Daily Archives: November 25, 2009

What the Heck is a Campaign and Why Do I Need to Do One?

Many people ask me, “What is a postcard campaign, exactly?” “And why do I need one?” I sigh. I take a deep breath before writing this chapter. This is a biggee. Very important subject. This is the one that is hardest to teach. No matter how I try, no matter how much proof I give, people just don’t want to believe it. But I owe you the truth. So here goes…


cam·paign n.


A series of military operations undertaken to achieve a large-scale objective during a war: Grant’s Vicksburg campaign secured the entire Mississippi for the Union.


An operation or series of operations energetically pursued to accomplish a purpose: an advertising campaign for a new product; a candidate’s political campaign.


intr.v. cam·paigned, cam·paign·ing, cam·paigns


To engage in an operation planned to achieve a certain goal: campaigned through the jungles of Vietnam; campaigned for human rights.


[French campagne, from Italian campagna, field, military operation, from Late Latin campania, open country, battlefield, from Latin campus, field.]


Definition number 2 above is the one we’re using. But from studying the entire definition along with the derivation (the word origin) you can see how all the definitions tie together. Campaigns for marketing are, in a nutshell, a series of advertising steps including repeat mailings that are strategically planned so that there is maximum benefit (more new customers) for your business.


Nota bene (that means “take note” in Latin – and I do mean take note): If you are not doing repeat mailings then you are flushing money down toilet. Sorry, I know. The truth sometimes hurts.


Why is this true? One mailing of one postcard once is barely going to get anyone’s attention for more then the minute they see it. Think about it. How many times have you seen the same TV commercials over and over? A one shot in the dark postcard mailing is not going to change your business, your bottom line, your life or your anything.


So, if you are not up to confronting that you need to do a campaign then maybe you shouldn’t be in business. And that may sound harsh – it is harsh. It’s a harsh world. And I want you to succeed in it.


There is another reason. Credibility. In some cases people will hold onto your postcard for a while. They can hold onto your postcard for six months. They may even hold on to your card for three years. But in most cases they’ll think “Oh, I may need that some day” and then while tidying up they’ll throw it away. When you repeat your mailings to those same people and they see your image, logo, slogan, message over and over you become credible to them. Your chances of them responding just got greater. Repeat mailings cannot be repeated enough.


Why do over 50% of businesses fail within five years? Because they don’t have enough people paying money to them for their services. The bottom line is, they don’t market – they don’t get people buying their stuff. That’s the whole point of marketing.


Yes, of course some promotion is better than no promotion. And sending out a one time mailing is better then never sending any mailing at all. But with a real campaign of repeat mailings you will soon learn to predict your growth. Eventually you will see trends within your own company based on specials or offers on your postcards. You’ll know which offers pull more responses. And if you tabulate your results – meaning if you keep track of how many closes or how much income came off of that promotion… well, you can see where this is going… prediction. You’ll be able to create your campaign based on your results. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s keep it simple. Your income is dependent upon how much communication you put out on a subject. It’s relative to that. And after some time of mailing consistently you will know how much you need to mail in order to bring in the desired dollar amount.


If you put out a blast of communication you will get inflow – prospects, customers calling or coming in and buying. Yes, if you deliver a good product you will get some business from referrals…some. But you want that blast repeated over and over and over to get the inflow that it will generate consistently. And consistency is where prediction comes in. You could almost make a big flow chart of what will happen. Check this out:


Say you send out 5000 postcards.


Out of that 5000, 150 hang onto your postcard.


Out of that 5000, so many call the 1st week.


Out of that 5000, so many call the 2nd week.


Out of that 5000, so many call the next month.


Out of that 5000, so many call in 6 months.


Out of that 5000, so many never call…


There is a dwindling inflow from that first mailing and therefore can give a false impression of what occurs from one mailing. Someone sends out a postcard and says, “I only got four responses from my mailing!” But there is a whole dynamic that is going on that is continuing from that one mailing way after the person who sent the mailing expects things to happen. Think about it. Do you jump at every single advertisement that you get bombarded with that you think is a good idea? If you do, you are either a millionaire or broke. But most likely, you see some advertisement that catches your interest and say to yourself that you’d like to check that out some day. Then, you see it again and remember that you wanted to check that out one day. And then, you see it again and this time you decide to check it out. Or you file it away and when you pay off that credit card, you pull out your file and visit that store that advertised the rug you wanted to buy for your living room.


