Start-Up Business and Postcard Marketing

Starting your own business can be difficult. The preparation will require time, effort and money. Also, marketing your business will be very challenging. When it comes to this aspect of the business, there are actually lots of strategies you can choose from.

What particular marketing technique should a new start up business owner consider? This article talks about postcard advertising and how it can benefit a start up business.

Smart Advertising with Postcards

Postcard advertising is an advertising strategy that has been used by many successful businesses in the industry. For a new business, it is certainly worth a try. What are the benefits you can get from postcard advertising?

The best thing about postcard marketing is that you do not need to spend a lot compared to other advertising strategies. One type of direct mail marketing, postcard advertising has been one of the most effective way to promote a business. Another important advantage in is that a business owner can use it to accomplish different advertising goals. The following paragraphs will discuss these advantages.

Low cost advertising. When compared to other marketing techniques, postcard marketing is more cost efficient. This type of marketing is cost-effective since you won’t need to put postcards in an envelope. At 23 cents, you can send your postcard via First Class Mailing and get essential mailing services like the “Return to Sender” option. Generally, you will only spend less than 50 cents to send a standard size postcard, including the cost of materials, printing, and postage.

Get positive response. Postcards are often well-received by the market, particularly if your postcards are attractive and well-designed. Compared to other promotional materials, people do not throw away postcards. Some people display them on their refrigerator doors or use them to decorate their work stations. This only goes to show that when done correctly, postcard advertising is a great way to get your message across and get positive response from your target market. Send for various reasons. There are different reasons why a business owner send postcards. For you to introduce a new line of products or services, sending postcards can be effective. It can also be used as invitation to a special event happening in your shop such as the opening of your store, a big sale, etc.

Postcards are also great to show your appreciation to the people who have patronized your company. For example, you can launch special postcard marketing campaigns during holiday seasons to remember your customers. Even for established businesses, postcards are a great way to let people know that you are a company that cares about your customers.

Track results easily. Postcards are easier to track because they can double as discount coupons or claim stubs for customers who decide than they want to try out your product or service. You can immediately see if your postcard marketing campaign is working based upon the response of your recipients or the increase in your sales.

B2B Email Marketing

Successful B2B Email Marketing

Email marketing is an extremely effective marketing medium in B2B business scenarios. Unlike consumer marketing where customers are innumerable, customers are easily identified and limited in any B2B. Since the number of people to be addressed is limited, and contact details obtained relatively easily, Email marketing can be leveraged with potent benefits to the organization.

In B2B Email marketing the fundamental principles of marketing continue to be relevant. It definitely pays to spend some time thinking,formulating and documenting an Email marketing strategy prior to initiating any customer communication.

Who is the customer?

The first step is to map the customer purchase process. Mapping reveals the user, influencers, opinion leaders, decision makers and likely decision breakers too. They are likely to come from different departments of the organization: Users department, Procurement, Finance, Senior management (depending on deal size). Each of them has a role to play in making the purchase, and each of them needs to be marketed to.

Email Marketing campaigns sometime need to be customized for each of the participants of the purchase process. Not every person in the decision making process would be a potential recipient for the same email marketing campaign. For example, while the CEO of an organization could be one making the final sign-off on a high value sale, it’s unlikely that the CEO would like to receive periodical product catalogues from you (indispensable for procurement). However the CEO needs to be aware of your business. Depending on the nature of your business and the size of the customer organization, you could definitely get the attention of the CEO with a specially addressed email annually or semi-annually.

Messaging Senior Management:

Launch of a new product/service

Invites to special events that you could be hosting Seasonal greetings

Any Industry news that you possess and could be of business interest to the CEO/Top management

Messaging Users, Procurement, and Technical evaluators:

You must look at addressing Procurement, Users and technical personnel at frequent time intervals. These people initiate the purchase, are present through all the critical decision points of the purchase process, and quite often have veto power to negative a supplier. They are very important people and Email marketing needs to ensure that your business is top of mind and viewed favorably in their minds.

Regular communications addressing details of new products or services added to your business, technical features, special promotions, discounts could be your subjects – staying top of mind, and at the same time educating.

Subjects for addressing procurement professionals could be:

Your product/Services catalogue (at the same frequency that you update it)

Deals and promotions that you may be offering

Advance information about price hikes that you anticipate

Technical information about your products or services (If you are a dealer/distributor, this may not be of much interest since this information may be funneled directly by the manufacturer)

Invitations to any special events (Seminars/Product launches) that you are organizing

Information about any training programs on your products

New products or services launches

Intimation of price changes (advance and/or post increase)

Season greetings

Birthday/Anniversary greetings

Designing the communication

Much has been written about the structure and design of email communications – so much that it looks a science by itself and a highly complex subject. I however would like to take a simple approach. Lets consider a few pertinent points

You must have a communication message that is of interest and relevance to your customer. Do not generate content at random without first considering whether your customer would be interested in the content. If interest is in doubt – do not send the email. Always keep the interest of the customer in mind.

