Tag Archives: Marketing strategy

What Is the Difference Between a Tri-fold Brochure, Case Study and a White Paper?

Pen on NotebookI have never been a big fan of tri-fold brochures that attempt to convince me that I should buy a particular product or sign up for a certain service.   These marketing materials tend not to be persuasive enough due to the fact that information has been crammed into a limited space.  The customer benefits are not always obvious, contrary to emotional appeal – nice images, unusual fonts and unique paper may catch my attention, but not for long.

White papers appeal more to me as they provide logic through facts, statistics and quotes from end users or industry experts. They are not flashy, but usually filled with facts.  For me, they are much more informative. I consider writing a good white paper a real art form as the author has to be a good researcher, persuasive essayist and a marketer all at once.  At the same time, a good balance between the right amount of facts, images, quotes and often industry terms has to be achieved.  Case studies tend to focus on customer stories and testimonials whereas white papers add a touch of credibility through unbiased information.

High quality content is becoming increasingly important as people crave useful information and have access to growing number of information channels before making buying decisions.  All marketing materials should educate; therefore, business people, especially marketers, need to become avid readers and dedicated students to continuously improve their skills.  I am planning to master the art of writing effective white papers in 2010 to deliver quality leads for my own business and customers. I encourage you to do the same. Good content leads to good customers.

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet?

Some small businesses are hesitant to embrace social media. Blogging seems time consuming, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook scary or unknown.  At the same time, old marketing strategies don’t seem to work any more.

Business owners may not always realize that they need to re-visit their marketing plan to create and adopt a marketing system to get results.   The same principle can be applied to Social Media – do your research, learn from others  and create a well thought-out Social Media Marketing Plan to implement your Social Media Marketing System and benefit from social networking.

During last couple of months I have been helping my clients research social networking opportunities for their organizations.  They have been using Twitter and Facebook to listen and learn before they plan and create their own Social Media Marketing Systems.  This is what we’ve learned:

  1. Make Twitter a part of your marketing strategy. Create a Social Media Marketing System.  Determine whether your business could use free social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook for market research, customer service and/or for reaching your target market.
  2. Improve your professional skills by paying attention to what your competitors, potential clients  and current customers are talking about. Then meet their needs.
  3. Learn how to educate and inform your target audience.  Share information about the articles, products and opportunities that your followers/fans may find useful.
  4. Person handling tweets/posts/fan pages for your organization should be familiar with the web and web-based tools.
  5. Make it your goal to become an “informer” who has the potential to be a “trust agent” – someone who is an expert and has an ability to influence other people.
  6. Use each Twitter wisely. Listen first, then chime in.
  7. Avoid words and phrases that may attract unwanted followers/fans.
  8. 100 loyal followers/fans/subscribers who look forward to reading your tweets/posts may be worth more than 1,000 random followers.
  9. Learn to use Twitter/Facebook/Blogs as your company’s online reputation management tool.
  10. Don’t waste your time if you don’t have a social networking strategy.

Grow Your Business With Proven Word of Mouth Marketing Strategies

Word of Mouth Marketing, the oldest form of marketing is gaining ground again. How can business owners beat the current recession with Word of Mouth Marketing?

Educate and Nurture Your Current Customers

Don’t put all emphasis on new customer acquisition, but affirm your current customers,
find ways to develop loyalty programs that increase the lifetime value of your customers. Reward
clients with your time, attention and little extras – they will become enthusiastic promoters for your products and services.

Get Known as an Expert in a Niche Community

Are you creating compelling stories (ideas, articles, informative presentations or videos) that are picked up and shared person-to-person via social networking sites or within niche communities? If not, observe successful entrepreneurs in your niche and find out how they have become experts and what has contributed to their success. Participate in discussions, create conversations and relationships that help you become an expert and share your ideas.

Offer Pleasant Surprises to Create Viral Marketing

Surprising your clients is worth your time, since it gives you an opportunity to exceed their expectations and satisfied customers will be back. It is not hard to come up with a special offer or free complimentary service, you can always add something remarkable to your product. The level of expectations changes fast these days, you have to be creative and continuously find new ways to “over deliver” so that your customers keep having new reasons to talk about you. Get to know your customers, their habits and buying patterns, develop a system to pleasantly surprise them.

Become and Stay Referable

Never stop learning how to be better and more efficient at what you do. Give your customers every reason to drum up more business for you and find out why or why not people refer you. Always welcome opportunities to meet and help other small business owners. Be interested in their business and volunteer activities. You will learn from them, also share your expertise and they will refer you as they get to know, like and trust you. You and your business will be on their mind as people in their network need products or services that you offer. Find time in your busy day to send thank you cards and notes to people who have made a difference in your life. Make it effortless for your loyal clients to provide information about you, your products and services (make sure they have your business cards and promotional materials, etc.) If you become and stay referable, you don’t have to try to sell your business to others, it will come to you.

Reinvent in the Recession with Great Marketing

Presentation Zen

Do you really know who your ideal customer is?  Can you picture what he/she reads, likes, wears and how your ideal client makes purchasing decisions?  If you know your customers’ needs well, then you don’t need to follow them around, you can lead them with confidence and you can spread ideas that resonate with your audiences.  Twitter and Facebook are great for networking, but if your customer does not even know how to spell Twitter, you may need to hang out somewhere else.  You need a different marketing strategy during recession, but first you need to

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER.

Examples of companies who know their customer:

Apple – Design matters!  People pay more for products if you give them a reason to do so.

REI – Offers quality and utility to people who value them.  Appreciates customer feedback.

Target – Makes customers feel good by letting them trade up,  differentiates its  brand from low cost retailers.

BE CREATIVE, do what your best competitors do, but do it differently, stand out. Find ways to create great customer stories and create your own story that others will tell.  Reward your best evangelists.  Write articles about your expertise or your business or have them written,  submit locally and  online.

BE INNOVATIVE, find news ways to market. Start your own inexpensive podcast if you have talent or find someone who will interview you.

Here are some useful websites for aspiring podcasters as well as listeners:

www.podomatic.com – they even give their authors 800 numbers so people can also listen to the podcast on their phones.

Free audio recording/editing software for podcasters:
www.audacity.sourceforge.net

Check out BlogTalkRadio as well.

STAY IN TOUCH with your customers and gain new clients via newsletters,  webinars or special offers.  Have free videoconferences via Skype.

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