Saturday, November 21, 2009

Oldie but a goodie - refer a friend campaign

The most exciting thing about a customer is that they know OTHER potential customers - people just like them, thus also very likely to buy the same sorts of things from the same sort of places. This is something many, many companies seem to forget - to their own detriment.
I recently booked some flights through webjet and this week I was sent a "refer a friend" promotion. There were several things I thought were clever and "zero budget" about this marketing idea.
1. Most of webjet's advertising seems to be posters at airports & billboards. For anyone who has ever booked a campaign like that, you know they are VERY expensive. This would have been peanuts in comparison, even if they had to pay for the flights they're giving away.
2. If you notice the Qantas branding on the plane in the creative, I suspect this means that even if they had to pay SOMETHING for the flights, they didn't have to pay the full price. Although I suspect, as webjet likely puts a lot of business Qantas's way, they may even have had the prize flights donated for nix.
Thus, this promotion will only have cost them a bit of a brain power and a bit of design/web work.
Let's say this was $10,000. And let's say they send it to 50,000 people on their dbase. Even if only 10% respond (and they'd likely get more as this is a great incentive sent to a market who've proved they are in the market for flights!) that means 5,000 people respond. If these 5,000 only send to TWO contacts, that means Webjet have reached 10,000 people for a cost of $10,000.
A paltry $1 a "well-targeted" propspect.
I don't know abotu you, but I think a buck is a pretty low introduction fee to someone who's likley to spend hundreds of dollars with you in a single sale.
Don't you?
So webjet, congrats on pulling out this "oldie but goodie". You got me to email my friends. And I'm a cynical marketing type!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Don't be shy - ask for a discount!

I was reminded again the other day of a great "zero budget marketing" mantra:

"If you don't ask, you don't get!"

What inspired this reminder, I hear you ask?

A publisher called to sell me some advertising space in a local area directory for one of the brands I work with. Whilst I don't usually go for advertising, this directory was a good match for the company and it had a direct response element, in the form of a voucher, my personal marketing favorite.

But - the advert was too expensive. The brand has a teeny, tiny budget - like many businesses.

So I cried poor and said that if they had "distressed space" (advertising industry speak for space they can't flog and will slash the price of at the last minute) - and if they could make this distressed space half of the quoted price - we'd take the advert.

And a week later, they called back, saying they really wanted us in the directory. And we got the advertising space for ... half price. Exactly what we'd asked for. So we could advertise and everyone walks away getting something they want.

So, let's say it all together..."If you don't ask, you don't get!"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How spending $320 can earn you $43,200

I saw a great "zero budget marketing" tactic in action on the street this morning that has some inspiration there for us all.

I walk past a cafe strip, where there are 6-7 places you can grab lunch or - more importantly for many people - a coffee.

One of these locations is actually a restaurant. And they are also a cafe that does coffee. But to the passerby, it looks MORE like a restaurant, thus people bypass it to go to a "coffee shop".

Obviously the manager cottoned on, and realised they were missing out on the very lucrative morning coffee trade. How lucrative can coffee be, I hear you ask? It has a HUGE profit margin - the average latte costs around 20cents in "materials" to make. A good barista can pump out about 100 in an hour. And an average coffee price in the city is $3.

So that's $300 in revenue in an hour for about $20 in material and $20 staff cost. Around a 750% return. Highly profitable if you can sell a lot of coffee!

So, back to the idea. The restaurant had one of their staff members, with a blackboard and some vouchers, directing people to go and get a FREE coffee.

So clever, so cheap. Being conservative, a regular coffee drinker would buy a cup once a day, 3 days a week (actually, most serious caffeine addicts do 2-3 every day!). And if you like the coffee and one place, and it's a convenient location, you're likely to buy these three coffees every week for the 48 weeks you're working.

This translates to around $432 in revenue in a year - for a promotion that would cost around FORTY CENTS! 20 cents for the coffee and 20 cents worth of staff time.

So again, that's spending 40 cents to get $432 in revenue over 12 months.

