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For many homebased entrepreneurs, marketing their product or service doesn't come naturally. If your specialty is creating complicated software, for example, what would you know about the details of direct-mail campaigns? Nonetheless, the survival of your business depends largely on finding clients. That's where Marketing Ink comes in. This monthly marketing newsletter is full of tips to help you get your product out there where customers can see it.
Recent topics Marketing Ink featured include:
*establishing a marketing communications budget
*how to make your brochure a successful selling tool
*selling benefits, not features
*direct mail's 60-30-10 rule
"Marketing Ink is particularly effective for small homebased businesses because it provides low-cost, high-yield marketing strategies that can be implemented quickly and easily," says Jim Stephens, co-owner with his wife, Rebecca, of Denver-based Creative Ink Marketing Communications, which publishes the newsletter.
"We designed Marketing Ink for small businesses that want to promote their product or service but don't know how to do it effectively," explains Rebecca.
This newsletter is a great resource for practical marketing communications information. The Stephenses don't just deliver fluff--they give their readers all the details. In the May issue of Marketing Ink, for example, a brief article on effective radio spots advised readers to get the first spot in a lump of ads, spell out your company's phone number (800-FLOWERS), what time to air the spot and much more.
Annual subscriptions cost $69. For a free sample issue, call (800) 749-5409 or visit the company's Web site at http://www.marketing-ink.com
Julie Clairmont is a Walnut, California, freelance writer who specializes in marketing communications topics.
For years, entrepreneurs have used Standard & Poor's Register of Corporations, Directors and Executives to target prospects. Now this bible of useful information on American companies is more conveniently packaged in a CD-ROM version.
This great marketing tool makes pinpointing prospects simple--business owners can instantly access this vast database of information with the touch of a button. The program offers hundreds of ways to target businesses and search for prospects. It includes names and titles of 400,000 executives, profiles of 70,000 key executives, and useful data on the top 55,000 corporations in the United States.
You can use the CD-ROM to:
*identify decision makers and key contacts
*target companies by size, revenue or number of employees
*select companies by state, city, zip code, area code and other geographical factors
*search by SIC code
Also, check out the special direct-marketing version of Standard & Poor's Register CD-ROM, which comes with label-making capability for all of your direct-mail campaigns.
To order a free demo CD-ROM or for more information about Standard & Poor's Register, call (800) 221-5277.
The A List
Cleaning up your in-house mailing list with a National Change of Address (NCOA) scan from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) could save you hundreds of dollars on your next direct mailing.
The USPS developed the NCOA system several years ago and awarded licenses to a small number of private companies nationwide to perform the scans. A scan offers the following benefits:
*It increases the deliverability of direct mailings.
*It standardizes all addresses.
*It offers address change data on tape, cartridge or diskette.
*It updates your mailing list before a mailing is made.
Licensed NCOA system companies receive the change of address information from the USPS National Customer Support Center, which updates its master files every two weeks. For more information, contact your local post office or visit the Web site at http://www.usps.gov
What's Your Hook?
Would you remember a photographer who introduced himself by saying: "If you feel like shooting your relatives, call Photos By Tom"? Or how about a hairstylist with the motto: "If your hair isn't becoming to you, you should be coming to me"?
Dr. Ivan Misner, a college professor and entrepreneur who heads up Business Network International (BNI) in San Dimas, California, a large networking organization, believes hooks like these keep you in prospects' minds long after you've met them.
"Businesses can develop 50 to 90 percent of their sales through networking and the referrals it generates," says Misner, author of Seven Second Marketing (Bard Books). "The key to getting those referrals is twofold. First, you must provide a top-notch product or service; second, you must make it as easy as possible for people to remember your name. A memory hook is an excellent way to accomplish that."
A memory hook is a brief statement about you and your business, which you should use within the first seven seconds of meeting someone.
Seven Second Marketing offers more than 200 examples of real-life businesspeople who are using memory hooks to market their businesses. The book offers tactics anyone can use to develop a memory hook, including how to use humor, word play, puns and rhymes. For instance, a hot tub company describes itself this way: "We want to get you in hot water." You get the idea.
Your Name Here
Looking for just the right mouse pad to emblazon your software company's name across? How about a headband to keep your tennis equipment company's name on people's minds? You may be surprised to learn there's a one-stop shop on the Web that features a huge array of promotional products. PromoMart (a href=http://www.promomart.com>http://www.promomart.com ) is a cyberstore of promotional products and services designed to help businesses plan a promotion from start to finish.
"The PromoMart site was designed so people don't have to search all over the Internet to find promotional products," says Stephanie Schaeffer, PromoMart's Internet project manager.
PromoMart offers three ways to search for promotion ideas: by type of promotion, type of business or industry, or type of audience. The site can even hook up users with a consultant in their area who can help them with campaign ideas and marketing needs.
Shoppers can browse through the online catalog of products or scan Imprint, an online version of the company's magazine that covers the latest in promotional strategies, products, incentives and marketing trends. The on-site PromoMart Products Planning Calendar tells users about unique events, ideas and themes that companies use to tie their promotions and programs into national events.
"Promotional products can be used to build goodwill, motivate employees or create traffic at a trade show," says Schaeffer.
PromoMart also holds a drawing every month. Users can register for the prize--$1,000 worth of free promotional products of the winner's choice--when they visit the site.
Business Network International, (909) 305-1818
Creative Ink Marketing Communications, (303) 743-7891, http://www.marketing-ink.com
PromoMart, P.O. Box 190, Villanova, PA 19085-9622, http://www.promomart.com
Standard & Poor's Register, 25 Broadway, New York, NY 10004, (800) 221-5277