Saturday, 10 March 2012

Great Marketing Tips from Guest Speaker: Nicky Van Winjgaarden

1. Ban bland - Be decisive about your positioning
You’ve heard before that you can’t be all things to all people. But so much marketing work you see can best be described as “generic”. Everyone offers “solutions”, it’s their service/people that make the difference and they’re “cost effective”. Take this away from most company’s marketing pitch and you’re left with....nothing really.
If you have little or no money to advertise and promote a company, the last thing you want to do is make no discernable impression. And look at it this way – it’s less of a risk
for you to be a little outrageous than it is for a company spending millions of dollars on advertising (who can spot the difference between one car ad and the next by the way?).
I received two brochures a week apart recently for a PR conference. At least, I thought it was one conference, until I looked a little more closely. Two conferences, pretty much the same name, the same creative, the same pitch – a week apart with my B&T. Just imagine if one had taken a risk – you know which one people would have remembered and attended.
So make a call. Stand for something. Carve a niche. Back it up and stick to it. And write some effective copy to back it up. If you need some help in this area, try subscribing to:

2. Be a better builder – of your database
Every business can benefit from building a segment-able database and marketing to it. EVERY business. Yet very few businesses have an up-to-date database of customers and prospects. Retailers are particularly bad, but even service based businesses are guilty. I have stayed at 20 different hotels in the past year – and NONE have ever sent me a follow up offer. Yet they all took my details on arrival. Does that seem like a shocking waste to anyone but me?
Apart from being the key ingredient in targeted marketing activities, your database has value to someone else – they too want the same sorts of customers. Finding and partnering with those businesses in marketing and promotions is the way to find new customers, or get good stuff to give away, for free. Impress your boss by getting a bunch of books/accommodation/luggage to use as marketing incentives, just for featuring them in pre-existing communications to your target market.

3. Spent 25 cents more often
If two heads are better than one, then two tiny budgets are certainly better than one! So who could you be working with? Who can help you get to the market you’re looking for?
Say you’re running a training business and you’d like to get into the IT sector. Rather than targeting that sector, consider who else is already talking to that market. How might you partner with them to get access to their customers, whilst still making it valuable to them?
Or you’re a small retailer, trying to get people into your store located on a strip of 20 others. Why aren’t you working with those 20 others?
Trust me, it could be the best 25 cent phone call you ever make.

4. Stop starting from scratch
If nothing is original, and everything has already been done before, why are so many people set on re-creating the wheel?
When you have a small budget, it’s a crime to waste any of it. So why are you going out and getting a website programmed from scratch when you can access excellent content management systems for a few hundred dollars a year? Why are you paying for data entry or a research agency for simple projects when you can use for about $25 a month? Or why are you killing yourself trying to find an original idea when you can get some international flavoured inspiration for free from

5. Give stuff away
We all want people talking about our product or service. Word of mouth is still the most cost effective marketing tool...if only we could work out how to harness it a little better.
So let’s start with – give more of it away. Particularly if you’re marketing a product, the fastest way to spread word of mouth is to have more people tasting/wearing/trialling your product. Krispy Kreme anyone?
And even if you are marketing a service – consider how you can have people “sample” it. Can you run a free event or write an article, sharing some of your expertise and demonstrating your “style”.
(Or perhaps make your product so desirable people steal the promotional material – ala movie posters - and you let them and then do a little media release about just how much people want your stuff...)

6. Don’t have your call-to-action missing-in-action!
In every piece of existing promotion you have, whether it be your website, a brochure, or even your Yellow Pages advertisement, there needs to be a call to action. Most company website pages DON’T end with an encouragement to call or email. Most brochures have contact details but don’t really give people a REASON to call within a particular time-frame. And a Yellow Pages ad should have an incentive, just as ANY advertising you might run should have (Eg. “Mention Yellow Pages for 15% off). This has two benefits – you know where a lead has come from AND it makes your ad more compelling than the one next to it. Don’t leave the next step up to the customer...or they might walk back out the “virtual” door!

7. A little + A little = A Lot More
If you only have a small amount of money available to market your business, who can you pair up with to increase your funds pool? For example, if you’re a PR business, could you partner with a copywriter to undertake a customer recruitment drive? If you’re a boutique hotel, could you partner with tour operator? If you’re a shopping centre, could you partner with your retailers? A little plus a little could mean you’ve got double the funds to play with.

8. Get out your red texta
If you want to make your existing materials work harder for you, get out your red texta and do two things:

  • Circle all the we, us and ours in your marketing materials. If this appears more than you and yours, your marketing message is all about you, not your customers. Start re- writing!
  • Circle all the “nonsense” words that are used so often, by so many, that they’ve ceased to have any meaning. Words like “solution” or “difference”. What solution? How different? 
Check out this “joke” site - - and if your marketing materials read anything like this - start re-writing!

9. If you’re gonna do it, do it right
Ok, if you were into Wham, you’ll get the message and if not, please don’t stop reading.
What I’m talking about here is email – the very best zero budget tool - still vastly underutilized in business. And ONE thing contributes to this is the subject line. A subject line, like a headline in an ad, need to encourage you to read more. Bland, non- descriptive or non-compelling subject lines ensures people hit delete and never cast an eye over your hard worked copy or offer. So make sure you’ve got something intriguing, exciting, quirky, descriptive or inviting in your subject line (then run the whole thing through a SPAM checker like to ensure it’s even likely to make it to an inbox!)

