll give you that quarterly is better than not at all, but higher frequency, more consistently (just like working out) yields better results. If you are providing useful information, recipients will not mind receiving it.

Do it 12 times a year, added to the previous three and we’re at 15.

Mail postcards or greeting cards

Promote a special occasion, upcoming workshop or unusual event. Everyone sends cards and gifts for the holidays at the end of the year. Now more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon to send stuff at Thanksgiving, thinking that will set them apart from all the December exchanges. Who is reaching out at Groundhog Day (February 2), International Customer Loyalty Month (April) or Flag Day (June 14)? Pick a few times throughout the year and use them to express your personality, say thanks for your business or ask for a referral in an unusual way. Your clients will remember you better and more often.

Every other month is six times, plus the 15, and we’ve got 21.

Recognize clients’ accomplishments

When you see an article in the newspaper or hear through the grapevine about a client’s good fortune, send a handwritten note, (or at least an e-mail), to say “Congratulations!” Who doesn’t like recognition for a job well done? And your client will feel good about you for having taken the time/interest to let her know you’re aware of it.

Let’s say you do this once a year and now we’re closer to the target with 22.

Write a column for the local newspaper, industry publication, association newsletter, etc.

Share your expertise with an audience that includes your clients, as well as potential clients. You position yourself as an expert and you reach a lot of people at one time with minimal effort. If there are 1,200 readers, it certainly beats making 1,200 phone calls, doesn’t it?If you get published three times, we’re all the way up to 25! Wow, that wasn’t so difficult.

In addition to these suggestions, you may have some other ideas on what you can do to keep in touch with your clients. Take some time today to come up with a plan for consistently communicating and improving rapport with your clients.

You’ll soon see that whatever you choose to do, doing it consistently yields fantastic results.


Lori Saitz is an appreciation marketing expert and the founder and president of Zen Rabbit Baking Company. She created the Zen Rabbit Gratitude Program for business professionals who believe expressing appreciation – for their clients, referral sources and anyone else who supports their success – is important.

Educate Your Customers, Grow Your Revenues

by Ken David

What is marketing? First, it’s about understanding deeply the needs and wants of your customers and providing them with greater value. You must clearly identify the demand in the marketplace. At a minimum, most businesses can improve significantly in this area.

However, the real power and leverage of marketing comes from the next level of influence, communicating convincingly your unique and superior value proposition.

Marketing is about communicating with and educating your customers, prospects, and referral sources why it’s in their best interest to do business with your company. It is about educating the right target audience on the unique and superior advantages, benefits, value, and results you can provide and sharing the credible evidence/reasons that support and back-up such promises.

In short, marketing is about educating your target market on the advantages of doing business with you and the reasons why they should trust you to deliver on your promises.

Instead of impacting one prospect at a time (i.e. direct selling), marketing allows you to communicate with, educate, and influence many buyers at once. In a sense, marketing is a one-to-many selling system. Marketing allows you to target and influence large groups of customers, prospects, alliances, referral sources, reporters, etc. in a single action.

Unfortunately, most business owners mistakenly try to tackle most goals (i.e. growing sales) with a one-to-one, single weapon, combat mentality. For example, instead of considering the leverage of marketing (i.e. strategic alliances, referral systems, direct mail, telemarketing, etc.) to grow sales, many owners remain in the same comfort zone and deadly rut of using a single weapon like direct selling. They miss the chance to use air support (marketing) to vastly aid their ground war (selling).

They fail to consider and try new options, new approaches, and new strategies.

While all businesses have a selling process (converting leads to customers), most do not have a legitimate marketing process (generating qualified leads). As such, they miss out on tremendous leverage and revenue opportunities.

Your goal should be to add an ongoing marketing process to your business. Again, marketing is nothing more than understanding the needs of your customers and then communicating to them the superior advantages/benefits they can derive by doing business with you.

Think of marketing as ongoing education. You are educating customers, prospects, and referral sources why it’s in their best interest to do business with your company.

There are only 5 ways to grow your business:

  1. Keep the customers you have,
  2. Bring in more customers,
  3. Increase the average transaction size (unit sale),
  4. Increase the frequency of purchases, and
  5. Say “no” to bad customers/prospects.