Image if they got only 20 new people a day on this promotion and they ran it for 5 days.

The restaurant will have generated $43,200 in revenue from this promotion, which will have cost a few hours a day in staff time (say $300) and $20 in free coffee.

If only we all got that sort of RETURN ON INVESTMENT!

So it's a great little case study that encourages you to think about what you should be giving away, to get customers to try (and hopefully love) your product or service. Not all margins are as healthy as coffee - and luckily not all products are addictive - but even if you get a fraction of the results, this is a hugely successful zero budget marketing tactic.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Yours aren't the only customers out there

I've been working with Parks Victoria lately on an international event they're hosting next year, the Healthy Parks Healthy People Congress. We've just gone live with registrations and in commencing the marketing for the event, I'm reminded of a great zero budget marketing tip.

As this is a first time event, and Parks Victoria don't usually run this sort of event, and because we want to attract people from around the world, we don't have a big database to market the event to. So I've been getting in touch with the many partners and supporters of the event - those that do have databases - and asking them to promote it for us. It's in their interest, as you don't want to partner with an event that's not successful and they also want to be seen by their members/subscribers/customers as being involved in something important. And it's in our interest, the only "cost" is the 10% cheaper registration we're offering to partner organisation members.

So it's the perfect "zero budget marketing" strategy.

Does this apply outside events? Of course. Every business has something they want to promote. Every business wants to be able to reach new prospects with a tailored marketing message. So who would like to talk to YOUR customers. And who's customers would YOU like to talk to.

It's not as hard as you might think to pick up the phone and say "I've got this idea that would work for both of us". I guarantee that in 90% of cases, you'll get a yes if it's an offer that works as well for them as it does for you.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Making people smile is a great (cheap) marketing tactic

I saw a fantastic little idea when buying lunch today. I grabbed a wrap from Zest Wraps at QV. I was already feeling pretty virtous, as they make clear how healthy & low fat their wraps are. But some smart marketing cookie spent a few cents - and some serious brainpower - in making me feel even better after my purchase.

You see, the wraps come in paper. This paper needs to be held together by some sort of tape or sticker. Instead of having a plain old sticker, the little sticker had a little message on it. It said "You're special."

Now, let's not get into why I need a sticker to give me some love. Let's just say, it made me smile. It re-inforced my purchase decision. That little sticker has actually made me keen to buy another wrap and see what the next one says!

And think about it. This is a real "zero budget" idea. It would cost maybe a few CENTS to add this little sticker. But it has BIG impact. It makes a statement about the kind of brand it is. One that cares for you, your health and your happiness.

Yes, I know it was just lunch, but it's a lunch I'll remember, as a consumer not just a marketer.

So what insight is there to be gained from this clever idea? What cheap and easy opportunities are there for YOU to make your customers smile? Are you missing opportunities in EXISTING vehicles, like emails, phone messages or on your packaging. If you make someone happy, they're not only likely to buy again, they're likely to TELL OTHER PEOPLE.

It's marketers gold. For a few, little cents. Congrats, Zest. You're my "zero budget marketing" hero for the week!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tabasco undertaking some smart ZBM tactics

I was rather excited to read a story in today's Australian about US Sauce company, Tabasco, employing a bit of "zero budget marketing" thinking to expanding it's marketing in Australia.

Admitting they had great brand recognition but not much in the way of a marketing budget, instead of trying to employ mass marketing to get to consumers, they're trying to talk to chefs & restauranteurs - to both use it as an ingredient and have it as a condiment front of house.

This advocacy over advertising is a smart strategy that gets your product in the hands of potential consumers - whilst funding this campaign through channel sales. It's a "trial" opportunity for the brand, sampling in a more smart fashion.

So what can we learn from this? That when it's too hard or too expensive to try and talk to your end market, the smart effort goes to trying to identify a channel and influencers, to get your brand in front of prospects. Who haven't you been talking to that you should have been?...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Another email marketing tool that's the right price (cheap)!

