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The major challenge for the small business marketer is discover what motivates their target audience, and then to speak as directly as possible to those fears, desires, goals, priorities, and needs. This article offers some insights into how to capture people's attention, get them interested in your product or service, and soften their sales resistance. It presents some new angles, fresh ideas, and thought provoking concepts.

Harness the Sales Power of Niche Marketing

Harness the Sales Power of Niche MarketingCopyright 2006 Joel SussmanThe key to attracting new customers to your business, whether online or off, lies in understanding a few simple things about how the brain works. Usually at an unconscious level, people are constantly scanning their environment to separate the relevant from the irrelevant, the safe from the potentially hazardous, the desirable from the unappealing. The major challenge for the small business marketer is discover what motivates their target audience, and then to speak as directly as possible to those fears, desires, goals, priorities, and needs.But it Worked in the MoviesYoure only kidding yourself if you think you can be all things to all people. That insidious form of self deception falls in the same category as If you build it, they will come. Woody Allen is quoted as saying that Eighty percent of success is showing up, but bear in mind that comedy (and sometimes drama) is often based on exaggeration. Showing up -- which can range from creating an Internet presence to attending networking meetings -- is a good start, but it generally wont get you too far unless you throw in a dash of originality, competitiveness, and a strategic plan of action.Since people are constantly looking for specialized information, services, and products, a strategy worth pursuing is to devote at least 50% of your marketing efforts to reaching niche markets. Granted, marketing is no more of a one size fits all endeavor than anything else, but what isnt going to change is the fact that people are generally drawn to things that are customized, personalized, or otherwise geared to their personal preferences.Are You Talking to Me?Considering that your prospective clients and customers are continually scanning the Internet, the media, and their environment for information thats relevant to them, why not tip the scales in your favor by tailoring your marketing message directly to the different niche markets youre trying to reach? Whether its senior citizens, new homeowners, parents to be, recent graduates, newlyweds, or frustrated job hunters, capturing peoples attention can sometimes be as simple as recognizing them as individuals or as a member of a specific demographic group.For example, have you ever inadvertently ignored someone who was saying to you excuse me or you dropped something; but if they called you by your name, youd immediately snap out of your haze and pay attention. Again, its just a matter of breaking through peoples filtering systems and being noticed. Thats often the number one step to effectively marketing your products, your services, or yourself. Actually, Id break that down into three parts: get noticed, connect with your prospect, and put them in a receptive state of mind. If you convey the impression, right off the bat, that your service or product is tailor made for their needs, wants, or specific situation, then you may have fulfilled all three requirements in one fell swoop.Once youve clearly and compellingly presented your case for making your prospects life easier, more secure, healthier, more comfortable, prosperous, convenient, happier, or more problem free, your remaining challenge is to anticipate objections, lower sales resistance, and inject your offer with a subtle, yet perceptible sense of urgency. If youve painted a vivid, benefits-filled picture of your service or product, their motivation to experience those advantages will help you convert them from a prospect to a customer.

