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Tightwad marketing is the art of doing more with less, or using your creativity instead of your checkbook to get the word out about your business. Even though the saying, If you build it they will come worked for Kevin Costners character in the movie, Field of Dreams, life doesn't often imitate art.

10 Offline Tightwad Marketing Strategies to Help You Get More Clients

10 Offline Tightwad Marketing Strategies to Help You Get More ClientsCopyright 2006 Donna GunterSeveral years ago, in response to client requests for no-cost or low-cost marketing techniques, I coined the term "tightwad marketing". My definition of "tightwad marketing" is the art of doing more with less, or using your creativity instead of your checkbook to get the word out about your business.Even though the saying, If you build it they will come worked for Kevin Costners character in the movie, Field of Dreams, life doesn't often imitate art. Usually the first thing that pops into someones mind when they think about marketing is, I've got to place an ad. Place a few ads and soon your marketing budget has totally dried up. Statistics say that someone must see your ad six times in the same publication before thinking of using your business. If its a weekly or monthly publication, that could be six weeks to six months down the road, and you can't afford to wait that long!In order for the public to find your field of dreams, here are ten inexpensive ways to get started:1. Define your USP--your Unique Selling Proposition--and use it in everything that you do. Make sure your customer knows what it is that you do that is unique to you and your business. Don't make them struggle to answer the question of why they should do business with you instead of your competitor.2. Create joint ventures with other businesses that complement yours. For example, if youre a real estate agent, team up with a cleaning service, an interior decorator, and a personal chef to offer a nice packaged deal to a new home buyer.3. Stress the benefits of what you do, not the product or service. Theres a great story thats passed around about the worlds most successful insurance salesman, who, when asked what he did for a living, responded, I buy life assurance. Most people responded, What do you mean? to which he replied, I buy life assurance for my clients at the best possible price. Would you like me to buy some for you? Make your potential customer think, I've got to get that!4. Become newsworthy! Send out media releases to announce a new service or product or sponsorship of a charity event. Create an event or a special day. Link what you do to an existing trend or news event. Talk about your personal story in the business, i.e. if you went broke and bounded back, started to create one product and ended up with another, etc. Issue an award or give something away. Conduct a survey and report the results. Write a letter to the editor.5. Talk to your customers. Call 5 previous customers and find out what they liked and didn't like about their dealings with you, and how you might better serve them in the future. Have them write testimonials that you can use. Ask and reward them for referrals.6. Love what you do and become a model of what youre selling. If you don't absolutely love what you do and feel passionate about it, your customers are going to see right through you and not be convinced to buy what you are offering. For example, if youre a car mechanic and your shop sits on a parking lot full of clunkers that don't run, why would anyone hire you to repair their car? Or, if youre a landscaper and your lawn is full of weeds and crabgrass, who wants to hire you to beautify their yard? If you don't truly feel passionate about your business and become a living model of that business to everyone you meet, then find another business!7. Network, network, network! Join organizations, such as Chambers of Commerce, professional groups, civic groups, etc. and any type of organization to which your target market might belong. Attend community events like business open-houses or neighborhood picnics. Sales master Joe Girard lives by his Law of 250, which states that everyone knows about 250 people well enough to invite to their wedding or to be in attendance at their funeral. Lesson: Perhaps the person youre speaking with isnt interested in what you offer, but theres a good chance s/he knows someone who is250 of them!8. Use attention-getting devices -- make yourself visible. Always have business cards on hand to distribute. Have a t-shirt personalized with your business name and wear it when you run errands. Wear an outfit or uniform that shows the world who you are. UPS has taken their identity as seen in their brown trucks and uniforms and embraced it with the tag line in their current commercials, "What can brown do for you?"9. Talk and teach. Approach local organizations about being a guest speaker at their next meeting. Give a workshop that is open to public and is low-cost/no-cost for participants and discuss a particular aspect of your business, or demonstrate what you do. Offer them valuable information, but leave them hungry for more. For example, a financial planner might offer a free seminar called, Planning for Retirement as a Thirty-something or a bank loan officer might offer a workshop in conjunction with a real estate agency called, Everything a First-Time Homebuyer Needs to Know But is Too Scared to Ask. Or, work with your local college or recreation department and get paid to teach what you know.10. Implement 5 a day. Make a list of all the creative ways you can market your business, and implement 5 of them per day.Remember, in Tightwad Marketing, youre limited only by your imagination!