In short, keep what you have, bring in more customers, sell larger amounts to them, and sell to them more often. Do one of these well and your business grows. Do two or more of these well, and your business can grow by quantum leaps and bounds, geometric growth instead of mere linear growth.

For this article, we will focus on strategy #1, keeping the customers you have. Don’t underestimate the need to satisfy and retain customers. Most businesses put too much money, time, and effort into chasing new customers/prospects and far too little resources trying to keep their current ones.

However, we all know that you can’t fill up a bucket if you don’t plug the leaks in the bucket. Real profits and stable revenue streams come from long-term relationships and repeat business with your current loyal, profitable customers. Some experts declare that 80% of a company’s future growth comes from existing clients, if served and cultivated properly. As such, customer satisfaction and retention should be your #1 marketing priority.

The primary purpose of a business is to attract and retain customers. You can’t grow and remain in business without keeping the customers you currently have. First, you must measure your current attrition rate (loss of customers) and set a goal for dramatically reducing this rate.

For example, let’s say, on average, that you lose 20% of your customers every year. A realistic goal would be to reduce this attrition rate to 10% per year.

Bottom line, it is easier and nearly eight times cheaper to serve and retain current clients/customers than to pursue new ones.

Once you have plugged the holes in your attrition bucket, you want to serve better and get closer to these profitable and worthy customers. You want to better understand their needs and then fulfill as many of these needs as possible with additional products and services. Continually communicate with your customers. Educate them. Give them value. Give them solutions. Focus on them and their needs, not on your products/services.

Communicate with them in person, in letters, in faxes, in emails, via your website, brief newsletters, etc. Don’t worry; you can’t over-communicate with your customers. Like employees, keep them informed, involved, and inspired to continue doing business with you. Also, repeatedly ask your customers the following questions:

  • “How are we doing?”
  • “What other needs do you have?” and
  • “How could we improve our value to you?”

Your objective is to provide them with more value more frequently and as a result, you will benefit with more profits. Never sell a customer only once. Real profits come from repeat business. As such, set goals to increase the frequency and size of repeat business. You want ongoing relationships and ongoing sales. Also remember, marketing is about educating your customers.


Ken David is the president of The Growth Coach® in Haslett, MI, a business coaching firm dedicated to helping business owners get more out of their businesses and personal lives.

Marketing Idea #31: Know Your Neighbors

know your neighbors

Especially in a retail environment, it is important that retailers work together to synchronize and support each other’s activities. Likewise, the same can be true of strategic partners, where physical location isn’t as important as reciprocal efforts. If you haven’t taken the time to meet your neighbors (e.g., the businesses on your block, in your complex, in your part of town), you’re missing out on a great opportunity. Building relationships with these folks will lead to the ability to refer business to them, as well as the opportunity to receive referred business from them.

The Basic Argument for Advertising in a Recession

advertising in recession

from The Wall Street Journal
(publication information unknown)
View the original article

When times turn bad, they’re made worse by hesitation, halfway measures, and panicky decisions. Such as the decision to reduce or eliminate advertising. The fact is, companies that maintain or increase their advertising spending during recessions get ahead. A less crowded field allows messages to be seen more clearly, and that increased visibility results in higher sales both during and after a recession.

Recessionary Advertising Works

Studies by the American Business Press examined the relationship between advertising and sales in 143 companies during the severe 1974/75 downturn. They found that companies that did not cut advertising either year had the highest growth in sales and the net income during the two study years and the following two years. The studies also proved that companies that cut advertising during both years had the lowest sales and net-income increases during the two study years and the following two years.

And not surprisingly, companies that cut advertising during only one of the recession years had sales and net-income increases that fell in between.

Long-Term Benefits

A study by McGraw-Hill of both the 1974/75 and 1981/82 recessions confirmed the long-range advantage of keeping a strong advertising presence. It found that companies that cut advertising in 1981/82 increased sales by only 19% between 1980 and 1985, while companies that continued to advertise in 1981/82 enjoyed a 275% sales increase.

An industry-specific study published by the Harvard Business Review found that airlines that increased their advertising expenditure during 1974/75 increased sales and market share in both years, while airlines that cut advertising in both years lost sales and share both years.