Victoria’s Secret, Pottery Barn – any reputable catalog company will mail you catalogs multiple times! Are you getting the picture yet? How many Pottery Barn catalogues have you received without ever making a purchase – yet they keep sending them…


You want continuous and consistent growth. So what do you do? Look at this scenario:


What if,


You send out 5000 postcards one week and you have all that going on that I mentioned above.


You send out 5000 the next week and you have all that going on that I mentioned above.


You send out 5000 the next week and that dwindling flow chart is going on, on each one of those outflows.


What is going to happen? Mmmh, let me see… Eventually it is going to snowball – it’s coming in from all different places!


You are really putting your communication out there consistently in a big way.


And yes, it costs a lot of money to do it. (Once you have your list which you’ll use over and over – only paying for it once – postage is more then 55% of your costs) So, FIND THE MONEY. FIND THE MONEY. If you are going to borrow money to do a business, spend that borrowed money on marketing!


This is the thing about capital investment: People get money to start their business. They give themselves a nice big salary, they buy really great furniture, computers, a building, and so forth. That’s not where they should be spending their money. They should be spending their money on marketing and promotion and getting their name out there. And then all that money from the sales that come in should be spent on upgrading their computer or designing a fabulous office. Then and only then.


Back to campaigns and mailing out beaucoup each week. Start with a list and mail to one list one week, another list the next week and another list the following week. Then you rotate those lists – again. And again. And again.


Now you ask – what if you only have one list? You can still rotate one list. And it is always good to put it on a spreadsheet or a flow chart to track what you are doing and what you have already done.


For instance: You get one list of 6000 identities. You can mail to 2000 one week, 2000 the next week and 2000 the third week. Then you rotate. There are your three different lists!


OK, you got the point. The next thing to know about campaigns is that there are two different types of marketing campaigns. There is the campaign to get your customers to keep buying from you so they don’t go elsewhere. And then there is the campaign to get new business in.


Once you have gotten new business in, then those customers (that once were prospects) get the repeat-customer campaign. (There is more information on this later in this manual)


Where does one start?


The first thing you should do when starting out and thinking of a marketing campaign is to start with your own customers.


Say you’ve been in business 5-10 years and have hit a plateau; start by mailing out to your own customers that have been with you and already know you are good. And then once you get your income up a little bit, start the second campaign to market to new customers.


But then, if you have the money just figure out how to do both. Don’t go out to eat quite as much. Don’t buy that new Lexus (yet!). Don’t invest in that piece of real estate right now. Put your money back in your business.


Up to this point if you have made all your money with your business, well then that business is the goose that is laying the golden egg (for the eventual Lexus), so put that money back in your business first. Go ahead and spend the newly earned money on both the new customer and customer retention campaigns.


Sure, be selfish; you earned it but just be patient. Wait until your marketing is really paying off and you couldn’t stop the influx of business if you tried.


Above, I am speaking to someone that has gotten very comfortable in their own income and doesn’t necessarily want to cut their own income to grow their business. But if you have a new business and really only have twelve customers, then you have to do a campaign to get new customers. And it costs money; it will be a big expense.


So buy a used computer. Most of the $10,000 you borrowed from your dad to start up should be spent on marketing. Work out of your bedroom on a used computer, then sell and deliver your product or service. When you’ve sold plenty then you pay yourself (when Dad’s paid off and you actually have money).


To get back to what we were discussing: just mail to the list for a while – and rotate through it. It will pay off, I promise.


A campaign could be as simple as mailing over and over and over again the same postcard to the same list. You’d still be campaigning if you did it this way and you would have results. But you could get closer and closer to an ideal scene with a ‘several-different-message’ campaign. You could design each piece so that it communicates to different types of people. For instance FEAR is a common feeling for people when they are about to make a purchase. You could use this to make your cards communicate how safe it would be to try your product or service – or how awful it could be for them if they don’t. Maybe you can offer a money back guarantee. People also respond to humor. So another card in your campaign could be funny. Different folks will respond to different emotions in advertising.


A VERY successful way to put together a campaign has to do with creating a series of cards and on mailings 2,3,4 and so on all your postcards should look similar. Not the same, but similar. You could do a three-card, four-card, five-card campaign. Look and feel should match. Your logo is in the same place each time, your color scheme is the same, etc.


You have got to come up with your look and feel beforehand. I suggest that you design and mail the first one and check for results. You can tweak it, but choose your basic colors FIRST. Do a little research. Which colors communicate to you the most? Be your own survey person. Love your mail piece. Don’t sign off on anything a designer came up with if you don’t love it. You’ll imbue it with results. It’ll pull better if you love it…sounds nutty, but it’s true.


