Archive | March, 2008

Marketing 101: Part 1

24 Mar

Welcome back!

I’ve spent the last few days going over some of the stuff I’d saved from last years 30 Day Challenge and remembered some great gems. I posted some of my favorites over on Annie Anderson | Blog so I won’t rehash them here but I do want to talk about marketing.

Perhaps you’ve heard it said that your business is “only as good as your marketing” and I would agree with that. I mean, how in world are your customers going to find you otherwise? Sure, there’s word of mouth or viral marketing but how do you get that point in your business does “go viral?”

Well, the short answer is that you have to have something so spectacular or so unusual or so rememberable or whatever that it spreads like wildfire. How often does that happen? Probably not much. But it can happen. The question then is, how do we make it happen?

I’ve noticed several websites in recent weeks that are using tools to get you tell to your friends and family when you sign up. This is also what hotmail did when they launched – tell your friends and family your new email address and in that message, there was a link so they could get one too. Pretty soon it seemed like everyone had a hotmail email address. Google did something similar with gmail originally as well. They gave you “invites” so you could invite your friends and family to try gmail and you could only get a gmail account if someone invited you. It worked like a charm also.

wildfire-small.jpgSo that’s one way – create a wildfire by asking your customers to tell everyone they know and making it super easy for them to do so.

But marketing is much more than getting your customers to be your billboards and spokespeople. A well rounded marketing campaign will include other advertising mediums as well such as print (newspapers, press releases, flyers) and a direct mail campaign. Now, these things might be slightly different for online and offline businesses but advertising, no matter the business, is essential to your bottom line.

As a direct response copywriter, I can tell you it’s the life-blood of your existence. Without some form of advertising, you’ll sink. I’ve seen so many people come to me when their business is failing and they tell me they have no idea why. When I ask them about their marketing and advertising, what they often tell me is something like “I can’t afford it/can’t afford much” and that tells me it’s either too small to be effective or non-existent. More often than not, it’s the latter – non-existent.

You know, there’s not reason to not advertise. Excuses like “I can’t afford it” are lame and useless. Your business budget should always include marketing and advertising. Take some of every dollar and put it towards advertising. And there are many free ways to advertise, too (maybe we’ll talk about that next week).

Most of it you can do on a simple budget in any case. You don’t need a million dollar budget to market effectively. Just like Microsoft and Google used the viral “tell a friend” tool to spread hotmail and gmail, you can use simple techniques like that to get word out about what you do.

Make advertising a part of your business routine. Use Google AdSense, use Craigslist.org, use your business cards – but do something. Don’t just sit there and languish because nothing is happening.

Find a way to start a wildfire.

See you again soon!
~ Annie

Restarting!

18 Mar

Alright – let’s get this blog restarted, shall we? 😉

You might remember way back in September or October last year I announced I was heading back to school. I wanted to learn new design stuff that occurred in graphics since I had originally gone to college.

Well, it’s been going good. I’ve gotten through Fall and Winter quarters with great grades and have learned quite a bit. A lot of it has been basic stuff like Perspective, Drawing, Art History and the like but I think it’s been productive. My plan is to take Spring and Summer quarters off now and then return in the Fall. I think that will allow me to do everything I need to do without neglecting something. 😉 Like this place!

So, expect to see a lot more happening here again. My tentative schedule for this blog is as follows:

Monday – Marketing. I’ll post marketing concepts I’ve learned or am learning, things I’ve tried and tested, and whatever is related to marketing in general.

Tuesday – Web Stuff. I hate it when I write something cryptic to myself, expecting I’ll remember all the details later and then don’t. But I think what I had in mind here was stuff like links and what-not from around the web that I’ve found interesting. (At least, that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!)

Wednesday – Projects. Updates and insights on projects I’m working on. These might be writing or design or school or household or family or marketing or anything, really.

Thursday – Cool Stuff. This will be programs, web-based stuff (like Bloglines or something), software that I’m using or hope to try. I previously did a series on this blog about some of the tools I use like Adium (chat client for Mac), MarsEdit (blog posting app for Mac) and such and I’ll continue those with this topic.

Friday – Money. Ways to make money, investing, budgeting, money tips for small business and all things related to the topic of money.

Saturday/Sunday – Weekends will be mix-up days. I’ll post something from the other categories that I don’t want to put off until the next week. Or maybe I’ll just post something fun. Who knows? I guess you’ll just have to wait and see!

Let me know if you have suggestions, comments, thoughts, ideas. What would you like to see outlined here? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Also, check out my website for some new posts about current projects and of course info on writing, real estate and design. You’ll find that stuff at AnnieAndersonBlog.com.

Until tomorrow,
Annie

New Posts on AABlog

5 Mar

Rather than simply re-iterate here what I’ve already written elsewhere, I’d like to simply point you to my main website which has several new posts you might like to read.

Check it all out at Annie Anderson | Blog.

And also, look for some new stuff next week! I’ll be back writing about my experiments with the 30dc methods as well as other methods I’ve been learning lately.

As always, I’m interested in your comments, so please post!!

See you soon!