The results of all three studies are consistent, clear and unequivocal: Those companies that advertise during a recession have better sales than those companies that don’t.

The way to minimize a downturn and take maximum advantage of the upturn is to maintain a strong communications link with your buying public.


Recession? Don’t Run Scared

by Marcia Yudkin

During a recession, scared businesses tend to cut back on marketing expenses. This appears to be the smart bet. After all, most customers have become more cautious about spending. So why not conserve your resources, wait out the downturn and have funds to spend when the economy picks up?

In fact, smart businesses expand during a recession because they know there will be a shakeout caused by the scared businesses shrinking.

During any recession, there are always more than enough clients out there to keep you busy if you continue to market, and market smartly. Capitalize on your strengths. Make the most of your business relationships. Create or revive programs that enable customers to move ahead. (I just filled a seminar teaching a highly marketable specialized skill.) Above all, stay upbeat, putting the dynamics of self-fulfilling prophecies in your favor.

If you behave like the scared businesses, or target them, you will contract. If you market to the smart businesses during a recession, you will continue to prosper.

It’s up to you.


Get ideas for marketing moves during a recession from articles I’ve written, including “Clone Your Best Customers,” “Getting New Business Fast” and “Creating a Reputation.” Inspiration costs nothing! Marketing strategy articles: http://www.yudkin.com/marketingmoves.htm


The Sky Is Falling

By Robin Sieger

Speaking to people in business at the moment, there appears to be a storm on the horizon. The newspapers and media are having a field day discussing the rate of inflation, the spiraling cost of oil, the increased number of redundancies, the drop in house prices, the difficulty encountered when borrowing money from the banks, and the all-time favorite the cost of living.

If you’ve spent time living in Great Britain, or know British people, you will know that our favorite topic of conversation is the weather, which is not as surprising as it may sound as we still are the only nation on earth where you can have all four seasons on the same day.

But the favorite topic of conversation now has moved on to the economy (so things must really be serious). The economic downturn has affected everybody, even successful business friends of mine have quite seriously told me they think they’re going to go broke. No amount of positive attitude in the world and well intentioned clichés are going to change their thinking. They have borrowed heavily from the banks to build a business and now the rate of interest is increasing and the value of the businesses is decreasing. Bad times!

I can’t remember the magazine, but it was about nine years ago that I read a fascinating article in which four billionaires were interviewed. The one thing they had in common was they were all over 80 years of age. The interviewer basically asked them about the 20th century from a business point of view. The four interviewees said they had lived through a number of recessions, and one estimated in the 20th century there had been eight periods of recession. They all saw them as occupational hazards.

One of them gave an analogy based on a love of sailing. He said when the wind blows in, you get the sails up and travel fast and far. When the storm approaches, you take in the sails, make the ship safe and hang on. He added when you sense the worst of the storm has passed, you get your sails back up as fast as you can and get going. The biggest indicator of hope is that after the storm comes a period of calm and opportunity that you must never lose sight of.

For many of you, there is stormy weather ahead—how severe and how long it will last I don’t know. I only know that I will keep my eye keenly on the horizon and the moment I sense the storm is breaking start, I’ll put up all the sails I can. In business, recessions come and go just as opportunities come and go, but you must never lose sight of the opportunities that the storms often wash up on the shore.

In the meantime, I’m going to wait until people start talking tentatively about the weather again, which will be a good sign.


Robin Sieger, from Scotland, now divides his time between between Europe and America. He is a successful businessman, best selling author, and broadcaster with offices in the UK and Charlotte, NC. He is a leading success strategist and has a world-class reputation as a conference speaker who passionately delivers high-impact presentations that are informative, inspiring, and entertaining. Robin’s humor and ability to emotionally connect with audiences has seen him become the first choice speaker at major conferences around the world. For more information visit www.siegerinternational.com or email robin@siegerinternational.com.

A Review of ‘Killing Us Softly’

killing us softly

Have you ever noticed how an actress or model looks seems to play a more vital role in an advertisement than the message they deliver? In her presentation, Killing Us Softly, Jean Kilbourne elaborates how an ad sells better than the product itself. Why? An ad can convey esoteric concepts, as well as simple product value. Concepts such as love, sexuality, dreams of success or normalcy are underpinning currents carried by most of today’s advertisements.