One thing about campaigns is that you have to commit to a campaign. Commit. Wherever you buy your marketing services from, commit to a campaign. Let them design all five pieces at once. I don’t suggest printing them all at once. Tweak the design on the others if you need to as you go.


Consumers rarely get multiple postcards from a business. Yet it is such a brilliant idea. When I receive multiple postcards, I take a look. I think, “Hmmm, these guys are still contacting me.” That shows persistence, it shows credibility. You are building credibility with a campaign. That is the point. So, hit ‘em again, Sam.


A campaign is mailing to the same people over and over and over again. The point is you want to hit your prospects with different communication about the same thing or hit them with different products with the same look and feel or both. The rest will come. A great movie had a great quote that is well remembered but not necessarily true, “Build it and they will come.” Ever hear that? People think that it means if you put a building there people will come. Or they think if you build a web site then people will automatically visit it. No, you have to drive customers to your business. So, “Build it and they will come” should actually have been “Build your marketing campaign and they will come”. Because what you are building with a marketing campaign is credibility. You are building your business through communication. You are communicating consistently, so much that people will believe you (credibility) and they will respond; they will come, they will spend.

Joy Gendusa founded PostcardMania in 1998, her only assets a computer and a phone. By 2005 the company did over $12 million in sales, employed over 100 people and made Inc. Magazine’s prestigious Inc. 500 List. She attributes her explosive growth to her ability to choose incredible staff and her innate marketing savvy. As an Expert Author, she is always willing to share her marketing advice through articles, interviews and speaking engagements; visit www.postcardmania.com

Pottery Barn Couches in Vinings for Sale

Pottery Barn Couches in Vinings for Sale. I am not to flexible on the price because I want to keep them, so kindly and with respect if you are interested — come to buy or pre-qualify yourself by e-mailing jbellatl@charter.net, and CCing marylesliehardy@yahoo.com, as well as jbell@silverpop.com (my BB). There are no rips or tears they are in pristine condition.

Bridal Registry Etiquette – Register for What you Really Want,but Keep your Guests in Mind

You can register for wedding gifts even if youâ??re marrying on short notice, or if youâ??ve been married before, in fact, registries are an incredible convenience for guests. The following ideas will assist you in choosing registry items wisely and with consideration for your guests:

ï?§ Think carefully about what you want and need

ï?§ Leave the choice of gifts to your guests

ï?§ Register for items in various price ranges

ï?§ When possible, register with national chains and/or catalog services

ï?§ Donâ??t register for the same items at different stores

ï?§ Inform guests of your registries via word of mouth

ï?§ Donâ??t include any lists of registries in your wedding invitation

The point of a registry is to make the gift selection process easier on your guests, not to bully them or compel them to spend more money than they bargained for. A well-rounded registry should have items in various price ranges, with most costing between $30-$100. Register at more than one store. Because so many couples are now interested in registering for non-traditional bridal gifts, single-store registries are no longer the rule.

Below is a list of some popular bridal registries:

ï?§ Bed Bath & Beyond

ï?§ Bloomingdaleâ??s

ï?§ Crate and Barrel

ï?§ JCPenney

ï?§ Macyâ??s

ï?§ Pottery Barn

ï?§ Targetâ??s Club Wedd

ï?§ Williams-Sonoma

When it comes to online gift registries, WeddingChannel canâ??t be beat, they have partnered with more than 15 major department store chains, including Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn and Federated (owner of Macyâ??s and Bloomingdaleâ??s). Any bride who registers offline at a WeddingChannel partner store automatically receives a free website, where her registry is posted.

Your registry is your opportunity to communicate your earnest wishes for your selection of dinnerware, silverware, crystal, kitchen gadgets, linens, cookware, small appliances, etc. Your selections are an expression of your new life as a married couple and will last for years to come. Your wedding planner, bridal consultant or home coordinator will be able to help you in the selection process and pick out items that you may not have considered.

The bridal registry is a wonderful tradition. With a lot of couples now tying the knot for a second time, sharing a home before marriage, or just living more informally, the bridal registry has become a way to make it easier for family and friends to give brides and grooms all sorts of wedding gifts. Itâ??s okay to register and inform people once youâ??re engaged.

Adam O’Connor is the owner of http://www.handheldguru.com which provides free information on handheld electronics. He is an expert in this industry and his website helps people find helps people find answers to questions like how can you compare PDA’s or what is the best pocket PC for you.

Pottery Barn

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Top 5 Ways to Find Product That Sell on Ebay

There is a variety of ways to make a substantial income on eBay. Here are the best ways to find product to sell on eBay.

