If you’re a business owner, you’re likely already lamenting a new year filled with nail biting and money woes. Now’s the time to stop worrying and start working on a multi-channel marketing strategy that will have you generating revenue rather than cutting expenses in the upcoming year.
You suspended pay raises and
bonuses. You canceled the cable for the TV in the breakroom. You haven’t taken
a full paycheck since the end of the summer. You even whittled the once-lavish
holiday party down to a few cheese and veggie trays from the supermarket and a
name-drawn gift exchange with a $10 limit. Yes, if there was an expense to be
cut, you slashed it. And yet, your QuickBooks balance sheet is far from
reassuring. What next? If you want to survive the economic slump, the start of
2009 is the perfect time to move your focus from cutting expenses to revving up
some revenue-boosting marketing efforts.
you’ve cut your expenses to the bone, you must
get back into revenue-producing mode. And while there is no easy way to bring in
revenue during a recession, success hinges on implementing the right mix of
marketing efforts. Remember, motivated, financially capable businesses and
consumers do exist, but if you aren’t getting in front of them, you are leaving
their money on the table.
The trick? Multi-channel marketing-combining new concepts, such as
search engine marketing and social media, with tried and true methods like
direct space advertising and public relations-to reach a wider customer base,
build customer loyalty, and increase sales.
many businesses just aren’t taking advantage of all of the (surprisingly affordable)
marketing channels that have opened up for them-an especially deadly mistake in
a slow economy.
in the 21st century is extremely cost effective. Many of the
channels that have opened up are cheap and easy to test, so that a company can quickly
see which marketing messages and channels are working for them and which aren’t.
These channels allow you to market more without
spending more money.
key is direct marketing. This method offers many advantages: low cost of
entry, plenty of markets, and the ability to accurately measure the impact of
your marketing efforts on sales. It includes radio, television, magazine and
newspaper ads, catalogs, and sales letters sent through the mail, and now,
advertising via the Internet.
multi-channel marketing offers customers more than one way to buy from your
company. And in a downturned economy, you can never be overexposed.
Here are a few seeds of knowledge from Changing the Channel that will help
companies of all shapes and sizes generate revenue and grow their business,
both in today’s sluggish economy and the better economies of the future:
Strong customer relationships = more
revenue. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of multi-channel marketing is
that it provides great customer relationship-building opportunities. Direct
mail and direct e-mail allow companies to stay in front of their customers.
Telemarketing provides the opportunity to offer additional services, via the
telephone, that they may be very interested in buying. And event marketing
provides an opportunity to create a great, fun experience for clients.
Naturally, it’s easier to
get your current customers to buy from you than it is to bring in a large, new
batch of customers. By using the right marketing channels, you can keep your
customers constantly thinking about your company and what special offers it
might be making. Creating loyal customers will be money in the bank for you.
Direct mail is still a viable marketing
channel. If you wrote off direct mail when direct e-mail became easier or
if you’ve always associated direct mail with get-rich-quick schemes and used
cars, now’s the time for a re-evaluation of this useful marketing channel.
First of all, unlike e-mail marketing, which is regulated by anti-spamming
laws, direct mail can be completely unsolicited, allowing you to reach out to
people who may not already be familiar with your product or business. Secondly,
because you can easily test which direct mail pieces are successful and which
ones aren’t, it is an especially safe and fast way to market a business or
product in a slow economy.
Direct mail advertising
makes more sense today than it ever has. And it has always been a sensationally
effective way to sell products. Because of the low expense of direct e-mail
marketing, marketers can test their headlines and leads to potential customers before
going to the expense of printing and mailing it. It is a very cost effective
way to attract new customers to your business.
Let direct e-mail help you pick the
low-hanging fruit. A successful direct e-mail marketing campaign is a great
revenue-booster. Direct e-mail allows you to send frequent, strong market
messages to those
loyal customers who buy almost any product your company offers them. The good
news is that in an economy that has you pinching every penny this marketing
channel is easy to implement and is so cheap that you can communicate with
customers almost as much as you want. It is also easy to test offers, see
what’s working, and quickly make changes to generate more sales.