Advertisements tell us who we are and who we want to be. They define a person in ways that even their own heritage cannot. With every other woman on the television or in the magazines looking fair and beautiful, girls in their teens assume this is the norm by which to conform. The kind of clothes, the shoes, the makeup, the must have handbags and even minor accessories like headbands and gloves attract these young minds easily with their color and glamor.

As Kilbourne points out, lured into believing the airbrushed world of advertising by a young age, it becomes easy for girls to lose track of their identities, growing uncomfortable in their own skins. This has been the case with majority of the models in the past decade. Too many stories tell of models and starlets falling into hospitals or rehab centers, where the worst cases face traumatic disorders—sometimes leading to death.

According to Jean, advertisements carry only one main message these days for women and that is to look good. She illustrates examples where women celebrities have admitted to the high degree of photo retouching in their own advertisements. Quoting supermodel Cindy Crawford, “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.”

sexy peta ad

Most women in cinema and fashion have fallen prey to the post-production effort to make them appear slimmer, taller, bustier or fairer. Kilbourne gives various examples of entertainers and models (Kiera Knightley, Jessica Alba and Kelly Clarkson, to name a few) who have been Photoshopped to achieve magazine-worthy looks. Not all actresses have gone along with this quietly, Kilbourne says. Titanic star Kate Winslet has publicly announced she looks nothing like her image on the cover of the British GQ magazine.

Kilbourne feels this treatment of women is equivalent to an act of indirect violence. To live up to this airbrushed ideal, many women resort to dieting and other fast and dangerous methods to reduce their weight. Prime examples here, she says, are the models who grow thinner and thinner, year after year. A dire example, Ana Carolina Reston died of anorexia after being called ‘too fat’ by a modeling agency. Kilbourne asserts such cases have now become an all too common occurrence in the fashion industry.

Continuing her argument, Kilbourne points to the growing objectification of the female form. Many of today’s advertisements are more focused on certain physical attributes of women, further contributing to the not-so-subliminal emphasis given to an unhealthy, unrealistic ideal. The direct impact this has on a woman’s self-esteem is often neglected. This objectification of women has evolved into a form of social violence, Kilbourne says. It has become a public health issue that threatens every female around us and it places upon us the responsibility to hedge our daughters against it.

In today’s world advertisements market the women and not the product. You see nudity in everything. From a simple CD cover to a beer advertisement, women are portrayed in varying levels of nudity. What once was a crime is now a trend. So the most important question asked here is, what is being marketed to women? What does she think when she goes to an agency and is asked to strip off her clothing along with her dignity? In the age where money is paid for any kind of service, most women do not really understand the repercussions of their actions. Either they are too desperate and in need or they simply are not educated enough to look for a better job.

sex in advertising

Jean Kilbourne has done a marvelous job hitting the right points to convey the depth and seriousness of the issue at hand. Her inspired determination to enlighten us about the imagery we are allowing at the newsstands is a wake up call.

As a father of two daughters (and two sons—not to overlook them in the whole self-image crisis,) I have a keen interest in sheltering my children for as long as possible from the damaging effects of “news-stand beauty.” Jean’s message in Killing Us Softly is loud and clear. I pray it takes us by the throat and gives us the good rattle we need to wake up and break out of our dive.

Matt

big data

Update: August 8, 2013

Dove has done it again. This time, they’ve taken their argument for natural, untouched portrayal of beauty straight to the creatives holding the smoking gun. This time, it’s in the form of an Easter egg–a hidden message or feature in software. When the guilty, image-enhancing creative attempts to apply the skin glow effect advertised by a free Photoshop plugin, they get a message meant just for them. Brilliant.

Enjoy!

Harmonizing Your 2013 Marketing Strategy is Simple, Really

2013 marketing ideas

Harmonize your marketing channels by “seamlessly coordinating messages and offers across all offline and digital channels that include: point of sale, direct mail, call center, social, mobile, web and email,” suggests Chief Marketer Network. Email campaigns alone will not get you noticed. With the Information Age comes easier accessibility to any businesses that are active online. With that comes the challenge to get recognized and stand out from the rest. It’s now more important than ever to align your message/brand across all platforms in order to reach a diverse demographic.

