Category Archives: Sales and Marketing

How to Use Media Relations in Networking

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Managing media relations is another facet to networking. In this post, you will learn how to leverage the following type of media:
• Television
• Print
• Web, blogs and the Internet
Let’s see how you can leverage television in your networking strategy.

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Television
If you are lucky, you may have an opportunity to speak on a television program as an expert or other resource. However, you may not want to rely on luck. You may be able to create an environment that can get you on a television news program. Using the news media could help increase your network exponentially and across the country.

There are six steps to prepare and get your message on television.
1. Create a brand. Develop a message that tells who you are, what you do, and why you are unique. The media wants to find someone interesting and ready to talk at a moment’s notice. You should have materials ready for the press to use and this should be aligned with your brand message. You can search the Internet and find press kits that will help you structure your information for the press.

2. Develop your elevator speech. An elevator speech is a 30-second advertisement about you. This is also called a pitch. You should make your message concise, but reflecting your passion in what you do. Short pitches are more effective. Remember, the media has a short attention span. Be ready to deliver you pitch at any time.

3. Seek out the media. Use the Internet to find many ways to research media that may be out looking for your information. Take names down of producers of programs and attempt to contact them. When you do get a chance to connect with a producer always, compliment their work. This way you demonstrate your interest and the time you invested in researching him or her.

4. Respond immediately. If you do get the chance to speak to a media contact, you should respond immediately. Make sure the contact information you give is one that connects to you directly or that you can check many times throughout the day.
5. Be prepared. Have your information and materials always updated and ready. You may never know when you will get that call.
6. Keep it simple and fresh: Don’t complicate your message and materials. Keep it simple and you will find that when it comes time to be on television. Practice your message periodically so you remain sharp.

Print
Print media comes in many forms. There are magazines, newspapers, billboards, etc. Unlike television, print media is easier to access. Here are both advantages and disadvantages to using print media that you should consider.

Print media typically has a more consistent base of readers than say the Internet. If you choose to use a magazine or newspaper for your print media resource, the consistency of readers is easier to see. In addition, print media allows you the ability to select where you want your message to appear geographically. Print media also provides flexibility in the size or space of the advertisement. Print media outlets like magazines and newspapers specialize in drawing attention to your advertisement.

On the other hand, print media can be very expensive depending on what type of media you use. Print media also limits your ability to larger audiences. Print media requires physical contact in order for the readers to access your message. Another drawback is the planning you may need to get on a particular publication. There are usually strict cutoff times for your message to be placed on an ad.

Finally, your message may be overlooked among the other ads.
Nonetheless, print media is a very viable option for a local market and provides varying degrees of pricing. The best thing to do is to plan well and understand the print media is one of many other options you can use to reach your audience.

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Web Presence, Blogs & the Internet
The World Wide Web is a place where almost anyone can create a presence. The Web is a way of accessing information. It is an inexpensive method in getting your message out to an endless audience around the world.

The idea of creating a space with a collection of related files is called creating a Web presence. Many times, this is called a Website. At the most basic level, a Web presence is a collection of files on a specific subject. The first file of the Web presence or site is called the home page. The home page provides a starting point that allows the viewer the ability to navigate the other files.

For companies and organizations, the Website provides various tools for their clients to conduct business. For an individual like yourself, you can create a Web presence that allows you to share ideas and resources with your audience. These personal Websites are called blogs. Blogs are typically an online diary. However, if you want to network effectively, your blog should be a place that creates dialogue and sharing with your visitors.

Today, setting up a blog is relatively easy. Here are some basic steps to creating a blog.
• Buy a domain, which is your Web address.
• Your hosting company usually offers a basic package with you Web site that includes a blogging application.
• Setting up your blog would take a few steps and your Web hosting company would provide the instructions.
• You need to practice using the blogging application, but once you gain the understanding, you will be writing content in no time. If you have the budget, you may hire a writer to help you update your blog.

Once you have set up your blog, you can place your Web page address on your business cards and share the site with whomever you meet.

How to Write an Effective Newsletter

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An effective newsletter should be easy to read, contain interesting and relevant information, and be visually engaging. When you send information to your customer’s inbox, you are asking them to invest their time in reading what you have to say. Make sure they finish feeling that their time was well spent.

Know who you are talking to. As with every other piece of marketing collateral, you must establish who you are trying to reach before you put your content together. Don’t make the mistake of assuming everyone will be interested in what you have to say. Who are your readers? Are they internal (employees) or external (customers) to your organization? What are their interests? Do they like to be entertained or do they just want information? How much time do they have to read your newsletters?

Use language that that they can easily read and understand. Are you talking to computer programmers or teenagers? Would you spend time reading a book that wasn’t interesting or was written in a language you didn’t understand? Speak to the readers using language and references that they will relate to.

Here are some helpful tips to consider when writing for your audience:

• Keep the tone informal and conversational
• Write in first person to establish a relationship
• Be direct – use as few words as possible and keep it simple
• Avoid flowery or overly descriptive language
• Stay away from salesy or advertising language

Provide Relevant and Interesting Content. The backbone of your newsletter is the content. Without solid, valuable content, even the most attractive and well-formatted newsletters are virtually ineffective.

With so many other things competing for your customer’s attention, it is crucial to make your newsletter interesting and relevant. How does it add value to their lives? Why does it deserve their attention?

Keep it purpose-focused. Like every other piece of your marketing collateral, your newsletter must serve a clear purpose, and stick to it. The content should all support this overarching purpose, which will ensure the newsletter is a strong communication tool. Is your goal to:

• Provide information?
• Fundraise?
• Recruit new staff?
• Maintain contact with customer base?
• Promote offers and services?
• Drive sales?

Entertain. Make use of a newsletter’s informal tone, and entertain your reader. Add content from external sources, including humorous stories and cartoons that are related to the purpose of your newsletter and the product or service you are offering. This will break up the more serious content.

Write well. If writing is not your strong point, hire a writer to draft your newsletter. This may also be a good idea for busy business owners that struggle to find the time to complete a monthly outreach piece. Make sure you avoid industry jargon, and if you have to use it, make sure to define it for your reader.

