Tag Archives: strategy

How To Make 2008 Your Best Business Year Ever

2008 Best YearStart your year with specific and measurable business goals. For example: I want to earn $200,000 in 2008. Or, I want my newsletter distribution to double.

Create a plan to achieve your goals. We have all heard about the person/business who was at the right place at the right time and became the “overnight success”. Luck favors the prepared. You do not know what the future will bring – but you can control your reaction to it.

Craft your plan to describe who your market is, what problem they have, the existing solutions to their problem, your solution, why your solution is best (and for who), and why they should trust you. If you already have clients, poll them to find out more about why they use you.

Note: there are two major types of plans: strategic plans and business plans. A strategic plan is focused on creating a clear path for achieving your goals, while a business plan is focused on funding for the goals. Create a strategic plan for yourself, and a business plan when you are seeking outside investors (and you already have a strategic plan).

Test your plan. Which plan is best? The one that produces the results you want. How do you pick that plan? You measure. For example, to increase newsletter sign-ups on your website, try different offers, wordings, font sizes, location of sign-up box, colors, etc. Split test – compare “A” vs. “B”. Pick the one that works. And continue to refine.

Anticipate your results. Imagine you wanted 25 new clients in 2008. Do you have the resources to handle them? At your current rates, can you afford to have these new clients (how much time does acquiring and maintaining a new client take, and what is your time worth)?

Get help with your business. You started your business because of specific skills or products that only you can provide. Focus your time on your specialty. Working on and working in your business are very different skills.

If you are considering a shift in your business direction, contact me. My specialty is creating creative, customized, and effective plans that achieve your business goals.

How Can I Market A Water Purifier?

One of my friends is working as marketing trainee in a company manufacturing water filters. As a trainee, she is working on devising new promotion strategies to promote the brand and giving training to the sales and distributors team. How she should start her work in the field of marketing for a water filter brand (used in households) and what could be other ways to keep distributors happy about the product? Of course, the ultimate aim is to get more sales and give quality to consumer.


Start with the product itself. Is it a top product compared to its competition? What makes the product unique in the marketplace – size? availability? pore size? independent water tasting results? installation ease?

Next, who are you targeting? Home owners? College students? Day care? Gyms? [you mentioned households, but that’s not specific enough]

Once you’ve positioned the product with the proper marketing message, then share it with the teams. Help them to focus on the message clearly, sharing the benefits, clearly highlighting a comparison between other choices the consumer has. Focus on the key points: taste and safety.

You want the consumer to feel that buying your friend’s product is the obvious choice for their family. The distributors could focus on school PTAs (perhaps having the children sell them as a fund-raiser), health fairs, health clubs, and gyms.

How Can I Get Advertisers And Sponsors For A Website?

I have a fun website that is free for everyone to communicate within the community. I am in need of help on how can I get advertisers and sponsors to be on my website. This is my first time and I need to know what do I do first.


The key to getting advertisers/sponsors is answering the question, “Why should they pay money to be on your site?”. When you approach a potential advertiser, you’ll want to have such information as the following on hand:

  • How many people are registered?
  • How many are active?
  • How many unique visitors do you get
  • Do you have their email addresses? (i.e., can you contact them?)
  • How much profile information have you compiled (age, sex, location, income, etc.)

The advertiser is going to think, “How much is it worth to have my product/service in front of this group?”. You need to help them to figure out their ROI. They’ll also care about ad placement/size, click-through, viewing stats, competition, etc.

Before you accept an advertiser, you’ll also want to answer, “How much will it help/hurt my site to have this product/service advertised?”. The wrong ad will turn off your hard-won traffic.

How Can I Improve My Real Estate Advertising?

I’m helping a real estate company with their newspaper advertising. They are a small fish in a pond dominated by a large, national real estate company. My client is doing the same old real estate home display ad home listings that the big company is doing, but with mediocre results. I’m considering a campaign that would pull out the home listings and brand them as the smaller, local real estate company that really knows the community (bold headlines supported with 5-10 lines of copy), and then ask the readers to go to their website to see the home listings (i.e. “we have too many listings to fit in this newspaper ad”). I’m new to working with a real estate company on their advertising, and they’re a relatively new company — opinions on if this is too risky to pull their product out of the ads and try something non-traditional to stand out?


Instead of pulling all-out, change the ads. Instead of a full page, how about a number of 2×2 ads throughout the paper (1 per listing)? Highlight the “small” aspect of the company (we’re small – we give better service – we have to).

I wouldn’t make someone read a printed ad and then go to the website to find a listing. That should happen naturally (if they have the technology and interest). What you really want to happen is for a prospect to call you. Show a home for sale. State what makes the company unique (besides smaller) – Better service? Better connection to the community? Donations to local charities? Lower margins?

The ad has a secondary value – you want to place the name in the mind of someone who’s thinking of listing their home.

Definitely don’t play “me too” in the ads – you’re getting mediocre results right now. Make sure that you’re paying attention to which ads are generating leads. Keep tweaking your ads until you’ve gotten a desirable return on investment.