Streamline Your Marketing Strategy

What exactly are the best marketing tactics to gain recognition for your brand? It’s actually simpler than you might think. Mix your campaigns by sending quality, focused direct marketing through the mail, followed by a smart email campaign and then an astute social platform. By tapping into physical mail as well as email methods and social media, you’re maximizing the potential of your marketing campaigns. And, if you need an advertising revolution, the unconventional is becoming the norm with guerrilla marketing. While it may seem simple, don’t miss a step.

Direct Mail

Small businesses are now coordinating and streamlining marketing messages across different advertising platforms. In-house organization systems such as Pitney Bowes mail services give easy access to marketing and communications tools that help small businesses do this. Don’t send direct mail to just anyone. Study demographics and target market your print collateral. You can gather this information from InfoUSA and USA Data to gather specific leads more likely to benefit you with this method of advertising. Small business consultant Evan Carmichael suggest you keep these things in mind when creating your direct mail:

  • Set an objective
  • Include an incentive to take action
  • Proofread, edit, proofread and edit again
  • Write a captivating headline
  • Do a test run

Phone

What happened to picking up the phone and calling someone? It’s not dead—personal communication, you know. Be sure to target this type of marketing specific to geo- and demographics. Don’t call a household in Florida and offer them a Jack-in-the-box coupon. The closest location is two states away in either direction. However, you could call a household in Miami and ask them to take a quick survey on their most recent experience with your new Miami business-finder app.

Web

Getting active on the web is imperative in the 21st century. Create a unique website and coordinating landing pages. All of these forms of contact can lead customers to your landing page, which captures their information and helps you convert them into legitimate leads. People need prompts. They need to be directed through the magical maze of the web. You don’t want to run the risk of getting them lost in your site and eventually directing themselves away.

Social

Become active on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Add sharing buttons to your email newsletters and your web content for social media integration. You have to be a part of the game. Crowd-sourcing is the new word-of-mouth. Once you are placing yourself on several social platforms, you will have people sharing your valuable content and traffic will increase. If you’re not social, you might be left out of the game.

Mobile

SoLoMo marketing — social, local, mobile. By activating a mobile device at any onsite location, one can instantly be connected to his social graph. Utilize smart phones in your small business marketing plan by incorporating QR codes in your direct mail, email and web materials in order to entice current and potential customers to your site by offering them reasonable offers and rewards.

Email

Don’t promise something you can’t deliver. (Rule No. 1: If you say “Free!” it better be free.) Email is a powerful tool if you know how to use it, especially if you have a small company with a smaller marketing budget. Getting crafty with your headline can lure current and potential customers in just as easily as a bad subject line can get your efforts deleted in one click of a button. Forbes reports that adding personalization in the subject line increased open rates by an average of 40 percent. Consider making an offer the customer can’t refuse in the subject line like, “Private Invite: Respond before Friday at five.”

Guerrilla Marketing

When all else remains stagnate, implement the outrageous … release the beast. Small-scale stunts offer a low-cost solution to your marketing woes. Remember 2002, when Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins sported a goldenpalace.com henna body tattoo on his back during a middleweight boxing match? A measly $100,000 helped that company become a household name. Guerrilla marketing intercepts public spaces and engages the consumer to have a memorable brand experience.

POS (Point of Sale)

While having an inventory system may seem not to have anything to do with marketing, it has everything to do with keeping your business running seamlessly. This in turn gives you an advantage because your processes are smooth, allowing you time to focus on your marketing. Having point-of-sale system software is fundamental in centralizing your business. Organizing your brand and inventory can help determine what type of marketing is working and what is not. Inventory control is essential in maintaining the efficiency of your operations, allowing you to make better use of your staff.

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Stephanie Cole is a freelance writer from North Carolina.

Marketing Idea #202: Pretend You’re a Celebrity

marketing ideas be a celebrity

LOL. From YouTube:

“On the night of July 27th, 2012, a huge prank was pulled in New York City and this is the video of what took place. Brett Cohen came up with a crazy idea to fool thousands of pedestrians walking the streets of Times Square into thinking he was a huge celebrity, and it worked! Not only did it work, it caused quite a stir. This social experiment, of sorts, makes a profound statement about how modern culture is so attracted to pop culture, without any real credibility needed.”

