Friday, January 23, 2009

Sell More to People who Want to Buy-Part 1

Want an easy way to earn more money? A way to increase your revenue? A way to increase your profits?

And this does not involve increasing your advertising one single dime?

I can see your head bobbing up and down.

So here's the answer:

Convert more "shoppers" into "buyers".

A shopper is someone that comes into your store, or calls your business. They're looking for something and they are going to spend their money with someone.

Here's a true story that was told to me over lunch by a friend this week:

He had a coupon for a free oil change at a local new car dealership. When he took his vehicle in, he asked them to check the thermostat because he felt the heater wasn't warming up properly and he wanted it fixed.

30 minutes later, he was paged to the service desk and told his vehicle was ready to go. He asked, "What about the thermostat?" They told him, "It's fine, don't know what to tell you buddy."

After he left he called a mechanic that he knew that worked for an independent shop and explained what happened. He was told that on his vehicle, it would take at least 40 minutes because of where the thermostat was located and that it would require extra work, etc. to check the thermostat.

So he scheduled a time to drop his vehicle off and have the thermostat replaced. It will cost him about $140.00, but it is costing the dealership a whole lot more.

First of all, the dealership lost the money that they could have earned if they would have performed the service they were asked to do. Probably at least $200.00 at the dealership.

Next, they lost the trust of my friend to ever do anything on his vehicle. He even doubts if they did the oil change properly. He'll find out when he takes his vehicle to the other shop.

Third, he is telling everyone he knows about this experience and will continue to spread the word for the next month or more. Word of mouth works both ways, you know.

Fourth, how many other potential "buyers", at this dealership are turning away business due to the lazy and dishonest mechanic?

Now, do a little test like this at your place of business. What are you and your staff doing that keeps "shoppers" from becoming "buyers"?

More on this subject the next time. Your comments are always welcome.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Outside Help

Today I get to use my kids recent health issues as metaphors for our lesson.

Over the last 24 hours, I learned my son Josh has a cold and he is feeling out of it. Typical cold, no need to go to the doctor, treat the symptoms based on past experience and all will be okay in a few days.

If your business marketing and advertising is generally on track, then you can expect a cold every once in awhile in the form of a campaign that didn't produce the results you though you might get, but you know what does work and so it is okay.

My youngest daughter Tiffany went to the Doctor today because her ankle was hurting and after several days it was getting worse. The Doctor discovered she had a sprained ankle and needed a brace as her body healed itself.

Sometimes when things are getting bad and you can't figure it out, you need some outside help. Hire a marketing/advertising consultant that can play doctor and discover the reason things are bad and give you a solution to reverse the bad and create good and turn your business around.

My oldest daughter spent about 20 hours in the hospital. Sunday she was feeling pain in her abdomen and a few hours later she was waiting to have her appendix removed. Now she is back home, healing and recovering.

Sometimes the problem with your business is not that you need to do more, you need to do less. Perhaps there is something that is going on internally that is sabotaging your business but you are too close to recognize the cause. You too should hire an outsider who can take an objective view and has the marketing/advertising expertise to help.

Now here's some straight talk: You are busy running your business. You may be an expert in your field. You are probably not the best at marketing and advertising your business.

For your business to stay healthy, you may need to hire outside help. Because not even the most skilled surgeon would remove their own appendix.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

American Idol Marketing Lessons: Bikini Girl

I needed to interrupt my series on advertising to share with you some lessons from Tuesday's American Idol.

Now in their 8th season, the question that remains is what do you have to do to...

no, not win.

what do you have to do to get on TV and create a name for yourself.

There are hundreds who will audition for the show, and some are just plain awful, and if you get on TV because you suck, then you have done the 2009 version of crapping your pants in front of the world.

Those that know you will make fun of you, and eventually you will forgotten except as one of the losers on the Idol Blooper reel. You can't make any money that way.

So, take the opposite approach like Katrina Darrell did and create a positive impression. She created a niche as the Bikini Girl and she did a fair job of singing. She was rewarded with a ticket to Hollywood to compete in the first round.

And here's what has happened overnight.
As I was driving to work, I scanned three radio stations, including the news/talk station and all three made mention of her and even played an audio clip of her.
She is all over the web on both blogs and traditional media websites.
She needs an agent and she needs to get signed up for some endorsement deals this week as the American Idol Bikini Girl.

She will not win the crown, she's not that good of a singer, but she has her niche and she needs to focus on that as long as possible.

Quite frankly if Billy Mays can create a niche by yelling at people and make millions, Katrina should be able to rake in a few dollars while she is riding her 15 minutes of fame.

Monday, January 12, 2009

It's what's Inside that counts

In the last article, I demonstrated a formula for putting together an advertising schedule including a plan for a jewelry store on a radio station. But beware, because the schedule is only one factor in determining success.

Today, I'll share with you the next factor: Content.

Face it, some advertising is more effective than others. I'm not talking about the advertising mediums, but the actual advertising messages.