A solid direct e-mail
campaign is a great trick to have up your sleeve. The extremely low cost of
delivery is only the beginning of this method’s benefits. You can also monitor,
in detail, customer reaction to your ad. You can, for example, find out if they
clicked on a link in the e-mail to read the full promotion. You can also see
the results, whether they are taking you up on your offer, immediately-an important
factor when you are operating in a business environment where every dollar
Don’t avoid social media. Many business
owners view social networking as too tricky for them to get involved with. And
that’s a shame. When used correctly, social media allows you to put your
message in front of potentially huge numbers of people. You can create outbound
campaigns to blogs and forums and chat rooms. You can start your own blog. You
can stimulate conversation on social media sites about you, your business,
and/or your products by publishing special reports or covering news or sending
out targeted surveys or questionnaires. If you do these things gradually and
organically and with a solid message, you can win over the users of these sites
and build profitable relationships with them.
company website is a great place to start. Build a strong social forum by
giving customers who visit the site interesting articles or study results and
inviting them to share their thoughts and feelings. The customers in your forum
will tell you what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong; there’s no
need to waste money on a customer survey. Heeding the advice you receive is
likely to translate into dollars for your company.
Find new customers through search engine marketing (SEM). If there has ever been a
time to expand your customer base, it’s now. And search engine marketing (SEM)
can help you do just that. Any company able to get its site to the top of the
results page on one of the major search engines can count on garnering targeted
traffic already interested in what it has to offer. Such visitors are likely to
sign up for a company’s e-newsletter, buy its products, and keep coming back
for more. Not only is SEM inexpensive and sometimes even free, it’s an
invaluable way for companies to find their ideal customers.
SEM helps you narrow down
a pool of millions and millions of Web surfers to one that includes only those
already interested in your product or service. It’s the best way to market your
name, ideas, website, and products to people who want what you’re offering. It
makes the task of turning them into paying customers much easier.
Use PR to enlist the media to spread the word about your company. What’s so great about
public relations? Well, first of all, it’s nearly free. If you have a decent
writer on staff, your only cost will be the event you’re publicizing (if one
exists) and the miniscule amount it takes to mail or e-mail out press releases.
Furthermore, when it works, it can work like wildfire, going from local to
regional to national-and even to international-audiences faster than it takes
to write up a marketing plan for a conventional advertising campaign. The trick
is creating successful stories. To do that, you must know the media you
want to reach and understand what kind of stories their consumers delight in.
For example, a
company wanting to be picked up by USA
Today might consider creating a public relations story that ties into a U.S.
trend. That’s because USA Today tends
to focus on smaller, human interest stories that are angled toward current
trends while leaving the serious news to papers like the New York Times or Wall Street
Target your press releases to the specific publications and
media outlets whose customers you want to reach. Rather than sending out a
thousand general releases about a story that has general appeal, it’s much more
effective to send out a dozen or so targeted press releases containing stories
that are exactly right for the intended audiences. And always make sure the
press releases going out contain one of two elements: news about subjects the
publication’s readers are already interested in and captivating and/or curious
tidbits to fill in their gaps.
Don’t go it alone. In this tough
economy, it can be comforting to hear from business owners who are fighting
tooth and nail to keep their businesses open just like you. But have you ever
considered joining forces with them? When a joint venture is executed properly,
it doesn’t subtract from a business; it adds to it. There are many ways to
approach joint ventures. The best opportunities are those that pair up
businesses with asymmetrical resources and skills.
Agora, Inc., is a
great example of what joint ventures can do for a business. When the company started
out, it was very good at direct mail marketing, but its employees had very
little investment expertise. Rather than attempt to develop financial gurus
in-house, Agora sought out investment writers who had newsletters with few
subscribers. It then proposed a joint venture, with both sides as 50 percent
partners. The investment writer would continue to own his subscribers and his
editorial product, would continue to have all the fulfillment obligations, and
would hire Agora to act as his newsletter’s marketing agent. Agora would take
all the risk with the marketing efforts and keep the revenue stream. The
partner would get the new subscribers risk-free.