Deliver Information. It will be clear to the reader if you are sending a newsletter just for the sake of getting your log into their inbox. Make sure that your newsletter provides information that is relevant and useful to the reader. Have something to say that will benefit the reader, even if it is external content like media clips, events, or website links.

Keep it sweet. Short and sweet, that is. No one has time to read exhaustive amounts of copy, no matter how relevant it may seem. Keep the newsletter tight and limited to a few short news items and some information on your offering. Here are a few tips for managing content length:

• Include a summary of the newsletter content at the top
• Provide short summaries of each article, with a link to “read more”
• Make generous use of headlines and sub headlines
• Put concise information in bullet form

Ask them to act. Always provide a call to action, even if it is a subtle one. You are spending time and money to produce a newsletter in efforts to ultimately increase your business. Ask for the sale – just like you would in a brochure or sales letter. Get readers to visit your website, pick up the phone, fill out the registration form, or lend their support.

Let others speak for you. After you spent all that time gathering great testimonials, make sure you put them to use! If you choose not to dedicate an entire section of your newsletter to customer testimonials, make sure you include them in the header, footer, or margins of the page. They also work well to break up sections of text.

Give it a name. Just like a newspaper, give your newsletter a title that readers will remember and connect to your business.

Make it Attractive and Easy to Read

While content is the backbone of your newsletter, appearance has the ability to engage readers and attract new subscribers. It is also a key factor in the readability of your content, which can make or break a solid readership. Stick to these guidelines for success.
Avoid clutter. Keep the layout clean and free of clutter. Overuse of bright colors and images will distract the reader from your well-crafted content. Use design to enhance your words, not detract from them. Simple design also makes template creation easy.

Make use of headlines and bullets. Make your newsletter easy to scan. Give each column a headline, and use bullets to highlight important points. Use sub headlines for important paragraphs, and important testimonials to break up lengthy copy.

Maintain brand consistency. Your newsletter should follow your brand guidelines for elements like color, font, and logo placement. Even if your newsletter is electronic, it is important for each piece of marketing collateral to have a consistent look and feel.

Maintain overall consistency. Once you have designed a newsletter template, stick with it. Each issue should have the same overall look and feel, with only minor modifications if required for image placement, etc. This ensures the newsletter looks professional and readers will learn to recognize it when they receive it.
Use images generously. Images are a powerful way to communicate with an audience, and illustrate the words on the page. Pictures, graphs, sidebars or callouts, charts and other graphic elements should be used wherever possible in the newsletter.

Commit to a Timeframe You can Maintain

Choose a frequency you can maintain. Newsletters can be time consuming, so be realistic about how often you promise to distribute them. This depends on your resources, and the needs of your business, but generally once a month to once every three months is a good time frame. Sending out a newsletter too often can be just as detrimental as not sending them often enough.

When you determine the frequency of your newsletters establish a publishing schedule and stick to it. Work your way into your customer’s routine so they are expecting and looking forward to receiving your newsletter.

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Develop a publication plan in advance, planning the general themes and giving yourself, so you have time to gather information and ideas

Newsletter Content Ideas
Company News
You may not think so, but your clients and customers are interested in short bits of news about your company and its people. They want to hear about your accolades and successes, since they have helped your achieve them. They are equally interested in reading about the expansion and development of your business, as they have contributed to that growth.
Feature Product
A feature product or service column is a great way to profile new products or shine a light on existing products that you sell. Use this space to provide an image of the product, and list both benefits and features. Ensure that your feature product is reduced in price to encourage customers to visit your store and purchase it.
Employee Profile
Just as readers are interested in your company, they are equally interested in the people who work at your company. Profiles of new or recognized employees help to build relationships, and establish trust. Your customers will connect the face on the newsletter, to the face that is helping them find what they are looking for, and ultimately close the sale.
Cartoons
Cartoons in good humor that relate to your business or service can go a long way – literally. If readers find the image funny, there’s a good chance they’ll forward the newsletter to their friends and family, which means your message has a further reach. Using humor in your newsletter also helps to keep the tone light and informal, showing that you don’t take yourself too seriously.
Testimonials / Stories
A box or column featuring testimonials of the month or a customer story can be an engaging element of your newsletter. People are naturally curious to read about others’ experiences and thoughts about consumer products and services. Testimonials are a great way for customers to hear the benefits and praises of your product from someone else.
Events
If your business hosts regular customer events and seminars, include the pertinent information in your newsletter in a prominently featured events section. Alternately, if your business is an active community participant, consider featuring upcoming community events that you are either sponsoring or attending. Including this kind of information can encourage readers to hang on to the newsletter as a “save the date” piece. If you choose to feature community events, do so strategically. If you cannot include all community events, you may create a problem for yourself.
Expert Corner (Internal or External)
This is one of the greatest added value components of your newsletter: your knowledge and expertise. If relevant to your business, include a column that provides information to your readers from an expert source: either you, or someone you have asked to contribute their knowledge. Doing so will position your company as an expert in your industry, and give your reader another reason to hang on to the newsletter. Keep the content relevant – both to your business and current events.
Special Offers
A newsletter is a great way to inform your readers of special offers and sales. Always include the regular price, or total cost of a package, as well as a high quality image. If you do not regularly offer discounts, ensure the reader is aware that this is a rare event.

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The Five-Steps Necessary For A Successful Direct Mail Campaign

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1. Determine Your Target Audience

Be clear about the purpose for your direct mail campaign – this will help you decide if you want to send your letters to your entire target market, a segment of that market, existing customers, or potentially a referring business’s customers. Then you can determine how you craft your offer, how you structure your letter, and when you choose to send it.

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2. Choose what you want to say

What is the message you want to communicate to your target list? What can you offer them that will entice them to act immediately?

Create a specific offer for each direct mail campaign to ensure each time you communicate with your target list you have something new to say. Tailor this offer to each mailing list.

Decide what product or service benefits will be most compelling to your target audience, and include those benefits prominently in your letter.

