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Good Ideas

Tips to revitalize your marketing strategy

The guerrilla we know encourages word-of-mouth marketing by offering to send discount coupons to friends of her customers. She also writes personal letters to 25 customers each week. She sends 1,500 letters to customers each month. She includes her home phone number on her business cards. Now there's a guerrilla hard at work. Want to follow her example? Try incorporating these ideas into your marketing strategy:

Serious about networking? If so, build a personal relationship. Exchange business cards, make notes on the back of each card you get, then send notes to new contacts telling them it was a pleasure meeting them and indicating an interest in talking later. If they are prime prospects, get back to them.

Guerrillas are using audio newsletters to stay in touch with on-the-road salespeople without bombarding them with paperwork. The best audio newsletters blend comedy and business, motivation and information.

Want to know the best way to get through to a prospect? Send a letter, then follow it up with a phone call. Next best is a referral. Then comes a cold call, then a personal visit. At the bottom of the list is a single direct mailing, no matter how unique.

Don't say "We have a policy of no refunds after 30 days, so I cannot return your money." Instead, say "Our usual policy is not to issue a refund after 30 days, but we don't want any unsatisfied customers. What would you consider a fair deal?" Customers love it when you bend the rules for them.

The biggest mistake made by print advertisers of today? Tough question. Easy answer: It's failing to answer the reader's question, "What's in it for me?"

What do guerrillas do that is never taught in marketing classes but increases sales and intensifies relationships? They communicate with customers even when they are not trying to sell something. That's relationship marketing.

Guerrilla editing tip: To better edit your own writing, make a copy of what you wrote, mail it to yourself and then read it. Notice how your detachment enables you to edit more objectively.

Use television, guerrilla style: All guerrilla books and talks urge TV advertisers to view their commercials with the sound off because TV is a visual medium.

If you plan to lure prospects with a freebie, be sure to research your freebie first. Guerrillas not only research the best promotions, but they also research the best premiums for their target audiences. Problems arise when freebies aren't matched with the audience, or if the freebie breaks or wears out in a hurry.

How do guerrillas answer objections? They use consumer testimonials on audiotape. Using the tape differentiates the salesperson from competing reps and boosts the salesperson's own enthusiasm. Nice, inexpensive idea.

To increase direct-mail response, use handwritten envelopes, commemorative stamps, personalized notes in mailers and ink-pen signatures. And don't forget the power of a P.S. or a teaser line on the envelope.

If you want to make the most of business-to-business marketing on the Net, offer a reward for a faxed or e-mailed order before a cut-off date, change your offer frequently, or make the ordering process the very essence of simplicity.

When to give: Gifts for customers work best after the sale to say thank you, after receiving a referral, on the anniversary of the customer becoming a customer, on the customer's birthday or on a holiday such as Valentine's Day.

Guerrilla fax facts: Personalization is critical, so do it as much as you can; add an easy response mechanism such as "To order, sign here and fax back"; avoid faxing photos and detailed graphics because they don't fax very well; don't overuse the fax--use it only when you need to convey a sense of urgency.

Jay Conrad Levinson is the father of Guerrilla Marketing, the bestselling marketing series in history, selling more than 14 million copies worldwide. He is chairman of Guerrilla Marketing International. His latest books include Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days, 2nd. Edition with Al Lautenslager, Guerrilla Marketing on the Internet with Mitch Meyerson and Mary Eule Scarborough, and Startup Guide to Guerrilla Marketing with Jeannie Levinson.

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