How To Get People To Buy Your Product or Service

So you’re done.  Your product is finished.  It’s ready to go.  The design and packaging are complete and the website is up and running.  Or… you’ve opened your store; the grand opening day has arrived.  The streamers are up.  Everything is complete.  Well, almost everything.  All you need is customers.    But, no worries, they’re coming, just give it a minute or two.  All you have to do is wait.  You keep your eye on the door, check your email, stare at the phone.  If you stare long enough it is bound to ring.   Silence.  You begin to hold your breath threatening the universe; you won’t exhale until at least one client calls.  Maybe a wrong number, at this point that would be nice.  Besides, you saw the film, you know the drill – if you build it they will come.  Right?

Okay, exhale now.  Maybe it’s time to rethink things.  It could be that creating the product, making the film, publishing the book, opening the store, or (fill in the blank) is just one step in the process.  Think of it as one chapter and one chapter does not a book make. So, now what?

How about driving traffic to your site, or bringing customers to your store?  That would probably make life a bit more comfortable and sleeping a bit easier.  But, how do you do that?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but happily, there is an answer.

1st) Figure out who your target market is.  Who are you selling to?

2nd) Find out where your target market finds its information,

3rd)  Create a marketing budget to reach your market,

4th) Study the myriad ways you can use your marketing budget. Is advertising an approach that will work?  Direct marketing? Public Relations? Blogging? Social Media?

5th)  Develop a realistic marketing gameplan.  For example create a marketing mix that includes traditional PR, social media, and article marketing.  That’s a formula that will give you the most bang for your buck, reach your target market and drive customers and or clients to you.

Now you not only have your product or service, but you have a realistic, workable marketing gameplan.  Now you can launch your business, land customers, make money – and actually sleep at night.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

How Much Time Should You Spend Marketing Your Business?

How much time you should spend on marketing is a question every business owner needs to answer.  The tricky part is there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

Your Message

One definite is to make sure that all of your business information is clear, concise and focuses more on your clients or customers needs than on your biography.  You need a website (that’s not optional) so make sure you present yourself in a way that interests your prospective clients and includes a call to action.  You need to establish a sense of urgency if you want visitors to do more than simply read your copy and move on.  If they are going to hit an opt-in button, or are going to email or call, they need a compelling reason to do so.  Make it clear how you’re going to help your customers, why they need you and why they need you – now!    If you’re not a good copywriter, hire one.  But make sure that the copy reflects who you are, not who the copywriter is.  Know your market and focus on speaking directly to that market and its needs.

Networking

Create a good networking and support system.  If you can get others to recommend you, or point prospects in your direction, that makes life much easier.  But actively networking can take time and money.  If you are spending hours driving to and attending networking events start to measure how much money they are bringing in.  People often confuse activity with productivity.  That can be a dangerous trap.  Some people also use networking as a substitute for a social life.  Be clear on why you’re networking, if it’s paying off and, if not, how you can modify your approach.

Various Marketing Options

Those are your basics, now comes the harder decisions.  What type of marketing should you do and how long should you spend on the process?  To come up with the right formula for you and your business, you need to define what goals and business objectives you want to accomplish.  The answer is going to be different depending on if you’re launching a new business, introducing a new product, or launching a campaign to reach a different market.  The one constant in this formula is that for a marketing campaign to be effective, it needs to be consistent.  Marketing does not work like a fire sale; it is not a quick fix.  It takes time, effort and consistency.

Marketing Budget

Develop a marketing budget based on your needs, time and resources.  If you can outsource and hire professionals to run your marketing campaign, do so.  If you’re on a shoestring budget and need to wear the marketing hat, along with all of the other business hats, spend some time and money on a good marketing consultant and set up a program that is effective and realistic.  Remember your job is to run your business; spending 75% of your time on marketing is not the wisest use of your time.

Maximize your marketing by creating a synergistic marketing program.  Spending all of your budget on a one-time ad or commercial is not a marketing plan, but a Vegas style gamble.  If you’re working on a tight budget, consider a marketing mix that includes public relations, social media, and blogging.  These approaches reinforce one another.  You can place an article you were featured in on Facebook and post your newest blog on Twitter.  Done correctly, the sum is greater than its parts and in time you can create an effective inbound marketing machine.

