Marketing your Business OFFLINE with Catalogs

“Catalog Marketing is alive and well. Catalogs give us the opportunity to plan ahead and create our wish lists. They give us hope in a better day. They inspire us and give us ideas. Yes, catalog marketing IS alive and well.” Heidi Richards Mooney

"Vintage Sears Catalog"
Did you know that the United States Postal Service (USPS) delivers to more than 149 million residences, businesses and P.O. Boxe in the U.S.? (Source: Deliver Magazine) And that there were 13.5 BILLION Catalogs mailed in 2009? Also according to Deliver Magazine, in 2010 the USPS procecessd 171 billion pieces of mail, many of which were promotional mailings.

Have you ever considered creating a catalog for your business?

Don’t have a product to sell? You can still have a catalog of services.

A Catalog is a more impressive way to market an product or service than a simple brochure or flyer. And people are 7 times more likely to keep a catalog than a brochure, especially when you target the right audience.

Think about all the catalogs you receive. If they are targeted to your preferences, chances are you are keeping them to look throuhg. Once you do, there is a good chance you will find something that catches your eye.  And if  it also captures your emotion, you’re hooked!

So next time you are thinking about how to advertise your business offline, consider the catalog!

How Much Trade Goes on at a Trade Fair?

"Business People Standing in Front of a Globe"
Have you ever attended a business Trade Fair? Or for that matter any type of Trade Fair? If you have, you know that trade fairs have been part of local and regional business for some years now, and they are still an excellent way of getting more interest in your business. By attending trade fairs and being a visible presence it is possible to show that you are a relevant company with a lot to offer, and to make valuable contacts which may be beneficial to you later on. Getting a stand at any local trade fair is a good place to start your offline marketing push.

Trade fairs are pretty straightforward in what they aim to do and how they go about it. The clue is right there in the name, the idea is to get people to connect and do business. By being a visible presence you can persuade people to find out more about you, and convince them to spend some of their money with you. Walking around the room at a trade fair is one way to get more ideas on how you can connect with an audience, too.

It helps if you are prepared to let your true personality and charisma shine through.  Being on top of your game will get you farther in a trade show/trade fair setting. If you don’t want to be the “front person” for whatever reason, maybe you are shy or don’t feel you have the magnetism these one on one encounters will produce, find someone within your company or organization to be that person, to be the trade show “greeter for your company.

It’s unbearably corny – and even more unbearably true – that being smiled at makes people more likely to engage in conversation and ultimately do business. I’m not talking a fake, paste on smile like a “used car salesman” of the 60’s I’m talking showing the “prospect” you genuinely care and would like to chat. Make sure when you do get his or her attention, you chat about their needs first. If and when appropriate, you can then talk about your company and what might be in it for them, the benefits.  Offline marketing at trade fairs and trade shows can be very lucrative. You can get leads, you can even close deals, but you must first understand what the client/prospect wants and needs.

That’s your homework!


How to Target Your Advertising and Dramatically Improve its Effectiveness

"Target your advertising"
“In our advertising message we sell flowers, in our shop our arrangements ‘second the customer’s emotion’.” Heidi Richards Mooney

One of the best ways to market your small business offline is with advertising. But not just any advertising and not just any medium.  Marketing small business with advertising is only effective when you know your target audience and ONLY advertise to them.

If you are using ads that only provide information and maintain a corporate image, your advertising will not be effective. It’s kind of like running in place – putting on your sneakers with nowhere to go. Ads like this can be a huge waste of money for the small business. Small businesses must instead use advertising that has a “call to action.” Advertising that turns a prospect into a customer. This is known as Direct Response Marketing.

Your primary goal in any offline or online advertising campaign should be to motivate the reader to respond, by using phrases and offers that suggest the reader run right over or contact you immediately.

What motivates you to purchase something from an advertisement? What about your customers, your employees, your friends? Find out what motivates them to purchase. Use it as your “call to action” in your advertising.

Create a Sense of Urgency

Does your current advertising have a sense of urgency with such words as Call Now? In your print ads, is your telephone number and website address larger? Do you use bold numbers in your ad? Does your ad say “offer expires today” or “good through ___?” If not, adding these two simple things will make your advertisement more effective. Not telling the reader or listener to Buy Now before the price increases, is a waste of your advertising dollars. Basic motivators in your “Call to Action” are security, success, greed, fear, recognition or solutions to problems such as ways to save time, money or effort.

The following are words and phrases that motivate people to respond, to take action:

· Discounts – “Buy 12, get one free,” or “10% off a purchase of $20 or more”

· Free one-hour consultation

· Free trial offer

· Free Gifts with purchase – such as “Stop in for a free Rose with purchase”

· Free 90-day subscription (No Risk)

· Guarantees – such as “100% money back” or “free replacement” no questions asked

· Special Assistance – such as a reminder program, which sends notices of special dates, last time purchased, etc.

A strong Call to Action, should at the very least, get a bigger response rate. TEST different word combinations and offers until you find a “formula” for a successful advertising message. And watch your small business grow. Marketing small business offline is not rocket science. But it does take a certain amount of finesse. And mostly knowing who your target audience is!

Putting More “You” and Less “I” in Your Marketing Message

“The traditional business definition of marketing is identifying and fulfilling customer needs. There’s no mention of your business. Marketing is all about the customer.” Heidi Richards Mooney

"What's in it for me?"
Do you remember the “WIIFM” formula when designing your promotional tools? You know, the “what’s in it for me?” The “me in this case is not about you, your company, your product or business, rather it is about the customer, the prospect, the reader, the person you are trying to get to take action regarding your product or service.

