Archive for: August, 2009

Client Grabbing Marketing Plan Part III

Aug 28 2009 Published by under Marketing

Thanks for coming back for more!

This week we’ll go over how to do some research which will confirm what I’ve been talking about in terms of timing your fall advertising campaign. I’ve included some video to make this a little easier. You’ll want to visit Google Insights For Search and follow along!

Please Select Full Screen Mode When Playing The Video  So You Can See the Screen Text in the Video

So, please use your own keywords and regions to do a little research!

Using my example above I am going to want to incorporate some of the keywords in my own advertising copy or business name. Remember, dog walking services beats dog walking service. So an example might be this:

Venice Beach Dog Walking Services

What if you already named your business? You can always add a tag line under your business name!

Venice Beach Dog Walkers

Professional Pet Care Services

Continue your keyword research and try to uncover as much information as you can about what types of services people are looking for in your area. Dog boarding, kenneling, grooming, pet sitting, etc. Perhaps you don’t want to offer these services but you can create an informal referral network with groomers, so that your business feels like it offers more services than it actually does.

Negotiate discounts within your network so that trading customers between you benefits the customer by creating a clear advantage. The customer benefits by doing business with your dog walking service, and your informal partner, the groomer, because doing so will result in a 10% savings for the customer, for example. Also, consider offering transportation to and from the groomer! Think creatively.

Another way to do some keyword research would be to set up a Google AdWords campaign to test your ad copy. This can be accomplished while at the same time driving potential clients to your website. This involves targeting very relevant keywords in your campaign and ad-groups and developing ad variations to test. An example text ad variation would be:

Dog Walking Services
Icy Streets Keeping You Locked Up?
We Can Help Free Your Dog!
Boston, MA

now the variant:

Dog Walking Services
Icy Streets Keeping You Trapped Inside?
We Can Help Free Your Dog!
Boston, MA

In this example we are testing the words “trapped” and “locked up” and juxtaposing them with the word “free” which is a service you are offering (freeing their dog and their guilty conscience). The word free, by the way, is a magic word in advertising. Test other messages and variations. The ads that receive the most clicks are the winners. Use the winning copy in your print advertising materials, your website, and your welcome packet.

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Client Grabbing Marketing Plan Part II

Aug 20 2009 Published by under Marketing

To continue the discussion from last week… Guilt, when understood and properly used in an advertising campaign, can be a highly effective means for driving customer conversions. The “feelings” associated with “guilt” are unpleasant and most people try to relieve them somehow. In our example you will provide the quick and easy means to that end. This becomes the core of your autumn advertising campaign. For those of you who feel that this is somehow manipulation, remember, we did not inject this “guilt” into our audiences’ lives or minds, it was there to begin with. We are simply uncovering, acknowledging, and providing support for this condition. In fact, we are helping folks afflicted with guilt enjoy a fast, easy and affordable recovery. Far easier than the shrink’s couch I dare say!

So, how do we use this knowledge? First we want our advertising to acknowledge the malady (guilt). Then we need to provide the solution (our products and services). Then, we want to show our advertising audience the results they can expect. Finally, a “call to action.”  How might this look?

Winter Winds Keeping You Locked Up Inside?
(acknowledges that it’s beyond their control and implies they are trapped)

Poor Fido…
(but… what about the dog, he doesn’t understand, and so we find the guilt)

Tri-City Dog Walker’s Can Help!
(the solution)

Providing, Safe, Reliable, Professional Dog Walking Services in Just About Any Kind of Weather.
(how it solves their problem)

Call For A Free Information Packet or Visit Us on The Web: Contact Info
(call to action, offering free information will generate more immediate results rather than them pinning it on their fridge or tossing it, and once you have their mailing information or email you can keep in constant contact)*

Fido Will Thank You!
(hints at the relief from guilt and that they WILL actually profit from this transaction**)

So this is a fairly basic, and not particularly creative, example of what I mean. In some advertising mediums you can use images to get your point across. Think about this in terms of before and after shots. The before shot might be a bored or sad dog, the after picture might be a happy dog or “satisfied” person curled up next to a fire with their dog… Pictures are powerful… remember the crying Native American?

