For an entrepreneur a business is more than a piece of paper. It represents their image and years of effort, hard work and dreams. But for other people they are just another advertisement, another piece of clutter to file. To them, your business card may be nothing more important than any other business card that crosses their desk at any given time. So, as a business man how can you make your card attract attention, gets kept and actually used?Often, it pays to think of the reason why people keep business cards in the first place. Understanding this concept can affect the design and effectiveness of your card. There are some reasons why people even keep business cards. For one, they use them as link to a supplier or resource. Lets say you are in the construction business and you meet someone who sells hard to find equipments. You will probably keep their business card to contact them whenever you need equipments. Second, you may keep them as a contact to a colleague. Perhaps from time to time you need to contact your business associates or work with other members of the industry. Having their business cards can facilitate contact much easier. You may also keep business cards for non-business reasons such as when socializing and organizing parties. Likewise, you may retain business cards for the purpose of referring them to someone else. Like for instance, your neighbor needs someone who washes windows. You will probably pass on the card to him so he could contact them. But often people see business cards simply as contact information for a customer or potential customer. With a little planning you can avoid that routine and make you cards unique and more useful to customers. There are dozens of ways you can use to encourage customers to hold on to your business card. Most of these ideas center on providing information that the customer may find useful. By using a unique format such a tri-fold format or by adding relevant information on the flip side of the card, you can add value to your business card that makes them worth keeping. For instance, you can include at the back of the card a calendar that lists typical upcoming events. Lets say you own a coffee house. You can promote events such as live bands, karaoke nights or comedy nights at the back of the card. Nevertheless, no matter how you design your card make sure that they still effectively provide the information that the customers need to know. Remember that your card may be passes on to someone else or the recipient may be trying to remember you later after a long day of meeting people at a convention. So, make those cards do the sale for you.
If youre trying to market to adults who were born between 1965 and 1994, then you need to understand the best method for reaching generation X and generation Y.Who is Generation X? Gen Xers were born between 1965 1976 and make up about 17% of the U.S. population. As a whole, this group is both independent and skeptical, existing in the shadow of Baby Boomers. As this group moves into their 30s and 40s, Gen Xers are establishing themselves as consumers who are starting families and buying homes.Who is Generation Y? Individuals born between 1977 1994 are considered Gen Yers and make up about 25% of the U.S. population. This group is generally idealistic, optimistic, and patriotic. They consume media in extremely fragmented ways, representing the next big wave in our demographic makeup.Gen Xers and Gen Yers have a number of things in common. Both groups grew up with recessions, single-parent households, cable TV, the Internet and other personal technology. Consequently, these groups consume media differently than earlier generations. Communicating with them through traditional marketing channels can be difficult. So, how can you reach these groups, communicate your message, and get them to take action?The answer is more traditional than you think. In combination with online marketing, direct mail is one of the most powerful ways to market to both Gen X and Y. According to a recent study conducted by InnoMedia, NuStats, and Vertis, 87% of Gen Y and 86% of Gen X bring in the mail the day its delivered. 73% of Gen Y and 68% of Gen X retail direct mail readers have used coupons received in the mail. Gen X and Y consumers rate 75% of the mail they receive as valuable.To reach Gen X and Y with direct mail, there are number of basic marketing practices you should keep in mind. Before discussing these tips, keep in mind that your direct mail efforts can be supplemented with online marketing in the form of targeted site advertising, key word buys, or perhaps giving consumers a reason to visit you online via email (contests, sweepstakes, discounts, etc.).Direct Mail is most effective when you understand your audience, time your campaign appropriately, provide a compelling offer, and develop a relevant message. Audience. Knowing your audience is essential for the success of any direct marketing campaign. Having information about Gen Xers or Yers in general terms is a place start, but you need to dig deeper and develop a fuller understanding of the segment. You should know what motivates them, what there greatest pains are, their latent needs, and what products or solutions they currently use. Once youve gotten to know your audience, other marketing criteria can fall into place. Timing. Communicating your message at the right time can make all the difference in your marketing results. Selling tax software immediately after April 15th wont produce the results youre looking for. Therefore, you need to have an understanding of your audiences timeline and when they are in the market to buy your product or service. Be sure to reach them with enough time to respond to your offer, but dont leave it open ended. Offer. Many consumers need a reason to buy, especially Gen Xers who are normally skeptical. Your offer should provide some benefit to the buyer as well as provide some level of comfort in moving forward with a purchase. This can be in the form of a satisfaction guarantee or something similar. One great technique is to place your offer on the outside of the envelope that contains your marketing materials. This can help to differentiate your mail and get your envelope opened by prospects. Message. Your message needs to resonate with prospective buyers. Do you understand their needs? Have you communicated benefits as well as features? Are you solving a problem for them? Have you provided a simple, yet compelling message? Many direct marketers talk about the long letter versus the short letter. There are a number of studies that validate the use of both long a short letters in a direct marketing pieces. As long as your message resonates with buyers, it doesnt matter how long it is. Be sure to test your messages on an ongoing basis.If youre marketing to either "Generation X" , Y, or both, use direct mail in your marketing mix. Individuals in these groups respond to direct mail. Keep in mind however, that a direct marketing piece should be supplemented with other forms of marketing Internet marketing, search engine optimization, advertising, etc. Direct mail is your key to success with Generations X and Y when used as the main vehicle of your marketing campaign.
