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How Many Ways are You Marketing & Advertising Your Business?

One of the segments of the SPOTLIGHT ON MARKETING & ADVERTISING workshop coming up Tuesday, June 20th focuses on the many different media you can use to market & advertise your business and their respective strengths and weaknesses. It dawned on me that I have used many different forms of media out there for Toy House over the years.

Here is the short list off the top of my head of all the ways I marketed & advertised Toy House the last twenty two years …

  • Newspapers
  • Newspaper inserts
  • Online News
  • Magazines
  • Radio
  • Internet Radio
  • Broadcast TV
  • Cable TV
  • Local TV
  • Billboards
  • Direct Mail
  • Email
  • Website
  • Online and Print Community Calendars
  • Facebook
  • Google AdWords
  • Yellow Pages
  • White Pages
  • Networking
  • Press Releases & Public Relations
  • Discount Business Cards
  • Twitter
  • Road signs
  • Trade shows
  • Giveaways
  • Sponsorship
  • Coupon Books
  • Off-site Presentations & Events
  • Decorated Delivery Van
  • Wearing logo shirts in public

I’m sure there are a few more I forgot.

The point here is to open up your mind to the idea that there are many ways to advertise your business. You don’t have to do all of them. In fact, you would need a dedicated marketing & advertising team and a huge budget to even attempt to half of them the right way. Instead, your best plan is to choose a few of these and do them better than your competition.

Sign up for the class and I’ll show you how to use each of the above the most productive way and help you figure out which ones will help you grow your business the right way—all in just four hours (I’ve done it before so I know I can do this for you.)

Here’s the fun part … That is only about half of what you’ll learn in this class.

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS There is one big myth I want to dispel right now and that is the notion of “Mixed Media”. The myth is that you need to spread yourself as wide as possible in as many different media as possible so that you hit the same people from many different angles to help them remember and think of you. Wrong! The stuff you see with your eyes goes to a different part of the brain than the stuff you hear with your ears. The different media rarely ever connect in the brain as one unified thought. The most effective marketing is when you dominate one medium so well that people think you own it. That was the biggest mistake I made for years. Our marketing & advertising got better when I pared it back to the media I could use best.

The Value Equation

As customers, we are often quick to ask the question, “How much does it cost?” That’s what we want to know. Get to the bottom line. Why? Why do we go so quick to the price? The answer – The Value Equation.

The Value Equation is this … Does the Perceived Worth of an item equal its Actual Price?

We beg for the price because we are always at least subconsciously calculating Perceived Worth on everything we see. We’ve been doing it our whole adult lives. We do it shopping for groceries. We do it shopping for tools. We do it shopping for clothes. As we walk the store we attach a Perceived Worth to everything we see. (If we don’t want it, the PW is zero. If we might want it, we attached a price to it and check to see if we are right.) 

When the Perceived Worth equals the Actual Price, we put the item in our cart.

The surprise is often in finding our Perceived Worth is far higher than the Actual Price. The first question we usually ask when that happens is, “What’s wrong with it?” or, “Is this marked down?” Sometimes we think to ourselves, “Wow, it must not be as good as I thought it would be.” Before we buy the product, we have to answer those questions satisfactorily.

That’s why it is easy to under-price yourself to bankruptcy (or at least leave serious dollars on the table.)

The other problem is when your Perceived Worth is much lower than the Actual Price. You either totally dismiss the product as being “out of my range” or you wonder what you missed in your evaluation of the product.

Take, for example, the SPOTLIGHT ON MARKETING & ADVERTISING class I am offering. I have to find that sweet spot of a price that fits what you believe a class like this should be worth.

I start by taking cues from what other similar programs charge. For instance, Bob Negen’s Whizbang Training two-day Retail Success Summit this summer is currently $997.  My buddy Tim Miles just announced a one-day workshop with Roy H. Williams, himself, for $1250. (By the way, I highly recommend both programs, and, no, I don’t get any kickbacks from these links.)

My workshop is $250* for a half-day —similar to Bob’s price for two days. Some of you will look at the price and see that it is about what you’d expect to pay for other, similar types of training. Some of you will look at the price and ask, “Where’s the value? What do I get in return?”

So I also look at the benefits you will get from the program. For instance, in this four-hour program you get:

  • Eight ways to market your business with little or no money at all
  • How to get free publicity from the media
  • How to craft a message that gets noticed, remembered, and acted upon – three things that are incredibly hard to accomplish in today’s fractured, over-saturated media world
  • How best to use the media of your choice (and tips on how to choose the best media for your business)
  • Four ways to generate more Word-of-Mouth advertising than you ever thought possible
  • One year of advertising support including help with your message, your campaign, your media buys, or wherever you have questions or need advice.
  • Half-rate discounted tuition for any future programs I offer through Jackson Retail Success Academy™.

Some of you will still balk at the price. That’s okay. I know I won’t convince everyone.