Bitacle: Blog Search Archive

Bitacle: Blog Search Archive

Bitacle has born for be a new service for the blogosphere. Between his multiple characteristics it allows you to:Syndicate and read blogs or any RSS/XML sourceOther blog aggregator but thanks to the AJAX technology more easy to use. Allows you to add a blog or any RSS/XML source and categorize it fast and easily.Consult the historical archive file of a blogBitacle not only syndicate: also files and store all the posts of every blog. For it, the users who add a blog to the reader will have always a copy of every entry, being able to consult in any moment any entry. In addition, this way author of the blog wont see increased his bandwidth.Articles always will remain in the Bitacle file which will store all the content of all blogs of the world.Do a specific search in a blog or a channel Bitacle, thanks to his technology, it allows to make a search in blog or a group of them previously user defined. For example, if you have 7 different sources within the folder gadgets will be able to look for the word Nokia in all of them simultaneously.Personalize the design and the contents of your homepageYou can change the design and the organization of the contents without the necessity to know programming: only with your mouse you will be able to change the place, the colour, the font sources and the disposition of the contents by a very easy and intuitive way.Search for text, images, audio and video Bitacle not only is able to locate text, also it can find audio through RSS (podcasting), images and syndicated videos that allow the user to locate multimedia content of diverse sources.

In Direct Marketing, Aim for the Response

In Direct Marketing, Aim for the Response

Creating an effective marketing message usually calls for a three-step approach. Define your audience, define your goal, and define your message - in that order.1. Define your audience Who are you marketing to? Who are you hoping to motivate and persuade? Sure, you want to get more clients - but get more specific than that. Go beyond the obvious. Take notes about each client you work with and then compile the notes. Review them prior to each marketing project you undertake.Create a mental picture of your typical prospect. What do they look like? What do they want? What concerns them? What satisfaction do they seek? When you can answer all of these questions, you can move on to the next step, defining your goal.2. Define your goal Under this step you might add the steps of clarifying and simplifying your goal. The clear part is obvious - a clearly defined goal is a goal more easily attained. Simplifying doesn't mean making your goal trivial but rather just reducing the goal to its purest form.Strip away anything that's not critical to the precise objective you want. If you have several goals for your marketing message to accomplish, you haven't simplified enough! Boil it down to one specific action (like the example that follows later). 3. Define your message Based on your audience and your goal, what must your message do to bridge the gap? What should you say or write to get your audience to move toward the desired action? With a simplified process, all the fundamentals are there. Now it's time to get specific. Let's look at how these factors might come together to drive an actual message geared toward an actual audience.Let's say you're a realtor, specializing in representing home buyers, so your audience would obviously be people shopping for homes. You've done some research on homebuyer demographics in your area, you've got a good mental picture of your audience, and you've made a list of things that are important to them.Now it's time to define your goal. Here's the key to goal definition. Don't confuse your ultimate goal with your messages goal. In other words, don't define a goal that your message can't deliver. Instead, go for the low-hanging fruit.Let your message do what it's good at. Let it move the reader one step closer to a larger, more ultimate goal. That's what marketing messages have been doing effectively for decades, moving readers toward specific, achievable actions.For instance, if your ultimate goal is to gain a new client, the goal of your messaging might be to initiate first contact (a phone call or email) from that prospective client. This would be an excellent messaging goal for two reasons:1st, it's a goal your message can actually accomplish.2nd, it's a goal that can support your overall goal of client acquisition.Here's why: Surveys have found that 74% of people shopping for a real estate professional go with the first one they call. That means if you earn that first call from a prospect, you have a 74% chance of turning them into a client. Think of it this way. You're not selling a coffee maker. You're selling the services you provide - services that have an impact on the finances and ultimate happiness (or unhappiness) of your clients. Words on paper can sell a coffee maker. Words on paper cannot sell your prospects on your ability to deliver. Words can, however, sell your prospects on the next step they might take (in this case, calling or emailing you). After that first contact, there's plenty of time to show them your ability to deliver.Give your marketing message a break from unreasonable expectations. Let it do what it's best at. Let it move the reader forward in your ultimate plan.

