Category Archives: Advertising

Why 3rd Party Marketing Can Be Just The Thing Your Business Needs

Every business owner runs out of ideas for marketing at some time. When this happens, calling in the cavalry is the only thing to do. In this case the cavalry are 3rd party marketing specialists! When you a hire a 3rd party marketing firm, you get access to expertise across a wide marketing base; marketing consultants can manage projects, build strategies and help your business with product management skills. These marketing firms can help your business get to where you want it to go by doing the following:   ID-100206876

Bridge Budget Gaps

Small businesses usually can’t afford to hire a team of marketing experts; if they did this, they would have to sacrifice operational goals. Every business owner knows that it is important to stay on budget while growing their business, so many of them never put together enough money for a marketing campaign; this leaves their business in a state of limbo where growth is stalled.

When you hire a 3rd party marketing team, you get inexpensive access to a team of dedicated professionals. Contract marketers are hired to help you build marketing campaigns; they are a lot less expensive than hiring a full-time team, so you have a chance to stay in budget and grow your business at the same time.

A New Creative Approach

In a small business, thought processes can get stale. When you work with a contract team, they help your marketing department think outside of the box without depleting your budget. It’s always nice to have a team of professionals come in and look at your efforts with fresh eyes; they may be able to think of a marketing angle that you had never thought of before.

For example, a contract team or company can give your business a fresh perspective and extra creative energy. With experience in everything from property management to dentistry these 3rd party companies can help any niche and oftentimes an outside source can be sure to get those creative juices flowing for your staff with different takes on how to generate quality leads.

Leads

Generating leads that turn into profit are a challenge for any business. Business owners often hire 3rd party marketing consultants to get leads for their marketing department and this should be no different for you. If you use a contractor, you can call them in when you need leads as this allows your marketing team to work at their own pace. You never have to worry about overwhelming your team and can keep a steady stream of leads coming in.

Reduce Overhead

When you hire someone new, you have to deal with insurance, training, benefits and the hiring process; this is time-consuming and expensive. Contract marketers save your company money. You can call a 3rd party marketing firm to have them send someone over quickly; you don’t have to worry about training them or hiring them full-time.

Lots of savvy business owners make use of 3rd party marketing firms as they can profit from outsourcing their marketing by giving them the ability to concentrate on important aspects of their operations like production, sales and management. They do this to increase profits and save resources; if you can’t afford to hire a team of experts, then hiring contract marketers will help your business grow.

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Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She also enjoys being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise as well as researching new topics to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. Meghan highly recommends using a company like DentalMarketing.net for your 3rd party marketing needs.

 

Using the Internet to Promote your Business

When it comes to the Internet, you could spend days upon days promoting yourself and still not be done.  Most methods have a free option as well as a paid option – which you use, will depend on your finances, budget and where you feel you will get the most bang for your buck.

Internet!

Internet! (Photo credit: LarsZi)

Classified Ads – Many people these days use sites such as Craigslist or Kijiji (popular in Canada).  The advantages to these sites are that they are free but due to this, they can be full of spam.  The people I know who use Craigslist have a hard time keeping their ads up as they tend to get pulled as others can report the ads which can happen on Kijiji as well.  Kjijii allows you to pay to have your ad highlighted in a variety of methods to get more people to notice and hopefully increase the return on investment.

Social Media – There are a wide variety of different sites that you can use to promote your direct sales business.  One of the most popular sites is Facebook simply due to the way that you can communicate with others and get to know them and engage them in conversations.  Other popular methods are sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Google is now getting into the game.

Websites/Blogs – Another great option to promote your business is to have a website or a blog.  This is separate from the consultant site your company provides as you are 100% responsible for the content.  You can use this to highlight different aspects of your business from customer specials, sign up specials, new product or anything else you want.  You can find places to host your blog for free and there are other places that cost money.

Paid per Click – Some people prefer to pay for advertising clicks.  For instance, you can buy ad space through Google where you pay every time people see your advertisement.  I have heard that there is a large learning curve with this type of advertising though so make sure you do your research well before investing in this.  It is a good idea to check your company’s internet advertising policies as some companies do not allow this.

No matter what method you try, it is important you give them time to give you results before you move on.  This means trying something for at least a month to see what types of results you are getting from it.

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Directory Advertising

New Dmoz ?