#1 Sales and Clearance

Most people start here with sales items and clearance. There are a few great ways to find product on sale that will make you a profit on eBay. First you want to make sure that the product is marked down at least 50% to allow yourself a decent profit after eBay fees. People will generally purchase an item on eBay for 30% below manufacture’s suggested retail price.

Department stores are a great place to find product to sell. Quite often department stores will have days where there is an additional 30-40% off sale items which is the best time to buy up for eBay since quite often this product is still current too.

Another way to get a great deal is to talk to a manager about getting a discount on entire clearance rack in a clothing store such as Abercrombie. Quite often they will give you an additional 50% off the sale price if you will take the entire rack off their hands.

Occasionally you can find hot sellers at discount stores like Big Lots so keep your eyes open.

#2 Product Available In Your Area, But Not Everywhere

You may have stores in your area that people do not have in other parts of the country such as outlet stores. For example, a top seller on eBay is Coach Handbags. The only place you can get Coach Handbags at a price discounted enough to make a profit on eBay is from a Coach outlet.

Specialty chain stores are also great sellers such as Pottery Barn clearance items. Many parts of the country do not have access to a Pottery Barn except through the catalogue and the miss out on in store sales.

#3 Classified Ads in Your Area

The first time we tried this we found a brand new sealed-in-box laser copier for $200 and we saw that it was going for $400 at Office Depot so we knew we could bank on this item. We hurried over and picked up the copier. The guy selling the copier could sense our excitement and made a comment that he might be underselling the machine. We sold the copier for $380 on eBay. Nice profit for an hour of work!

#4 Wholesalers

Once you start growing your business on eBay it will come to a point where purchasing from wholesalers makes the most sense because you can set up a standard operating procedure for your business that will keep it organized as you grow. Finding 10-20 top sellers on eBay through a wholesaler could easily ensure a six figure income without having to run around town and constantly create new ads. Pick a niche that you are interested in and that sells on eBay, and then look for wholesalers in that category.

You will need to be set up as a business to start purchasing from wholesalers with a valid EIN and Resellers Certificate.

#5 Buying Products Directly From the Manufacturers

China is by far the largest resource for product directly from the manufacturer. It can seem overwhelming purchasing from China for the first time. A good place to start to find product and manufacturers are the following sites:

www.Made-In-China.com

www.Alibaba.com

Just contact the company through email that you are interested in their product and they will guide you through the whole process. Usually there are large minimum order requirements, but most companies are willing to allow a few sample orders so you can test the market for the product before investing thousands of dollars. These companies will also guide you through shipping and customs. Be careful buying known brand names since many are fake. Ordering from China is best for product where people aren’t sold by the brand name but the function of the product.

Good Luck selling one eBay!

Ben Stevens

OnlineInstantProfits.com

© Online Instant Profits

Ben Stevens is a successful online entrepreneur who started out making a living on eBay and has expanded into other markets including investing, internet marketing, and product sales online making him a fortune. Ben enjoys sharing how he got to where he is today with other visionaries like himself so they can attain the same level of income. That is the primary reason he established the site
OnlineInstantProfits.com

? Online Instant Profits

Pottery Barn Kids

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Diy Home Decorating Ideas: Revamp Within Your Budget

DIY home decorating ideas abound on the television program of today, having gained in popularity over the past twenty years or so, with many of us learning new skills from leaflets freely available in all the big DIY superstores. Government legislation in the UK has precluded many DIY-ers, especially in the realms of electrical and plumbing work and, following the introduction of the HIP Packs into UK Conveyancing, where documentation has to be provided for all and any alterations to your property, DIY at its greatest popularity has slipped down a notch or two. However, even after those disastrous MDF makeover programs lost favor, people are still enthusiastic about DIY and not paying out for expensive labor costs unless it is absolutely necessary.

One way that is bound to increase the value of your property is revamping your bathroom, with new bath, handbasin and toilet, together with separate shower if you have the room available. If you are on a budget, replacing taps and showerheads and putting some attractive cabinets in the bathroom will achieve a dramatic effect without too much outlay. With any DIY project, I would be inclined to go for the easiest first – take a look at whether your curtains, floors and other fabrics need to be replaced. They might be looking a little worn and, in replacing these, it may not be necessary to go to major expenses associated with a full redecoration project.

Try changing your tired old carpet with more modern hardwood or laminate flooring. If your hardwood is looking tired, sanding and re-staining should give it a new lease of life and, to brighten it up further, give is a few coats of varnish. There are many other flooring options such as textured rubber, vinyl or tiles – in fact, on one of my DIY shopping trips I found the most attractive textured floor tiles which, when laid, resembled hardwood flooring so closely that I could only tell the difference when I was just a few inches away from the tiles. They weren’t especially costly – but they certainly looked it!