Some of you will think that seems like a pretty fair trade for $250 and four hours of your time.  You’ll sign up now for the class on Tuesday, June 20th.

Others will wonder why the price is so low for all that you get. Most of you in that frame of mind have either been to one of my programs before or live in a city where prices for stuff like this are just a bit higher than they are in Jackson. Remember, Helping Others is one of my Core Values.

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

*PS If your business or you personally have taken one of my workshops through the Jackson Retail Success Academy™, you qualify for the Half-Price Alumni rate of $125.

PPS Why the half-price tuition for JRSA™ alumni? I believe strongly in continuing education. Now that I make my living speaking and writing, I am reading more blogs and books on speaking and writing, and I am attending workshops to learn all I can in those fields. I want to encourage anyone who takes one of my workshops to come back for refreshers or other programs, or maybe send a staff member to learn more. Plus, you’re always looking for a better deal. You know these classes are worth it at almost any price. Half-price just makes you feel good.

Oops, I Violated My Own Facebook Rules (and got “boosted”)

This Thursday, 1/29/15 is National Puzzle Day. Being a toy store that sells thousands of puzzles, that is a big deal to us. Naturally, we are going to celebrate it and I’m going to promote it via Facebook.

But I violated one of my golden rules for getting around the Facebook algorithm. I used language that sounded like a promotion.

And Facebook busted me…

I mentioned a “% off” in the copy and FB flagged it and sent me this suggestion that I boost the post (because now that they know it is a promotion, they sure as heck aren’t letting it out).

Fortunately I have two more days to find unique, clever and creative ways to invite people to the event without sounding like a promotion. I’m feeling up to this challenge.

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS Here is the full copy of what I said. Notice that there isn’t a date or time or exclamation point. There was a picture. There will be more pictures and more posts.

They say this Thursday is National Puzzle Day.

Since puzzles are rarely finished in a day, I always thought this Month should be National Puzzle Month. 

But since they made it a day, I guess we should honor that day.

Would you like to celebrate with us? Would you like to see different styles of puzzles on different tables throughout the store? Would you like to touch and feel the different brands and how they make their pieces? Would you like to try your luck at pulling out the one special puzzle piece in the jar that will give you 50% off your puzzle purchases that day? (The other unlucky pieces only get you 5 to 10% off)

Here is an interesting tidbit… Last year we sold over one million puzzle pieces all told! And so far, only 6 were missing.

Join us this Thursday to put a few thousand more pieces in their place.

Driving Traffic to Your Site (SEO)

I had a local entrepreneur contact me about her website. When she launched she was getting regular sales. But she hasn’t had a sniff in months. She thought maybe something was wrong with her site and asked me to take a look.

She sells Made in Michigan, lead-free, lightweight, high-quality, reusable shopping bags, something worth a look for stores like ours. Check out her site, www.berniebags.com. It will be helpful in understanding the rest of this post. (Full disclosure – nothing to disclose. I am not promoting her site or products, did not know her other than as a customer before she approached me, this is purely for educational purposes, but if you like what she’s selling, by all means, buy it.)

I took a look at her site and did not see anything inherently wrong with it. But I am not the best judge of that. I do not shop much online, prefer to buy local whenever possible. So I ask you to check it out and tell me what you see that could be done better.

Her biggest problem, however, is one we all face.

I Googled her product category “Reusable Shopping Bags”. Thirty five pages deep, I gave up. She was nowhere to be found.

So I gave her the following list of things to do to raise her site in the rankings of Google and other search engines…

1) Make sure you have good keywords and metatags. Whoever designed your website should know what I mean. Basically, you want to have the key phrases people might use to search for your product in the keywords and metatags (behind the scenes) parts of you website.

2) Get some “link love”. The more that other websites link to you, the higher your site will rise in Google’s eyes.

Ways to get links include asking your friends/customers who have websites to put your logo and a link on their sites. Also, you can launch a Facebook Page, a Google Places Page, a Yelp Page, etc. If you have a profile on LinkedIn or any other type site, make sure your website is referenced there.

Another way to get links is to comment on blogs and articles online. Run a search on all the articles on lead in shopping bags and write a quick comment like “That’s why I decided to make and market some Michigan-made, lead-free, reusable shopping bags.” Find the bloggers who are writing about this and make comments on their blogs, too.

3) Consider starting your own blog. You can get free blog sites from blogspot and wordpress. It takes time, but you can grow a following. Simply write quick, short, one-paragraph reminders of why using reusable bags is so good. Have links to other articles. Have photos and video. And make sure each post links back to your site.

4) Do a youtube video of the bag and why it is so cool. Most smartphones have video so making a video is easy. It doesn’t have to be polished, just has to be clear and informative. Post it on youtube (free), link to it from your Facebook page and website. Email it to friends and clients and ask them to share.

