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

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One Response to “Marketing 101: Part 1”

  1. iReporter Sean April 30, 2008 at 1:29 pm #

    I can appreciate the benefits of blogging but there is a big gap between WordPress, which is too much work, too confusing for my marketing application, and Blogger seems to have a narrow view of the world. I’ve been playing with a new platform (http://www.moguling.com) that has some pretty cool features that include SEO and automatic directory listings, that I like a lot. Can’t wait to see what this baby will do from monetization standpoint. Has anybody used this platform? I have never heard of them…..must be under the blogdar!!

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