No kidding. Enjoy!

Matt

Marketing Idea #9: Match Competitors’ Prices

marketing ideas match competitor prices

Offer to match your competition’s prices. Bargain shoppers thrive on being able to bring in your competition’s ads to have you beat the prices. There are a few things that work to your advantage here:

  • Your regular patrons will be less likely to be swayed away from you because of price.
  • The hunt for the lowest price is a process that engages the public and draws attention.
  • You never have to worry about keeping a tab on the competition’s price strategy (but you do have to worry about being able to maintain the same price strategy).

Caution: Make sure your margins allow for price wars. There is something to be said for positioning yourself as the premium product or service in the marketplace. For instance, Ruler or Sage brand archetypes may not want to battle at the low end of the pricing scale since those brands lend more to a moderate to high pricing strategy. In contrast, the Jester or Regular Guy/Girl brand archetypes would be better suited for this tactic, due to their broader mass appeal.

Marketing Idea #25: Always Carry Business Cards

marketing ideas business cards

Always have enough business cards with you. While this seems like it should be obvious, people are still caught off-guard without their business cards. You’ll never know when or where opportunities will arise. Also, whenever you know you’re on your way to a trade show, mixer, or other networking event, make sure you take a lot of business cards. It’s better to have too many than not enough!

Tip: Keep a number of “card caches” around you at all times. Keeping business cards in your car, at your desk, at your home office, and in your briefcase or purse can keep you from looking ill-prepared if you forget to replenish the cards in your wallet.

What NOT to do: I’ve seen people leave their business cards randomly at restaurants, in rest rooms, and on bar counters by registers. Maybe this works, but I’m doubtful. In my mind, this would be even less effective than placing your business card on a bulletin board! Do you really think the wait staff are going to keep you business cards after you leave? Nah. I think they’re going to clean the table and those expensive die-cut, embossed business cards you had to have are going to end up wearing your table scraps in the trash.

Hint: Save your cards for the people who care.

Marketing Idea #2: What is Your Marketing Budget?

Marketing Ideas Marketing Budget

Set aside money for marketing efforts each year. Don’t use it for anything else. Often, we have a tendency to pull our marketing funds from the same pool of money as our operating funds. This habit can reduce an organization’s ability to market itself when the time is right. Be especially protective of your marketing budget; this is the investment that pays the bills.

Below, I’ve reposted a brief article by the Wall Street Journal which discusses the success of companies who remain steady in their marketing efforts, even in the face of a recession. Folks, if this can’t convince you to invest in your own marketing efforts, I don’t know what will.

In support of your efforts,

Matt

marketing ideas Google Analytics divider

The Basic Argument for Advertising in a Recession

from The Wall Street Journal (publication information unknown)
View the original article

When times turn bad, they’re made worse by hesitation, halfway measures, and panicky decisions. Such as the decision to reduce or eliminate advertising. The fact is, companies that maintain or increase their advertising spending during recessions get ahead. A less crowded field allows messages to be seen more clearly, and that increased visibility results in higher sales both during and after a recession.

Recessionary Advertising Works

Studies by the American Business Press examined the relationship between advertising and sales in 143 companies during the severe 1974/75 downturn. They found that companies that did not cut advertising either year had the highest growth in sales and the net income during the two study years and the following two years. The studies also proved that companies that cut advertising during both years had the lowest sales and net-income increases during the two study years and the following two years.

And not surprisingly, companies that cut advertising during only one of the recession years had sales and net-income increases that fell in between.

Long-Term Benefits

A study by McGraw-Hill of both the 1974/75 and 1981/82 recessions confirmed the long-range advantage of keeping a strong advertising presence. It found that companies that cut advertising in 1981/82 increased sales by only 19% between 1980 and 1985, while companies that continued to advertise in 1981/82 enjoyed a 275% sales increase.

An industry-specific study published by the Harvard Business Review found that airlines that increased their advertising expenditure during 1974/75 increased sales and market share in both years, while airlines that cut advertising in both years lost sales and share both years.

The results of all three studies are consistent, clear and unequivocal: Those companies that advertise during a recession have better sales than those companies that don’t.

The way to minimize a downturn and take maximum advantage of the upturn is to maintain a strong communications link with your buying public.

