Sunday, December 28, 2008

5 tips you can do today to get new customers that doesn't cost much

Auer Agency | Charlotte, NC | 704.236.0568 |
1. Change your voicemail. Don't use the same ole line, "Please leave your name and number after the tone." Duh! We all know that.  Direct people to your blog or new information or product on your website. I download trendy music for people to listen to instead of the normal ring. It gets their attention and sometimes they are mad when I do answer because they were rocking out to Bon Jovi.
2. Change your email signature. When I am doing rebranding for a company, this is the first thing we change because it's instant and easy. And you use it everyday this is more important than a business card. I suggest you create your own email signature that is different than contact info. Use your logo, use your tagline, make it memorable!
3.  Sign up for facebook, mySpace, twitter and all the other types of blog spots available. It's free. It takes a few minutes to set-up. It's kind of cool to get an email from an old friend. But the most important part, is that you are getting your name and company info out there in different ways than just your own self-promoting website. When people Google you, Google thinks you are important and will list you or what your company does on top of searches. It may take a while for you to see the results, but it's worth it.
4. Ok this is a huge secret. Hire someone to blog for you. Who has time for all that blogging? Large companies hire their own Social networking person. They like to know what people are saying about them as well as getting the word on the "street" first with a new product launch. It doesn't cost that much and it works right into that budget you had set for advertising.
5.  Please carry business cards with you. I don't know how many times I've met someone on a  girl's night out and they don't have a card. Aren't we all trying to get business in one way or another? I stash an envelope of them in my car, I keep 5 in my wallet. And hand them out to clients. They are your best source for leads. And ask for theirs too.
Bonus: And since we are talking about that, change your business card. I even put a catchy phrase on the back of mine, last year's was "Make '08 Great". This time I just used a cool graphic and incorporated it on the front, back and even on the side of my envelope. And take it to another level, and list organizations that you are a member of or non-profits you support. The business card is your first impression, make it memorable. Even if you think it doesn't matter that you are a Hot Rod Camaro club member, it gives people something to talk about.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Should I keep paying for marketing?

Dear Mariellen, I run a small embroidery business in Charlotte and business has slowed down considerably from last year. I am looking at ways to reduce my spending and I am considering eliminating my marketing efforts in 2009. Am I making the right decision? Amy K., Charlotte Dear Amy, My initial reaction is "NO!" "You can't stop marketing!" But my calm and rational self says... "let's think about this..." I understand your need to cut expenses and find ways to keep your business going during a little economic slump. However, what you really want is more customers and better return on investment. First consider how you get the majority of your business. Do people come to you because they are repeat customers, referrals, etc. or do they find you on the web or in the phone book? You see, this is not the time to spend money on marketing that does not work... I will agree with that. But this is DEFINITELY the time to spend money on marketing that works. If placing in ad in a coupon flier, works well, then do more of that. Consider lower-cost, higher return marketing efforts such as wearing clothing with your logo embroidered on it and joining networking groups and the Chamber. If you never hear anything from people seeing your yellow page ad, that is something to consider losing, or if you spend a lot of money on radio advertising but only see some return, use that money on something more effective. If you would like to talk about your marketing strategies, please contact me at 704.236.0568 or go to my website at Mariellen Auer Agency, Marketing Charlotte
Auer Agency Charlotte, NC 704.236.0568

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Marketing Tips: Branding your business

Dear Mariellen, I own a professional services company in Charlotte and we have been a business for three years. We have done OK until now, but never really made significant profits. This is the year that we really need to break through. I am willing to invest in my business what I can--it is my passion, but I need to make a wise decision. I have been talk I need to "brand," but there is no immediate return on investment from what I can tell with this. Can you tell me the benefit of working to brand my business? or Do I really need to "brand" my business? Ellen M. CT Dear Ellen, A good branding strategy is an important aspect of success in business because it will bring your business to the mind of consumers when they need your product or services. However, "branding" seems so illusive, and hard for a small business to grasp onto. So often, small businesses initially reject the idea of branding, thinking it is something for large businesses, but in today's competitive world it is even more important to have a brand and a brand strategy. Branding your small business gives it name recognition and provide potential consumers with an instant understanding of the services you provide. It is what will allow you to grow your client base, and project a positive image. Your branding should include your website, logo, business cards, letterhead, etc. and all have a consistent theme, colors, and graphics. Branding itself gives your customers a confidence in your professionalism--it will show how you are unique, and stand out from your competition. Best of all, your customers will recognize and understand your services. And just as branding is important--how you brand is important as well. You will want to work with a professional marketing company that understands your business your clients and your products/services. No matter what your budget, you can develop a branding strategy for your small business that is consistent and professional. It is important, and something you should start today. Mariellen Auer Auer Agency Charlotte, NC
Auer Agency Charlotte, NC 704.236.0568