ProductYour Marketing plan has to be built around your product. But before distribution can begin, market research needs to be performed. Analysing the Market place and researching what competitors are doing will bring perspective to your Marketing strategy and vision. It will also provide key indicators on pricing and potential. Something to consider is your product's life cycle which is important in determining when the market will reject your product.Once a product is launched into the market, a stable growth in sales is common at first. This will eventually stabilise as the product gets older, and as more competitors enter the market it eventually will start declining to the point of elimination. It is difficult to tell where a specific product is within the lifecycle or how long each phase will last. This is dependent on many factors within the market and how they are dealt with. Many companies have adopted strategies to combat a shortened product life by releasing improved versions.PriceMarketing Mix:PriceWhen entering the Market for the first time, pricing is something that can either 'make you or break you'. Small businesses tend to think that they need to offer really cheap prices to stand a chance of survival. Thats not the case. It all depends on what you do, what you can do and what you are willing to do. We all know about demand and supply, an abundent supply forces prices to drop because demand decreases. We see it in the UK today, many companies offer the same service in the same area but still seem to make it. How? Its called Value Added Services. Taking a standard product that is available on the Market and adding something that is unique and beneficial to consumers ensures that your product has a chance. It also allows you more flexibility on Pricing.EconomicPrice is kept as low as possible. A strategy most associated with Supermarkets who tend to make a very low margin on goods like tin food.SkimThis strategy is adopted by companies that have a unique product or competitive advantage and can therefore charge a high price. The strategy does not last for too long because a high price tends to open the door to competitors. This eventually results in increased supply which inevitably lowers the market price.PenetrateThis involves setting the price as low as possible in order to gain a substantial share in the market. Once this has been achieved price can be increased. A strategy prominent amoungst Telecoms companies in the UK.PremiumSimilar to Skim pricing, this strategy is popular amoung companies that offer a unique product or service. The difference between the two is that Premium pricing is usually associated with a product that satisfies a niche market.Bundle PricingA popular strategy where products are combined to form one package.Value PricingWhere factors in the market force companies to lower prices to retain sales.Psychological PricingUses emotive perception rather than rational to persuade the consumer...1.99 instead of 2.00.PositionMany small businesses associate position with location only. It is much more than where your business is physically situated or where your distribution areas encompass. It is about creating a unique identity for your business, a Brand which will act as a platform from which to launch your products. In other words, position applies to your place in the Market. Does you company name reflect what you are about, will consumers be able to instantly recognise you?Promotion / DistributionWho are your customers. If you don't know who they are and what they want, you will not be able to promote effectively. Target, target, target. Most of your information will come from Market Research and analyses. Things like Average age, yearly spend, customer groups, buying habits are all important facts that help make promotion effective and easy. Once you identify your perfect customer, you need to figure out the best way to reach them. Remember...Getting your Marketing message heard! Choosing a communication channel is of utmost importance. The wrong one being chosen will result in the wrong audience being reached.Check out our Advertising section for more information. Your Marketing plan will act as your mission statement, what you intend to do in order to reach your objective or Vision.