Email marketing is something most business people and marketers live buy, but finding a cheap enough and good enough service can be tricky. Most affordable solutions are US based and I've come across another good one - AWeber. Their monthly fees are reasonable, esp if you don't have a massive list (eg. $US19 for up to 500 subscribers)

But even if you don't want to use their service, I came across a GREAT tip on their blog.

Turn Your Blog’s Best Content Into an Automated Email Newsletter
There’s no reason to put all that hard work into creating great content, then get just one round of clicks, comments and other actions from it. Why be satisfied with that?
Much of your blog’s content isn’t only relevant at one particular time. Get that old content out to them and make it fresh again!
Create an Autoresponder Campaign For Your Blog in 3 Easy Steps:

1. Identify Your Best Content
2. Turn Each Post or Group of Posts Into an Email
3. Add Your Emails To Your Follow Up Series

4. Once you have your emails together, create them as schedule "follow up" messages to subscribers.

You can check out the detailed entry here.

What I really like about this idea is the opportunity to stay in touch with new subscribers/customers for very little effort or cost. It's a great way to manage a user experience with you and not leave it up to them to remember to come back and see you!

Mailchimp also has an RSS to email feature that would help you do this automatically.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Just what is creativity?

I was cruising eBay the other day and "won" a book on 'Creative Strategy in Advertising'. (BTW - that's a very clever eBay wording choice, not quite the same guilt associated as with the word "bought", is there?) It cost me all of 99 cents + P&H so it was very zero budget marketing too!

I was immediately interested in a section titled "Creativity Defined" - as creativity as a concept IS by its nature, tricky to define.

Turns out, the authors were talking about what makes a "creative ad". One of the points that really resonated, but I had never really "got" before, was that Creative ads are unexpected. They don't go for the obvious punchline, metaphor, outcome, media choice, layout, etc.

I think that's why we don't often see communication messages we think of as particularly creative, and why we actually really "enjoy" marketing sometimes when we do. So I've done a quick web cruise and some dedicated bloogers have pulled together some great complilations - check out Pronet, Hemmynet and Smashing Apps if you're interested.

Now as a zero budget marketing blogger, I know great advertising can cost a LOT of money. But that doesn't mean there's no inspiration to be gained for the rest of us:

1. If you are going to spend the money on any sort of promotion or advertising, consider first how you can make it more engaging and creative. Spend the effort and energy on trying to stand out and be "unexpected".

2. In your every day marketing communications, consider how you can make it more creative. Are your words bland? Is your messaging the same as competitors? What little leap can you make to position yourself more creatively - more unexpectedly - to start to make an impact?

I'll leave you with a couple of clever little examples...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A cautionary email tale - Try to learn from this mistake

I received an email the other day and I felt really bad for the marketing people at VECCIwho'd sent it.
You see, they'd set up their html email as a large image, instead of a combination of text AND images.
And these days, anyone running Office 2007 has the 'default setting' of images being blocked unless you choose to download them. [You can of course change this setting, but I don't see too many people who either (a) have or (b) really know how too!]

Which means in the case of this particular email, where it's one big image, the only thing a recipient will see unsubscribe message! Not really what they're going for, especially as an increasing proportion of people, weighed down with too many emails, are unsubscribing from email marketing lists these days.

This situation could have been avoided if they'd sent both text AND images in the massage. Whilst the images will still be initially blocked, you'll still get the core of the message across, allowing the recipient to decide if they'll download the images - and see the message in all its glory, just as the hard working marketer intended.

So in the "zero budget" vein of making sure everything you do is optimised, this is a cautionary tale of how not to do email marketing.

I'd strongly advise against having too much of your message in images - especially if you're sending to a business prospect or customer where the majority of people are running Office software. Yes, some people will see it as you intended, but a distressingly large proportion of people will just ignore your message, or worse, click that easy to spot unsubscribe link.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Woo a little before expecting something in return!

Now "wooing" is standard practice when looking for love, but for some reason we forget these sort of simple rules when looking for customers. We want them to "buy now" and "act now" - so that we're essentially asking for commitment before they've even met us. And when customers are in cautious buying mode, as they are in the economy, this sort of strategy is even more risky.