Flyer Delight

Flyer Delight

You would often see people handling out a piece of paper in the street. Out of your curiosity you would probably like to see what these people are handling out. So, you would get near them and ask for a piece of the paper that they are giving out. Then perhaps you would found out from the piece of paper that your favorite salon will be having a big discount on all their services this weekend. Good thing you ask for a piece of the paper and you learned about the discount. You surely cannot let this opportunity pass. These pieces of paper that businesses often give out are called flyers. Flyers are valuable and cost effective form of promotional material. For small businesses who are just starting up or do not have enough money to produce more expensive advertising materials, flyers are a good alternative. If you have extra money to spare you can ask a professional to make the flyer for you but of course you can always do the flyer yourself. If you are designing the flyer yourself make sure that you do not just use ordinary white paper. Make your flyer attractive by using colorful, cheerful and attractive papers, one that would really interest a passer by to have a look at your flyer. Your flyer will serve as your business card so as much as possible include only the necessary information such as the product or service that you offer, your address and contact number among others. If you are offering a sale or discount on your products or services, put inclusive dates to get people to act as soon as possible. Additionally, put comments of satisfied customers in your flyers and ensure that you put yourself aside from other companies by listing your qualifications. The back part of the flyer can be used for listing additional comments, qualifications and offers. When you have effectively designed your flyer you are now ready to distribute it. As much as possible hand it out in areas where your target customers are found. You can also post it in bulletin boards, grocery stores, offices or any other place that allow postings. Public gatherings such as parades are great places to hand out flyers. You have to remember though that if someone gives back your flyer accept it back and just smile. Do not thrust your flyer on anyone. And before you post or leave your flyer in any place make sure that it is allowed in that area. When you have taken these few tips into consideration, chances are you will have a wonderful time giving out your flyers and increasing your sales over a period of time.