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3. Develop a compelling direct mail piece

You are in control of how your format your message. Are you sending a letter? A brochure and a letter? A postcard? The format of your direct mail piece needs to be tailored to your target list, and reflect your product or service. A younger audience may respond to a postcard, but an older audience may appreciate a formalized letter.

Ensure that whatever format you choose, the piece is professionally designed, prominently includes your logo and company branding, and is professionally produced.

This piece of paper has to act as an ambassador of your company – you absolutely need it to appear impressive and professional.

4. Pick your timing

Some products and purchase decisions are best made at certain times of the year, or the month. If your business or service is seasonal, then there are good times and bad times to try to generate leads. Consider the best purchase windows for the people in your target marketing. When do they get paid? When do they have the money to spend on your product/service? When do they spend the most money?

Anticipate these windows, and time your direct mail campaign accordingly. If you run a lawn sprinkler installation system and summer is your peak season, run a direct mail campaign mid-way through spring, and at the beginning of summer.

Some common time windows include:

• Holiday season (November – December)
• Fridays (paydays)
• The 15th and 30th of every months (also paydays)
• Seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter)
• Financial cycles (year-end, tax time)
• Sports seasons (hockey, football, baseball, etc.)

5. Follow up

Comprehensive follow up to a direct mail campaign means two things:

1. Following up on your letter with a phone call or second letter

Often it takes more than a letter to get a potential customer to take action. This can be a result of the accuracy of your mailing list, your offer, the time of the year, or the quality of the marketing material (brochure). If you are certain that your mailing list is accurate and up to date, follow up to the piece with a phone call, or send another letter.

2. Recording, measuring and analyzing your results.

It is essential that you evaluate each direct mail campaign based on your time and financial investment and your rate of response. How else will you be able to tell if it was a successful or effective strategy?

Why Quality Leads are Important to the success of any business

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Potential customers are potential customers, right? Anyone who walks into your store or picks up the phone to call your business could be convinced to purchase from you, right? Not necessarily, but this is a common assumption most business owners make.

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Quality leads are the people who are the most likely to buy your product or service. They are the qualified buyers who comprise your target market. Anyone might walk in off the street to browse a furniture store – regardless of whether or not they are in the market for a new couch or bed frame. This lead is solely interested in browsing, and is not likely to be converted to a customer.

A quality lead would be someone looking for a new kitchen table, and who specifically drove to that same furniture because a friend had raved about the service they received that month. These are the kinds of leads you need to focus on generating.

How Do You Get Quality Leads?

• Know your target market. Get a handle on who your customers are – the people who are most likely to buy your product or service. Know their age, sex, income, and purchase motivations. From that information you can determine how best to reach your specific audience.

• Focus on the 80/20 rule. A common statistic in business is that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers. These are your star clients, or your ideal clients. These are the clients you should focus your efforts on recruiting. This is the easiest way to grow your business and your income.

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• Get specific. Focus not only on who you want to attract, but how you’re going to attract them. If you’re trying to generate leads from a specific market segment, craft a unique offer to get their attention.

• Be proactive. Once you’ve generated a slew of leads, make sure you have the resources to follow up on them. Be diligent and aggressive, and follow up in a timely manner. You’ve done to work to get them, now reel them in.

Increasing your lead generation doesn’t necessarily mean diving in and implementing an expensive array of new marketing strategies. Marketing and customer outreach for the purpose of lead generation can be inexpensive, and bring a high return on investment.

You are likely already implementing many of these strategies. With a little tweaking or refinement, you can easily double your leads, and ensure they are more qualified.

Here are some popular ways to generate quality leads:

Direct Mail to Your Ideal Customers

Direct mail is one of the fastest and most effective ways to generate leads that will build your business. It’s a simple strategy – in fact, you’re probably already reaching out to potential clients through direct mail letters with enticing offers.

The secret to doubling your results is to craft your direct mail campaigns specifically for a highly targeted audience of your ideal customers.

Your ideal customers are the people who will buy the most of your products or services. They are the customers who will buy from you over and over again, and refer your business to their friends. They are the group of 20% of your clients who make up 80% of your revenue.

Identify your ideal customers

Who are your ideal customers? What is their age, sex, income, location and purchase motivation? Where do they live? How do they spend their money? Be as specific as possible.

Once you have identified who your ideal customers are, you can begin to determine how you can go about reaching them. Will you mail to households or apartment buildings? Families or retirees? Direct mail lists are available for purchase from a wide range of companies, and can be segregated into a variety of demographic and sociographic categories.

Craft a special offer
Create an offer that’s too good to refuse – not for your entire target market, but for your ideal customer. How can you cater to their unique needs and wants? What will be irresistible for them?

For example, if you operate a furniture store, your target market is a broad range of people. However, if you are targeting young families, your offer will be much different than one you may craft for empty-nesters.

Court them for their business

Don’t stop at a single mail-out. Sometimes people will throw your letter away two or three times before they are motivated to act. Treat your direct mail campaign like a courtship, and understand that it will happen over time.

First send a letter introducing yourself, and your irresistible offer. Then follow up on a monthly basis with additional letters, newsletters, offers, or flyers. Repetition and reinforcement of your presence is how your customer will go from saying, “who is this company” to “I buy from this company.”

Advertise for lead generation

Statistics show that nearly 50% of all purchase decisions are motivated by advertising. It can also be a relatively cost effective way of generating leads.

We’ve already discussed the importance of ensuring your advertisements are purpose-focused. The general purpose of most advertisements is to increase sales – which starts with leads. However ads that are created solely for lead generation – that is, to get the customers to pick up the phone or walk in the store – are a category of their own.

Lead generation ads are simply designed and create a sense of curiosity or mystery. Often, they feature an almost unbelievable offer. Their purpose is not to convince the customer to buy, but to contact the business for more information.

As always, when you are targeting your ideal audience, you’ll need to ensure that your ads are placed prominently in publications that audience reads. This doesn’t mean you have to fork over the cash for expensive display ads. Inexpensive advertising in e-mail newsletters, classifieds, and the yellow pages are very effective for lead generation.

Here are some tips for lead generation advertising:

Leverage low-cost advertising

Place ads in the yellow pages, classifieds section, e-mail newsletters, and online. If your target audience is technology savvy, consider new forms of advertising like Facebook and Google Adwords.