How To Keep People In Trade Show Booths?

My company will be at a major trade show for the heavy equipment industry early next year so of course we are starting to plan for it now. We’re good to go with booth set up/layout, SWAG, and literature. We are also doing demonstrations of our equipment and qualified visitors will be allowed to ‘test’ them.

The concern is, how to keep people interested enough to ‘stick around’ the booth since more than likely key staff members will be conducting equipment demonstrations.


The goal for your booth is to get people interested in your products. You should capture the contact information of booth visitors and pre-qualify them. Don’t try to hog them at the show – they’re looking to see as much as possible. Do make it easy for them to find out about you and to schedule a one-on-one 15-minute meeting during/before/after the show to further answer any questions.

How Can I Advertise A Job Fair?

We are having a job fair in 2 weeks and I need to find a way to advertise it on a very limited budget.


If you have a million dollars, how would you advertise it? Would you get a front page ad in your local newspaper? Student newspaper? A sign at every bus stop? A billboard on every bus?

Who do you want to read the advertisement? Why would they want to come? What makes your job fair of value to them? These are key marketing strategy questions.

Once you have your answers, scale down the million-dollar budget. Where are your likely attendees likely to see your ad (or hear it)? What do THEY have in common – a form of transportation? A common market they shop at? A radio station? A governmental agency? Place the ads in places they are with the reason that this is a good use of time.

2 weeks isn’t a lot of time, but it is do-able. Work smart.

How Can I Market Our Moving Services?

I was recently approached to develop a marketing strategy to utilize our recent accolade as the #1 mover in the country. However, this is the tenth year in which we have received this rating so our current target list has ‘heard it all before’ with little or no action on their part. We have narrowed down our target audience to focus on individuals and families selling ‘prime’ real estate $1M upwards. How can I approach this audience and the Realtors and brokers linked to these individuals? My research indicates that this group is extremely wary of providing referrals to their clients with the possibility of disaster move resulting.


How about teaming up with Realtors and offer them a way to take care of the buyer/seller: moving is included in the price of the move, and the move is 100% guaranteed.

If you’re as good as you say, then roll in the cost of (a third-party) mover’s insurance.

People are generally wary of people they don’t trust. To build trust, you need testimonials, independent testing (do you get data after the move to find their level of satisfaction and measure it against the amount you moved?), and extraordinary stories (very tricky things to move, expensive, fragile, high-profile people, etc.).

How Can I Sell My Marketing Services To Restaurants?

I’m trying to build my base of restaurant marketing directors for my small design business. my strengths are event invite design, signage, check presenters, web sites. Thus far I’ve found some success doing it via networking, but would like to expand further without cold calling. Which is most/least effective, if you are or have been in this position, or are familiar with the industry?


I would strongly suggest that you do a little research on each restaurant before contacting them: Who is in charge of marketing? What is their contact information? Do they work with any marketing firms outsider their organization? What are their needs in the next year? What is their presentation style (humorous isn’t always the best approach)?

You mentioned you don’t want to cold-call. However, your emails, direct mails, etc. are all basically “shot-in-the-dark” approaches. You can’t sell your services to someone if you don’t know what (or if) they need. You need to develop a relationship with restaurants to find out more. Ask for referrals from one marketing director to another (for those that you’ve already worked with).

You’ll also clearly need to identify what makes you unique/special compared to other designers. I would further suggest that you (as a minimum) update your website to provide a page just for the restaurant marketing directors.

How Can I Market My Commercial B2B Loans?

Our company works with banks to underwrite commercial real estate loans for their borrowers. The majority of our marketing efforts are integrated with our sales team — who works diligently to build and keep relationship with our client banks. From a marketing standpoint, we communicate with clients through a monthly newsletter, DM, collateral, etc. I recently heard from a few clients – who apparently are not reading our newsletters — that they didn’t know about the most recent developments in our company. What are some fresh, successful, and cost effective marketing mediums for staying in front of our clients so we can maintain/grow our company presence and remain top of mind?


When you have something of note – host a luncheon for your bankers.

If they aren’t reading your newsletters – find out why. Is it the content? Format? Appearance? If you move to e-newsletters (which will probably save you money and allow you to send out “flash” notices), you could easily suffer the same problem – your marketing gets ignored or labeled as spam.

What is your competition doing? You don’t want to necessarily copy them, but you do want to make sure you’re not missing something obvious. To find out, take a banker to lunch and find out what’s the best way to get their attention, when, etc.

How Much Should I Budget For Online Marketing?

I’m not interested in knowing how much to allocate towards online marketing, but how much to allocate between online marketing activities? Banner ads vs keywords vs content development, etc. Is there anything about online marketing activities that would make this analysis any different that were I doing it for off line activities?


Online, you have a much easier time measuring ROI.

There’s no simple answer to your question – each business is different. My suggestion is to try everything and measure the results. Make sure that you’re also split testing your ads to find the best combination of text, color, text size, etc.

As for how much money – it’s based on how much a new customer is worth to you (think lifetime relationship, not just the initial purchase). Then balance that with the cost to “acquire” that customer.