So if you're looking for a "new relationship" with a customer, be prepared to do a little wooing first. Don't make their first steps with you ones that will cost them this will ultimately cost you MORE money as they're less likely to actually buy anything.

I saw a great example of wooing in action in an online campaign by career one. (The original is actually an animation, so you see about 5 screens, but you'll get the gist from these couple of screen shots.)
What is smart about this campaign is that it's tapping into something many people in their thirties and forties are feeling: Am I on the right path? Is this the right job for me? What else could I be doing to feel more fulfilled?
Then it's getting people involved with the career one brand, without asking them to spend any money on an advertisement or post their resume on a site. But it will be building their database, as you'd need to input your email no doubt to get a result.
So it's also giving something away - a "free" assessment of whether you're in the right job - and in return is getting a name (and some prospect profiling). Thus, it's laid some solid groundwork from which to build that ongoing relationship.
Whilst this campaign is obviously not zero budget, that doesn't mean there's nothing to learn from it. If you're in the business of selling a service, you'd be able to replicate an offer like this, and what you'd be spending is your time. You could then promote it via your existing communications channels - your website, your database, your staff, you're various social networking channels.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Are you using the right words?

Words can be immensely powerful little buggers. Finding the "right" word can mean winning prose and hugely successful marketing copy. The wrong word can be mediocrity and zero sales.

Too often we don't spend enough time finding the right words AND we forget to check back in on our copy and make sure the words we've chosen are actually singing for their supper.

I was reminded of this yesterday when looking at visitors to various pages on an event website I'm managing. I had one of the main header/menu options as "sponsors". Once you got to that page, you also learned the sponsors were also going to be exhibitors.

Looking at the low traffic to this page, I realised my fatal mistake. I was thinking in terms of words from my perspective, not my audience's perspective.

The audience (conference attendees) is not really interested in who's sponsoring the event. But they ARE interested in who'll be exhibiting, because this directly affects them.

So with this BFO (blinding flash of the obvious) I changed the menu item. And watched the visits to the page DOUBLE today. (Yes, and smacked my head for taking so long to get it!).

[Added 1 August: You may be interested to know that I kept and eye on this and last week got TRIPLE the visitors to this page compared to the week before I changed it from 'sponsors' to exhibitors.]

Now I have much better results to report to my other audience - the sponsors - and the conference attendees now more about the event they'll be attending.

So have you done an audit lately of your website - or other communications vehicles lately - and ensured they're written for the right audience? Just a page here and there so it's not too daunting a task.

This happened to me again recently, when I made the change on a menu item of another client's website. We switch from the common but vague "What we do" to "Why choose us". Now it's more about the visitor than the website owner. Small change, big impact.

So it's a lesson worth learning over. And over. And over.

It won't cost you anything, so it's very "zero budget marketing". And you will find that a LITTLE tweak here and there will can make a BIG difference in the way your communications are speaking to your audience.

So repeat after me: "It's all about them, not all about you!"

Then maybe it will sink in for all of us :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Why asking questions will win you business

I always say that networking is a long term investment. You stay in touch for a whole bunch of reasons, not least of which you keep some great people in your life. But rarely do you get an "instant win". But it does happen. And when times are tough, perhaps the best way to uncover rare opportunities is to speak to as many people as possible, as often as possible.
I'll give you two recent examples of this in action. The first generated over $100k in business and the second, well, I'll let you know.

Example one. I was out for drinks early in the year at Riverland in Melbourne with my partner and a friend of his over from the UK. The UK friend brought another friend and it turns out the boys all knew each other from the "old days" at a major tech company. Anyway, I did what I usually do on meeting knew people - ask questions to get to know them, try and find common ground to make for an interesting conversation. So I was chatting to the local friend and he was telling me how he was about to move to the UK, leaving his current job which was very busy. I asked some more questions. His current job was as CFO at a major sporting organisation. I asked some more questions. Turns out they had been implementing this major software project and were unhappy with the current vendor for the next stage of the project, so were stressed out looking for another vendor. I asked a few more questions. Long story short, my partner's company offered what they needed. I told him, his people talked to their people and a couple of months of contract negotiations later, both parties had been helped out and they were in business. (Sadly, I didn't get a commission on the sale, but we did get a very nice dinner out on my partner's employer!)