New Dmoz ? (Photo credit: Cmic Blog)

Everyone is looking for ways to get their name out there and expand their business.  One such way is to get listed in Internet directories.  Just like everything else out there, there are advantages and disadvantages to this type of advertising which we will look at below.  If the advertising is free, it is not such a risk as if you are paying for the listing.

Advantages

One stop shop – easy to find you or a consultant in their local area

Organization – tend to be categorized by area or company so easier to locate a consultant

The more people that get listed on the site, the better resource the site is and therefore, more people will use it.

Most sites tend to have more information than just consultant listings so people stay on the site longer and are more likely to find your listing.

Better advertising – as many sites are paid, they want to get traffic in order to get advertisers and be able to charge more for advertising spots.

Depending on the site, you have the opportunity to say something about your business and list various contact information including your website.

Disadvantage

One stop shop – easy to contact several people at once – same company or competitor and people will likely book with the first one to reply.

There is a cost – monthly/yearly to be listed (usually)

For the money you invest, you may not get any results

The site may only allow a limited amount of vendors for an area (can be an advantage too)

There are a lot of directories out there and it can be expensive if you start getting listed at multiple ones

Only you can decide if directory advertising is the right method for you to advertise your business.  Depending on the investment involved, it is a good idea to do some research on the site itself.  See how easily you can find it in the search engines and ask friends what terms they would use to search and see where the site ranks.

You should be able to email the administrator of the site and ask for the various statistics before you commit to the advertisement.  If they are not willing to share the information, then you likely don’t want to advertise there.

 

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Leveraging Social Media and Other Marketing Mediums

There are more marketing channels available to small companies than ever before. These range from the tried-and-true broadcast channels to more experimental online approaches. The good news for start-ups and small companies is that it is more affordable than ever before to launch a well-calculated marketing campaign with serious potential. The bad news – if there is any – must be that competition is fierce. Actually, that’s an understatement. ‘Cutthroat’ is probably more apt.

Leveraging Technology

Leveraging Technology (Photo credit: giulia.forsythe)

For those hoping to capitalize on new marketing possibilities, we are going to review a few of the major marketing channels that are open to start-ups and small businesses. We’ll start with a section on social marketing and take it from there:

Social Media
This is the big one that everyone is anxious to master at the moment. Social media is free (though you are certainly welcome to pay the piper for more, better targeted exposure). Furthermore, a person can’t help but suspect that – if they play it right – a strong social media presence could completely reinvent their company image. This suspicion isn’t completely unfounded, though it certainly takes a best-case scenario approach to social media marketing.

If you want to get ahead on social media platforms, you either need to hire a guru or become one. Posts on the platform need to be regular and compelling, and meaningful engagement with fans, friends and followers must be the core objective. It’s easy to talk about successful social media strategies in a forum like this, but actually turning those talks into actionable strategy is complicated. In other words: hire an agency to do this for your company.

Broadcast
What started with radio waves gave way to television and, in this age, a string of YouTube-like websites. Broadcast marketing still has a strong (if changing) role to play. Just understand that purchasing advertising time on television – or even on the radio, for that matter – probably costs more than you would have assumed. This isn’t meant to suggest that it’s overpriced or to be avoided. However, do be advised purchasing broadcast time is only worthwhile if you are willing to invest a great deal more in high production values. That’s when you really start getting your money’s worth.

Brick and Mortar
Long before there was social media – or even broadcast television, for that matter – there was good, old-fashioned brick and mortar marketing. Giving away freebies and sending a crier out into the public square never disappeared from common practice; furthermore, it’s had a strong resurgence of late. As people spend more time absorbed in their digital lives – tweeting, texting, surfing, watching and otherwise feeling like a slave to the screen – it has actually become refreshing to be engaged in the real world.

This is where brick and mortar marketing has a strong advantage. When you pass out wrist bands, promotional pens and similar items, you are literally setting yourself apart from the digital competition. The items you distribute possess a ‘realness’ quality that interaction in the digital realm lacks entirely. You’re likely to be surprised how much you can accomplish these days by distributing promotional freebies.

Print
Print ads are rapidly being supplanted by a more ephemeral online equivalent. Of course, newspapers and magazines still sell ad space. The problem is that fewer people are reading print publications in general. This is especially true of those who own tablet computers and e-readers. Of course, those people are still reading news and articles; they’re just doing it from portable screens rather than from pieces of paper. To that end, many companies are taking out digitized ‘print ads’ that are displayed on e-readers and news-reading sites.