Time

That still begs the question how much of your time should you spend marketing.  There is no one answer, but you can come up with a basic formula.  When you launch a business chances are your going to have more time than clients.  That’s okay, that’s the nature of a start up.  Use that bulk of your time to market.  Write articles about your business and your company, blog, develop a presence on social media sites; pitch yourself and your company to the local and national media.  As your company begins to take off, keep the marketing in high gear, but start hiring professionals to do many of the jobs you were doing.  Hire a copyrighter, a PR firm, a social media expert.  Pretty soon you’ll be overseeing your marketing but not running it all on your own.  That is a sure sign that you’re headed in the right direction.    Approach marketing as an essential.  Err on the side of marketing more rather than less.  It will pay off in the long run

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

Working on the Media’s Timetable

Unlike advertising, direct marketing, online marketing or other types of promotion, when it comes to traditional public relations, keep in mind that the media works on its own schedule.  Short lead news-oriented media outlets such as newspapers, TV and radio plan much of their content around the news of the day.  Long lead publications that specialize in certain areas such as beauty, fitness or entertainment, are not as news-driven, but they too can change plans or direction at a moment’s notice.

That’s not always easy when you’re a business owner with your own busy schedule.  Your time is valuable. You have a business to run, clients to take care of, or products to sell.  It’s difficult to (and sometimes not possible) to drop whatever you’re doing to do an interview on the media’s time table.  But that is often the reality of dealing with the press and if you play it smart, it can pay off for you big time.  Although you will usually have time to plan and arrange your schedule to do an interview, that is not always going to be the case.  There are going to be times that the media wants to do an interview and wants to do it immediately, or wants to schedule it at a time that is inconvenient, or (the most annoying of all) reschedules it at the last minute, forcing you to, once again, change your plans.  First of all keep in mind, that producer or editor is not intentionally scheduling a time in order to make your life more difficult.  He or she is juggling a number of stories and working on several deadlines.  You wouldn’t believe the amount of times that an editor or producer has to switch from one story to another on a moment’s notice. A million things can come up, a fire, an international breaking story, a Presidential speech; any number of stories are going to preempt you.  This is just the nature of the business.  It happens all the time.  Keep in mind by working with them; you are positioning yourself and your business as the news.

But to do so you need to work with the media.  For example, don’t tell the producer of a national morning news show that they have to come to your office to shoot the segment and that you’re only available on Saturday between 1 and 3 p.m.   That’s a guaranteed recipe for never getting on that show.  Remember you meet your needs by meeting the media’s needs.

There may be times that you’re just not going to be able to accommodate their schedule. There are going to be some interviews that you’ll have to miss.  But only miss an interview if it’s completely unavoidable – the plague, an alien invasion – you get the picture.  You may be annoyed, and you may be angry, but if you can possibly arrange your schedule so that you can make the interview, do it.

Above all keep in mind that if an interview is changed, or if your segment is bumped, don’t take your anger or disappointment out on the interviewer or the producer.  That might make you feel better while you’re ranting and raving, but once that’s done, all you’ve accomplished is burning a valuable bridge.  Always keep your objective in mind. Your objective is to build your business, to create success through media exposure.  Never forget that only media reaches your target market and offers you the credibility of being featured as a news story.  No other form of marketing offers that type of validating exposure.  Your objective is to do those interviews, and use that media exposure to gain more coverage, not to alienate the press. Media begets media.  Every interview you do is helping to pave your way to greater success.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

For further information visit:
www.AnthonyMora.com

The Dangers of the New Media Landscape

Much of the media is going through tough financial times.  The danger here, particularly when it comes to hard news and investigative reporting, is if real news continues to lose ground to sensationalism and entertainment.   Taking the lead of sensationalistic blogs and reality TV, the mainstream media seems to be responding with a “give the audience what they want” approach.  That might be well and good as a way to generate revenue, but news and true journalism has never been about giving people what they want.  Its primary objective was and is to educate, and inform.  Once we start replacing investigative journalism with celebrity scandals and reality TV train wrecks, we are in a very real sense giving away the keys to an informed public and a strong democracy.