Guerrilla Marketing: A Cheaper Alternative

Guerrilla Marketing: A Cheaper Alternative

So you've spent an enormous amount on advertising in the media and got very little response -- or maybe you were scared enough by the prices that you never put the ads there to begin with. You're annoyed at how expensive it is to get even the simplest and smallest ad in front of anyone, and how useless the whole thing seems to be.That's because media advertising, in the main, isn't designed to cater to home businesses. No, if you want to get ahead as a home business, you're going to have to do the advertising yourself.What is Guerrilla Marketing?Guerrilla marketing is a way of advertising when you have an almost non-existent budget. Instead of thinking of your business as a smaller version of a big one, you have to realise the situation you're in, and behave accordingly to maximise your profits while minimising your marketing costs. Essentially, you're going to try to do anything to get publicity.Telemarketing.Don't worry, I'm not talking about telemarketing of the nasty call centre variety here. It's B2B (business-to-business) telemarketing you want to be doing -- basically, phoning up local businesses and making yourself known. You'll be surprised at just how effective this can be, since businesses tend to appreciate the effort you've made to contact them and offer your services far more than a customer does if a business phones them at home.Direct Mail.It shouldn't be too difficult to get hold of a mailing list that covers your whole area -- ask your local post office if you're unsure, as they'll often be able to help with bulk mail campaigns. Alternatively, if you don't even want to pay for delivery, you could hire a few local teenagers to go round putting your letters in people's mailboxes. This will work best if you keep your message to one small page or even just a business card, so that people will keep it if they're interested and call you in their own time.Outdoor Leafleting.Another effective guerrilla marketing technique, at least for some kinds of business, is to hang around outside giving out leaflets to passers-by. This gives you an opportunity to 'meet and greet' people, and lets you do some free targeted advertising by choosing your location carefully. If you do odd jobs in people's houses, for example, you could stand outside the DIY store, handing out leaflets that say 'Why Do It Yourself? I'll assemble and install everything you buy today for only $50!' If you custom build and sell your own computers, you could stand outside a big-box computer store with this leaflet: 'Get your computer tailor-made, for half the price of [big store]'. You get the idea.Free Gifts.You'd be surprised just how effective it can be to stand around handing out free gifts. If you do something that relates to children, then hand out balloons to them in the mall. You'll make some kids' days, and your name and perhaps website address will be written there on the balloon for all to see. Free pens are a very effective thing to give away if you provide a more serious business service -- people are always short of pens, so they'll keep your pen in their bag and be reminded of your business each time they use it. Even better, the cost of getting thousands of balloons or pens printed with whatever you want is almost nil.Attack the Competitor.Nasty as it might sound, hardcore guerrilla marketers regard their competitor as their sworn enemy, and will do anything to bring them down so that they can replace them in the marketplace. A little disturbingly, this can be quite simple to do -- fake a few letters complaining about a business to a local newspaper, and you might find that they follow through and do a feature on it without even checking the story out.In the end, with guerrilla marketing, there are endless ideas -- it's all about being inventive, and having the guts (and the patience) to try them out. When you get your first customer without buying a single media ad, it'll all be worth it.