Author Bio:

Brianna Flierl is a writer for Dynamic Gift in Australia, one of the country’s most reliable providers of promotional items. By visiting their website, people can browse through their selection of promotional pens and more.

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Using Email for Outreach in a Business Sales Environment

The world of business has become increasingly challenging over recent years, and this means that in order to compete effectively businesses have had to utilise technology and business tools as effectively as possible. Working in a business sales environment in particular can be very difficult in the current economic and financial climate, with businesses now having to look at as many options as possible when it comes to marketing their goods and services in order to enjoy success.

English: Screenshot of Mozilla Thunderbird 1.5...

English: Screenshot of Mozilla Thunderbird 1.5.10 under Ubuntu Linux 6.10, self-made. Category:Screenshots of Linux software (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While there are some methods of promotion and marketing that are pretty obvious and used by many small and larger businesses, there are others that can often be overlooked even though they are both simple and effective solutions when it comes to effective outreach in a business environment. One of these is the use of email for outreach in a business sales environment.

How this can work

In a business sales environment, huge numbers of emails are typically sent out each day to other agencies, businesses, partners, and clients. However, many businesses miss out on the opportunity to really use these emails to their advantage, as they simply send out plain emails that say little to nothing about the business or its goods and services.

By using email stationery effectively, businesses can use emails to their advantage by turning them into marketing tools that can promote and raise awareness of their services and products. Email stationery can transform every email sent into a marketing tool and is something that is extremely easy and convenient to implement.

When you use email stationery you will be able to efficiently and very easily market the goods or services you sell to everyone you send out emails to. This means that you can make the most of each email you send out, which could potentially generate increased website traffic and sales for your company. The fact that email stationery also makes your emails more eye-catching means that even more people may actually read and take notice of them – in fact, you may even get more people forwarding them on to others, which expands your marketing even further.

The key thing with business email signatures is that you can transform your emails to really reflect your business and what it is all about. This gives each recipient far more information than just a standard plain email with nothing more than a name and job title on it.

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Ad Avenues: Six Mediums for Marketing your Business

You’ve probably heard the adage, “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” A metaphor describing the power of innovation, the phrase is misleading. Without good marketing efforts, innovation doesn’t lead to more sales. This is especially true in today’s society, where we are bombarded with advertising. Fortunately, there are tried and true, highly effective marketing mediums. These are our top six favorites.   Ad Avenues

Classic Internet Advertising

Who have you Googled today? Internet advertising gives you access to a huge audience of more than two billion global users. You have the luxury of being able to focus this audience by specific demographic characteristics. It’s super easy to track your metrics and can also be much cheaper than other forms of advertising. Here are the most popular forms:

  • Banners and Buttons
  • Search Engine and Directory Listings

Relationship Selling

Relationship selling is focused on developing long term relationship with customers, based on their preferences and individual needs. Remember, it costs you five times as much to develop new customers as it does to keep your old ones. People like to buy from who they know and trust. In order to sustain this relationship, you must have a quality, consistent product. Customers often won’t search the market if they know exactly what they will get from their current provider. Furthermore, to avoid losing any current customers, quickly resolve any complaints without hassle. Even if you lose a little money now by giving a refund or allowing a skipped payment, you make more in the long term by retaining that customer. Don’t let your pride chase away that person, even if they are in the wrong.

Social Networking Sites

Promoting and engaging your social networks is a critical part of marketing for many companies these days. Adding a staff member or two to develop and manage your social media accounts, with collaboration from your marketing team, is an extremely cheap way to advertise, with huge potential gains thanks to the vast memberships of these sites. If you go this route, however, you must make sure that whoever is in charge interacts with followers regularly, and only ever speaks positively and respectfully, no matter the circumstance. Such a direct connection with customers can be a two-edged sword, as daily updates can become daily PR headaches if you have the wrong person at the helm.

Direct Response Mail

Direct response continues to be a great way to build new customers. Companies, such as Star Direct Mail, specialize in attention-grabbing brochures, flyers, and other promotions. Some of these companies also create individual marketing campaigns for you, as well as research your customer base demographics. Furthermore, direct mail marketing is a fairly cost-effective ways to promote your business, and usually companies will offer rush jobs if needed.