Spark curiosity

Don’t give them all the information they need to make a decision. Ask them to contact you for the full story, or the complete details of the seemingly outrageous offer.
Grab them with a killer headline

Like all advertising, a compelling headline is essential. Focus on the greatest benefits to the customer, or feature an unbelievable offer.

Referrals and host beneficiary relationships

A referral system is one of the most profitable systems you can create in your business. The beauty is once it’s set up, it often runs itself.

Customers that come to you through referrals are often your “ideal customers.” They are already trusting and willing to buy. This is one of the most cost-effective methods of generating new business, and is often the most profitable. These referral clients will buy more, faster, and refer further business to your company.

Referrals naturally happen without much effort for reputable businesses, but with a proactive referral strategy you’ll certainly double or triple your referrals. Sometimes, you just need to ask!

Here are some easy strategies you can begin to implement today:

Referral incentives

Give your customers a reason to refer business to you. Reward them with discounts, gifts, or free service in exchange for a successful referral.

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Referral program

Offer new customers a free product or service to get them in the door. Then, at the end of the transaction, give them three more ‘coupons’ for the same free product or service that they can give to their friends. Do the same with their friends. This ongoing program will bring you more business than you can imagine.

Host-beneficiary relationships

Forge alliances with non-competitive companies who target your ideal customers. Create cross-promotion and cross-referral direct mail campaigns that benefit both businesses.

How to Increase Productivity by Using Call Center Training

Every Call Center sales associate wants to increase productivity. Constant changes and innovations in the marketplace are sometimes hard to keep up with. The reason people elect to buy is often not a result of logic and planning but rather emotion or felt need. Effective sales associates try to identify the Dominant Buying Motive (DBM) of the buyer on the other end of the phone. Discovering this takes careful listening skills and the suspension of the idea that people always do things for logical reasons.

Defining Buying Motives
Dominant Buying Motive (DBM) is the main reason the customer or buyer will select your product over the competition. It is driven by the felt need that your product provides to the customer. This motive is not always something the buyer is fully aware of. With some questioning and dialogue, skilled sales associates can unearth the DBM and help the buyer do what will ultimately make them happy; buy your product.

Four Motives for Buying:
1. Logical Reason A) Save Time: The buyer may believe that buying your product will save them time in the long run in contrast with the competition’s product offering. This may be a faster computer, a car, or a service from your company.

2. Logical Reason B) Save Money: The buyer may believe that buying your product will save them money either in the short or long term. The financial savings they seek does not come at the cost of any features or practical application the products provide.

3. Emotional Reason A): The buyer has a strong brand loyalty and trust in the product. This may cause them to be willing to pay more for the security of the known brand loyalty.

4. Emotional Reason B): The buyer trusts the sales person and their judgment in recommending a product. The sales associate has demonstrated expertise and credibility that has won the confidence of the customer so that they are willing to take the suggestion of the sales associate and buy the product.

Establishing a Call Strategy
The advice “stop talking” may seem counter intuitive to making a sale. Many people talk excessively and fail to listen to the customer. The problem with constantly talking is that you are unable to truly understand the underlying needs of the customer. We feel a need to control the conversation or we will lose the sale. For example, an army recruiter can spend all his time trying to convince the recruit to sign up for military service but fail to listen to the young man explain how his grandfather was killed in a military conflict and this gives him both motivation and hesitation in following in his grandfather’s footsteps. The recruiter needs to empathize with the young man’s loss and filter the pain into a motivation for heroism.

Prospecting
Prospecting is a method of evaluating the potential of a buyer or customer. Prospecting takes into consideration the likelihood that the buyer has the means and the motivation to buy your product. Ranking potential buyers in a systematic way allows phone sales associates to close more deals and spend their time with customers who are more prepared to make the decision to buy the product. Those who are further down the motivational scale and do not appear to have the means to make a deal, can be given less time and attention or kept on file for future contact when they are able to make a deal.

Qualifying
When qualifying a prospect you are evaluating that they are in a position to decide to buy your product. If you are talking to someone in an organization, it is important to speak only to the person who has the authority to finalize a purchase. If the person is not authorized to make a deal with you then find out when the person who is able to close the deal is available and call back. Once you have the person on the line with the authority to buy your product then inquire if they have the means to close the deal. This may involve finding out information about available funds on credit cards, lines of credit, and monthly budget. It is important to know how much an individual makes per month and their current economic commitments.

There are different types of conversations that we all use to function in everyday life. The different types of conversation are required in different situations. When attempting to converse, whether person to person or in a group or organization, it is essential to understand the different types of conversations and how each type functions.

Getting Beyond the Gate Keeper
Informational conversation is what most people would define as conversing. It is the type of conversation that “gets beyond the gate keeper” and this is important when it comes to establishing a level of trust or rapport before making a sale. It concentrates on exchanging facts and information. This can be done casually in asking someone about the time or the weather. Inquiring about the date or the score of the last football game is also an exchange of information. The facts are either correct or incorrect but they are free of opinion or feeling from either of the participants. It is a low risk conversation in that it reveals little or nothing about those involved.

Controlling the Call
The next level of communication is the sharing of preferences, likes, and dislikes. A customer may be asked what they like best about their current car or house. They may share the features of the house or car of their dreams. People are usually willing to share their preferences of food, beverage, clothing, music, and movies. A skilled sales person can gain much information about the style and preferences of a client by talking about his or her likes or dislikes in other areas.

Three Stages:
1. Discuss preferences
2. Talk about likes or “turn ons”
3. Express dislikes or “turn offs”
In order to understand preferences, likes and dislikes, a skilled communicator must focus and listen.

Difficult Customers
Emotional sharing is the next level where the conversation turns to feelings the buyer and seller have about the deal they are about to make. They may have fear about changing to an unknown brand. They may be insecure about the willingness of the seller to respond if the product is found to be defective or not working as promised.