How many times have you picked up a brochure about a company to find out what they can do for you only to find it filled with stuff about them? And have little or no idea what they can do for you? Your customers and prospects could be asking the same question.

One of the biggest mistakes many companies make is to talk about themselves and their products rather than talking about the CUSTOMER and what he/she will gain by doing business with them. “The traditional business definition of marketing is “identifying and fulfilling customer needs.” There’s no mention of your business. Marketing is all about the customer.”

Identify and focus on the benefits. Prospects want to know how what you offer will benefit them. You MUST make it clear what benefits the prospect will receive from doing business with you, otherwise then there is no reason for that prospect to do so. You MUST focus on what the prospect is going to GAIN by using your product or service.

In order to articulate the “what’s in it for them,” you must first understand the difference between a feature and a benefit. A feature is something that your product does or has (for example, a shirt can be 100% cotton). A benefit to 100% cotton could be durability, easy-care or even wrinkle resistant. Now you’ve given them the WIIFM. Why the prospect might want to purchase the shirt.

Count how many times you refer to you – that includes the “I,” the “WE” and your “company name.” Take a second look and count how many times you refer to the “YOU,” the “prospect/customer” or “she/he.” If your copy has more than 50% “I,” etc. take a look at how you can reword it to tip the scales in favor of the prospect. Good copy should be at least 60-75% prospect focused and only 25-40% focused on who you are, (such as the awards you have, the color of your building, the type of equipment you have, etc.).

To change things around in your marketing message whether it is in your proposal writing, brochures or your website (any advertising), you must identify the goals, objectives and obstacles of your prospect. Then you show your prospects how you can help them reach their goals and overcome their obstacles.

Once you know how your business benefits your customers, and you begin to focus on the how the customer benefits formula, you can write copy that will increase prospect response. You will begin seeing a greater response to your marketing messages and your bottom line!

Note: There are 42 “You’s” in this article and only 2 “I’s.” Did it get your attention?


Business Networking Basics – 21 Tips to Success

“Relationship networking is about who you know and more importantly, who knows you. Building the right network can open new doors to future success in your business.” – Heidi Richards Mooney

"group of people
Effective networking is all about making connections and creating long lasting relationships with other business professionals. And networking is still one of the most successful ways to “market your business offline.”

Relationship networking is about who you know and more importantly, who knows you. Building the right network can open new doors to future success in your business. Here are 21 tips to help you build a strong network..

1. Begin with the end in mind. When attending networking functions, define your objectives. Determine what your goal(s) is/are for every event you attend. After all, your time is valuable and having a goal makes the effort more crystallized in your mind.

2. Develop a plan of action for how best to “work the room,” or meet people. Put your plan in writing and you are more likely to stick with it.

3. The handshake is important. People judge one another based upon the “grip” of the hand. If it is too firm, you may be perceived as overpowering or superior, if it is too weak, you may appear wishy-washy. Practice with a family member or friend until you feel comfortable that yours is just right.

4. Make good use of the nametag. It should be worn on the right side for easy reading. You might want to put your first name and company slogan on it – or a “clue” as to what you do professionally. These are both great conversation starters.

5. When shaking someone’s hand, introduce yourself.

6. Say your name clearly and with authority. Tell the other person what a pleasure it is to make their acquaintance.

7. Ask what the other person does. Then offer your 10 second commercial about what you do. This is not the time to tell all – don’t elaborate unless the other person asks you to. Creating a cleaver, memorable commercial that doesn’t bore someone, is sure to get attention.

8. Ask the other person for her business card. Comment on the card.

9. Offer your card after you receive hers, if it is appropriate to the conversation. Most of the time, when you ask someone for her card, she will return the favor by asking for yours in exchange.

10. When the time is right (appropriate) jot down a note about the other person, something that will help you remember her or him.

11. Before any formal program begins, be sure to mingle with the guests. This does not mean to meet as many people as possible, rather to meet two or three (or however many time will allow), where you can make a solid connection.

12. Talk “small.” General networking conversation is polite, courteous and non-threatening.

13. Move around. If you have spent a sufficient amount of time with one person, it may be time to meet others. After 7-10 minutes, it is okay to excuse yourself with a polite “it was a pleasure to meet you.” After all, the other person may also wish to meet others and you will be perceived as a true professional.

14. After the event follow up. If you offered to send the other person something or give information, be sure to do so.

15. Do your homework. When you meet someone you wish to stay in contact with, do a little research on the company. Find out their interests and goals.

16. Send thank you’s to your new networking contacts and to the person(s) who organized the event.

17. Reciprocate. If someone gives you a referral or offers you a lead, find a way to return the favor, even if it is simply in the form of a thank you.

18. Targeted networking will offer the most potential for success. Make a list of the places your customers and potential customers are likely to “hang out.” It could be trade shows, civic or non-profit organizations, professional associations, schools, the gym, etc.

19. Host an event to increase your networking reach.

20. When appropriate, bring give-aways to meetings to get more attention

21. Review your networking action plan, your contacts and those events and functions to which you attend. Keep attending those that make sense and find new ones to replace those events which are not a good fit for you.

Offline networking can be spontaneous and rewarding. Networking can happen anywhere, at anytime. Your next referral could come from a neighbor, a colleague, a friend or a friend of someone you never met. Always keep in mind that the more you give to the networking relationship, the more you will get in return. When you are perceived as a giver, people naturally want to give back to you.