The knee jerk reaction is understandable, because these are tough times for the media.  According to The State of the News Media (http://www.stateofthemedia.org), in 2009, newspapers, including online, saw ad revenue fall 26% during the year, which brings the total loss over the last three years to 41%.  Local television ad revenue fell 24% in the same time frame.  Radio dropped 18%. And ad pages dropped 19%, network TV 7% (and news alone probably more).  Online ad revenue over all fell about 5%, and revenue to news sites most likely also fared much worse.  Only cable news among the commercial news sectors did not suffer declining revenue last year.

Panicking media outlets are changing the rules of the game.  Of course it’s important to entertain.  It’s essential.  But offering entertainment 24/7 will result in a numbed and uninformed public.  Americans don’t want to be uninformed, but they don’t know what they don’t know.  Unless there is true quality journalism that is bringing stories of corruption and malfeasance to light, they will never know these stories exist.

We are replacing news with controversy and entertainment.  Learning that a sports star had a number of affairs is not news its sensationalism.  More outlets is not the answer if it only results in more of the same.    According to the Pew Research Center (http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1523/state-of-the-news-media-2010), their analysis of more than a million blogs and social media sites, finds that 80% of the links are to U.S. legacy media. The only old media sector with growing audience numbers is cable, a place where the lion’s share of resources is spent on opinionated hosts.

There are some encouraging and exciting things happening in the online media world, from former journalists creating specialty news sites and community sites, to citizen journalists covering neighborhoods, local blogs and social media.  In 2009, Twitter and other social media showed how they could disseminate information, as well as how they could mobilize people to act and react.  The collective power of these sites was able to evade the censors in Iran and communicate from Haiti after the devastating earthquake.

Still, that is no substitute for the traditional work of the mainstream media.  Media’s challenge now is to make a profit and deliver news.  But, it is not media’s challenge alone.  It is ours.  If, due to economic constraints the media fails to uncover stories of corruption both in government and the private sector, we become the biggest losers.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

How Your Message Affects Your Marketing

Often one of the biggest challenges can be to effectively define your business.  What is the central idea behind your business?  A number of people can run similar businesses and each could define it differently.  Whether you run a spa, hardware store, a law practice, or a storage company, when it comes to effectively branding and marketing your company, the message behind your business can be as important as the business itself. That’s not always as simple as it sounds.  It can take some time and soul searching to understand what your message is and learn how to effectively communicate it to the public.

Take a few minutes and write a description of not only your business, but also your message.  Think of it as a brief mission statement that helps define you and your business. Don’t just go for the obvious; saying you sell shoes, is not a true description of your business.  Doing this brief exercise can help give you a clear vision of what it is you do, how to present it.  It can also help clarify your goals and what you want to accomplish.

The answers aren’t always obvious. It may take some time and some soul searching. But it’s important that your audience, clients, and target market realize that you are not just selling a product or a service, but that there is a message behind it.

Whereas it’s important to define your message, this doesn’t have to turn into a profound philosophical quest. People have a tendency to get awfully bogged down with this message stuff.  Just write a brief, simple, clarifying statement. What is it you do and what is it about how you do what you do that makes your business different and your company unique?

Some businesses may have messages that are more broad-based, such as helping the community or healing the environment, whereas others will focus on offering better quality or giving up-to-the-minute information. There are as many messages as there are businesses. Don’t get overwhelmed thinking that your message has to be some type of grandiose statement. This is a basic, practical matter.

You want this message to be real and accurately define what you do. What is it that you offer that makes you special? Why should your clients or patients or customers come to you instead of your competitor down the block? Once you can clearly and succinctly answer that question, you’ll be able to successfully communicate that to the media and your target audience.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

For further information visit:
www.AnthonyMora.com

The Music Industry: Spinning A New Business Model  

The Internet has impacted all of the arts, but no sector has been hit quite as hard as the music industry.  With CD sales fading and radio play shrinking, recording artists are finding less opportunities to get their music heard.  To survive, many musicians are becoming brands in the service of brands.  The industry is in such a free fall that advertising avenues are filling the shoes that music labels once did.  During most of rock’s history, melding music in the service of a product was anathema.  But this is a very different world; in the past musicians and record labels could make a good living off of selling records and CDs.  An artist didn’t have to sell his or her music to an advertiser or TV show to turn a profit.  But with the advent of Napster and subsequent sites, the days of platinum and double platinum record sales are quickly fading.