The seller can restore confidence in explaining guarantees and customer service return and repair policies. The buyer may express positive emotions about how proud they would be to be an owner of that brand of vehicle, watch, or sports jacket. The skilled sales person asks questions like, “How did it feel to drive that car?” or “How do you feel when you see yourself in the mirror wearing this jacket.” Listening to the customer’s emotion whether good or bad and helping them visualize themselves as an owner of the product can help the sales person tap into a valuable resource in closing the deal.

Reporting
An even deeper level of communication occurs when the buyer and seller communicate about what they value and believe. These core values are the deep seeded principles that are rarely violated.

Honesty, Integrity, Responsibility and Love are a few core values that people hold and act upon. If the buyer and seller sense the other is relating to them in an honest and responsible way then they are more likely to buy the product from that person. If the company has a reputation of treating its employees fairly and being a responsible member of the community, then it will attract repeat business.

Companies like Price Charities and Costco in San Diego, California are legendary for their contribution to the community and have a high regard in the community. On the contrary, companies that treat employees unfairly or are found to be irresponsible in their use of the environment can suffer from the negative public perception.

A wise sales associate can benefit from reaching the level of values and beliefs in identifying the dominant sales motivation of his customer.

Why are headlines important to entice prospects to read your sales copy

Headlines

Your headline is the first chance you have to make an impression on your target audience. Quite possibly, it is also your only chance. Without a headline that grabs your reader by the neck and focuses on what you have to say, the remainder of your ad is useless.

That’s why even the greatest copywriters spend 50% of their time on the headline, and 50% on the rest of the copy.

With that in mind, it’s important to note that your headline needs to do more than simply grab the attention of your potential readers. It also needs to tell them why they should care – your headline needs to send a full message that informs and encourages them to read onwards.

The most effective way to do this is to make an offer or promise to the reader that makes the time they invest in reading your ad worthwhile.

Seems like a lot for 8 to 10 words, doesn’t it?

Headline Length

The general understanding when it comes to headline length is the shorter the better. But this comes from headline creation for newspapers and magazines, where space is crunched and nothing is up for sale.

In fact, based on studies done in the direct mail industry, 40% to 50% of the most effective headlines are more than eight words in length – meaning there are really no hard and fast rules for headline length.

Another marketing example of headline length is in sales letters. I’m sure you’ve seen headlines in sales letters that actually comprise small paragraphs. This is the opposite way of thinking from newspaper headlines, but in this medium it works.

The point is, if you need more than eight words to get your message across, then use more.

Headline Readers: The 80/20 Rule

According to readership statistics, eight out of 10 people read headlines, but only two of 10 will read the rest of the advertisement or letter. This proves the importance of crafting powerful, meaningful headlines. It also proves that an effective headline is the golden key to getting the rest of the piece read.

So, it would stand to reason that the better your headline, the higher the chances of improving the averages in these statistics.

Headline Types

Direct Headlines simply state the offer or proposition in as clear a manner as possible. All winter clothing 30% off.

News Headlines typically announce a new product or piece of information and mimic a headline you would read in a newspaper. Jonny launches new line of improved sprockets.

The Question Headline asks a question that the reader can relate to or would be compelled to read on to find the answer. Do you want clearer skin?

The ‘How to’ Headline tells the reader the body copy or product will explain step by step instructions for something of interest to the reader. How to save $1,000 in energy costs this year.

Command Headline is one of the strongest headline types, and commands the reader to do something. Make your dreams come true today.

The ‘7 Reasons Why’ Headline tells the reader the body copy will include 7 (or another number less than seven) points that will either back up a claim or illustrate product benefits. 7 reasons why your teenagers won’t listen to you.

Testimonial Headlines leverages the power of outsider and expert opinion and quotes them directly in the headline. “Tommy’s sprockets have changed my life” says Brad Pitt.
In summary, your headline should:
• Be immediately engaging
• Be useful and relevant to the reader
• Convey information
• Trigger an emotional reaction
• Include an offer
• Intrigue your audience

Why a company can’t ignore internet marketing in today’s marketplace

Internet marketing can take on many different forms. By creating maintaining a website for your business, you are reaching out to a new consumer base. You can have full control over the messaging that users are receiving and has a global reach.

 

Internet marketing can be very cost effective. If you have a strong email database of your customers, an e-newsletter may be cheaper and more effective than post mail. You can deliver time sensitive materials immediately and can update your subscribers instantaneously.

 

Top 10 Websites (Globally)

 

  1. com
  2. com
  3. You Tube
  4. Windows Live
  5. Facebook
  6. com
  7. MySpace
  8. Wikipedia
  9. com
  10. Yahoo Japan

 

You will notice that half of these websites are search engines. An increasing number of consumers are first researching products, services and companies online, whether it be to compare products, complete a sale, or look for a future employer. Most people in the 18-35 age group obtain all of their information online—including news, weather, product research, etc. The remaining sites are interactive sites where users can upload information for social networking, or information sharing.

 

Internet Marketing Strategies

 

Internet marketing – like all other elements of your marketing campaign – needs to have clear goals and objectives. Creating brand and product awareness will not happen overnight so it is important to budget accordingly, ensuring there is money set aside for maintenance of the website and analytics.

 

Be flexible with ideas and options—do your research first, try out different options, then test and measure the results. Metrics and evaluations can be updated almost immediately and should be monitored regularly. By keeping an eye out for what online marketing strategies are working and which are not, it will be easier to create a balanced portfolio of marketing techniques. You might find that in certain geographical areas, certain marketing strategies are more effective than others.

 

This list is by no means the full extent of options available for marketing online, but it is a good place to start when deciding which options are best suited to your company.

 

Create a website

 

The primary use for the internet is information seeking, so you should provide consumers with information about your company first hand. You have more control over your branding and messaging and can also collect visitor information to determine what types of internet users are accessing your website.

 

Search Engine Optimization

 

Since search engines comprise 50% of the most visited sites globally, you can go through your website to make it more search engine friendly with the aim to increase your organic search listing. An organic search listing refers to listings in search engine results that appear in order or relevance to the entered search terms.

 

You may wish to repeat key words multiple times throughout your website and write the copy on your site not only with the end reader in mind, but also search engines.

