How about a few hot summer marketing ideas?

  With the temperatures rising and more people out and about, it’s time to look at a few quick and simple marketing ideas that could generate hot sales for your business.    Enjoy the summer!
   Signature marketing program: Signatures. The small text files you set to appear at the bottom of each e-mail message you send out. Are you using them to market your products and services? Change your signature file weekly to promote a different product or service you offer. Large organizations: Create a signature marketing program. Create a collection of signatures and rotate the signature use in all departments. Be sure to tie signature URLs to landing pages on your web site so you can track the traffic and inquiries.
   How many links do you have? Link popularity is the total number of web sites that link to your site. Do you know how many sites link to yours? Most of the major search engines now factor link popularity into their relevancy algorithms. As a result, increasing the number of quality, relevant sites which link to your site can actually    improve your search engine rankings. Find your ranking now:
   Comparison Sheets Show the Real Winner: Show how your products are better than those of your main competitor by creating a simple three-column 8-1/2 inch by 11 inch comparison sheet that can be used during a sales presentation or as a "leave behind." The far left-hand column should contain the comparison factors (cost, time-savings, delivery, other benefits, etc.) The middle column should contain your product’s comparison factors (in response to the left-hand column), with your competition’s factors in the far right-hand column. Keep the copy short and to the point. The prospect should be able to "get the message" with a quick "read through,"
Overnight Mail Draws Attention: Use next-day delivery (with its wonderful oversized envelope) to grab the attention of an important prospect. It gets opened immediately and is worth the price if you’re trying to shorten the sales cycle.
   Make Your Invoices Work Harder: Your paper invoices hold a key to more sales. It’s called blank space. Use this space for small ads to promote other products and services that your current customers may not know you offer. This works great for fax cover sheets as well.
   eBay Your Surplus: One client takes all their returns and “old inventory” and sells it on eBay twice a month to recoup their costs and turn surplus inventory into cash. They even have an eBay location in their warehouse for this inventory and an outside company comes in to handle all the selling and headaches for a cut of the revenue.
Line ‘Em Up: A new restaurant owner wanted to attract attention to his place without spending a lot of money. How did he do it? By offering 10 of his friends and family members free dinners in exchange for some "line time." On opening week, he had his 10 volunteers line up outside the front door of his restaurant during evening rush hour to create the impression that his new restaurant was packed and that it was difficult to get in. The volunteers entered the restaurant, went out the back door and got in line over and over again. Folks driving by got the idea that "this restaurant must be good" and many gave it a try.
   Childhood Marketing: Most people buy products due to an "emotional response." Remember that the "baby boomer" folks are now in their early 50s. Have some "boomers" as prospects? Gain their attention by reminding them about the good things of their childhood through your marketing. Here are some examples of how "childhood marketing" can work to attract business: A graphic artist sent the 64-Crayola crayon pack (with the crayon sharpener!) to ad agency art directors with a note that creativity never grows old, while a freelance copywriter sent out blank black-and-white marbled composition books (remember grammar school?) to marketing directors at large companies with a note: the blank page is no problem. Sell the emotions!
   Reading Can Be Fundamental: For business: A smart real estate agent we know goes the extra mile to make sure the children of the family are remembered. She orders a year’s subscription to a children’s magazine for each child in the house. She delivers a copy of the magazine personally on move-in day and tells the child to watch the mailbox for the next issue. This can help the child feel more welcome and a bit more comfortable in new surroundings. This also reminds the parents of her kindness every time a new magazine issue arrives.
   What can you do today to make your sales sizzle?

Tom Dorr is the director of the Small Business Development Center at Western Washington University.

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