5) Find yourself in the Google Search and “+1” your listing (click on the little box next to your listing and get all your friends to do the same). This is tedious because you may have to search through dozens of pages of Google Search before finding yourself. But if you and 5 friends each do this on their computers, it will make a difference.

All of the above will simply cost you time, not money. If you want to spend some money, consider Google Adwords. You can drive a lot of traffic that way, but you have to convert a large portion of your visitors to be worth it.

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS I know there are some savvy SEO gurus out there who read this blog. Did I hit the mark? Anything I missed that she could do? Anything with which you patently disagree? Your comments will help all of us grow.

Don’t Eat the Tea!

My friend, Joel, told an interesting story about Tea in England.

Apparently, it was quite expensive and only for the very rich at first.

As Joel tells it…
One woman in the south took a full pound of her expensive cache and sent it to her sister in the north, telling her how marvelous it was. Her sister boiled it, dumped the black liquid off and served it like a vegetable. She wrote back about how terrible it was.

She’d prepared it like a vegetable, which she understood, instead of seeing it for what it was: something entirely new.

Joel used this story to illustrate how some people are approaching the new social media tools with the same old ideas of what advertising is and are eating their tea.

How do you like your tea?
I would argue you can apply the same lesson to all types of advertising. For every advertising medium I show you, you can point to someone who told you how they used that medium and it didn’t work. Or maybe you used it and it didn’t work. All because you (or they) didn’t brew it properly.

That is the purpose behind the FREE eBook How Ads Work Part 1. I want to give you some insight into how to brew your advertising the right way. I’ve eaten the vegetables and brewed the tea, so I know what tastes better.

If you want your advertising to leave a better taste in your mouth, start with the eBook, then email me with your questions. When done right, it’s a sweet tea!

-Phil

Google AdWords – Good or Bad for Advertisers?

John Kelley from Google Ann Arbor was in Jackson yesterday telling a room of 150 people about how Google makes its billions of dollars a year. Almost all of it comes from their advertising auction known as Google AdWords.

If you’re not familiar with how it works, here’s a quick breakdown.

You set up an account with Google, choose some keywords or phrases, and then make a bid of how much you are willing to pay to show up in the right hand column when someone uses the Google search engine with your chosen keyword.

The cool thing is, just showing up on the right doesn’t cost you a penny. You only pay when someone actually clicks on the link. And you only pay whatever you were willing to bid.

For instance, you might choose the keyword “toys” and bid a maximum of $7. When someone types “toys” into a Google search, eight links show up in the right hand column on the first page. Those eight are in order by how much they were willing to bid. If two other people bid higher, you’ll be third on that list. If no one bid higher, you’ll be at the top, and at a rate only slightly more than the next highest bidder.

Again, you only pay if someone actually clicks on your link.

The beauty of this system is that you only pay for the ads that work, that get people to your website. And you only pay what the market will bear. It is supply and demand at it’s greatest. A truly capitalist product that allows small mom & pop shops to compete with large national corporations.

And since it regularly brings in billions of dollars it must work well, right?

Maybe, maybe not. Like all advertising, it comes down to how you use it.

Yes, it is one of the most measurable forms of advertising. You know how much you paid to get traffic and how much revenue that traffic generated. Yes, it is relatively easy to get started and easily tweaked to make it work better.

No, it doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, there are two groups for which Adwords would be a lousy investment.

  • Businesses who don’t have a website (if you don’t have a website, you should read this.)
  • Businesses who don’t generate revenue directly from their website.

If you fall into either of these categories, Adwords won’t help you grow one bit.

Think about it this way…

The person searching online for a retail product willing to click on a right hand sponsored link is looking for an immediate solution. They are typically looking to make a purchase right away. If you don’t sell online, they’re hitting that back button as quickly as they can.

You won the auction, but lost the sale (and the ad money).

If you’re going to do Google Adwords, here are some suggestions:

  • Do reverse searches to see what keywords are most being used in your category.
  • Only sign up for keywords that relate directly to the products you sell online. Otherwise you’re getting a lot of the wrong traffic
  • Write many different phrases for your posts (you get 94 characters for your description) and constantly measure and tweak to see which ones get clicked most often.
  • Measure, measure, measure. Change where people land on your website, see how long they stay, if they buy and where they exit. You will learn quickly where your website breaks down in the sales process.

As you measure your Return On Investment you’ll get a clearer picture of whether or not this program is working for you. Unlike traditional advertising where your only measurement is if business is going up or down overall, at least with Adwords you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. The old advertising joke is that half of your ads work and half don’t, you just don’t know which half. With Adwords you’ll know (for better or for worse).

If your retail business is strictly brick & mortar – no online presence – Adwords isn’t for you. If you are using your advertising to brand your store, Adwords isn’t for you. If you aren’t up for constantly measuring and tweaking your results, Adwords isn’t for you. But if selling online is your primary goal, it could work – and work well. Billions of dollars can’t all be wrong.

Do you agree or disagree?

-Phil