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Marketing tips


Many small business owners believe that marketing is tradition­ally an area for experts.Expertswho come up with "rules" for doing business. To a detail business owner, many of the rules may seem pretty "silly", but they work.

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Here are a few rules to help you in marking your detail business:

  1. If youhaveincluded a list of things in your ads or brochure, have an odd number (3, 5, 7, etc.) on the list. Just as when arranging pictures on a wall, asymmetry attracts the eye.
  2. When doing a mailing, a first-class stamp will be looked at versusbulk mail. Your mailingis more likely to beopened when it appears as "legitimate" mail. This technique works best for general consumer mail. With business-to-business mail, metered mail isalso effective.
  3. Certain colors are more effective­ or have certain impacts on customers. Red suggests action and immediacy. Yellow can have the same effect. Blue and green are "calm" colors and workin a brochure where you want to establish an image, not so effective when youare looking for action or response. Red and black have been identified as the highest-pulling two­color combination there is.
  4. When pricing your services, do not round the numbers. Studies showthat customers respond better to a price like $19.98, than $20.
  5. Always include a "P.S." in your sales letter. Next to the headline, a “P.S.”isthe most-read part of a letter and customerstend to read it first. This is where you should restate your offer in clear, compelling terms.
  6. Include three options on your response card: “Yes”, “No", and "Maybe". Maybe responses help you identify future prospects; the multiple options have also been shown to increase sales. An added benefit? If you are using a rented list, even the responses that come back marked "no" or "maybe" can be added to your data­base for future prospecting.
  7. If you use photos, include a caption. A picture may be "worth 1000 words”, but it helps to add 10-20 of your own. Tie the caption to your sales message.
  8. Avoid humor. Humor is very personal. When you use humor, you also risk offending someone and your advertisement quickly loses impact when it becomes "old”.
  9. Never use sans serif type (the type without the "feet" for your copy). The serifs help pull the eye naturally through the copy.
  10. Do not sell more than one thing at a time. The less complicated the offer, the greater the chance youwillget a "yes" decision. Asking the prospect to choose between too many options creates con­fusion and may result in a no decision decision.
  11. The phrase "free gift" may be redundant, but it works."Free" is, with­out a doubt, the most powerful word in the copywriter's arsenal. Try it.
  12. A large or irregularly shaped direct-mail piece will get results. It stands out from the rest of the mail and cries out to be "looked at”.Even better, a 3D, bulky mailer. Prospects cannot help but open a package that obviously has something in it.
  13. When youare composing a head­line, always include the word "you”. It helps to answer the customer's numberone question: What's in it for me?
  14. Fundraising? Watch your packaging. A package or direct mail piece that looks too expensive will turn prospects off. The same is true when promoting a sale service.
  15. Tell customers specifically what to do. Provide step-by-step instructions for your customers. This is not "insulting”, it ishelpful. Customers are busy people. The more direct guidance you can provide them, the more likely you are to receive a response.
  16. Be careful about asking questions in your headline. If the customer can answer "no,” they're not likely to keep reading.
  17. Window envelopes, where the name and address show through a clear, glassine window, are more often opened and read than plain envelopes.
  18. If you are sending a mailing out first class, print "first class" on the envelope. It emphasizes the importance of what isinside.
  19. Set a deadline. For example: Order before January 1 to take advantage of this offer.This creates a sense of urgency and gives the impressionthat the customer has to act now. Make sure the person that answers the phone understands that the dead­line is in name only ― you do not want them turning down customers that called or came in late.
  20. Pre-address your order form with not only your address, but also the customer’s name and address as well. Anything you can do to make it easier to order will increase your response.
  21. Include plenty of dingbats in your copy. Dingbats are the little symbols like arrows, bullets, checkmarks, starbursts, etc., that were developed by Herman Zapf (hence the term Zapf dingbats). They help break up the copy, can be used to highlight important sales points, and are a great way to add interest to your printed piece.
  22. Do not use all upper case letters in a headline unless itis a short one. It may give a bold impression, but istoo difficult to read.
  23. Always use a name with a testimonial. If possible, include a company name and city. Even better, include a photograph along with the information. The more you can do to make the testimonial more real to your prospective customers, the more impact it will have.
  24. Your best customers are your best customers. Silly but true. The people who have purchased from you in the past, are the people most likely to purchasefrom you in the future. Never for­get that. Growth comes from taking care of those you have, rather than always looking for new customers.

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