Many years ago when I worked in camera store, a customer came in one day with a very old roll of unexposed B&W film. He wanted to buy a camera that would fit that type of film so he could use up the film. The film was so old, all camera manufactures had long since quite making cameras that would take that type of film. I explained to him that the roll of film was worth maybe $2.00 (if it was still any good) and suggested he throw out the old film and consider a new camera and wooowooo color film. He thanked and left with is old roll of film.I think about this story quite often when I am dealing with authors and writers. They have such knowledge and enthusiasm for their ideas and topics, unfortunately many of them, especially new writers and authors seldom give little if any thought to who will be buying their books and where and how they will be getting them.I often ask these writers, who is going to be the recipient of your book? Most writers simply tell me they are going to sell them. My next question is where will you sell them? Most people respond with bookstores and the Internet. Then the tough question, and how are you going to go about doing this? Thats when I get met with a blank stare.Many writers, especially new ones, have often given little thought to where and how they are going to go about selling and distributing their books. When you think about it, most new authors and writers are so absorbed in their manuscripts they have little time to even think about selling their books, aside from a few fleeting thoughts. I tell all of them, the purpose of printing your own book is to get it into the hands of readers. Getting books into the hands of readers can be done many ways.Some people write and print small runs of books, solely for immediate family and friends. Others have more lofty regional, national and international distribution ideas. Both ideas of getting books into readers hands are good, but one takes much more thought and much more work than the other, but both have the right idea. I was interviewed by a television Creative Director a short time ago; she asked me what advice could you pass along to anyone thinking about writing their first book. My answer was immediate and definite think about who the audience is for your book and how you will go about getting that book into the hands of your audience. I went on to tell her, if every author thought about who their audience was, and how they were going to market their book, they would have a much better chance of having a more successful book project, that everyone would benefit more from the author, the printer and most of all the readers.What I hate seeing, are talented authors with wonderful manuscripts or books, trying to determine after the fact how and were they can sell their books. In many ways they are no different than the young man I encountered years ago who had a roll of film and was looking for a place to use it, the film, just like a manuscript not matter how good it is, needs to have place for it to fit in.
What is money? A child might say that its something rich people have and poor people dont. An engineer might go into a detailed and lengthy explanation, but we all know that money is what really makes the world go around.In the business world, money is the definition of success or failure. Thats why its vitally important that every entrepreneur has a good understanding of money even if their business is still struggling to get off the ground.Have you ever noticed that people who have a lot of money are magnets for more money? Ive listened to the gripes and accusations of onlookers who accuse them of being born with a silver spoon in their mouth among other things, but its more than that. The secret is that they UNDERSTAND money.Financially successful people can spot opportunities to create more money in a heartbeat. They understand the money system and how it works. They know the magic of creating money. They have experience under their belt. Understanding money is a key ingredient to becoming someone who has money, and fortunately its getting easier instead of harder to do just that. Think about it. A checking and savings account used to be the only options within realistic reach of the average Joe. If youve been paying attention, you know that theres an amazing menu of options available at any bank or savings and loan company you walk into.What does that mean? Its time to get busy and become students of money. If were going to have a lot of it, we need to understand how to invest and manage it. I can already hear it So what if you dont have much to manage and invest at the moment! Prepare for the futureHere are 3 easy steps to get started1. Think like a millionaireI know thats tough to do, when youre struggling just to pay for your overhead, but attitude is half of the battle. If you think like successful business owner, youll soon find out that money really is attracted to the rich.2. Become Financially LiterateThere are a million-and-one self help books on the market for people looking for information on money investments. Learn from the best. Find a few reputable authors and read, read, read. Subscribe to money magazines and The Wall Street Journal. Read what the rich read.3. Make Informed DecisionsOnce you know the ins and outs of the money world and have studied the successes and failures of others, its time to put your knowledge to work. When the opportunity knocks, youll be ready to open the door and greet it with a confident smile. Your new knowledge and attitude will make you a marketer to be reckoned with. No more slouching around and pointing fingers at the rich marketer down the block. Youll be one of them. Youll have the tools to use every opportunity to create more success.