Basic Ethics For Lawyer Advertising

Lawyers have several sets of rules to consider when creating advertisements. The FTC regulates all advertising in every state; each state may have its own regulations governing advertising; and the attorney ethics rules of the state in which you are advertising will regulate lawyer advertising. A review of FTC rules can be seen at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/guides.htm. Most rules are just plain common sense and are meant to protect the public. Some state lawyer ethics rules go further. For instance, some rules are meant to protect the image of lawyers.In the past, lawyer ethics rules have been more restrictive, however, they have been slowly eroded by both State and U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Because they have been losing ground, state regulating bodies have have become complacent. Consequently, "lawyer advertising" has continued to evolve and today there are many lawyers advertising without even thinking about ethics rules. It is at this point that the enforcement wave may return. Where the violation is minor, it is unlikely that any action will be taken, but when a lawyer advertisement contains a major ethical violation, authorities will have no choice but to attempt to exert their control. If they do nothing, there will be no need for rules. They may as well take their chances in court.Ethics rules have been slow to keep up with changing times. I believe that some ethics rules, such as requiring that your local office address appear in the advertisement, may become unenforceable and should be eliminated. This rule may have originally intended that clients should have the means to find your office address if your telephone number changed or to determine if your office was geographically convenient for them. This rule no longer makes sense. Use of a toll-free telephone number ensures that your telephone number will never change even if you move your office. According to Nielsen/Net Ratings, in February 2004, 74.9% of households had Internet access. Telephone companies are now offering high-speed Internet access and electric utility companies are now able to offer high-speed Internet access simply by plugging into an electric socket. According to New American Library, computers are now outselling TVs. In a very short time, every home in the US will not only be able to have Internet access, but high-speed Internet access and can easily access a lawyer's web site and determine the office address. Lawyer advertisements can include a web site address where a potential client can find the lawyer's contact information. Requiring the lawyer's office address in a TV commercial, effectively prevents smaller lawyers from joining group advertising where smaller budgets are combined to effectively compete against wealthier lawyers. There simply is not enough room in the TV commercial to list the address of every lawyer.With regard to the public's need to know if a law office is near them, this is the least important qualitative factor that a client should consider. Instead of looking for a lawyer who is a couple of blocks away, a potential client should look for other factors such as experience with the clients problem, personality, etc. Many times, clients and patients are willing to travel from the suburbs to the city to find a lawyer or doctor because of the perception that professionals in the city are more competent. Additionally, upon making a call, the caller can simply ask for the address of the office.For your states ethics rules, see ABA Links to State Ethics Rules Governing Lawyer Advertising, Solicitation and Marketing at http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/clientdevelopment/adrules.html#. For a list of resources and articles on ethics and lawyer advertising, see http://www.hurt911.org/lawyer-advertising/lawyer-advertising-tips-articles.htmlBelow is a short list of what I believe are some of the most important ethics rules to consider when creating attorney advertising:1) Referrals: If you pay money to anyone and a client is referred to you, you are probably obtaining an illegal referral, unless the referral is from a Bar Association. Advertising involves a risk. The risk is that you may pay for advertising and may not sign up any clients. If you are offered a guarantee that you will sign up enough cases to cover the cost of advertising, this guarantee turns your advertising campaign into an illegal referral system. If you are considering working with an advertising agency that offers a guarantee, have an ethics lawyer review the guarantee before you work with that agency. If you work with an advertiser or an agency, make sure you are actually paying for advertising and not for the cases. Beware of advertising schemes where "someone" offers to send you clients which have been obtained without advertising and offers to bill you on their "advertising agency" bill head for advertising services or consulting services. Several lawyers and doctors, I have spoken to, mistakenly believed that if they have a bill for advertising, its legal. These schemes are clearly illegal in addition to violating ethics and can result in an arrest and conviction. Know who youre doing business with and live by a simple rule: If youre trying to make something look like something else, its probably illegal.In some states, such as New York, if telephone calls are answered in a central office, no person can decide which calls go to which lawyers. For instance, if the agency or call center receives telephone calls from callers requesting different services such as bankruptcy, criminal, divorce, and personal injury, a referral may made when the operator decides which lawyer to send the call to. Even if all calls request personal injury services and an operator is able to decide whether to give the call to lawyer "A" or lawyer "B", a referral would be made.2) Disparaging Other Lawyers: Advertising which includes a remark disparaging other lawyers is probably one of the quickest ways to get into trouble. Not only is it unethical in most states, but lawyers who view your disparaging advertising will likely report you.3) Misleading Advertising Claims: Claims should be carefully examined to avoid being misleading. Claims implying that your law firm can get more money or that your law firm is powerful are misleading. Even a claim that you are a big-city lawyer, while it could be true, can be considered misleading as an implication of power or competency due to your location. In states, such as New York, where the lawyer is required to charge the client for expenses, stating that there is no fee unless you win will not only violate ethics but subject you to a lawsuit.4) Claiming to be an Expert: Most states prohibit lawyers from stating in their advertising that they are an expert or that they specialize in a particular practice area, unless the lawyer is board certified. Where the lawyer is not certified, some states, like Texas, require that the lawyer state that he or she is not certified (this rule should also be eliminated).5) Vanity Telephone Numbers and Web Site Domain Names: Some vanity telephone numbers and web site domain names can violate legal ethics. Make sure that your vanity telephone number or web site name avoids use of certain words which could potentially create an incorrect expectation in the mind of the consumer or violate one of the other ethics rules. Both vanity telephone numbers and web site domain names should not imply that you are better than another lawyer, that you can accomplish something for the audience that may not actually occur or that you are an expert.Use of words such as "BEST", "TOP", "FOREMOST, "LEADING", "WIN" and similar words in a vanity telephone number or web site domain name would likely create a misleading expectation in the mind of the consumer and will violate ethics rules in most states. The question is by whos standards are you the best or leading and in what? 1-800-WIN-XXXX may be good for a casino, but when used for personal injury will imply that the person who becomes a client of the firm will win money when, in fact, that may not happen and even if it does, its an award for just compensation, not a "winning". Laura Hodes in her article for the ABA Journal entitled Vanity Phone Numbers Make Your Firm Less Forgettable, quoted Will Hornsby, an expert on lawyer advertising and staff counsel in the ABA Division for Legal Services, who said that while there is nothing unethical about vanity numbers, "1-800-I-WIN-CASES would be unethical because it is making an unsubstantiated claim, creating unjustified expectations that can be true but still be misleading."6) Trade Names: Most states do not allow lawyers to use trade names. While a 1-800 vanity phone number can be branded in advertising so people remember how to call you, it should not become your trade name.7) Verdict Results: If you advertise previous settlements or verdict results, most states will require a disclaimer that prior results are not predictive of future outcomes. Claims must be true and you should be able to prove it.8) Use of Actors in the Commercial: Some states prohibit lawyers from using an actor in the commercial to portray a lawyer and have strict regulations regarding the use of testimonials, and the portrayal of clients.9) Dramatic Accident Re-creation: Some states prohibit use of dramatic accident recreations in the commercials.10) Jingles: Some states prohibit use of jingles in commercials.11) Office Address: Most states require that your main office address appear in your advertising.12) Copy of Advertisement: Some states require lawyers to keep a copy of the advertisement for certain period of time. Some states require lawyers to submit a copy of their advertisements for prior approval.

