Marketing: Get the word out

My thanks this month to Vistage/TEC speaker Doug McQueen, of Your Results Marketing Co., a top-flight consultant when it comes to marketing tactics that drive sales in difficult times.

McQueen offers these 10 tips to ponder:

1. Piggyback onto success

This is the notion of having your marketing message tied to a known marketing principle, so to speak. For instance, post a YouTube video that’s tied to a recent public event such as the most recent shuttle launch, with your marketing message attached.

Accelerate your Google Adword placement by taking good Adword copy that has already brought you results, and reposition it by creating a second ad. Test and see which of the two actually brings you better results.

Google doesn’t always place ads from the highest bidders at the top. Google does look at conversion rates and will give you a bonus bump in your position for performance. So the idea is to borrow and reposition the copy from successful ads.

Finally, tying your marketing campaign into local events is another productive way to increase your exposure. A simple example would be to pass out product flyers at a county fair or other similar event where such solicitations are not prohibited by law.

2. Distribute monthly press releases

Just about anything you do that is newsworthy can constitute a press release. A press release service can do this for you. The more releases, the better. Content can include new hires, new products and services, new territories, new alliances, an interesting article on your website, renovations at your company and large contracts.

3. Publish articles

Yours truly has taken advantage of this opportunity for years with BizTimes Milwaukee. An article multiplies readership potential, even long after it has been published. You can post it to your website. It establishes credibility for you and your company. In short, it’s a cost-effective way to reach your target audience.

4. Welcome wagons

Can you use your company vehicles or trucks to generate leads for your business? A neighborhood restaurant deliberately parks its colorfully painted delivery truck in strategic locations at “park and rides” to attract business and notify potential customers about weekend fish fries and other seasonal specials.

5. Join free directories

Many online business directories will give you a free listing. Craigslist is the most well-known, but it’s just one of many.

6. Become newsworthy

Local TV stations and other media love to publicize companies that sponsor a local charitable event, a one-of-its-kind sports outing, a new scholarship or apprenticeship offering, a novel raffle, or a one-time charitable gift to a local educational institution.

7. Customer advisory boards

Create a board of up to 20 customer members. Hold quarterly luncheon buffet meetings, and invite employees to participate. Use the board as a vehicle to solicit feedback about quality and any aspect of customer service. Also use the board to generate referrals, leads, new product and service opportunities, and, in general, promote greater loyalty among your best customers.

8. Guerilla e-marketing

Social networking’s role in e-marketing is fodder for a separate column. In combination with your website, newsletter, emails, banner ads and articles, social media gives you some real breakthrough opportunities to get your message in a dominant position before prospective customers.

The challenge is to keep the message sweet and uniform across the media that you’re using. Repetition and simplicity bring results. Avoid at all costs convoluted, contradictory messages that confuse your audience.

9. Expert endorsements

Even in this day and age, expert endorsements carry weight. The more specific the endorsement, the better. Endorsements can be given by celebrities (local are just fine), other organizations, or individuals with accepted specialties such as Ph.D, MD, RN, CPA, DDS, etc.

10. Referrals

It’s hard to fathom that referrals are the easiest way to grow and that they’re the least costly marketing tactic. And yet, for some reason, people are reluctant to ask for them. You’ve probably heard this comment: “He was a great salesperson, could open a lot of doors, and just was never comfortable asking for the order.”

A referral request is a form of asking for the order, just a little more indirect. Thirty-five percent of our new TEC members originate with a referral. That’s one-third of our business! To understate a referral’s importance is a big mistake for any company.

Guerilla marketing constitutes a set of tactics to complement a well-defined strategy aimed at improving market share and increasing profitability. It will never substitute for a well-defined, written marketing plan.

Until next month, here’s to the success of your guerilla marketing ventures. 

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