Strategic Philanthropy

Strategic Philanthropy

Strategic philanthropy is a unique and powerful way to combine your company's marketing goals with a your desire to increase the well-being of mankind.We call it strategic philanthropy. Two of the more popular names are cause -related marketing or community partnering. No matter what you call it, strategic philanthropy is a positioning that connects your company with a not-for-profit organization or cause. In this way, while you are being helpful and working for the common good in your community, your business is receiving parallel benefits. These benefits include exposure, lead generation, employee retention and increases in performance and productivity. They can even include benefits to your bottom line.Basic PhilanthropyMany businesses already engage in basic forms of philanthropy, such as:* Donating gift certificates to a church's silent auction* Allowing a high school club to set up a car wash on the company parking lot* Contributing coffee for a community event* Buying a school yearbook ad* Sponsoring the local children's sports teamNo business can afford to say yes to all of the requests they receive for donations. Thus they find themselves saying "yes" to the few and "no" to the many. Creative strategic philanthropy can enable you to say yes, in one form or another, to almost every group who solicits you. (Of course, you can see how this is a distinct marketing advantage.)Seven Creative Strategic Philanthropy IdeasHere are a few creative strategic philanthropy ideas that have been implemented by our clients:* Introduce a special pre-packaged product that community groups can sell these products to their stakeholders and they get a healthy percentage of the margin* Create a program where any community service group, school, non-profit, etc. can distribute coupons (i.e. they do your marketing!) so that when their supporters buy at your store (or website) that group gets a percentage of the sales.* Help groups to organize fundraisers to be held in your store or facility* Offer to partner with a youth education group or school, proposing that a transportable community mural be painted at your location, which later circulates around the community as part of educational efforts* Invite groups who have major events in progress to hold a reception at your location, with some kind of value return to them (discounted purchases, a percentage of sales, some gift certificates, etc.)* Give groups involved in addressing important local needs free or discounted gift certificates to pass on to their hard working volunteers (you can steer these, in part, to groups tied to your target markets)* Partner with respected social action groups, to host a lunch workshop series or community dialog sessions about local needs and issuesHere's one more idea from business coaching franchise company, Quantum Growth Coaching. Quantum is the primary sponsor and donor of the Cras Tibi Foundation, (http://www.crastibifoundation.com) set up to provide grants to organizations involved in developing nation micro-lending. My partner, Tom Matzen and I have written a book called Earn Twice As Much With Half The Stress. Quantum donate $1 from each sale of the book to Cras Tibi. It's a win-win-win. Quantum gets exposure because of the tie-in with Cras Tibi and microlending, Cras Tibi gets the donation, and the micro-borrowers get to use the money.Market Differentiation "Strategic philanthropy" can be useful in distinguishing your business from your competitors, most of who are probably stuck in old "business as usual" paradigms. They likely think the purpose of business is merely to sell things and make money. Such a narrow belief creates all sorts of sad consequences such as:* The public's skepticism or distrust of business's self-interest fixation* Employees often feeling less than fully engaged or even exploited, thus having little interest in being loyal to the company* Employees, and even business owners, feeling like their "real lives"" are separate form their work life.* Situational ethics taking the place of foundational moral beliefs* Employees and owners lacking the synergistic and creative skills to achieve high performance and marketing successAuthentic strategic philanthropy is based upon the advantages of a much more empowering and abundance-filled set of beliefs.* The purpose of business is to understand and meet some group's needs, i.e. everyone's needs, including the owner(s), employees, consumers, community, and even the natural environment* The high level purpose of business is to create and distribute excellent products and services, in a manner which generates profits and abundance for everyone involved.* Businesses can be powerful models for the larger community. They are able to demonstrate the value of such things as innovation, dedication and responsiveness to customers, risk-taking, process and systems innovations, financial practicalities, and teamwork.Strategic philanthropy can be a core element of how you operate your business and see yourself as a entrepreneur. It can functionally help you to refine the values and purpose of your business, in a manner, which not only distinguishes you from your competitors, but also contributes to your bottom line while improving the quality and success of virtually every aspect of your staff, your systems and your overall business.(c) Copyright Paul Lemberg. All rights reserved

Can Small Business Owners Really Afford A Great Logo?

Can Small Business Owners Really Afford A Great Logo?

And is having a logo really that important?My answer to both of these questions is an emphatic YES!A logo is a graphical or visual representation of your brand. Your brand is your business, product or service and what it stands for. It's whatever you are out in the marketplace selling. Why do small businesses need a logo? Why can't they just market using their company name? Logos are expensive, right? Can a small business owner really afford to get a logo? Or at least a good logo? Lots of questions. Some I'm sure you've pondered yourself at one time or another. I believe ALL businesses should have a logo You need a graphic element that captures the essence of your business and communicates an idea to your prospects and customers. A mark that can lead the look and feel of all of your marketing materials.You only have a split second to grab someone's attention You need to make the most of that time. A good logo can communicate a message or intrigue a prospect to want to find out more. Before you decide you can't afford a good logoLet me assure you that is absolutely NOT the case. Look, I've been in the ad agency business for 20 years. During that time I've worked with some of the most talented graphic artists and designers in the business. But even I did not turn to them when I needed a logo for 10stepmarketing. Why? I couldn't. They were simply too expensive for my small business budget. So what did I do? I found a great alternative that's inexpensive, fast and good.You can get a great logo for between $300 and $500 from a company called LogoWorks. And, you'll get a variety of logo designs to choose from and you'll have them within just a few days. Plus you'll get several rounds of revisions to make sure you are completely happy with your final mark. What I like most about Logoworks is they require you to complete a creative direction worksheet that ensures their designs are strategically on target with your brand. This is KEY if you want your logo to be a good representation of your business. If anyone offers to design a logo for you without some form of creative brief or direction worksheet, don't do it!If you don't have a logo, or if yours is in need of an overhaul, check out LogoWorks. You can learn more at http://www.10stepmarketing.com/valuabletips.htm(C) 2005 Debbie LaChusa