Example two: I have two days a week available that I use to work on marketing or event client work that's project based. My current project ( Professional eBay Sellers Alliance conference - bet you didn't know they existed!) finishes up mid August. For once, I didn't have something immediate in the wings. So I decided to tap into my network. I caught up with a few friends, over a few drinks (yes, bars do seem to be a recurring theme, networking has more than one upside!) and asked if they knew anyone who needed marketing or events assistance. Inside of two weeks, I had was not only updated on my friend's lives, I had a meeting set about some new work that could run till April next year.

I have yet to have the meeting, but even if I don't suit the opportunity, it's a great case in point of my favourite mantra....IF YOU DONT ASK, YOU WONT GET. Ask a lot of questions in conversations and best case scenario, you'll learn more about the person you're conversing with, enjoy a sense of connection and maybe discover something new.

So whilst times are tough in this (dare I say it) GFC, that doesn't mean there is no opportunities to be had, no income to to be earned, no business to be won. It just means you may have to try harder to get it AND tap into the people you already know (your network) to identify those many hidden opportunities.

[Added 1 August: Thought you might like to know I got the new client, as mentioned in example 2, always handy when you're own examples pan out!]

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Have you checked out Mumbrella?

Ok, so I got to this site a bit late, but now that I know, you know. Go check out "Mumbrella - Everything under Australia's media and marketing umbrella."

Great range of content, good links to various blogs and stories and best of all, you get to read it for FREE. It's sooo Zero Budget Marketing and you might learn something! :)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Super cheap design

I love the Internet - it just keeps on giving when it comes to zero budget ideas.

I have come across a great site that I think many small business people, especially those starting out, should give a try.
It's a site where you can buy existing design templates, already laid out, for under US$100. As getting custom design done is one of the most expensive things for new business people, this can be a great option if you're on a zero budget - or under time constraints.
Yes, you'll still need to do some of the work yourself - but that's the zero budget challenge isn't it - if you're not spending $$, you're often spending hours.
But another reason I like this is that buying design, if you dont do it regularly, can be tough. You don't really know what you want and it can be hard to visualise what you want. Buying something like this that's ready made means your costs are "capped" as you wont rack up designer hours trying to get it perfect.
So whilst a great designer is always a great investment, if you're cash strapped, inkd is a great option!

From Inkd:

Inkd is the world's first marketplace for buying and selling world-class print designs. Designers from all over the world sell on Inkd and offer print creative that can be customized any way you want. Use the designs as they are or just use them as a starting point to get you going on your own unique project.

At Inkd you'll get print-ready pages with colors accurately defined, bleeds allowed and folds set up. Designers are able to contribute any print friendly design using the application of their choice. Most print files are either designed using the most popular Desktop Publishing Software Page Layout Software to include Adobe Illustrator or Adobe InDesign documents.

Check out:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Free tool for you - Have you tried Gumtree?

Now it's been a little while since I've had a total and utter zero budget idea for you. But this is a goodie, I promise! Have you discovered Gumtree yet?

Gumtree is a fab (not so) little community noticeboard - which has listings by Aussie city. It's like Craig's List, but for those of us downunder (although being eBay they're totally global, you just wouldn't know it).

So why do I care about a community noticeboard, I hear you ask?

Well, did I mention it's free?! And it's also got excellent SEO (search engine optimisation) which means a listing on Gumtree is often what you find on Google when you're hunting for just about anything.

So have you got something you can fit into one of their categories? You have to think laterally. I tried it out for my client, Flexicar. I wanted to get some people to try the service for free, so I put an advert on Gumtree to see if I'd get any nibbles. I spent a whopping $7 or so to make it a "top listing" (so it wouldn't get pushed down the page) and I not only got over 100 website visitors in a month, I got around 9 actual prospect inquiries.