Keep the message short and simple. If there is a lot that you need to communicate, redirect them to a webpage with additional content

Call for Action

Let your message always have a call for action. Possible action triggers could be:

Meeting with a sales rep – or asking for a telephone call from your business

Request for additional information

Place an order with you

Request of a demonstration (in person or on the web)

Subscribe to a newsletter

Confirm participation in an event or seminar

Or one of many actions depending on the nature of your email communication

Evaluate your campaign

At the end of each email campaign measure the effectiveness of the campaign. Important parameters could be:

Value of sales made

Number of leads generated

No. Seminar participation confirmed/Sales appointments generated etc

Email opened stats

Calculate cost per lead/sale generated – and any other ROI calculations you would like to make

You must calculate direct and indirect sales/brand building on account of the campaign (not every email campaign can be translated into direct sales. Some of the communications could be just a brand-building exercise, while others could be with the specific purpose of building sales). There could be many who didn’t respond to you by email – but called you up instead, or just landed up at your business to purchase. An email promo-code could build a better measurement of the direct benefits of your campaign.

Clean-up your contact database:

Remove all email id’s that bounced on account of wrong email id

Remove all email id’s that have unsubscribe requests

Remove all email id’s that have been blocked by spam filters

Database maintenance is an ongoing exercise and ensures a clean email database. Maintenance is often skipped if it is not an assigned responsibility. Set up update schedules and mechanisms. Assign responsibility for List creation, updating and management.

Avoid being labeled as SPAM

There are some simple steps you can take to prevent being labeled as spam and stay within the anti-spam law. In all your email marketing communications:

Provide your business address and telephone numbers

Offer an unsubscribe option that actually works

When an unsubscribe request is received – remove the contact from your mailing database and also acknowledge that you have received the unsubscribe request and acted upon it

Email marketing is not very complex if you develop sharp objectives and clear expectations of what the medium can do for you, and more importantly what it can’t. In the hands of experienced marketers, Email marketing can be a very potent weapon in building brands, generating leads and supporting conventional media marketing campaigns. There is no magic bullet or campaign style that works for everyone. Each business will need to work and set up their own objectives, Email marketing strategies and execute their campaigns. What works for one business may not work for another.

Network Marketing – It’s Not About the Product, It’s About the People

Many people today who think about Network Marketing begin their journey by thinking that the most important thing to find is a company whose product(s) is the most wonderful product on the market. After all, everyone wants a winner when it comes to offering something to others.

No one would knowingly (if there are honest having integrity and character) want to offer a product they believe to be inferior to another on the market. After all, you would be hard pressed to offer something others would buy if your competition could say, “Yes, but we have blind testing that shows what we offer is a better buy for your dollars.”

This is what I mean. There is seldom a product so superior to another that it will stand alone, unchallenged by other products that either presently exist, or will come into existence in the near future. As network marketers we all believe that we offer value to our customers and potential business partners by offering a product that will stand the test of value to our community.

But no one should ever be so na├»ve as to think that what they offer is so much better than anyone else’s that there is no contest. In a free market society there is always the chance that someone somewhere will produce a better product. The best you can do is offer the consumer a product that has honest value at a fair market price.

I am involved in Health and Nutrition. My concern is for preventative healthcare, especially for the Baby Boomers (since I am one). I am always on the lookout for good nutritional value in products that appear on the market for my customers.

I recently read a review on a website that offered what the promoters believe to be an open and honest comparison of their product with four other products on the market. Each of the other products were names with which I am familiar except one (guess which one: bingo, the once touted as the best). The article said that each brand had been tested and that they offered similar results. Similar results in all areas except the most important area for the best nutritional value. Then came the claim that indisputable evidence demonstrated that “our product” has a better value than the others.

To demonstrate their fairness, they even told us which one of the other products came in second place. I am not complaining too much for the product which I represent was the “second choice.” I not sure if the comparison was “apples to apples but if it was it seems to me that it would be a choice between “gala apples” and “fuji apples.”

I am not saying that this is not an important part of marketing. It is. But what I would like for you to consider is that “the product is not what builds the business.” The business is built by “people.” To my knowledge no one has ever done a scientific study on the issue, but I suspect that if we were to conduct a survey, we would find that most people are connected to a Network Marketing Business (Home-based Business) because of a relative, friend, or someone in whom they have trust.

While products are important, they do not make or break a business. But people do. Trust, character, integrity, posture, are all of extreme importance if you want to build a business (any business), but especially a network marketing business.

Why would I say this? I say this because Network Marketing is Social Marketing. It is truly a “people driven business.” In times past it has been called “word of mouth” marketing (or advertising), but it boils down to the same thing. One person shares the product (program) with a friend, who in turn shares it with another, who shares it with another, and on it goes.

It’s just like a social gathering where someone says, “Have you heard…” and then the buzz goes around the room until many, if not everyone, has heard the story. But the success of the business is the “buzz” presented about the product, that builds the business.