Now most bands make their money off of touring, merchandising and yes, melding their music with products.  Lady GaGa’s Bad Romance is a product placement wet dream come true.  The video is filled with brands galore.  But she’s not the only one going down that road; everyone from Iggy Pop to Velvet Revolver to Depeche Mode has cut deals with products and brands.   Although Steve Jobs helped to put some life back into music with iTunes as a way to generate revenue, it’s a far cry from where things stood in the ‘60s, ‘70s, or ‘80s.  As the industry shifts, artists have to rethink their approach and their career paths

The downside is that labels are no longer there with the famed A&R reps grabbing bands off the streets and turning them into stars (not that it was ever that common an occurrence to begin with). The upside is that there is now more of a level playing field.  Via the same Internet that broke the old music model, singers, bands and musicians are discovering new models and approaches.  The traditional opportunities of the record label’s star building machine aren’t as great as they were when Cream, the Stones, Madonna or the Chili Peppers initially made their marks.  The music world is shifting, but as one door closes others open.  To those artists who are willing to embrace change, new and exciting avenues and business models are appearing. Via the net, more artists have an opportunity to get known and develop a career.  But, it has become more of a do- it-yourself world. Musicians who learn social media, blogging, and traditional PR will continue to build a buzz, establish a presence and create a fan base.   Those artists who embrace change will still find ways to succeed, make an impact and build lasting careers.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

Growing Your Business Intuitively

You’ve read the latest business books, visited all the marketing websites, gone to the most popular seminars, listened to the gurus, yet you feel that you still don’t have the answers to many of your basic business questions.  So how about trying something different?   How about taking a step back and listening to – you? 
 
You definitely want to consult an expert when it comes to the specifics of growing a business; you want to benefit from the expertise of others.  But do you really need or want someone to tell you what your business should be?  Shouldn’t your vision define your business?  If your gut is telling you to focus on a certain target market, or try a specific type of marketing campaign, or develop packaging that is unique and different, why not listen?  What if you know more than you think?  Some of the most successful businesses have been built by those who listened to their gut and took the road less traveled. 
 
Haven’t you ever had one of those feelings or thoughts that you should try an idea or a direction that is new or different?  Maybe fear that all of your peers and mentors would think you were wrong is stopping you, maybe this gut feeling of yours goes against everything you’ve always been taught, everything the gurus preach, still, that feeling is there.  Listen!
 
That’s not always an easy thing to do.  Ours is a culture of experts.  We look to authorities for everything from how to run our businesses, to how to raise our kids, to what movies we should see.  There’s nothing wrong with listening to specialists.  They can save you time, money and heartache, but at some point, your core life decisions have to come down to one authority, you.  Your choices might not always seem right.  It may be that there is a series of steps you have to go through and the first one or two (which might seem like miss-steps) are designed to move you to the next important level.  But, the more you listen to yourself, the more on track you’ll become. 
 
We’ve all experienced or have seen examples where others have listened to experts and generally made a mess of things.  Look at the economy.  We ended up in the worst recession since the Great Depression because we all collectively listened to the “experts.”  We can’t do much worse than that on our own.  Try listening to your intuition when it comes to making business choices.  Not only is it beneficial and authentic, it works.  Give it a shot, even if only for a few days, try tuning out all of the external advice.  Listen to yourself.  Become your own guru.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2009 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Creating a Unique PR Approach

Most experts will suggest that you stick with the traditional press release form and put your name, address, and contact information on the top. Don’t. The first few lines of your release may be all that gets read. Don’t sacrifice that all-important space to mundane information. Come up with an interesting headline that is centered on the page, and immediately start with your story. Keep the information on how to contact you at the bottom of the page. If your story interests them, believe me, they’ll call, no matter where you put your number.

Although I am suggesting that you break some of the common press release rules, don’t try to be novel or unconventional simply for the sake of being different. The changes I suggest are based on practical observations. Too often we stick to a form simply because that’s the way it’s been done before. If there is a practical, advantageous reason to do something differently, do it.

On the other hand, don’t be different simply to be different. In other words, don’t use oversized paper, or use unconventional script, or write cryptic or convoluted sentences just to try to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack. Chances are, it will only work against you. You want to catch the media’s eye, but you don’t want to shock or startle. Keep the release clean and easy-to-read, and remember, no amount of inventiveness will make up for the lack of a good hook or story.

At the bottom of the page, make sure to let the media know who you are and how they can get in contact with you; have your phone number and contact person clearly listed.