Since we started talking about radio, we'll continue in that medium. I personally like radio because of the way it can communicate to your potential customers that is very similar to a word of mouth recommendation that one friend gives to another friend. Unfortunately, not all radio advertising makes full use of this advantage.

Here's what you want in your radio advertisement:

  • Your Uniqueness that sets you apart from others that may offer the same or similar product or service.
  • An Offer or incentive for people to do business with you.
  • A Call to Action. What you want the listener to do next.
Here's what you don't want in your radio advertisement:
  • Cliche's.
  • How many years you've been around.
  • How many years of experience your staff has.
  • Anything that your competitors can also claim about them.
  • Your street address. Instead say, "the bright yellow building on West Main Street."
  • Your phone number unless it is memorable and that is the way you want them to contact you. 484-FOOD works if you do pizza delivery.
  • The "WWW" part of your website address.
Then there's the style of the presentation. Unless you are a fast talking used car salesperson, don't use fast talking, slick sounding ads. They are a turn-off.

Instead, a natural, professional vocal style without background music can be very effective.

Use music and sound effects sparingly.
Humor and dialogue ads are also very difficult for your typical radio station to produce convincingly.
Focus on only one item or offer in each ad. Don't try and cram everything into one commercial.

Some of the best campaigns are a series of ads that build upon each other but can also stand alone. It takes a rare talent to develop this type of advertising campaign.

And finally back to what I mentioned at the beginning, focus on your Uniqueness. But not from your perspective, from the customers perspective. Develop a theme that you use in all your ads and stick with it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

How Long Should I Advertise?

The simple answer is: forever.

If you only advertise when you open your business, such as a Grand Opening, and then don't continue, the next thing you'll be advertising is your Going Out Of Business Sale.

But don't jump around and try something for a few weeks, and then something else for a few more weeks, and then take some time off and come back a few months later trying something else.

Plan and Commit to building a customer base by inviting the same group of people to do business with you.

Let's use radio advertising as an example.

Pick a radio station that has listeners that are typical of your typical customers.

Depending on:

  • Your profit margin
  • The buying frequency (how often a good customer buys what you are selling)
  • The actual $$ value of a customer over the course of 12 months
  • The amount of referral business each new customer is likely to bring in
  • And your budget
You should be able to determine how much advertising and which station to use.

I'm going to use a real life example of a jewelry store.
  • Profit Margin (including sales) 50%
  • Buying Frequency, twice a year for sales, twice a year for service, repairs & cleanings
  • Annual dollar value of a customer $2500 gross profit
  • Each new customer is also worth 1 more referral customer.
  • Budget... To Be Determined in a moment.
Most radio stations would love to set you up on an annual contract. The longer the term, the better the rates in most cases, which is to your advantage.

Radio stations schedule their commercials by dayparts. The typical dayparts are:
  • Morning Drive 6a-10a Monday-Friday
  • Mid-days 10a-3p Monday-Friday
  • Afternoon Drive 3p-7p Monday-Friday
  • Nights 7p-12mid Monday-Friday
  • Overnights 12mid-6a Monday-Friday
For our Jewelry Store, I'm going to pick Mid-days and Nights. Why? Drive times are typically more expensive than Mid-days, and Nights are less expensive than Daytime.

I want to dominate each daypart. Since each daypart I chose has 5 hours a day, I want a commercial in 3 hours of each chosen daypart.

Depending on the size of the audience, the city you are in and the sales manager of the radio station, you could pay as little as $10 per commercial to several hundred dollars. We're going to use a rate of $40 for Mid-Days and $15 for Nights. Do the math and that means $40 x 15 + $15 x 15= $825 x 52 weeks = $42,900.

What do you need in results? $42,900/$2500= 17 new customers over 12 months, pays for the advertising. Based on your referral rate of each new customer refers one additional customer, you can double your money by getting just 17 new customers from your radio advertising.

Can you make more money? Yes! Internal marketing through special promotions and your sales staff can increase the value of your customers. You can also add more dayparts and become the dominate jewelry store on the entire radio station.

Next, we'll talk about the content of the commercials. Your Comments are always welcome.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

It's up to You

Commit to your Success right now.

Or get out and do something different.

2009 is going to see more business turmoil than 2008.

And it is up to you to decide if you will ride the wave to a new level, or drown.

At least once a week, I am going to share with you tips and guidance on this site that will help you be among the successful.

You can subscribe to updates by using the links on the right side of this page. I am also going to take a limited number of clients that want individual attention. You can add comments, or send me an email, which I check at least once or twice a day. Use the email address

Our first tip is to commit and plan.

You make all kinds of commitments in your life. Your cellphone plan is probably two years, your commitment to your mate is for life, if you have a lease on a building it might be for 5, 10 or more years. In a few days, I'm going to challenge you to make a commitment to your advertising in a way that you may have not considered before. Stay Tuned!