Category Archives: Services

How Can I Increase My Retainer?

I currently have a client on a 6 month retainer who has been getting a slight discount for offering me work security for a set number of months. I charge my regular fee for any hours that are worked in addition to the pre-defined days per month. I also allow the client to increase the number of retained days at any given time, but if they do so it must stay increased for the duration of the retainer contract.

My issue: The client apparently misunderstood or did not read the contract and is saying that they wanted to increase the number of retained days at any time for any individual month and only for that individual month. I think this just gives them a way to pay me less money by simply assessing what their needs will be at the start of every month. I’m confused, am I missing something or is this client trying to take advantage of me?


Jay’s Answer: Why not give the client a single opportunity to ratchet your retainer hours once during the initial 6-month period? Let them drive the # of hours up (or down) but then they have to live with this number for the rest of the period. That allows them to customize the situation and also to avoid having a monthly ratchet.

A Special Event For Our Clients And Hot Prospects?

Our clients can be great advocates for us. As such, we’d like to reward them by creating “in-the-loop” special evening events for our best clients. During these events, we’ll gave them a “taste” of some of the new “value-adds” to the service they receive. I’d also like to invite some of our hottest (in terms of buying urgency) prospects to get a taste of being a client and perhaps speak with some satisified clients.

What sort of agenda would you recommend? Ideally, I’d like to have it in-house so they can meet our employees, etc. Budget is fairly small, but I’d like to make it fun/somewhat informal.


Jay’s Answer: If you want your clients to feel like VIPs, don’t just try to sell them more services, teach them something about how to use your services more effectively. For example, have one of your clients that recently had “wow” results, share their tips with the other clients. That’ll position you as the expert, and give extra exposure to one of your clients. That’s a great win-win.

New Agency Needs Pricing Help

Our new advertising agency is having a very hard time deciding what to price everything. Design is probably the easiest for us to price but we still have problems. We just want to know the norm of other companies so we can make sure we are way too high or way to low! Some of the things we need to price are: SEO packages, email marketing, website creation, brochure/pamphlet design, copywriting (anything from radio ads to a brochure) Event planning and more.

Is there somewhere I can find pricing for these things? Like I said we have found design pricing books but thats about it. Any pricing help or info on where I can find pricing examples would be great!


Jay’s Answer: If you’re trying to be “just like everyone else”, then find out what others are charging by asking for their rate sheets.

However, if you’re looking to distinguish yourself from your competition, look at the value you’re providing from your client’s perspective. Can you truly help them to double their revenue because of your outstanding services? If so, what’s that worth to them? Price based on the results you achieve, not on the time you spend or even what the competition charges.

What Are Some “Hot” Gardening Events For Cold Weather?

I’m looking for some winter time into early spring events for a retail garden center. What are some wintery events you have tried that were hugely successful that could be a big hit in a retail garden center? And what are some that bombed that you’d never do again? What have you done event-wise — from workshops to wine & cheese parties — to get people in the door during cold winter months when gardens — and customers — are frozen?


Jay’s Answer: It depends on your budget and your demographics. In general, the key is to excite people about enjoying garden.

For example, you could have a slide show of local gardens remodels (before/during/after), with experts on hand to describe how they did it as well as how you could do-it-yourself. Have people bring in pictures of their gardens, and the experts can provide free advice for a redo. A door prize winner would get gift certificates for plants, tools, and/or consulting services.

An essay contest (kids and parents alike): “What my garden is missing”. Let people dream big. All entries are in-store. All customers get a free vote for the best dream. Winning entry gets $X towards making the dream a reality.

Or even, how to bring in the garden into your home (creating garden rooms/effects) lecture/give-away.

A Premium-Level Sponsored Customer Event

Our company holds a yearly customer appreciation event and we ask our vendors to help sponsor. This year, we are holding two events – one in each of our market areas. With the economy being what it is, I need a compelling reason for our vendors to sponsor these events. What can I offer that would provide the highest value to each sponsorship level?

Typically I offer 3 different levels ($1500, $2500, and $5000) and each level gets certain things. Each level gets their logo on the signage, introduction during welcome announcement, and logo/link/description on follow up email….along with the ability to network with our top customers.

What else can I offer that would make our vendors want to go for the highest sponsorship level? Right now the only differentiation is that they will receive a list of attendees.