An Optimization That Can Please Your Customers AND The Search Engines

WHAT KIND OF VISITORS WILL THE OPTIMISATION OF WEBSITE PAGES PROVIDE YOU? How do the visitors to your website find you?Theres a big difference between hits to your site and qualified visitors to your site!Hits are just a showing of your sites home page that you can get by the thousands with pop under scripts and exit-exchange programs.Qualified Visitors are people who looks for information, that found your site through a link on other site, or through a search on the Search Engines.If a person knows your web sites URL he can just type in on his browser and will find you, but MOST of your visitors wont know that you exist before they find you, and they will find you thanks to the optimisation of website pages. The big difference between the hits and the qualified visitors, is that the qualified or targeted visitors are looking for the contents of your web site, and that from every 200 bulk untargeted visitors you will only get 1 qualified visitor, so you definitely need to go for the qualified targeted visitors.Most of the places that talk about optimisation of website pages will teach you tricks to get a better ranking on the Search Engines, they will teach you how to manipulate the relevancy algorithms of the Search Engines, to receive a better placement on a keyword search, but I think that the effort must not be put on the tricks, but on the quality of the content.Why? * Every trick that you use will be discovered sooner or later by the Search Engines * If the Search Engines discover you, they will ban your entire web site * Search Engines evolve month after month, and they become more and more complex to cheat * Search Engines keep on changing their algorithm * Your web pages must please the Search Engines AND your visitor (or they will click away as soon as they arrive)And what pleases the Search Engines AND the visitors? RELEVANT AND GOOD CONTENT about the keyword that they came looking for.Do not waste your time in the optimisation of website pages with the goal of manipulating the Search Engines algorithms, you will have to work too hard on the wrong part of your pages.Work on your business instead, and write more optimised theme pages. THEME PAGESIts a fact that you mustnt just go for visitors to your home page, because although your targeted visitors match the content of your web site, they have never seen your site before, they dont know that your site exists, and they will arrive to your website through a search about a very specific theme.Your home page will have many different offers, and a lot of information that not everybody wants to read about. Then your targeted traffic campaign should never be based on your home page, because your visitors will read it for not more than 6 seconds, and either you catch their attention or theyll be moving to another web site.You need to write many theme pages specially designed, and this is where the optimization of website pages is needed.Your theme pages must: * Load fast * They must not have pop ups or pop under * They must show your unique selling proposition or give the information in a flash * They must offer such a good content that will compel your viewers to read your other pages, or go to your sites home page * They must have a clear call to action * They must provide an easy way to bookmark them THE CONTENTYour theme pages must have enough hooks to call the attention of the Search Engines.The hooks are the specific keywords of each page (concentrating on only one keyword per page will do well).Write every week a new web page and blend your hook (keyword) with excellent content about an specific theme.You must make sure that you put your keyword... * On the title tag * On the keywords tag * On the web page description * On the body title * On a comment * On an image alt tag * Bolded at any place of the body * At the beginning, the middle and the end of your text TWEAK AND TESTINGIn every advertising campaign you have to do testing, and when you are in an optimisation of website pages campaign, you could tweak your pages, and test them changing the headlines, the meta tags, the length of the body, the colors, the web page layout, etc.But my advice is that you must concentrate on creating new good content. Once you have written a web page, make sure that your content has all the topics mentioned on the contents title and then stop the testing there, dont tweak, just build more content, and once you have 20+ web pages, start a links exchange campaign.And as you build more good content for more keywords, and start getting more and more inbound links from your links exchange campaign, your keywords will start to rank higher and higher without endless tweaking and testing.And persevere! Keep on building good content pages and exchanging links, it may take months to see the results, but its like a snow ball, just start rolling it and.. YOU WILL SUCCEED! * Your less competitive keywords will rank better first * Your links exchange campaign will give you some links to start * Then people will start writing you asking to exchange links * Then your most competitive keywords will rank betterSo the optimisation of website pages, boils down to only three steps. STEP 1: Build more and more web pages with good quality content, about keywords related with your web sites theme STEP 2: Start a links exchange campaign STEP 3: Keep on building more web pages, and exchanging links, until you reach successWritten by Dr. Roberto A. Bonomi

Summary

Tightwad marketing is the art of doing more with less, or using your creativity instead of your checkbook to get the word out about your business. Even though the saying, If you build it they will come worked for Kevin Costners character in the movie, Field of Dreams, life doesn't often imitate art.