Content Marketing

Content marketing trades something of value, usually knowledge, for the possibility of gaining a new customer. Articles, blogs, videos, and podcasts are examples. The goal is to get people to spend 15 or 20 minutes with your promotional material, as opposed to five seconds reading an ad. Also there may be more types of content marketing than you realize. Content marketing is not simply writing up a review of your product. Oftentimes it actually involves offering high-quality information more broadly about a topic related to your business, and only casually discussing your brand or actual product. The selling point here is actually the ability of quality information to drive traffic to your website.

Guerrilla Advertising

Does ambushing customers when they least expect it work? Yes, if it is done well. IBM used guerrilla advertising in 2001 by painting “People love Linux” logos all over the sidewalks in Chicago and San Francisco. You also see this sometimes in commercials that don’t appear to have any relevance to the product being advertised. As a way to extend this marketing past the event itself, be sure to professionally record it and promote it on the internet.

Public Relations Marketing

Public relations marketing uses the power of third party credibility to spread a promotional message. It is seen most often in the form of press releases, news articles and online buzz. The success of Harry Potter and PSY’s Gangham Style can be largely attributed to this medium. The catch is that your content must be so good that it becomes contagious, spreading from one friend to another. The goal is to influence peoples feelings or opinion about what you are selling.

From our cell phones to our email, companies are constantly searching for the best ways to get exposure for their product. We look for innovative ways to do it better, faster and cheaper. Popular marketing mediums are popular for a reason–they work. Don’t be afraid to give them a whirl.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica is a full-time freelance writer. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. For wonderful direct mail advertising, be sure to check out Star Direct Mail, who also researches your target audience and designs marketing campaigns.

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Eye on The Prize – 5 Ways to Make Sure You are Reaching Your Target Market

Marketing campaigns take time and money to complete successfully. Setting specific demographics and targeting your audience requires you to carefully assess your business needs and the type of clients you want to attract. Many elements contribute to reaching your target market, and perhaps you merely need help in bringing all of those elements together. The following tips will help you increase the visibility of your company, allowing you to reach the target you’re aiming for.   Eye on The Prize - 5 Ways to Make Sure you are Reaching Your Target Market

Determine Your Audience

What every business needs is a plan of action consisting of three components. Select three demographics that you want to track. Your chosen demographics could include age, occupation and income. Once you decide on your demographics, write the criteria down. Ask visitors to your website to complete a short survey to determine if your website attracts your key demographics.

Create a Plan

A plan provides direction and gives you what every business needs to succeed in marketing. Consider what your customer demographic wants and use that information to create a plan, put that plan into action, review the outcome and modify your website based on the information gathered. A failed plan can help still help you grow your presence as long as you learn from your mistakes.

Broadcast Appropriate Information

Determine what you want to accomplish. A plan to simply drive more traffic to your website doesn’t provide enough specific information. You need to determine what product, service or value you can provide to your visitors. Feature content designed to attract new visitors prominently on the home page. Provide additional content on inside pages and make sure every page on your website links in some way to your navigation scheme.

Provide Free Stuff

Everyone wants free stuff, but it has to provide some sort of value. Visitors to your website need a reason to come back in the future. If your company provides a babysitting service, offer the first hour free when the parents pay for three hours. This not only encourages new clients to try your services, but it guarantees that you get paid for three hours of service.

Incorporate Reader Participation

Any text on your website can theoretically draw in Internet traffic. Start a blog and let others comment on the blog. The more activity you get on your website, the better you appear to search engines. New visitors can check out what others say about you and get the assurance they need to buy your product or service. If you’re not sure what every website needs, make sure if anything, you have a site map and a “contact us” page, so that you can interact with your target market and they know how to reach you.

 

With all of the advertisements we hear and see everyday, it can be discouraging to try to stand out to your audience and make sure your message is being heard. That is why you need all the help you can get when it comes to making your voice the loudest, not only among other businesses in general, but among your competitors, especially.

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Six Ways to Advertise your Product on a Budget

Advertising on a budget can take time, effort, and some know-how, but it is possible to undertake a marketing campaign without an investment of undo amounts of money. The way to participate in a marketing campaign without much money is to be inventive, resourceful, integrated, and to take an approach that is active, even creating an event around which to create a natural buzz. Here are a few ideas to jump-start marketing on a budget.   Six Ways to Advertise your Product on a Budget

Create an email list serv.

Create a list serv around your product by offering free samples outside stores or libraries, public places, etc. and then ask people to fill out a survey, give some feedback, or give a testimonial. Create an email list serv around the people who respond.

