Online Marketing & Opting Out

I heard that a new regulation might come up in Singapore about online marketing, companies will need to go from an opt in to an opt out default settings in their website. Have you heard about this new regulation? Do you think that would be a bad news for a lot of companies and their online marketing?

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Jay’s Answer: It means that those that choose not to opt out are likely to be better prospective customers. It also means that you need to provide a great reason for people to not opt out.

How to Launch Coaching Center?

I want to start a coaching center for science students of 9th to 12th class. I have a limited money at this time (about 1.5 lacs). How and where from should I start?

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Jay’s Answer: Since your success depends upon getting students to sign up, I would start small. Can you reliably sign up a class of students who would be interested? If you can, then you can gradually grow your business to become a center that offers multiple classes (and perhaps additional services). If you can’t, then you need to understand how to reach the first class of students (and their parents) by targeted marketing. And to do that – you’ll need to think like one of these parents – why should their child go to your center? How will they know their money is well spent? Why would your instruction be better than others offering similar services?

Tagline For Music VIP Perk Membership

We are looking for a tagline for a new music video VIP Perk Club. The club will allow people to do tasks on our music video website such as share videos, post comments, etc. The tasks earn them points which they can redeem for VIP Music Perks like band merchandise, tickets, backstage passes, etc.Ideas we have had: Do Stuff Get Stuff and Want It Get It.

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Jay’s Answer:

  • The More You Share, The More You Get
  • Listen Up and Get Rewarded

Transportation Company Name

I am taking over a transportation company that needs a new name. We specialize in moving employee’s from remote off-site parking lots to job sites. I don’t want to constrict my self with a name as I also would like to move into VIP transportation. I have been brainstorming for 2 weeks. So far my favorites were Vertex Transportation and Apex Transportation. Both are already in use. Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

Most of my clients are large companies. I need something that sounds executive but doesn’t have the price connotation of executive or luxury brands. My market is pretty blue collar. Our hope is to come up with a single word added to transportation.

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Jay’s Answer: Beyond

2015: Philanthropy as Marketing

Be Generous With Your Business
(Photo by Salzburg Global Seminar)

When people want help with their marketing, they’re generally thinking about the usual tangibles: websites, flyers, naming, advertisements, strategy, and special offers. But how can you truly make yourself get noticed for all the right reasons?

Instead of trying to convince people with words & images – “walk your talk”. Give of your most valuable commodity: your time and energy to those in need. While you may be able to generate some “good will” short-term PR for these efforts (a photo opportunity or a mention in a local newspaper human interest story), I’m suggesting something much more long-term. An intentional system where you build a natural groundswell with people you meet face-to-face and help. Consider that some businesses invest their entire marketing budget on community involvement efforts (school donations, local homeless shelter support, in-kind donations to charities, etc.).

Remember that marketing’s goal is to explain your solution to your audience’s problem and give them a compelling reason to choose you. If you’re known as the organization that’s spreading its message through the community, then you’ve achieved your marketing goal: people choose you because you choose them. Long-term, it’s the right way to build your company to be positioned well.

If you think that this only works for local businesses, consider Salesforce.com Foundation‘s 1-1-1 model. They leverage 1% of the company’s product, equity, and time to improve communities around the world. To date, they’ve donated over $68 million in grants, 680,000 volunteer hours, and helped 23,000 nonprofits.

What can you do to help the world this year (and in coming years)?

2015: Look Before You Leap?

Look Before You Leap Marketing Strategy
(Photo by Vishal Patel)

The common wisdom is to “look before you leap”. In business, it’s considered reckless to act before understanding the marketplace, analyzing your competition, and weighing your options. Investors frequently ask for your “five-year plan”. But what if this thinking is (mostly) all wrong?

As a marketing strategist, I advise companies large and small how to define a goal, and develop creative tactics to achieve their milestones. Big companies can afford to create long-term strategies and have the resources necessary to achieve them. Smaller companies generally can’t (and shouldn’t) – since they don’t have the resources nor the luxury of time. So what actions can a small company take?

Repeat the mantra for high-tech startups: Fail Early and Fail Often. Instead of spending time in research, startups spend their time creating cheap & fast tests that yield insights. They then combine the best aspects of their various tests to create a clear path for success (including being willing to scrap the new idea).

For example, before you spend the money to develop a new product, see if anyone wants to purchase it! Create a single website landing page test with an image of your proposed product and a description of the offering. Even put a price and a “buy now” button on the site. But since you don’t have the ability to sell it now, simply have the “buy now” button click to a signup page (to get notified when the product’s available). Then create pay-per-click (PPC) ads which are connected to your test landing page. After a day or two, you should have plenty of data – are people interested enough in your offering to buy it?

If you’re instead offering a new automated service, then simulate the service. Let people order from you as-if you had the technology to automatically fulfill their order – but instead have people manually do the work (behind-the-scenes) to simulate the automation. Later on, you can iron out the technology.

Tests done well can show you the results of your future efforts today, and help you gauge the wisdom of your strategy.

Sometimes it’s better to take a series of small peeks-and-hops instead of big looks-and-leaps.

Marketing For Small Local Businesses

I am trying to write four or five articles that can help small businesses in their local marketing. So for example it might be a spa or salon that is trying to reach new customers and/or reach their existing customer. So I am looking for topic ideas and perhaps any canned presentations there might be out there to help me get started. So ideas and content. Example might be: How to use google to market locally. Thanks

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Jay’s Answer: There are lots of “standard” topics (frequency, eMarketing, building your list, website, SEO, etc.), but it’s likely that your audience has already heard “the usual”. What is your ultimate goal for these articles – to hire your services -or- are you simply providing this information for your membership? If the latter, ask them for their problems/questions and write about what they’re specifically interested in. If the former, then write stories describing local business problems, how you solved it, and the results.

Name For A Charity Photo Shoot

I am looking for a creative name for our Charity Photo Shoot. Fundraiser where local photographers shoot in different locations. Target audience is family, pets, engagement, and corporate pictures. 100% funds raised would benefit a customized, mortgage free home for a local vet and his family.

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Jay’s Answer:

  • Smile For The Vet
  • Picture This! A Veteran’s Benefit Photo Shoot

Campground As A Resort Destination?

I work for a KOA campground in Astoria OR. I want to promote this particular campground to businesses as a resort destination for winter business meetings. What is the best way to
reach out to big corporate businesses and ask them to stay with us.

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Jay’s Answer:  It sounds like a good idea on paper – but in your planning, there are a number of things you’ll need to better understand:

  • Which corporate businesses? Are you looking for local large corporations (for a day-long offsite retreat)? Or are you looking for corporations in a 200-mile radius (for weekend/weeklong events)?
  • Why would they choose you? Assuming that you’ve identified corporations that are likely to be interested, they’re a wide range of needs they might have: indoor meeting spaces (it’s winter, after all), technology (high-speed internet, WiFi, projectors, screens, etc), catering, decoration, team building support, tents/campers, etc. You need to better understand how you compare with your likely competition, and focus on your clear strengths.
  • How would they find you? Now may be a good time to start contacting them, but you’ll want to ensure you can be found. As a minimum, create a special page on your website that clearly articulates your offerings. Even better – targeted SEO/PPC. Let’s say you’re the head of HR for a nearby company. What phrases are they likely to use when searching for a retreat center?
  • Who’s in your network? Since you’re likely not to be able to be all things to everyone, partner with other organizations that would help you. For example, a great caterer may be a great referral source, or a team building consulting group, or even non-profit organizations (the best referral network is someone who’s already experienced your offering).