Saturday, November 21, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Which means in the case of this particular email, where it's one big image, the only thing a recipient will see is...an 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
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
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
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
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
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: http://www.inkd.com/
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
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.
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.
When reading the article, I discovered it was about some very cheap flights Tiger Airways was promoting.
It's a much smarter "marketing" investment that an ad.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
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.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
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
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...
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.