10. Tap into your network
If you’re in need and are a cash strapped marketer, don’t forget to tap into your own network. Not for a loan – but perhaps there are creative answers to your problems. The people around you may provide insight and ideas – and even some contacts where you might be able to offer “contra” as payment for services or form some type of alliance. Your friends, family, acquaintances, work contacts and even exercise partners equate to a deep pool of resources from which you can draw, and to whom you can contribute. You just can’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask.
As the great man said: “I get by with a little help from my friends.”
Article by: Kimberly Palmer, Founder – Networx Events & Brazen Productions

Don't forget the simple things
Successful marketing is rarely about a single silver bullet. Instead, it's about many, many little things that joined together, deliver results for a business.
So this post is about a little thing. Your email signature. If your business is anything like mine, you can send and receive around 100 emails a day. Even if you only send 10 emails a day, each one is an opportunity to share a little information about yourself and your business (AND as a bonus it makes it a lot easier for the recipient to get in touch with you in the future).
Now if you're tempted to think that no-one reads an email signature, I'm able to recount from very recent experience that this is definitely not the case. I added a sentence to the
bottom of my (already relatively long) email signature about the launch of my new book. And I immediately got back a tonne of questions and congratulations about it. I really didn't think anyone would pay that much attention. But about a third of the people I emailed that week commented on it - which means more probably read it.
So if you've got something new or exciting happening, pop it onto the bottom of your daily emails. It's totally zero budget - and I know you'll be surprised at the response.

Providing experience to get free to cheap design and copy
Great design and copy writing can make a small brand look BIG and PROFESSIONAL - which we all know are key factors in attracting customers. I'm constantly amazed by how many shabby websites I come across and my instant thought is “this business isn't to be taken seriously".
But great design & copy has to cost a lot - doesn't it? Well, no.
If you have the world's tightest budget, why not consider getting a promising student designer or writer to work for you? You can contact Universities like RMIT (who run advertising and design courses) for a referral. Or independent outfits like The Australian School of Copywriting, who need 'real life' projects to give their students the experience they need. I recently referred a friend starting out a new venture (Little Fry) to The Australian School of Copywriting. Just going in to brief the budding writers gave the Little Fry team a good chance to articulate (and even form) their marketing vision. They then received several different writing perspectives for their brand, which has not only given them material to use immediately, but some fresh ideas for the future.
So if you have the time to dedicate, and are prepared to give as well as get, you can get some top notch design and copy for little or no cost. And as your business grows, and your student's talent grows, it could be the beginning of a long a mutually profitable relationship for both of you!

Marketers love consistency - that's why all the big brands have thick design manuals covering the rules of how their brand can be used, in what colours and related colour palettes and even how much white space should be around a logo.
Just because you're a smaller brand doesn't mean you should be lax about ensuring all elements of your look and feel aren't consistent. Apart from making you look like a professional outfit, it also has the added benefit of being cost-effective in the long term. Why? Well, when you have a clear idea and guidelines on what font, colours and style to use, it will take a designer less time to create new work for you. And that translates to lower cost. Also, some strong design elements have the advantage of being useful for multiple purposes, which I've been reminded of recently. I partnered with a talented designer and illustrator on Dont Drink and Dial...and other secrets of female friendship (my first book, being published by Penguin and on sale this week) and we've been able to use variations on the illustrations she's created for everything from a stationery line to icons on our website.

Viral isn't dead if the offer is good enough
"Viral" marketing was a bit of a buzz word over the past few years that seems to have gone out of fashion in 07 - but the concept of viral is exciting because it's the ultimate zero budget concept. That is, you send out something (a promotion, an offer, news of a sale, a movie/joke/story) to a set group and then people pass it on for you. And it continues to a virus. So your original message to 100 people could end up reaching 10,000 people.

A good viral campaign isnt easy to come up with. The original (and future) recipients have to think it's exicting enough to pass on, such that their friends or colleagues won’t be annoyed to receive it. So a really compelling offer - or a very funny message - is what's needed.
I just received a great offer passed on by a friend - and it was so good I wondered if it was real. 

So after a long investigation (well, actually, after clicking on a couple of links) I confirmed that Krispy Kreme WERE in fact giving away a half dozen donuts on the day after the election.
They've even tied in database building element, some topical marketing by linking it to the federal election, a cause related element by asking for a gold coin donation to the Salvos and some amusing creative. This little promo really ticks all my boxes! (They've also got some safety nets built in - see the preferred store and the "up to 6 donuts" to help them cover their tushies). So Krispy Kreme have done it again - for the cost of some clever creative and I'm assuming several thousand donuts - they'll be gaining both a customer database and store traffic, at what I'm sure will be a very low cost per unit. If I had a zero budget gold star, I'd slap it on them right now!

Useful websites: – a great website to build & send e-newsletters & stay in touch with your customers & potential customers (free up to 1000 contacts) – a website that gets your press releases out across the internet news world
Social Media sites - Create your own blog

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