Some people assume that decorating needs to incorporate only the most expensive looks but some of my friends’ homes actually look lived-in – they have achieved that ‘tatty’ look where everything looks almost chaos but, in fact, as one of my friends admitted, it took quite a bit of ingenuity to achieve the look without going too far. I can see her point – she has gone for stripped down doors which she bought from a junkyard, stripped bare wood shelves inset into her alcoves and the walls are all finished in an off-white Artex-type finish to give them the rustic look. Thankfully, she left the ceilings alone and did not go for the mock-antique beams. She has an old rocking chair which she bought from an antique shop and children’s toys on view on the shelves [these are for accent only]. She admitted to me that the toys are simply there as interior décor focal points and that all the children’s toys are actually put away in their own rooms upstairs.

As I said, it works and, if you are careful about not over-doing the décor and going too far, the effect is fantastic. Her home is warm and friendly, spotlessly clean, but has that dog-eared tired look which you can only achieve if you work hard at it. My family room is much the same – the dogs make sure of that! No matter how many times I clear up in a day, there is always chewed-up paper and card on the floor, with a few strategic slippers, elaborately chewed, strewn about the place. Who needs interior decorators when they have dogs?

Your choice of flooring is limited only by your taste and budget. Rip up the old carpet and replace it with contemporary hardwood flooring or laminate flooring. If you already have hardwood, simply sanding and re-staining it or giving it a clear finish may give your rooms the lift they need. Other flooring replacements that can transform a room include tile, vinyl, linoleum, or textured rubber.
(ARA) – So many of us find ourselves in the same decorating boat – a home filled with a few family heirlooms, flea market or tag sale finds, and maybe even one or two treasures from a successful dumpster dive. You love them all, but how do you combine high and low design pieces to create a unified and polished look for your home?

First says Marjorie Marcellus, an interior design instructor at The Art Institute of California – San Francisco, forget about the cost of a piece. “A successful interior is not determined by the cost of its components. For a space to work, it needs to have balance and harmony,” says Marcellus. Finishes and home furnishings should relate to each other as part of an overall design scheme, but “that doesn’t mean they have to match, be of the same era, same price or quality,” she explains.

For example, says Marcellus, “I placed an expensive slab of marble onto a salvage-yard industrial black metal stand and then added four black bargain stools from Pottery Barn.” The similar finishes of the materials made it work. The result? “A custom kitchen table for my client’s urban loft. Topped with a delicate antique vase, fresh wild flowers and colorful cloth napkins from IKEA, the outcome was unexpected and delightful,” says Marcellus.

Suzanne Wilkins, an interior design instructor at The Art Institute of New York City, is another proponent of mixing both high and low design elements. A basic rule of thumb, says Wilkins, is to avoid having a less expensive item next to a more expensive similar item.

“Too many similarities invite comparison, and may make the less expensive things look cheap,” she says. Instead, pair precious things with inexpensive finds by following two rules of thumb: keep it simple and clean lined, or keep it funky. According to Wilkins, simple clean lines naturally look expensive, and we associate clean lines with a more modern and expensive look.

On the other hand, she says, funky items can often stand alone and speak for themselves. But use them sparingly. For example, a nice grouping of African masks can add a lot of texture and color and can be found inexpensively in flea markets. To make it work, don’t use more than three or four or in more than one location, says Wilkins.

Dan Noyes, chairman of the Interior Design department at The Art Institutes International, Minnesota, loves to combine modern pieces with weathered antiques, “to create a wonderful gypsy chic look.” Whether high end or low end, an antique’s patina and unique character flaws can set it apart from a great, modern piece of furniture, he says.

Furniture pieces themselves can combine the best of both high and low end design features says John Gambell, chairman of the Interior Design department of The Art Institute of New England. For a stylish-looking dining or end table, Gambell suggests taking a simple and inexpensive parsons-styled table (Ikea is a good source) and add a made-to-order stone top of either slate or marble. ” A small ‘reveal’ between the base and the top wood appear to make the top float,” says Gambell.

A few final words of wisdom about mixing high and low end design from the experts: When shopping at stores like Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn, pick a few pieces from each instead of outfitting an entire room with one look. “Mix it up,” says Wilkins. And remember, be patient and shop around. What makes a room look rich and expensive, no matter what the budget, is time.

Home Decorating Ideas offers quick cheap tips on how to decorate your house. Includes tips on decorating the office, living room, bedroom, kitchen and more.