Marketing Idea #4: Note Those Hot Ideas

Marketing Ideas Hot Ideas

You probably already have ideas and future plans for your company in your head. Put these ideas down in print somewhere. Include a section for collecting marketing ideas and opportunity information. You’ll be amazed at the great ideas you lose track of as you get caught up in your day-to-day efforts. Make it a point to review this file quarterly and delegate the best ideas if you can’t tackle them yourself.

How to Market a New Business


Marketing Ideas for Small Business

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, by now you’ve hopefully come to the conclusion you don’t want to compete with folks selling their services for $5. So then, how to market a new business and build a brand? Here are a few ideas:

First, I would consider your story. Why do you do what you do? Why are you personally invested in your clients’ success? Why have you chosen to make this your personal mission and what can you tell us about your personal mission? What is your ‘why’?

Further, what sets you apart from the other guy or gal? Why would people pick you? What makes you so special? Something does, so what is it? By answering these questions, you are beginning to develop your value proposition.

Testimonials are another useful tool. Go to past clients and ask them why they chose to work with you, what problem they were seeking to solve and how you provided the solution. There is a template here that helps with that:

Marketing Idea #89: Collect Testimonials

 
Don’t have any past clients yet? You may want to do some free work to build up your client porfolio. Once people can see others have trusted you in the past, it becomes easier for them to trust you. Think of this as building social proof.

Case studies are very similar to well-constructed testimonials in that they offer a description of the problem and then tell how you provided the solution and finally communicate the happy result.

Best recommendation: Share before-and-after stories. If you’re a writer, show the ad copy in its prior miserable state and then show the revised ad copy after you’ve finished with it. (“Feel the difference?  Here is how we saw conversion rates improve…” P.S. If you’re not tracking this yet, you need to start!) Another example could be for an orthodontist; here is the patient’s mouth before we fixed their snaggle-teeth, and here is the patient’s sparkling smile after the procedures were completed.

Finally, since we’re on the topic of building a brand, you may want to work through this short brand archetype quiz:

Branding 101: Discover Your Brand Archetype (Quiz)

 
The quiz results will provide you with three archetypes, listed in order of relevance. This will definitely help you determine the “flavor” you want your brand to exude. For instance, if you are a rough and tumble pioneer type, the Explorer archetype may be the archetype you identify with most. Once you know your archetype, you can ensure your ad copy, imagery and brand all align with that archetype, which strengthens your position in the mind of the consumer.

Okay, this should keep you busy for a while. If you have more ideas to share or have questions about applying any of these marketing tactics, leave a comment below!

In support of your efforts,

Matt

Marketing Idea #7: Start Joking Around

Marketing Ideas Use Humor

Use humor in regard to your product or service. Poke fun at yourself and get your message across at the same time. Humor relaxes us. It invites us to let down our guard and have fun. If you associate your brand with a Jester brand archetype (also known as the Fool or Joker archetype,) you are likely already doing this.

Example: Dental offices are famous for providing dental floss during Halloween trick-or-treating fun. Instead, why not send your clients fake hillbilly teeth as a reminder to maintain good dental hygiene during sweet holidays? For promotional thrust, have your office’s logo and contact info printed on any giveaways.

For Your Entertainment

Perspiration Precipitates Performance and Other Marketing Lessons Learned

Marketing Ideas Douglas Criticism Quote

The following is a letter I received from a dear client, John Douglas, who also happens to be a talented local photographer. Over the past year, John has undergone the rigors of becoming an SEO-savvy entrepreneur. John is a model student; eager to learn, invested in his own success and quick to pick up the strategies required to build success, both online and offline.

I asked John if I could share his letter with you. I feel his experience may resonate and help normalize others who may feel as he did as they attempt to break into their local marketplace.

As I mentioned to John, it is wonderful to see yourself progress toward self-confidence as a business person and professional. Yes, it’s hard to teach such things without the frustrating mechanism of time and the roller-coaster of the success/failure continuum. Take pleasure in recognizing your inner growth. Lessons like these are learned not just intellectually, but also at a cellular level, through life discovery. This means such valuable lessons become truly yours, adding onto the wisdom you already possess. You are richer today–both in the spirit and in the material–as a result.

