This month’s Marketing Tip focuses on advertising. If you haven’t kept a formal list of your advertising efforts, now’s the time to start. Knowing what works, what doesn’t, and when you last tried it will help you avoid making the same mistake twice. It can also help you decide when it’s time to re-test something that didn’t go so well the first time.
1. Evaluate your history
Let’s start with an inventory of everything you’ve tried to date to market your reseller business. (Just getting started with advertising? Jump down to the next section of this article.) Record any action you’ve taken in the following categories, jotting down all the information you have regarding that activity (cost, time invested, dates, duration of advertisement, etc.):
* Online advertising – Pay-Per-Click advertising, banner ads, text ads on partner sites
* Print advertising – Newspaper or magazine ads, business cards, direct mail postcards, brochures or fliers
* Social networking – Writing your own blog, responding to or submitting articles or features to other people’s blogs, Chamber of Commerce listings, setting up RSS feeds, or listing with social search (Craig’s List, Insider Pages), social bookmarks (Delicious, etc.) or social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter)
* Live networking – Handing out business cards, membership in professional organizations, public speaking
* Email Marketing – Communications with your house list (using your free Express Email Marketing® or another tool), electronic newsletters, adding subscription tools to your site to grow your email list
* Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Creating custom content to attract traffic to your site “organically.”
Now, think about each of these efforts and be honest about what’s not working. Is it because you haven’t been able to dedicate enough time to it? Is it too costly? Or is it just truly not working for your audience? Be ruthless and drop anything that’s not yielding a return – especially if it’s costing you money. You can always try it again later.
2. Set your strategy
Now that you’ve shortened your list to just the things that are working, pick one or two to expand through June of 2009. Decide how much time you’re going to dedicate to this activity each week, and if there’s a cost associated with it, budget what that will be. Make your goals as aggressive as you like, but make them do-able. Here are a few examples:
Strategy: Carry business cards with you at all times. Share them with anyone you meet who shows an interest in your business, whether you’re at a client meeting, your Rotary Club, or a party where the topic of what you do for a living comes up in conversation. Give each person multiple cards, one for them and another one or two to share with someone they know who might also be interested in your services.
Place Banner Ads
Cost: $200/month (costs will vary from $0 to thousands, depending on site)
Time Commitment: 2 hours per week
Strategy: This project involves several phases. 1) First you’ll need to identify potential sites that might refer sales-worthy traffic, determine their pricing/trade policies, and decide how much you’re willing to pay and for how long. 2) If you don’t find a banner ad you like in the “Marketing Tools” section of the Reseller Control Center, you can create your own or pay a graphic designer to create one for you. 3) Once you’ve posted your banner, watch the results like a hawk – you want to know how much traffic the site gets, how many clicks your banner receives, and how many sales or new customers you got as a result. 4) Use these numbers to determine the return on your ad investment (Total cost of banner advertising ÷ number of new customers gained = Cost Per Acquisition).
Promote Your Business with Email
Cost: $0 if you use your free Express Email Marketing® Tool
Time Commitment: 1-5 hours per month
Strategy: Use one of more than 50 reseller templates in Express Email Marketing to reach out to your current customers with proven marketing messages. Or create your own electronic newsletter that speaks to your target audience and shows them how your products can help them. Email once a week or once a month – whatever fits into your schedule and makes your audience happy.
Link Building – Make sure you do a marketing campaign with www.cpccci.com – Cost: $1000-$2000
Once you’re done with your advertising review, celebrate! You’ve completed a task that all successful business owners do routinely to keep their businesses on track. Next month we’ll take a look at your target market.