More to come next week!

* Note: Never provide your detailed information on your website for “free”. What do I mean by this? I mean you need get something in return. What you want is an email address. So you need to set up an automatic email delivery service on your site so that once they enter their email address your service will send them your “informational packet”. You might even consider having them fill out a BRIEF questionnaire so that you can better understand their needs and create an offer that works for them.

** Note: If you are new to business you may have been brainwashed to think that business is bad. If you have icky feelings about charging people for your services or if you feel that you should always charge less to make up for some feelings of inadequacy you definitely need to address these feelings. The first thing you must understand is that a business is NOT bad. It is good. Most businesses offer a FAIR and EQUITABLE trade for your hard earned cash. Profit is not bad. Profit is the payment for your intangible expertise. Whether you offer a product or service, it doesn’t matter. The profit (the money you charge over and above the hard costs) is payment for the use value of a product, and in the case of a service, your expertise and time. It’s what puts food on the table and allows you to survive. Learn to start embracing the idea that business transactions are never a one way street. Your customer is profiting from the exchange at least as much as you are, and in some cases more!

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Client Grabbing Marketing Plan Part I

Aug 13 2009 Published by under Marketing

Do you hear the winter winds blowing yet? Neither do I, but I’ll let you in on a little secret, your competition is already gearing up for their fall/winter advertising blitz. If you aren’t preparing your marketing strategy for the fall you might as well throw your money on someone’s lawn because they are going to rake it in. Don’t worry, nobody was born knowing this stuff, but that’s what makes an expert worth the money they charge, isn’t it? You’re just starting out and money is tight, you’d rather not pay an expert for their advice if you can apply a little elbow grease and learn a few things on your own, right? That’s what I thought. Let’s get started, and hopefully, by the end of this series, you’ll have a solid action plan for developing your client base through smart and efficient advertising.

Since you know that effective advertising takes advantage of the seasons you now need to think about how to leverage that to your advantage. How do you think the cold months will affect your business? Do you think business will slow down, or pick up? If you said pick up you’d be right. My experience in running my own dog walking business was that things ramped up quickly starting in September and went straight through the winter. One of the reasons, and it’s going to be the basis from which we will build our marketing plan, is that people don’t like to walk their dogs on snowy, icy streets, in the bitter cold. Now there’s a revelation! When your potential clients get up in the morning it’s dark, and when they get home at night, it’s darker. The last thing they want to do is take the dog for a long walk. Poor Fido!

That’s where your service really takes on a major appeal. Let’s face it, guilt is a big motivator. Heck, I can imagine a lot of tough decisions would never have been made if guilt wasn’t a factor. When was the last time you threw some messy garbage out the window of your car on an empty road? You didn’t, and that’s my point. “Hoot, Hoot, Don’t Pollute” said Woodsy the owl. Aw shucks, I wouldn’t want to hurt a poor little owl and neither would you, which is why we don’t litter. That ad campaign, which was pushed very hard during the late 70s and early 80s, worked very, very well. Prior to that folks used to toss their trash everywhere, and the streets and parks were filled with litter. That’s when Woodsy the owl showed up, along with a few Native Americans. Dressed in traditional Native American garb (think old western movies) they stood on precipices, overlooking the dirty, garbage ridden wastelands, and wept at our selfish indifference. It was emotional stuff and it got the nations attention. That campaign pushed all the right buttons, and here we are some 25 years later and our streets and parks are now mostly clean. This is powerful. That ad campaign changed a society’s behavior by changing its collective attitude. It replaced selfish disregard with a feeling of sadness and guilt when we considered tossing a McDonald’s bag out the window. It introduced shame without creating resistance. So how can you harness the power of guilt when it comes to your business? You’re about to find out.

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