 

Remember when you design your website that any text that appears in Flash format is not recognized by search engines. If your entire website is built on a Flash platform, then you will have a poor organic search listing.

 

Price Per Click Advertising

 

If you find that visitors access your website after searching for it first on a search engine, then it may be beneficial to advertise on these websites and bid on keywords associated with your company.

 

These advertisements will appear at the top of the page or along the left side of the search results on a search engine. You can have control over the specific geographic area you wish to target, set a monthly budget and have the option on only being charged when a user clicks on your link.

 

Online Directories

 

Listing your business in an online directory can be an inexpensive and effective online marketing strategy.

 

However, you need to be able to distinguish your company from the plethora of competitors that may exist. Likely, you will need to complement this strategy with other brand awareness campaigns.

 

Online Ads (i.e. banner ads on other websites)

 

These advertisements can have positive or negative effects based on the reputation and consumer perception of the website on which you are advertising. These ads should be treated similar to print ads you may place in local newspapers or other publications.

 

Online Videos

 

With the growing popularity of sites such as You Tube, it is evident that people love researching online and being able to find video clips of the information they are seeking. Depending on your small business, you may want to upload informational videos or tutorials about your products or services.

 

Blogging

 

Blogging can be a fun and interactive way to communicate with users. A blog is traditionally a website maintained by an individual user that has regular entries, similar to a diary. These entries can be commentary, descriptions of events, pictures, videos, and more. Companies can use blogging as a way to keep users updated on current information and allow them to post comments on your blog. If blogging is something you wish to invest in, make sure that it is regularly updated and monitored.

 

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid

 

Failure to measure ROI

 

Which metrics are you using? Are your visitors actually motivated to purchase or sign up? If the benefits of your online campaign are not greater than the costs incurred, then you may wish to re-evaluate your strategy.

Poor Web Design

 

This can leave a poor impression of your company on the visitor. A poor design could result in frustration on the visitors’ part if they are not able to easily find what they went on your site to search for and also does not build trust. If consumers do not trust your company or your website, you will not be able to complete the sale and develop a longer relationship with that customer. You also need to include privacy protection and security when building trust.

 

This also includes ensuring all information on the website is current and having customer service available if users are experiencing difficulty or cannot find the information they are seeking. This could be as simple as providing a ‘Contact Us’ email or phone number for support.

 

Becoming locked into an advertising strategy early

 

Remember your marketing mix when creating a marketing strategy and avoid putting all of your eggs in one basket. Online marketing is a very valuable tool, but depending on your business and your target markets, other marketing campaigns may be the best option for you. Especially if this is your first time making a significant investment into your online sector, you want to remain flexible and able to adapt your strategy based off feedback received by researching and analyzing different options.

 

 

 

 

Acting without researching

 

Similar to becoming locked into an advertising strategy early, this mistake implies not dutifully testing and researching different online marketing options. For example, if your target consumer is aged 65+ and you are spending all of your marketing efforts into creating a blogging website (where the average ages of bloggers are 18-35), then you are likely not going to have a successful campaign.

 

Assuming more visitors means more sales

 

You have to go back to your original goals and the purpose of your company. More visitors may not mean more sales if your website is used primarily for information and consumers purchase their products elsewhere. This is also vice versa. You could have an increase in sales without an increase in unique visitors if your current consumer base is very loyal and willing to spend lots of money.

 

Often people will collect information online about products they wish to purchase because it is easier to compare options, but they purchase in person. Even though shopping online is becoming quite popular, people still prefer to see and feel the physical product before purchasing.

 

Failing to follow up with customers that purchase

 

Return sales can account for up to 60% of total revenue. It’s no wonder that organizations are always trying to maintain loyal customers and may have customer relationship management systems in place. It is easier to get a happy customer to purchase again than it is to get a new customer to purchase once.

 

Not incorporating online marketing into the business plan

 

By ensuring that your online marketing plan is fully integrated and accurately represents your organization’s overall goals and objectives, the business plan will be more comprehensive and encompassing.

 

Trying to discover your own best practices

 

It is very beneficial to use trial and error to determine the best online strategy from your company, but do not be afraid to do your research and learn from what other have already figured out. There will be many cases where someone was in a very similar position as you and they may have some suggestions and secrets that they wish to share. Researching in advance can save a great deal of time and money.

 

Spending too much too fast

 

Although it may be cheaper than traditional marketing approaches, internet marketing does have its costs. You have to consider the software and hardware designs, maintenance, distribution, supply chain management, and the time that will be required. You don’t want to spend your entire marketing budget all at once.

 

Getting distracted by metrics that are not relevant

 

There are endless reports and measurables that you can analyze to determine the effectiveness of your campaign. You will need to establish which measurables are actually relevant to your marketing.

 

In conclusion, internet marketing can useful to a company if used properly.

Communicating with Body Language

We are constantly communicating, even when we are not speaking. Unspoken communication makes up over half of what we tell others and they tell us. It affects our work and personal relationships. Improves negotiating, management, and interpersonal skills by correctly interpreting body language and important signals.

Learning a New Language
In many ways understanding body language is like learning a foreign language. There are a few tips that make learning any language, even a nonverbal one, easier.
Tips:
• Set Goals: Make sure that your goals are realistic and have specific timelines.
• Devote time to learning: Schedule time to practice. Do not rely on spare time.
• Practice daily: Hone skills by continued practice.
• Enjoy the process: You are not in school. Relax and have fun with your new skill.

The Power of Body Language
Understanding body language does more than improve relationships. You will get insight into the thoughts and feelings of those around you. Because it is not a conscious form of communication, people betray themselves in their body language. Body language is powerful in several ways.

Power of Body Language:
• It is honest: Body language conveys truth, even when words do not.
• Creates self-awareness: Understanding body language helps you identify your own actions that hinder success.
• Understand feelings: Body language shows feelings and motive such as aggression, submission, deception, etc. Use these as cues to your communication.
• Enhance listening and communication skills: Paying attention to body language makes someone a better listener. Hear between the words spoken to what is being said.