Stand back and look at your release with an objective eye. If you knew nothing about your business or product, and you saw your release, would it make you want to learn more about the topic? Would it pique your interest? If not, you’re headed in the wrong direction. Bounce it off other people, get feedback. Don’t send it out until it says exactly what you want it to say, in the way you want to say it. And never, ever, ever let it be longer than one page.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2008

Why PR Is The Most Effective Branding & Marketing Tool

Let’s say you read an ad for an attorney in your local newspaper.  The ad tells you how wonderful the attorney is, what she specializes in, what services she offers, and how to contact her.  Now let’s say you read an article about that same attorney.  The article profiles her and tells you about a case she just won and the impact that case had.  Both pieces you read are in the newspaper.  Both have to do with the same attorney, but which one would impress you the most, which would you pay more attention to, the ad or the article?    My bet is the article.

 

Why?  The ad is informative, but it’s paid for by the attorney.  So, do we completely trust the information?  We are aware that whatever the ad says was either written by the attorney or someone hired by the law firm and the informaiton is being controlled.  The article is a news story.  It is a third person account.  It has been vetted by a writer and an editor.  That doesn’t necessarily make the article more factually accurate than the ad, but it is perceived differently.   The media’s job is to tell a story and to give the reader information, whereas the ad is meant to sell.

 

For that reason the article offers the attorney more validation and credibility.  People tend to trust an expert who has been featured in the media more than one they see in an ad or a commercial.  In a nutshell it’s the ability to offer that credibility to give the reader that sense of trust that makes PR is the most effective form of marketing and branding available. 

How to Get More Clients – NOW!

 hands-shaking

The clients are out there, you just need to reach them.  Sell your value not your product or service.  Once you’ve figured out exactly what value you’re offering your clients, find the unique marketing mix specific to your needs.  Then you’re set to reach and land more clients – now!

 

Most businesses are looking for clients or customers, particularly now. The trick is to reach them.  They’re there.  Yes the economy has shifted, but people are still spending money, buying products, using services.  The economy has changed, but it hasn’t disappeared and just as it’s gone down, it will eventually start to go up again.  You not only want to be prepared for the upswing, you want to use strategic marketing and promotional tools now to find your clients and build your business, now.

 

What is it you’re selling? and I don’t mean what product or service.  Are you selling health, wealth, beauty, success, fun?  What is the value or effect that your product or service offers your customer?  Focus on that.  Sell your value not your product.  This can be trickier than it seems.  I’ve worked with several companies that understood the product they were selling, but not the value.  Take some time and figure out who your target market is and what your product or service truly offers.  What is the core value?  Once you’ve figured that out, the next step is to find the best avenue(s) to reach them.

 

Consider all of the possibilities including advertising, direct marketing, public relations, Internet marketing, networking, etc.  Make a list of them as well as a list of how your business can benefit from each.  Pick two promotional avenues to start with.  My favorite approach is a mix of PR and specific forms of Internet marketing, since each helps reinforce the other.  You can create a buzz on the Internet and then launch a PR campaign around the phenomena you created, or you can post your media coverage on the Internet and multiply the amount of potential customers who see it by thousands, potentially millions. 

 

Once you understand what you’re really offering your customer and can effectively articulate it, you’ll be able to define your most effective marketing venues.  Then, you’re set to move forward.  You’re ready to reach and land new customers- now!

 

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2009

 

PR Campaigns Bring in Customers

A PR campaign can establish your brand, bring in customers, spark sales and establish you and your company – but not overnight.  Not to get to florid here, but launching an effective public relations campaign is not unlike gardening.  The more you care, feed and water your plants, the better the chances you’re going to have an impressive garden.  If you plant a seed and stand over it waiting for it to sprout in one day, and when it doesn’t, you  decide seeds don’t grow and your going to give up gardening forever is lunacy, but that’s how many approach their PR and media campaigns.  Just as seedlings take time to grow, a media relations campaign takes time to build.  It doesn’t sprout overnight.  I’ve never worked on a PR campaign that didn’t take time, work, and care.  We’ve placed clients in a wide range of media outlets from Time and the Wall Street Journal to Oprah and the Today show, but none of the bookings happened overnight.  When clients work with us and stick with it, PR campaigns can blossom. 

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