In support of your efforts,

Matt Schoenherr

online marketing course divider

Hey Matt:
It’s been close to a year since we started working together. I thought I would share some observations with you. I have been seeing increasing activity and interest in my work as manifest by the number of requests I am getting now. Am I as busy as I’d like to be? Absolutely not, but I’ve learned to be patient. Some random thoughts:

  • Success is measured incrementally, and doesn’t happen according to your prescribed schedule. I have learned be comfortable with even modest gains. As you are well aware the last year has seen some frustrations on my part, largely because I was focusing on the success of others and not on my personal successes. I have learned to focus on myself and my abilities and not be concerned with the success or failure of others.
  • Don’t evaluate your success on the short term. It has taken me a while to assimilate this, and I’m sure you’ve told me this a number of times. Being an engineer, I plotted a linear regression of where I expected to be in a year with regard to web traffic. Am I going to reach my goal? I don’t know. Do I care? No.
  • “P cubed”. Perspiration precipitates performance. Gains are not achieved without some hard work and drudgery. I never imagined it would be so difficult to to get top ranking, and to hold on to decent ranking.
  • Web design is fun, but web maintenance is boring and mundane. The website design looks fantastic, and I am still happy with it today after nearly a year.
  • Word of mouth is the best advertising. I firmly believe that reputation trumps any search engine rankings or website designs. SEO is a way of getting your foot in the door and establishing yourself as a credible resource.
  • Does top ranking mean you are the best? Absolutely not. I have learned that you have to have faith in people and recognize that they will make decisions to hire me based on their criteria, and not my criteria.
  • Learn to see the difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism. Appreciate the constructive, ignore the destructive.
  • Has it been worth the time, effort, and money? Absolutely! I would not be seeing the interest I am seeing without decent ranking on keyword searches. Thank you for your efforts.

Lastly, thank you for being patient with me in the last year. You have been my technical advisor, mentor, and (at times) my spiritual and psychological counselor.  =)

I am very appreciative of all of your efforts and assistance in the past year.

John Douglas
Photographer

Marketing Idea #103: Selling to Salons

Marketing Ideas Selling to Salons

Are you in the business of helping small business owners market themselves? A good place to start could be hair salons and spas. They tend to be a little more “cutting edge” (heh.. pun intended..) and may see the vision you paint more clearly.

Before introducing yourself through a form letter, cold call or face-to-face meeting, get the owner’s name first! If I’m a business owner and I get a form letter addressed to “To Whom It May Concern”, I’ll pitch it into the trash and likely forget about you within 10 seconds. If you actually do show up–and if I actually remember you–I’ll see you as the lout that sent the form letter.

You can get the owner’s name easily enough. In many places, business entity registrations are public record and often available online; you just need to know where to look.

Worst case: Call up the salon and simply ask the front desk for their mailing address. You need it in order to mail them a package (if they ask, it’s regarding their marketing plan.) Once they give you the mailing address, your question is “Whose attention do I send this to?” which you can follow up with “Are they the owner?” If they’re not, simply ask for the owner’s name. Most folks will give you that information by this point in the dialog. I definitely would not send anything without getting the owner’s name. You may as well throw your stamps and envelopes into the trash yourself and save everyone the time, effort and interruption.

Better: Get your hair cut there. (Think of this as a marketing expense.) The owner is also often working in the business. Call up to make the appointment and when asked who you would like to have cut your hair, simply respond with, “The owner.” Then get their name, of course. Show up to your appointment on time and dressed for success. Get a simple trim or whatever is appropriate. Make friendly chit-chat (stylists are artisans at making small talk) and–if the question of what you do for work hasn’t come up yet–eventually ask about how business is going. Most small businesses can handle more business and since you’re in the business of helping achieve that, you use that as your segue into, “Have you ever thought about ___________?” Have some case studies and stories to tell. Whatever you do, don’t pitch them. Your mission is to ask questions and tell stories. If they’re interested, they’ll say so and it will be a reflection on the value in your dialog; not in a sneaky pitch.

By doing this, you’ve skipped the cold, cheesy form letter, brought value to your time with them, gotten their undivided attention and, hopefully, gotten a good haircut in the process.

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 #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 «

 

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 #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 #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?