For a financial writer
with limited marketing resources, it was a no-risk, all-reward proposition. For
Agora, it was an efficient way to attract first-rate writing talent-some with
established reputations and great track records in making stock tips. In that time, the company
saw revenues climb from $1 million to more than $60 million.
To find a JV soul mate,
think about the major players in your marketplace. Consider the strengths and
weaknesses of each and how your company might benefit from working with them.
Next, create a list of potential partners along with a strategy for approaching
them and a compelling argument for how they could benefit from the joint partnership.
After a necessary period of negotiation and implementation, the relationship
should grow well and quickly and painlessly. The idea is to develop joint
venture relationships that are easy to maintain, financially profitable,
intellectually rewarding, and long lasting.
Learn the art of the
pay-per-click ad. Pay-per-click ads are typically small. On Google, they are usually
limited to four lines of text-a headline, two lines of body copy, and your URL.
Because this is a very technical channel and marketing tactic, many
business owners and even marketing directors leave it up to their “techies” to
put together their PPC campaign. This is a big, big mistake. Think of it this
way: Would you have your computer guy write your direct e-mail advertising? Of course
not. You’d hire a professional copywriter. And that’s exactly who should create
your PPC ad.
The trick is to make the copy both crisp and compelling. Generally, it’s
a good idea to create a URL that describes the product being sold. That way, if
people type the URL directly into their browser, they have an idea of what to
expect. The body of the PPC ad should offer an enticing and, if possible,
immediate benefit to the reader. So, if your site is DiscountedDishes.com, the
body of your ad might read, “Millions of discontinued plates.” The
headline should be unusual or newsworthy in order to grab the prospective
customers’ attention. Something like “Designer China Rip-offs” can convince a
prospect to click on one company’s ad rather than another one that has a more
To save big bucks on print and radio ads,
take the leftovers. Whenever possible, try to purchase remnant ad space. This is ad space
that has not been sold to advertisers in time for deadline in print media or
air-time in radio. It is also referred to as remainder advertising or
last-minute advertising space. Buying remnant space can be a huge money saver
for companies that are looking to market in these channels but are short on marketing
dollars. Here’s how it works: Find out the media outlet’s deadline; then call
right before that deadline and start your negotiations.
About five years ago, we
bought a full-page ad in USA Today for the discounted price of $1,500. We were
advertising a $24 book on investing and would need only 63 orders to break
even. Because the newspaper’s circulation was nearly 2 million at the time,
getting 63 orders, which was a .00315 percent response, seemed like a very
reasonable expectation. We ended up with 217 book orders. That’s an ROI of 347
percent on the $1,500 investment-proof that in the age of the Internet you can
still bring in a sizable chunk of revenue through a good old fashioned print
Test, test, test. In multi-channel marketing, thinking means nothing; it’s
what a company knows that counts. To determine if prospective customers
will buy what you’re selling, your marketers should test the waters.
Consider how we
decided on the title for the new book. We had five potentially good titles, so
we put all five in Google PPC ads to determine which one would really resonate
with people who needed the kind of information we’re providing here. Well,
based on the results of those ads, Changing
the Channel won hands down. And it is a title that neither of us authors
came up with; it came from someone on the Early to Rise staff.
Keep in mind that the key here is
not that you use one of these marketing techniques. You use a mix of several of
them. If you just use one, you are missing out on lots of potential revenue and
prospective customers, because you will be leaving large swaths of your market
So, put together
your multi-channel marketing campaign now. Throw up a couple of PPC ads…start growing your opt-in
list and send out a few e-mails…have lunch with an industry expert and ask if she’d
be interested in doing a joint venture…. Your company-and your bank account-are sure to
About the Authors:
not your typical businessman. An ex-Peace Corps volunteer, he never took a
class in business, doesn’t read the business press, and doesn’t like to talk
business. He spends his spare time writing poetry, collecting fine art, and
practicing Brazilian Jujitsu. His neighbors call him a bohemian capitalist. And
with good reason.
He wrote his first poem
when he was 10 years old and started his first business a year later. Since
then, he has written more than a thousand poems and short stories and played an
integral part in dozens of successful businesses in a variety of industries.