Now, don't get me wrong, that's not going to set the world on fire - but it's nothing to sneeze at when other times I can spend hundreds and hundreds to get that many leads.

From Gumtree: was started in March 2000 as a local London classified ads and community site, designed to connect people who were either planning to move, or had just arrived in the city, and needed help getting started with accommodation, employment and meeting new people.

We've grown a lot since then through word of mouth and we're proud to say that Gumtree is loved by its rapidly growing community. We now cover 72 cities across 11 countries - the UK, Ireland, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore and Hong Kong - and are the UK's biggest website for local community classifieds including flat share, flat rentals and jobs. More than 25,000 new rooms are advertised a month, which means at least 10,000 rooms are rented a month through Gumtree. We now have more than one million visitors every month.

Our aim at Gumtree is to give you a simple and easy-to-use tool that lets you quickly find you might be looking for. You can find everything you need to live your life with the help of your local Gumtree community; from a job or a flat, date, a nanny for your kids or a bargain to a language teacher and a tennis partner.

GFC producing some steller zero budget marketing inspiration

Yes, it's all doom and gloom at the moment, but for us zero budget marketers - those that know how to create a lot from very little - it's business as usual.

But as the playing field has been rather dramatically levelled, there's some excellent inspiration out there to enjoy.

A recent gem has been the story of how to get an outdoor advertising space, worth tens of thousands, for small change.

In the US, it seems advertisers are using vacant storefronts as, you guessed it, billboards.

From the NY Times:

Taking advantage of all the abandoned retail spaces in urban areas, marketers are leasing them at cut-rate prices and filling them with their ads.

At first, advertisers saw storefront advertising as a poor man’s billboard — that is, a bad thing. Now, they see it as a poor man’s billboard — that is, brilliantly frugal.

I particularly like the second paragraph of this excerpt - don't you?!

Here's a couple of samples, one more flash and one more budget (the first being donated space for a charity campaign). Apparently some landlords are renting out the window space for as little as $500 a month, happy to have something other than dust and depression on show. Ah, I love to see a cliche come to life...necessity really is the mother of invention!

Giving away flights - great PR and trial strategy

An online article caught by eye today, despite being a wine drinker - Flights cheaper than a carton of beer.

When reading the article, I discovered it was about some very cheap flights Tiger Airways was promoting.

Why is this zero budget? Well, if you've ever had to stump up for newpaper advertising, you'll know that it's very bloody expensive.
By offering up a very newsworthy story, Tiger has got an entire article run, that pretty much reads like a press release and a promotion description, complete with terms and conditions!
Now I'm sure Tiger is also an advertiser, but it is a great way to demonstrate the power of PR when you have a great story to tell.

This quote in the article is also telling:
Tiger Airways says the fares include all fees and taxes, so in essence, it is giving away the seat on the plane.

This is a promotion dear to my "zero-budget heart, in that it's giving away something for free.
This is SUCH a great option for a new/developing business looking to get fast traction. It gets people talking about you, it gets people using your service for little risk - and in the case of Tiger, it gets you a return airfare.

It's a much smarter "marketing" investment that an ad.
So congrats to Tiger, you get this week's smart marketing zero budget hero award!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I'm a sucker for a fantastic idea

I got sent this video and I loved it so much I had to share it. It's definately not zero budget but it is a truly original way to tell a story. Plus, it may very well have been less expensive to make that had this been produced using actors and travelling around the globe.

So what is this? A potentially "boring" corporate video has been turned into something magical, off the strength of a beautifully simple idea.

So what can we learn from this?

If you're facing a marketing challenge, ask yourself what you can do differently to everyone else out there? Don't look to copy ideas from your competitors - look for inspiration from outside your industry.

This is a great example of how a fantastic idea, well executed, can totally bat above it's weight.

Origami In the Pursuit of Perfection from MABONA ORIGAMI on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What if you wanted to double your customer base tomorrow?

It's a tough question. How to double your customers or prospects overnight?