More than Words
Much of the way people communicate is nonverbal. Body language specifically focuses on physical, not tone, or pitch. It includes the following characteristics.
Body Language:
• Proximity: The distance between people
• Positioning: Position of a body
• Facial expression: The eyes are particularly noticed.
• Touching: This includes objects, people, and themselves.
• Breathing: The rate of respiration is telling.

Actions Speak Louder than Words
Our impressions of each other are based on more than words. People can have cordial conversations and not like each other. The actions that we take are stronger than our words. For example, a person may dismiss someone using body language and not saying anything negative. Like it or not, our body language makes a lasting impression on the people around us.

What Actions Can Say:
• Deception
• Confidence
• Nerves
• Boredom
• Emotions
• Attraction
• Being open
• Being closed off
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of what body language can communicate.

Reading Body Language
We are constantly reading the body language of others, even when we are not aware of it. Actively reading body language, however, will provide valuable insight and improve communication. Pay attention to the positions and movements of people around you. Specifically their head positions, physical gestures, and eyes.

Head Position
The head is an obvious indicator of feelings and thoughts. The position of the head speaks volumes, making it the perfect place to start. While it takes practice to accurately interpret head position, the basic positions, and movements that are not extremely difficult to identify.

Movement and Position:
• Nodding: Nodding typically indicates agreement. The speed of the nod, however, indicates different things. A slow nod can be a sign of interest or a polite, fake signal. Look to other eyes for confirmation. A fast nod signals impatience with the speaker.
• Head up: This position indicates that the person is listening without bias.
• Head down: This position indicates disinterest or rejection for what is said. When done during an activity, it signals weakness or tiredness.
• Tilted to the side: This means a person is thoughtful or vulnerable. It can signal trust.
• Head high: Holding the head high signals confidence or feelings of superiority.
• Chin up: The chin up indicates defiance or confidence.
• Head forward: Facing someone directly indicates interest. It is a positive signal.
• Tilted down: Tilting the head down signals disapproval.
• Shaking: A shaking head indicates disagreement. The faster the shaking, the stronger the disagreement.

Translating Gestures into Words
Scientific studies show that the part of the human brain that comprehends words is the same part of the brain that comprehends gestures. Gestures are also called movement clusters because it is more than a body position. We use gestures when we speak, typically hand gestures. They enhance meaning, or can be used by themselves.

Translations:
• Pointing finger: This is an aggressive movement. When a wink is added, however, it is a positive confirmation of an individual.
• Finger moves side to side: This motion acts as a warning to stop something.
• Finger moves up and down: This acts as a reprimand or places emphasis on what is said.
• Thumbs up: Thumbs up is a sign of approval.
• Thumbs down: This is a sign of disapproval.
• Touch index finger to thumb: The sign indicates OK.

Open Vs. Closed Body Language
Body language is often defined as open or closed. Being open or closed has many different causes. Open body language can come from passivity, aggression, acceptance, supplication, or relaxation. Closed body language may be caused by the desire to hide, self-protection, cold, or relaxation.

Closed body language:
• Arms crossed: This stance is often defensive or hostile.
• Legs crossed when seated: Cross legs can indicate caution. One leg over the other at the knee may indicate stubbornness.
• Arm or object in front of the body: This can coincide with nervousness and is a form of self-protection.
• Legs crossed when standing: This may mean someone is insecure when combined with crossed arms. By itself, it can signal interest.

Open body language:
• Legs not crossed: This is an open, relaxed position.
• Arms not crossed: Open arms indicate openness; although the hands may indicate aggression, supplication, or insecurity, depending on their position.

The Eyes Have It
People give a great deal away through their eyes. The eyes are an important factor when reading a person’s body language. When combined with body position, the eyes will provide a more accurate translation of body language.
Looks:
• Looking to the left: Eyes in this direction can mean someone is remembering something. Combined with a downward look, it indicates the self-communication. When looking up, it means facts are being recalled.
• Sideways: Looking sideways means someone is conjuring sounds. Right, is associated with imagination, and may mean a story. Left is accessing memory.
• Looking to the right: Looks to the right indicates imagination. It can mean guessing or lying. Combined with looking down, it means there is a self-question. Combined with looking up, it can mean lying.
• Direct eye contact: When speaking, this means sincerity and honesty. When listening, it indicates interest.
• Wide eyes: Widening eyes signal interest.
• Rolled eyes: Rolled eyes mean frustration. They can be considered a sign of hostility.
• Blinking: Frequent blinking indicates excitement. Infrequent blinking signals a boredom or concentration, depending focus.
• Winking: A wink is a friendly gesture or secret joke.
• Rubbing eyes: Rubbing eyes may be caused by tiredness. It can also indicate disbelief or being disturbed.

Source: Body Language Basics workshop

Brand Management and the Internet

Each organization must manage its brand carefully. A brand is not simply a logo; it is what customers believe about an organization and its products. It is the company’s image, which may be for quality, service, or unique merchandise. It takes more than marketing to maintain a brand. Branding requires care at every stage of customer interaction, consistency, and distinctive qualities that set the company apart from its competitors. Once the brand is established it must be maintained carefully.

Every Interaction Counts

Every interaction with a customer is a chance to establish or maintain a brand. It is important to demand the same level of customer service at every level. Basically, customers should expect the same level of service online that they experience in a brick and mortar store. When you manage the customer relationship correctly, you will retain customers and attract new ones to your brand. Whether it is answering email, using twitter, posting on Facebook, or monitoring the website, every interaction matters.

Tips to Improve Interaction:

  • Pay attention to each communication: Address questions individually regardless of the information. Using prewritten responses to answer each question will give the impression that you do not take communication seriously.
  • Be courteous: Tone and facial expression do not translate easily online. Make sure that the written tone is friendly and courteous. Double check communications for any phrasing that could be considered rude.
  • Be accessible: Make sure that websites are attractive and easy to navigate. Additionally, respond to email and social media regularly.

Consistent Through all Media

Branding must be consistent to be effective. It is easy to develop an image and theme for an organization and forget to carry it through all the media venues. There are specific steps that need to happen in order for branding to be consistent.