Analysis of the success and failure of doing business in China

Why some foreign-funded enterprise became successful when entering the China market while others fail, and why some grow relatively faster than the rest? Reasons to explain all these are complex and varied. The following factors can determine how well or bad foreign-funded enterprise fare in China: 1. Establishment and implementation of enterprise's development strategy. In China, successful MNCs and foreign-funded enterprise will definitely implement long-term development strategy, adopting a long-term outlook for their business, unlike other unsuccessful companies which do not look far and only concentrate on short-term gains. Besides adopting a development strategy that is of long time horizon, the strategy will need to be a flexible one as market conditions are constantly changing due to the presence of globalization. The enterprise need to be flexible as to react immediately to any changes without affecting its business operations. 2. Leadership of the top management plays a decisive role in deciding the success of the company. In face of greater competition brought about by globalization, management today will need to possess stronger judgment, decision ability, adaptability and greater foresight. Ability to look far is crucial as one need to be able to foresee unforeseen circumstances in order to be ready at all times to react to any changes. 3. Form key competitiveness for the enterprise, and grow together with the economy. Treat your staff with an open heart, cultivate the enterprises values and vision constantly into them to foster togetherness within the organization and strengthen the organizations strengths. . 4. Build and strengthen the institutional framework and economic system of the enterprise. MNCs usually will establish main or Asian headquarters in key cities in China. Beside that, research and development centre, training centre and logistic base will also be built. Therefore it is vital for the organization to have a strong organization structure dealing with its cash flow, flow of information and manpower movement in order to ensure its success in China 5. It is essential for the foreign-funded enterprises to understand the Chinas culture, especially regarding the culture of Guangxi (relationship), so as to be able to gain the popularity and trust of China population. With a good relationship, business can become smoother and probability of failure will be greatly reduced. Stronger bonds can also be built with the customers, suppliers and partners.

How To Use The Testimonial Wizard Software

Do you need an easy way to collect testimonials from customers who have agreed to provide one? The Testimonial Wizard software is the easiest to set up and use. It's a good choice for the marketer or small business person who wants an automated way to manage small surveys.What can I do with it? 1) Collect testimonials from customers who have agreed to it; 2) conduct small products surveys effectively and cheaply; 3) conduct opinion polls with prospects and customers.This software comes with easy installation instructions, but doesn't offer much on how to use it. So here are the steps and some tips.Steps:1. Login. Enter the admin username and password created during installation.2. Click Add Survey.3. Fill in the text boxes. The Help section on the right of the screen is a very good guide. In Survey Name, I type in the product name plus "Success Stories", i.e., "Widget Success Stories".4. Click Submit. Now you're back at the Main screen.5. Click the name of the survey you want to add questions to.6. Click Add Question.7. Type your question into the first text box.8. Select the type of form gadget you want to use to collect the answer. The choices are text, textarea (allows multiple lines of text), Option List (creates a drop down menu), Check box, Radio button, and Hidden.9. Enter values for Width, Height and Caption. The Help section on the right of the screen should be consulted for the roll these values play. The explanation it provides is quite clear.10. Enter a value for Default, or leave blank. This is an optional field. You use it if you want for example, "http://" in a question that asks for a URL.Tips:Be specific with the question's that you ask. For example:* What do you feel is Widget's best feature?* How has that feature benefited you?* Have you tried other competing products?* Is there anything we could do to improve Widget?

Summary

The major challenge for the small business marketer is discover what motivates their target audience, and then to speak as directly as possible to those fears, desires, goals, priorities, and needs. This article offers some insights into how to capture people's attention, get them interested in your product or service, and soften their sales resistance. It presents some new angles, fresh ideas, and thought provoking concepts.