With the New Year coming up quickly, small business owners are looking to strategize and finalize their marketing plans for 2009. While traditional methods of advertising such as print ads, television, and radio always seem to be in the marketing plan, advertisers might want to put more focus on an alternative form of marketing next year. What might that be? Promotional products, giveaways, swag, freebies, whatever you want to call it, it is simply a product imprinted with your company logo, name, and/or contact information.
The Advertising Specialty Institute just released results from a study focused on the cost analysis of promotional products compared to other advertising media. Surveying 600+ people in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, the ASI team focused on understanding how promotional products influenced consumers to purchase, determine the number of impressions promotional products produced, and to compare the Cost Per Impressions (CPI) of these products compared to other forms of advertising.
We all know the adage, .you gotta spend money to make money.. So why do companies pretend they don.t need to advertise to get customers?
Margie Christman is the owner, designer and creator of a purse company called .Texas Bag Lady.. She serves as a great example as to why advertising a little can help your company a lot. When Margie started out, she promoted her business by including a pen displaying her company name with each purchase. Her husband discouraged her from ordering the pens, saying she couldn.t afford to spend money when she was just starting out.
Within no time, a customer called, proving the husband wrong. The woman told Margie that people kept asking where she got her purse. Though the customer forgot the phone number, she had it on the pen and shared it with everyone she spoke to.
Each year is filled with holidays and special occasions that you can use as an opportunity to promote your business and services. Halloween is one such opportunity where you can engage with your current customers and try to attract new customers.
A few years ago, a few days before Halloween, I arrived home to find a pumpkin at my door. Attached to the pumpkin was a little goodie bag with pumpkin carving tools, carving designs, a few pieces of candy, and a note from a local realtor wishing me a Happy Halloween.
What a great idea! I.m sure many people were surprised and delighted to receive a gift and I.m sure that families with kids enjoyed the pumpkin and goodies even more. Leaving a pumpkin with some treats to market your business or just let people in the community know that you care and are interested in them is such a simple and nice way to promote yourself.
Time is ticking for holiday sales. What can you do?
The Wall Street Journal wrote a great article a few weeks ago on how to ramp up on holiday sales this year. These simple tactics may often be overlooked, but when implemented can help bring in extra traffic and sales.
Update Your Website Make updates to your website! Feature a more festive look and offer special holiday promotions to attract customers to buy, buy, and buy some more. Understand what customers find important in online shopping during the holiday season. Is your website secure? How much is shipping? Is your shipping information easy to find? Will it ship on time? Are there discounts for buying multiple items? How about refunds and exchanges? Are there guarantees or warranties you can offer to the customer? Make this information prominent on your website so that potential customers don.t leave disappointed because they could not find such crucial information.
Financial Hack has some great advice on being innovative. Using Japan.s square watermelon, they show why thinking outside of the box is one of the smartest things you can do in the business world.
There are some great lessons to take away from this article. I think the main things are to realize that nothing is impossible and to always to look for an easier way to do things. It is these two factors that have been behind all major technological advances. The same spirit that created square watermelon created cars and created the internet. Always keep your mind open and look for a better way!
Where do you put your logo? While consistency is important, it needs to be balanced with where the logo is placed. Many items work more efficiently with a logo in one place for one situation and in other situations, they work better with the logo in another location.
For example, if you order a folding chair with a carrying bag, there are three possible places to place your logo depending on where you plan to use the folding chair:
. Trade Shows: If you order the chairs for set up at a trade show and know people will look at the front of the chair, placing the logo on the front makes the most sense.
. Every Day Use: If you are giving chairs away to be used at the beach or sporting events, the logo on the back would provide you with the best exposure, as a person sitting in the chair will block any logos on the front.
Have you ever noticed all those organizations that sponsor the local Girl Scouts, little league games, community picnics, etc.? People support those businesses that sponsor because they have shown an interest in the community and want to help. You can be one of those companies.
Sponsoring local events will build your image in the community. As an extra bonus, if the event is run by a non-profit organization, contributions are tax-deductible. There are many inexpensive ways to show your support and get your community.s support in return.
.Provide food. Bringing hot dogs or drinks to a small event could cost under $50, but will get you remembered.
With gas prices on the rise and the fall of the American dollar, it can be a scary time to be a small business owner. It doesn.t have to be. If you use these facts to your advantage, you can take over, or at least be competitive in, your local marketplace.
. Customers Are Shopping Around. In tighter economies, people need to stretch their dollar further. Many of your competitor.s customers will shop around to find the best deal. This is a great chance to lure people in with sales, first-time client discounts and more.
. Loyal Customers Need Love Too. Maintain your existing customer base by pairing good prices with a loyalty program. Hold on to your customers -if you offer them good reasons to stick with you, they will.
. Competitors May Disappear. Some businesses will not compete successfully in a bad economy and may downsize, scale back their product/service lines or even go under. Make it easy for their past customers to transition to your company and they.ll be happy to make the switch.
. Customers Want Satisfaction. The best way to keep customers happy is by offering great customer service. In times of hardship, people need to know who they can trust. Give customers a reason to trust you and they will stay by your side.
. Fewer Companies Are Advertising. Your competitors will not pay for advertising when profit margins are shrinking. Take advantage of this by following our instructions on marketing for virtually free.
Being a successful business person doesn.t depend on the economy so much as knowing how to manipulate information to your advantage. Using the marketplace to give you an upper hand is a helpful business tactic that can be used in all economies.
How do you fare in bad economies? Do you have any advice?
Image Courtesy of glennbatuyong
Sometimes it is difficult to come up with a unique slogan to suit your company. Fortunately, some local business can get away with using slogans that are unique to their city, but not their industry. These tag lines help inform customers why they should go with your company and help them remember you. Here are a few of these types of tag lines.
Lawn Care: . We work hard on your yard so you don.t have to! . The grass is always greener.on your side! . Your lawn is my business.
Real Estate: . Sell or Buy . we can help you do both! . Helping first-time buyers find a HOME. . Why rent when you can own?
Plumbers: . Need a plumber right now? We won.t make you wait. . Plumbing Emergency? Call us 24/7 . Stop running and call us.
We have, and will, say it over and over. Staying consistent is one of the most important things a business can do to maintain customer loyalty and branding. Remember the .New Coke. disaster? Consider the following:
. If It Ain.t Broke… You will likely get tired of the same message, but your customer relies on hearing it. They want to be assured over and over. And, let.s face it -they aren.t hearing the message nearly as often as you are.
. Be Flexible. Don.t try to resist change. Willingness to change is important, but do it slowly to maintain consistency. If you want to update the logo you.ve used for 15 years, hire a graphic designer to modernize it.don.t throw it out.
. Think Integrity. Being steady shows you.re reliable.
Did you know Coke.s market share skyrocketed after they brought back their classic formula 3 months after replacing it with .New Coke?.