Monday, September 29, 2008 Is Good Marketing

The Emergency Economic Bailout Stabilization Plan of 2008, a.k.a. Financial Bailout, is posted on the government's website for all to read. Put on a fresh pot of coffee before hunkering down to read it because the document is well over 100 pages.

The move to upload the entire bill, though, is a good move by the government and a lesson to be learned by marketers. When you have a lot of information about your product or service you should make that information readily available to all of your customers. As mentioned in previous posts, the FAQs page in your website might be the most important one you create, so take some time to think it through before writing it. I enjoy seeing instructions - the more detailed the better - and The Top 10 Questions Most Commonly Asked. If your product or service is complicated, i.e. high-tech or industrial in nature, you might even want to add a keyword search on the page to make the user experience as enjoyable as possible.

Log onto your FAQs page right now. Add those questions (and appropriate answers) that your customer service department and sales reps repeatedly get asked over and over again.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Do You Use Autoresponders?

If you're a marketer you must use autoresponders. A quick example is when a business associate goes on vacation and you send them an e-mail only to get an immediate reply that reads, "Sorry, I'm out the office until October 3, 2008. If you need assistance, please call Mary at 123-123-1234."

But the real beauty of autoresponders is you can automate replies for just about any request. "Here's a copy of our catalog," "Find below the Top Ten questions most new customers ask," "Here's our full price list," and "Here's the free report you wanted," are a few examples.

Where do get autoresponders? Most web hosts have an autorespond feature. And here's an eye-opening fact... you can have a different autorespond message for every e-mail account. So if your host allows you 200 e-mail addresses, you can have 200 unique autoresponders. There are also free autoreponders out there - do a search and you'll find the best one for your particular application. You can even buy autorespond software if you're serious about productivity.

So if you're looking to systematize your business (read E-Myth by Michael Gerber) or just want to "get things done" (read Getting Things Done by David Allen) then look into the efficiencies of autoreponders.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

David Blaine's Dive of Death is Marketers Worst Nightmare

If you're a marketer you should take notice of magician David Blaine's recent stunt of hanging upside down for 60 hours in New York City this past week.

Once announced, people flocked to Central Park to see the illusionist suspended in mid-air. Back in 2006 I went to see him at Lincoln Center where he remained in a large, globe-filled aquarium for a week. It was kinda cool.

The problem, though, with this latest trick is that Blaine was lowered from his perch for ten minutes every hour to drink, rest, and check vital signs. Bystanders booed, shook their heads in disgust, and walked away disappointed.

Marketers need to learn an important lesson here. If you promise to offer some type of value with your products or services... you better produce. Lie about increased productivity, shortened manufacturing times, or quick delivery and you'll lose credibility real quick. You might damage your reputation so badly that your business may even disappear!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dancing with the Stars Business Opportunity

Unless you have been living under a rock, you must have seen the smash television show Dancing with the Stars. I know you won't admit it here but I know you watch it regularly or have at least caught an episode or two.

I have seen about a half dozen shows over the years and am still amazed at how some of the most awkward celebrities really get their groove on. Many have reported increased vitality, clarity, and obvious weight loss.

What many readers (and marketers) may not know is that the United States isn't the only Dancing with the Stars show. The program is syndicated in 26 countries such as Germany, Croatia, Argentina, Brazil, and the Czech Republic. Out of the 26 countries, DWTS has the Top 10 honor in 17 of them.

What can you syndicate or franchise that will make your business more money? Can your writing be sold to multiple outlets? Can you design a new business plan template? Can you sell your innovative painting technique to other painters? Can you develop a seminar that introduces your services to hundreds of people at once vs. one at a time?

Start thinking today on how you can get paid multiple times on your product or service and you'll be dancing all the way to the bank.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Talk Like A Priate Day

Attention mates... I mean marketers! If you want to create a new business opportunity why not make a special day all for yourself. Did you know that September 19th is known as "Talk Like a Pirate Day"? Started by two guys who wanted to have a little fun with their friends, the party was haphazardly mentioned by syndicated columnist, Dave Barry, about seven years ago. It has now blossomed into a unique business venture that puts money into the pockets of the originators via books, t-shirts, appearances, and CDs.

The flower industry is a great example of creating special days. Besides the standard Mother's Day and Valentine's Day, many of us are buying flowers on Secretary's Day, Grandparent's Day, and dozens of other "Days". See the pattern here?

If I was in the plumbing business I would create a Drain My Water Heater Day. If I was a web designer I would create a Check My Website Statistics Day. If I sold tires I would develop a Check Your Tread Depth Day. If I owned an auto detailing shop I would start a How Shiny Can I Get My Car Day? If I owned a vineyard I would have a Try a New Vintage Day. If I was a printer I would have a Check My Supply Day. If I sold carpet I would have a How Dirty Is My Carpet Day. The list can go on and on.

What "Special Day" can you develop for your business? Write me back with your ideas.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld in New Microsoft Ad

Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld star in a quirky new ad for Microsoft. I won't go into detail about the ad only to say that many in the technology blogosphere are calling it a dud.

I don't agree. I find it funny, maybe because I'm a big Seinfeld fan. So big, in fact, that our family regularly cracks Seinfeld references throughout the week. After such a display we often say "aren't we pathetic...still talking about a sitcom that left prime-time over eight years ago."

Seinfeld attracts. Gates attracts. And from a marketing perspective - "even bad PR is good PR." The ad, whether or not you like it, is getting people talking. Hey, I'm even talking about it.

I've mentioned PR before in previous posts. Generate some for your company. Throw something out there and see what sticks. No news to report? Why not send a release for one of your customers about how they utilize your product or service? Announce something new. Write about a trade show you've attended? Have you updated your website? Do you have new employees? Celebrating an anniversary? Given any speeches?

Be creative. And I think that's what the Microsoft ad is trying to accomplish. Be a little different, get people talking, and sooner or later, sell more product.

Friday, September 5, 2008

What's Up With Sarah Palin's Kids' Names?

What's in a name?

Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin and her husband Todd have five children. Their names... Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, and Trig.

Here's a good marketing tip - want to be unique, if you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to differentiate yourself. Their kids' names are way out there, but you know what, they make you think twice, listen a little more intently... I can hear it now - "What did you say your name was?"

Google, Yahoo, Kazaa, and Wikipedia know this. What are you doing to shine the spotlight on your product or service? Does your brand speak volumes or does it labor to make it through a simple sentence.

Sometimes a name change can jump-start sales beyond belief.

Spend some time with the words that embrace your business and see if they really make sense... or better yet, if they make an impact.