by Jay Conrad Levinson (Abridged )
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The advances of technology and affordable computing has more than levelled the playing field for small business who can now not only compete with their bigger rivals, but are often able to so quickly adapt to business and technological change that they often overtake being able to acquire and service new customers.
Examining just those areas where technology adds potency to marketing, I find 25 that are especially intriguing to me and should be intriguing to you if you take seriously the business of earning consistent profits. Centric to the technology is use of what are now commonly accepted tools such as desktop publishing software, email and your business web site.
One thing you need to be aware of is that a website, email newsletter and the like cannot help you unless you know marketing. It is a marketing medium, perhaps the best and most comprehensive ever — but it is not marketing all by itself and it is no guarantee of success. You must have a good understanding of marketing in order to market online successfully. You’ve got to know how to market what you sell as well as marketing your website. The moment you think of going online is when to start thinking of promoting your website offline. That process should never stop.
To market online with the certainty of success, you must place equal emphasis on eight elements. Ignore any one of them and you’re doomed to cybergloom.
- Planning – which means you should know what you want your website to accomplish for you before you put it up.
- Content – because that’s what’s going to bring people back again and again.
- Design – because there’s a “stay-or-bail” moment where people see your site and decide in an instant whether to see what you have to say or get the heck out — and your design influences that decision.
- Involvement – which determines what you want visitors to do, dictates how they will interact.
- Production – which simple software enables you to do yourself — putting all the elements together and posting it on the Web.
- Follow-up – which means responding instantly to those visitors who contact you.
- Promotion – which means letting the world know who you are and where you are in cyberspace.
- Maintenance – because a website is a living, breathing thing that should fascinate people into returning so they can see what’s up this week.
Marketing online doesn’t merely mean the Web. It means emailing, posting notices at forums, engaging in chats, accomplishing research, gathering market data and having a website. The keys to succeeding online are in creating compelling content, changing that content regularly, responding at nearly the speed of light, and by personalizing your messages. There may be 50 million people on the Internet but your prospects must feel you’re talking to them one at a time
I promised you 25 ways that technology helps you market and then I went off on a tangent because I want you to use technology the right way online.
I always want you to be aware of 25 ways technology can help you offline as well:
- Newsletters — Good ones are mailed to customers and prospects on a regular basis and follow the rule of 75-25.
- Flyers — Distribute them in a variety of ways, as signs, in orders, to fusion marketing partners to distribute as you distribute theirs.
- Direct mail letters –Have an inventory of proven letters in your computer, set to print, personalize and mail.
- Postcards — They take away from the recipient the decision of whether or not to open the envelope.
- Letterheads and envelopes — Desktop publishing lets you produce professional looking stationery, lowering the cost of gaining credibility.
- Business cards — Include your name, company name, title, address, phone, fax number, email address, website, logo, theme line; your card may open up to reveal a list of benefits offered and services available.
- Invoices & PO forms — These marketing opportunities should have valuable data in addition to names and numbers.
- Brochures — Perfect forums for including all the details; they should be offered for free in your other marketing and posted online.
- Catalogs — You can increase revenues through catalogs, now easy and inexpensive to design and produce, a potentially big profit-center.
- Invitations — Guerrillas print formal invitations to customers to private sales, parties and special events. They always play favorites.
- Gift certificates — People are on the lookout for gift ideas and a gift certificate might be perfect. Mention them on signs, in brochures.
- Coupons — Offer discounts, free merchandise, services, anything to intensify prospect’s desire for your product. Coupons are very versatile.
- Contest entry forms — Smart small businesses hold contests in order to get names for their mailing lists.
- Club ID cards –Form a frequent buyer club or VIP customer club: sealing your relationship with the customers with an attractive ID card.
- Greeting cards — Let anniversary cards celebrate the anniversaries of customers being customers, also for holiday cards and birthday cards.
- Signs — Because so many towns have community bulletin boards, guerrillas are sure to post their signs on those boards. Guerrillas know that computers can transform some signs into posters.
- Point-of-purchase materials — Guerrillas produce POP materials that tie in with their other marketing. Their computers do the hard work.
- Trade show materials –You can produce compelling graphic presentations of sales stories strictly for use at trade shows.
- Audio-visual aids — Create powerful AV support for presentations — diagrams, before-and-after photos, illustrations, and graphs.
- Flipcharts — Audio-visual aids are built-in and your sales story has an order and flow. These can be portable, economical, and flexible.
- Research questionnaires — Obtain customer data and simplify finding people who fit their exact profile. Act upon what you learn.
- Books — Technology helps guerrillas from producing labels and tags to self-publishing their own books, proving they’re the experts.
- Proposals — Computer-designed proposals add credibility, visibility, and excitability while instilling confidence in you beyond any price tag.
- Multi-media presentations –These once complex and now simple forums let you demonstrate your benefits with extraordinary impact.
- Text messaging – Low cost and immediate involvement are perfect for restaurants, bars and repeat business.
Technology lets small business gain credibility and provide speed and power in an age when credibility is crucial, speed is revered and power comes from being part of a team. Speed comes from cellular, wireless, pager, fax, email, and voicemail technology. Power comes from networking and sharing technology.
If you’re guerrilla marketing with technology, you’re headed in the right direction. If you’re guerrilla marketing without technology, you’re not really guerrilla marketing at all.