Wouldn't it just take every customer to recruit ONE more person.

In a perfect world, that is really all it would take. But even though we're not in a perfect world, it doesn't mean the idea isn't worth pursuing.

I've yet to work with a business that doesn't get some - and often MOST - of it's business from referral. (And as you can see, the smart marketers at World Vision are trying to tap into that with the recent email I've pictured).

And that referral is great because it's MASSIVELY cost effective and carries the far greater persuasive power than anything a business could ever say.

So this is just a reminder not to ignore the most powerful new business tool at your fingertips - your existing customers. Get out there and motivate them to refer a new customer to you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Check these out online for some inspiration

Being all about "zero budget" means educating yourself constantly...and thanks to the web you can do this for nicks. It can be hard to wade through WHAT is worth reading, but here's a few worth signing up for / following online. These newsletters are online marketing gold. If only I had time to read all of them, all of the time. : Mashable is the world's largest blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Networking news. : Ranking third worldwide in survey research turnover, Ipsos specialise in five areas of research: Advertising, Loyalty, Marketing, MediaCT, and Public Affairs. The online knowledge centre contains tonnes of info, case studies and free report summaries. : Original marketing/consumer behavious Aussie blog by lead strategist for Carat Sydney.

(List inspired by article by Lee Stephens "Finding Gold Among the Spammers" from AdNews - 10 April, 2009)

Have you tried this with Google Adwords?

I've played around with Google Adwords with several of my clients, with mixed results.

Adwords are a great tool if enough people are looking for what you have to sell. But when you're selling something people might NOT be searching for, you have to think a bit more creatively about how to get their attention and hopefully entice them to visit your site.

One thing as marketers we DO know is that the web is used early on in a buying cycle. Consumer and Business buyers use it to research the category they're interested, often a while in advance of actual intent to purchase.

So you might get them browsing, but getting them to visit your site and BUY is the trickiest part.

So I thought I'd trial a bit of "old school" DM using this "new school" medium and ran the voucher ad below recently...

I linked it to a landing page that explained the offer - and included a promotional code to enter if they chose to join the service. My rationale was, if people were "tyre kicking" already, this might get them over the line.
In the first four weeks of running this little advert, SIX people joined the service using this promotional code.
At a cost of around about 60 cents per sign up [not including time for my creative brilliance of course :) ].
Now to understand whether six is a lot, you need to think about what each customer is worth.
For this service based business every customer means in the vicinity of $600 a year.
At 60 cents to attract, this makes a whopping ROI on this advertisment 1000%
If only all our marketing gave such a great return!
Now, I don't have the goose that laid the golden egg just yet. I'll have that when I can get 100 customers to buy using this offer.
But I'm off to a great (zero budget) start.
Why don't you try it for your business and let me know how you go!

The dog ate my homework - cheap marketing idea for tradies

...yes, I've been very bad and haven't blogged in AGES.

My only excuse has been a lack of inspiration - luckily I passed a little gem the other day that has got my lazy butt back in action.

So what did I see?

A bit of common sense thinking that isn't so common.

It was an electrician's van. It wasn't particularly flash, looking like a small operation. The branding on the van itself wasn't even that attractive.

So what caught my eye?

The branding on the front of the van - the part you'd see in your rear vision mirror - had the company name, phone number and website printed "back to front".

Which means, in your rear vision mirror, you'd be able to read it.

I love this little "big idea". It's a case of really making sure every cent you have to spend is spent in the smartest way possible. Because I'm sure this van gets more people stuck in traffic checking it out than it ever does parked at individual jobs in suburban streets.

(And I don't even has to wonder if anyone ever actually CALLS a number they see written on a van. I know someone does - because I've done it. It was how I got my cleaner of 4 years.)

So next time you're doing some marketing the way you've "always done it", stop and ask yourself if you should be rethinking anything? Use the back of your business cards to explain what you do. Ensure your signage is able to be read by those you want to read it. Structure your website in a way that makes sense to customers, not just to you.

Making your (zero) budget work for you, means ensuring everything is done as smartly as possible.