Jay’s Answer: What you really want is a long-term relationship with your sponsors, not just a one-time payoff (and your sponsors would likewise want a longer term opportunity to talk with your customers).

Therefore, how about:
…a rental of your customer database?
…a VIP reception?
…an article written by your sponsor in your eNewsletter (on a regular basis?)
…an opportunity to develop customized solutions for your customers in concert with your company?

Need Creative Way To Build Traffic To Our Booth

We are an integrated marketing company that participates in various tradeshows/conferences as an exhibitor throughout the year, specifically in the healthcare realm which normally is very heavily attended by women.

We did paraffin hand wax treatments (play on our organization’s name) at a recent show and it did REALLY well, attendees loved it! But it was cost prohibitive so want to do something a little less involved. Someone at my office suggested oxygen bars or massage chair these seem so overdone.


Jay’s Answer: Foot massage. Instead of trying to give one to everyone, have people submit their contact information for an hourly drawing. Contact them by cell or post name on board (or require them to be present for the drawing). You’ll need fewer masseuses, and having a relief from walking is always appreciated.

Eco-Friendly Event Planning Business Tagline?

I am starting up my own event/wedding planning business. I would like the tagline to reflect the fact that I have the resources to create eco-friendly events but at the same time not draw any non-eco clients away. The name of the business is Mulberry Events.


Jay’s Answer: You’re trying to do too much in too little space. Let me explain.

First, wedding planning isn’t the same as event planning from a client’s perspective (from your perspective, an event is an event…). When I think of event planning, I think more corporate events than a simple party. A business client has different needs than a bride/groom.

Secondly, either you specialize in eco-friendly events or you don’t. While eco-friendly is a concern for many people, it’s not a primary benefit they care about. They want a great party. Great food. Great music. No headaches. At a great price. Oh, and it’s eco-friendly? Bonus points. It may well be the niche you go after to differentiate yourself from the other planners. The problem you may have is in perception: If the event is eco-friendly, is it less fun? Less tasty food? Less spectacular?

Here are a couple of ideas to get you thinking:

  • Specializing in Earth-Friendly Wows
  • Spectacular Event Planning From The Ground Up

First Time Selling Clothing In Booth

Hi, we are a small clothing label setting up a stand at a clothing event for the first time, how can we stand out other than just displaying the clothes?


Jay’s Answer: Don’t think that your primary goal is to sell your clothing. It’s to start finding out what people are looking for, how your clothing compares to others, and what would make the casual shopper into a raving fan. Also, if you have a story to tell about your clothing (how a <specific demographic> are HUGE fans, or how your clothing helps disadvantaged youth, or how you’ve been designing clothing for years for other labels, etc.), tell it. People may not remember the clothing you’re showing, but they will remember a remarkable story, and share it with others.

Also, make sure you at least have a simple website so people can continue to look at your clothing post-show (or for their friends to see, etc.).

Corporate Meeting eNewsletter Value Statement

I am creating an eNewsletter for a resort targeting the corporate retreat business. With this economy they would like to focus on Value. But also focus on the fact that the company will gain actionable results from the off site retreat.


Jay’s Answer: You need a reason for people to choose to have their meetings at your site, not just off-site.

If they’ve been to your resort before, tell them how other business owners have benefited from your business services (testimonials). I’m sure you have great food, beautiful rooms, and an attentive staff — and so does your competition. What does your resort offer that they can’t get (easily) in your area?

Consider making your e-newsletter tip-based, for example:

Position yourself not just as a host, but also a facilitator of effective/memorable meetings.

Health Club Membership Marketing

We have a beautiful new health club in a community of approximately 500,000. It is an upscale club, but not too pricey. Our climate offers extended outdoor activities. Any suggestions to encourage new members to join before winter sets in?


Jay’s Answer: Have a (series of) open houses – where people can experience your club w/o pressure.

Donate some memberships to needy families in your area – or even have an essay contest for free memberships. Both can generate some great PR, but will take time to get the word out.

Adopt-a-family for the holidays. For every N people that join, you’ll donate 1 membership to a family in need. This could be a great co-promotional activity with a service organization in your area.

Also – join now for free, and only start paying after Jan 1. That will give the taster and build your numbers quickly.