In 1999 Michael helped
launch EarlytoRise.com, an Internet-based company that provides
advice and training in “health, wealth, and wisdom.” Started initially as an
informal weekly e-mail to a handful of his protégés, it quickly morphed into a
$28 million enterprise.
In addition to consulting
with ETR, the primary focus of his business life these days is as consultant to
Agora, Inc., a $300 million, Baltimore-based publisher of information products
with offices in England, France, Spain,
Germany, South Africa, and Australia.
clandestine luncheons that erupt into new multimillion-dollar ventures, Michael
insists that he has been spending most of his time teaching and writing since
he retired, for the second time, when he turned 53.
He writes poetry and
fiction (“somewhat badly,” he says), as well as books on business and wealth
building (all of which have been Wall Street Journal, Amazon.com, or New York
“I have a readership that appreciates the way I look at things,” Michael says.
“And that is gratifying.”
His nonfiction books
include Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat; Seven Years
to Seven Figures: The Fast-Track Plan to Becoming a Millionaire; Automatic
Wealth for Grads…and Anyone Else Just Starting Out; Automatic
Wealth: The Six Steps to Financial Independence; Power and
Persuasion: How to Command Success in Business and Your Personal Life; and Confessions
of a Self-Made Multi-Millionaire.
his eleventh book and his sixth with John Wiley & Sons. He
continues to write about starting and developing small businesses on a
weekly basis in the EarlytoRise.com e-zine.
the Early to Rise team since May of 2006 as publisher and CEO. She has over 20
years of publishing and business experience, most notably in direct marketing.
Since coming on board, she has more than tripled ETR’s revenue.
Her extensive experiences
in the publishing industry began at 10 years old, when she delivered her local
daily newspaper in her hometown of Parsippany,
New Jersey. Of course, at the
time she did not realize that one day she would be working for some of the
largest publishing companies in the world.
Before joining ETR, Ms.
Tribby served as president of Weiss Research in Palm Beach
Gardens, Florida, and vice president
of Globe Communications in Boca Raton,
Prior to moving to Florida, New
York City was where Ms. Tribby truly gained her
publishing expertise. While working at Times Mirror magazines, she learned many
channels of marketing and implemented hundreds of successful marketing
campaigns through direct mail, radio, television, and print.
At the age of 26, she
managed a division of Forbes. From there she was recruited to head of
marketing and circulation for Crain’s New York Business.
MaryEllen often speaks on
expert panels at industry specific events, including those hosted by the
Specialized Information Publishers Association (SIPA), Financial Information
Publishers Association (FIPA), and Direct Marketing Association (DMA).
Channel: 12 Easy Ways
to Make Millions for Your Business, coauthored by Michael Masterson, is her first
She currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida,
with her husband of 12 years, Patrick, and their three beautiful children,
Mikaela, Connor, and Delanie.
When she is not working,
you will find MaryEllen at one of her children’s sporting events or relaxing on
the beach with her family.
About the Book:
Changing the Channel: 12 Easy Ways to
Make Millions for Your Business (Wiley, October 2008, ISBN: 978-0-470-37502-0,
available at bookstores nationwide, major online booksellers, or direct from
the publisher by calling 800-225-5945. In Canada, call 800-567-4797.
Wiley Publishing, Inc. (“Wiley”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of John Wiley
& Sons, Inc., is a global knowledge company with a diverse portfolio of
technology, business, consumer and how-to brands, computer-based learning
tools, Web-based products and Internet e-services. The company’s best-selling brands include For
Dummies, Betty Crocker, Bible, Cliff’s Notes, Frommer’s Unofficial Guide,
Visual, Weight Watchers, and Webster’s New World. Wiley is also the publisher of AOL Press,
Hewlett-Packard Press, Netscape Press, and Red Hat Press. Wiley has thousands of active titles in 39
languages and also owns the websites www.cliffsnotes.com, www.dummies.com, and www.frommers.com. For
Dummies is a registered trademark of Wiley Publishing, Inc. in the United States
and other countries. All other
trademarks are property of their respective owners.
John Wiley’s recently re-launched Internet site can be accessed at www.wiley.com.
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