Steps:

  1. Determine the Visual Design: Choose a logo and style for your brand. It may be classic, fun, professional, etc. This style needs to be consistent, so choose something that you believe best represents you.
  2. Determine Your Message: Each organization has a message that is expressed in its values and principles. This message may be charitable, eco-friendly, etc. This message should be clear to consumers and included in all marketing platforms, including social media.
  3. Be Consistent: Include the message and design in each media platform. For example, use the same background and logo design on social media and the website. Additionally, no matter what happens, do not deviate from your message to consumers. All communication should support your message.

Media consistency will require careful monitoring, but any inconsistencies that customers perceive will negatively affect your brand.

Unique Qualities

A brand sets an organization apart from its competitors. It stems from everything that makes your brand stand out. In today’s market, however, it is difficult to be truly original. Even if you do have a completely new concept, competitors will eventually find their way into your market. You have to inform your customers about the qualities that make your brand unique. A brand positioning statement will establish the unique qualities of your business.

The brand positioning statement includes:

  • Target Audience:  Who your buyers are
  • Competition:  Mention your competition to distinguish yourself
  • Benefits: The main qualities that separate you from the competition
  • Promise: The selling position such as a guarantee

Example:

To the tech savvy consumer on the go, when you travel with Portable Pro, your portable devices will charge faster and maintain battery power longer than they do with other chargers. The speed and ease of this portable device is guaranteed, or you may return it for a complete refund.

Needs to be Actively Managed

As part of Internet marketing, brand marketing requires constant vigilance. It is tempting to create a brand strategy and then apply the “set it and forget it” approach. Without promoting the brand and following up with customer responses, the company’s reputation will fall into obscurity. In some instances, the brand can develop a negative reputation if the company does not pay attention to everything that it is linked to in cyber space. For example, it can take months to repair a brand’s reputation if a story of poor customer service is not addressed. In the age of social media, a brand can be destroyed overnight.

What to Manage:

  • Social media: Create new content to engage customers, and monitor the response. Additionally, address any complaints or negative press on your social media. Ignoring them will only harm your brand. No matter the situation, be respectful in your tone.
  • Track metrics and keywords: Pay attention to any press or comments concerning your brand with different programs available. Act quickly to resolve negative issues and take advantage of opportunities.
  • Customer response:  Use your market research to determine how customers are responding to your brand and how you can improve.

Source: Internet Marketing Fundamentals Workshop

River Street Consultant

 

Questions and Presentations

Communication skills are needed to be able to provide an excellent presentation. Without being able to verbalize your ideas and opinions there is very little chance of having a successful presentation. We will begin by looking at listening and hearing skills, asking the correct questions and finish with communicating with more power.

Listening and Hearing: They Aren’t the Same Thing
Hearing is the act of perceiving sound by the ear. Assuming an individual is not hearing-impaired, hearing simply happens. Listening, however, is something that one consciously chooses to do. Listening requires concentration so that the brain processes meaning from words and sentences. Listening leads to learning.
This is not always an easy task. The normal adult rate of speech is 100-150 words per minute, but the brain can think at a rate of 400-500 words per minute, leaving extra time for daydreaming, or anticipating the speaker’s or the recipient’s next words. Listening skills, however, can be learned and refined.

Asking Questions
Three types of questions are useful in a presentation; open questions, clarifying questions, and closed questions.

Open Questions: Open questions stimulate thinking and discussion or responses including opinions or feelings. They pass control of the conversation to the respondent. Leading words in open questions include: Why, what, or how. A statement such as “describe the characteristics of the car” is really an open question. Examples of open questions include:
• Describe the style of the leader of the meeting.
• How do you feel when you hit a home run?
Asking questions is both an art and a science.

Your questions in a presentation should be:
• Clear and concise, covering a single issue
• Reasonable, based on what participants are expected to know
• Challenging, to provoke thought
• Honest and relevant, eliciting logical answers

Clarifying Questions: A clarifying question helps to remove ambiguity, elicits additional detail, and guides you as you answer a question. Below are some examples:
• You said you liked apples more than oranges, why is that?
• What sort of savings are you looking to achieve?

Closed Questions: Closed questions usually require a one-word answer, and shut off discussion. Closed questions provide facts, allow the questioner to maintain control of the conversation, and are easy to answer. Typical leading words are: Is, can, how many, or does.

Below are several examples of closed questions:
• Who will lead the meeting?
• Do you know how to open the emergency exit door on this aircraft?
Phrasing: To evoke an answer, your question should use phrasing that is:
• Clear and concise, covering a single issue
• Reasonable, based on what participants are expected to know
• Challenging, to provoke thought
• Honest and relevant, directing participants to logical answers.

Directing Questions appropriately: Should you direct your questions to individuals or to an entire group? When you direct a question to an individual, you:
• Stimulate one participant to think and respond
• Tap the known resources of an “expert” in the room
If you choose to direct your question to the group instead, you:
• Stimulate the thinking of all participants
• Provide participants the opportunity to respond voluntarily
• Avoid putting any one person on the spot.

Communicating with Power
It’s been said that you have between thirty seconds and two minutes to capture your participants’ attention. It’s critical to engage people from the beginning.
Voice: 38% of the message received by a listener is governed by the tone and quality of your voice. The pitch, volume, and control of your voice all make a difference in audience perception.

Characteristics Description Tips
Pitch How high or low your voice is.  Avoid a high-pitched sound. Speak from your stomach, the location of your diaphragm.

Volume The loudness of your voice must be governed by your diaphragm . Speak through your diaphragm, not your throat

Quality The color, warmth, and meaning given to your voice.   Add emotion to your voice.
Smile as much as possible when you are speaking

Command: Selecting a good opener is an important way to take command of an audience. Making judicious use of certain types of remarks will endear you to the audience from the moment the program starts.
• A dramatic story
• A reference to a current or well-known news story
• A personal experience
• A rhetorical question
• A historical event
• Adventure, either past or present.
More Tips
• Did we say practice? And practice again?
• Smile
• Stand up straight and tall
• Rivet your participants with eye contact
• Dress like your audience, or one level above it.

River Street Consultant

Source: Presentation Skills workshop