Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Have a descriptive business of product name.

You know what really amazes me - how many businesses have names which don't instantly state what they do. If you have minimal (or no) money to spend on marketing, the best possible course of action is to ensure your name says what you do.

I've recently become the proud (and weary) owner of a puppy - and I came across this great little Aussie invention: The Pet Loo. And the company name of the producer - Pup-Pee Solutions.

I love it - you know what they do without them having to say a word more!

So if you have one of those generic names - you know XYZ consulting - considering changing your business name to something more meaningful. If that's out of the quesion, can you add a descriptive word to the name - XYZ tax consulting. Businesses often resist this as they are concerned it will make prospects consider them too narrowly - but I'd argue it's better to be known for something, than not known at all!

Monday, May 22, 2006

$1 customer aquisition lesson...

The scary thing about spending any money on marketing materials is that there's no cost differential between something that's successful and unsuccessful. The website to the left would cost the same to product (for the graphic design, copywriting, hosting etc) whether it attracted new customers or not. So if you ARE going to spend money, make sure you do something special to make it WORK.

In this case, UTS have used the tried and true method that is still VASTLY underutilised by most marketers. They've GIVEN AWAY their product. You sign up and get a $5 credit to trial it. So it probably COSTS them as little as a $1 - and they've got all your details, they've got you to learn how to use the product.

$1 per cost of acquisition - for a service that's about $60 a year when you convert. So one conversion covers the cost of your next 59 customers....You can't get more zero budget than that!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Email is your friend - but get it right! (pt 1)

Email marketing is the friend of zero budget marketers. It's fast, effective - and extremely inexpensive once you've built up your opt in list.

But you need to keep working on it, even more so now that anti-spam filters are getting more prevalent. It's just too frustrating to have your email blocked by someone who's actually requested it.

So make the effort to run your email through a SPAM checking service, like ezinecheck.com. It will let you know the "spam score" of your email and a few quick changes can be the difference between your mail getting through or it hitting the virtual bin!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Buy customers for your database for $2 each from ebay!

Building a customer database is so critical to any type of business, yet businesses don't show a lot of creativity in how to build those databases. Building a database of people who've bought from you, even more critical.

Australian business, Entertainment House, is one of the top sellers of DVDs and CDs on ebay. It only costs them a few dollars per sale - yet once people have bought from them, they become an Entertainment House customer and not just an ebay customer. Entertainment House can then legitimately market to those customer's who've opted in to hear more for them.

So they've made a sale, added a customer to their database - all for a few dollars, which they make back in profit from the sale. A perfect zero budget marketing technique.

Could you sell anything on ebay? Even if you're a service, you'd be surprised what you can do. Take the guy selling half price "paintball" sessions. Once people get there, they usually play more, they make additional margin and they've overcome the biggest hurdle most businesses face - getting them to buy the first time. Go on, get a bit creative...

Give your service away for free (well some of it!)

Australian carsharing company Flo CarShare took a risk that paid off when marketing their service. They had a lot of people on their database who were "interested" - but who hadn't coughed up the $50 to join as a member and complete all the paperwork (to then get access to the cars at an hourly rental). Yet once people were members, they always rented one of the cars in the first month.

So at the request of one of the directors, they ran a short term promotion where they waived this initial $50 fee - and got FOUR times their normal membership conversion. So the barrier to purchase was removed and they had a big jump in their members, who are far more likely to rent the cars.

So what is a new, eager to buy customer worth to you. What might you "forgoe" in order to gain a long term benefit?

Getting others to pay for your marketing materials

Getting others to cover your promotional costs is something I always tell people to do - and they always look at me like I'm a little crazy. But I've found a great example of this done by a Sydney promotions agency, DKM.

They've produced this little 16 page magazine, with several articles that offer real value but still tout the "promotional products" message. They've then arranged to have it distributed with Marketing and B&T - and sold off advertising space over about 9 pages to help fund the entire thing.

Very clever, great reach - and according to Niche Media who did the production and design - it's got the attention of other marketers, who've been calling Niche to ask how the whole thing came together.

Who could you be working with to help offset (or totally fund) the cost of your promotions?