Throw an event at which the product is sponsored or featured.

Try to get the local newspapers or blogs to cover it. A plug here for your product will be a great way to get a word in edge wise in terms of media attention. If a product give-away works, try to make it fun and memorable, even newsworthy. When starting their ice cream company, Ben & Jerry’s in Vermont, Ben and Jerry, the company’s owners, used to plan ice cream give aways, which became part of local charm.

Develop your own creative ads.

Develop your own print ad by working with a graphics artist who needs experience. You can partner with them and make a trade. Have them develop your ad practically for free, with the idea that he or she will benefit from doing the ad in terms of being able to list it on his or her vitae as a piece of work for their portfolio.

Sample your products.

Develop free give-aways to stores and businesses in the hope they will buy the product. Free samples can be a great way to get your foot in the door in terms of selling products. If someone tries your product and really likes it, they are likely to buy more to take home and share with their friends and family. If you don’t have a product or service that you are able to give away, you can still try to show off samples of your work.
Be creative.

Finally, try to be creative. Think outside the box about how to reach new audiences. Participate in craft fairs or farmers’ markets if the product is specialty or food-related. Have fun with the marketing, relax, and get creative. If you aren’t sure where to start or you aren’t familiar with the different marketing choices available to you, check out your local marketing exchange to gain connections and get ideas on where to post your ads.

Use Social Media.

It’s free to sign up for social media. Facebook and twitter are great ways to share news about your product. You can post reviews, giveaways, or coupons to encourage people to like you page or try your product. You can use your social media as a basis for all your other efforts. You can get the word out about any giveaways or post promotional ads you have created onto your page.

Starting a company can be a daunting task. You may know you have a quality product, but don’t know how to spread the word. You don’t have to have a big budget to start marketing your product. Believe in yourself, the product, and create a to-do list to check off the strides you make. Remember to be honest in your assessment and do your best to create a buzz around your product.

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Promoting Your Direct Sales Blog

A blog does not promote itself, so you need to learn how. This is a list of some of the more popular items, but is definitely not a full list.

So you have started a blog for your direct sales business, you’ve got some create content on it, but you have no one reading. It is time to start promoting your blog. There are many different things that you can do – some are free, some will cost money. Start with one or two that appeal to you, see what kind of results you get, and then branch out on more.

  • Submit Your Site: Find as many directories as you can to submit your blog to. Visit some sites directly such as Google, Yahoo and the other large engines and submit your site to them directly.
  • Network: Participate in discussions on various networking groups and make sure to include your link in your signature. Many of these forums do not allow advertising, but if they do, make sure to promote your link there too. These can be forums that are local to you, that target your ideal market, or other forums about promoting your business.
  • Comments: Visit other blogs and leave comments. Quite often you are able to leave your own URL on those sites as part of your posting profile. You should not type it into your comment as it may then be viewed as spam.
  • Pay Per Click:Use pay per click advertising to drive traffic to your blog. Do your research when choosing to use this method as the money can add up quickly if you target the right niche.
  • Links:Create links to other blogs within your posts if someone is better at explaining a topic or you feel they have information already posted that your readers would like to know. You may want to add some of these blogs to your list of blogs you recommend and have a link to.
  • Freebie: Offer a freebie to people if they come to your site and subscribe to your blog. This could be several blog posts put together to make an e-book or it could be something different. The content should still be relevant to what your blog is about.
  • Social Media: Have your blog post to different social media sites and make sure that the URL is in your profile on these sites.
  • Write Articles: Write articles for sites such as Ezines where you are able to have a resource box that can point to your blog. This helps to establish you as an expert and people will click on the link to find out more on the topic.
  • Guest Posts: Write guest posts for other blogs or other people’s newsletters. They will likely give you a link with a bit of info about yourself where you can include your link.
  • Business Supplies: Make sure that your blog address is on any business supplies you give out. This includes business cards, letterhead, and other printed material. If you create digital documents, this information should be included as well.
  • Optimize your Blog: If you do not know how, hire someone to assist you with search engine pptimization or learn it yourself. This will help the search engines find you easier and faster.

While this is only an inkling of the different methods of promoting your direct sales blog, it is a start if you are lost and do not know what to do. As you work on promotion, chances are you will learn of other methods that may work better for you. It doesn’t hurt to try them out.

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