Saturday, October 14, 2006

Start an Idea File

In copywriting we call it a "swipe file."

When you see a newspaper or magazine ad or receive advertisements of any kind in the mail that apply to your business or appeal to you then "swipe" the idea and put it in a file.

This also applies to any kind of promotion. Radio, television, signs - - anything that grabs your attention should be filed away. You should add to your "swipe file" or idea file all the time. Eventually this file will become a very, very valuable part of your marketing.

In future issues we will discuss how to use your idea file to its fullest.

YOUR MOST POWERFUL AND LEAST EXPENSIVE MARKETING TOOL

If you are a very small or home-based business you need to be taking advantage of a marketing tool you already possess.

Your mouth!

Talk is cheap, so why not use it to help market your business?

Too many small, start-up businesses and home-based businesses get so involved in their own little world it is like become a "cave dweller."

Don't be a business owner who passes up on talk marketing opportunities.

A talk marketing opportunity is a chance to engage potential customers, be engaging, and ultimately to "marry" these prospects, turning them into customers or clients.

Here are some ways you can use to market yourself and enlarge your network:

1. Get out of your office or store every day.

To be successful practitioner of talk marketing, you must be a visible member of your community. And, that means getting out. Get away from the business for a little while. Attend meeting and have business lunches or dinners, with old as well as new contacts.

2. Say hello to everybody you meet.

This gives you a chance to ask people what they do for a living and then in turn you can tell them what you do and give them your business card. When you are in a coffee shop, at the post office or wherever, say, "Hello" and introduce yourself. And in general, engage people.

3. Read local newspapers and periodicals.

This is an ideal way to be 'lugged into' activities in your community and to avoid the isolation of your home or other business location.

Read all the local newspapers every day and as many periodicals dealing with your community as possible. This is a way to find out where people with similar interests are hanging out.

In addition, every time you read the paper you will see stories of a person receiving a promotion or a ground breaking or some other milestone which then gives you the opportunity to send these people a simple handwritten note of congratulations.

If you continue to send thank you notes and congratulations to people throughout your career you will be a big winner!

4. Be a joiner.

You should join at least three organizations from the following list:

- a business group -

Join your local chamber of commerce, and/or the Rotary or Kiwanis Club because there are other business owners there.

- an ongoing, weekly network -

Networking with a group that meets regularly can be one of the best sources for getting business. Groups of this type meet generally for breakfast and are composed of one representative of each type of business. The sole purpose of the group is to provide each other with information and leads to possible business.

- a specialty organization -

If you work in computers, join a computer group. If you're a woman, join a woman's group. This get you out of your business and keeps you informed of business trends in your specialty.

- join a family-type organization -

Join a church, the PTA, or similar family-oriented group to stay in touch with the social and spiritual life of your community.

5. Develop a volunteer mentality.

It's not enough to join, you must also contribute. Relationships . . including the relationship between a community and a business . . don't work unless both parties are giving.


IF YOU ARE GOING TO GET, YOU HAVE TO GIVE

6. Invest in a skills-development program.

Take a course, read a book, invest in a tape. There are man fine sales trainers who sell tapes and books. "Toastmaster" or "Dale Carnegie" courses can help you become a better verbal communicator.

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Now until next time, study over what we have just talked about and put these ideas into action.

Adopted from Neil McPherron - "Your" Master Marketer

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