1. Send your sales letter to the right people.
If the intent of your sales letter is to sell home renovation services, for example, you want to send it just to homeowners in your area, not to apartment dwellers. While the best mailing list is one that you’ve built personally from your own prospect list, Canada Post offers householder counts that you can use to focus your sales letter campaign on specific categories of potential customers. You can also buy mailing lists from mail list brokers.
2. Personalize your sales letter.
Addressing the sales letter personally rather than using a salutation such as “Dear Friend” or “Dear Homeowner” increases the response rate to your sales letter. Using mail merge makes this easy to do.
3. Write different versions of your sales letter for different segments of your target market.
All your customers or clients are not the same. So why expect them all to be persuaded by exactly the same sales letter? Create different versions of your sales letter for different segments of your target market by emphasizing different benefits of your offer or by changing the benefits completely.
4. Include an order form with your sales letter.
One of the keys of a successful sales letter is making it easy for your prospective customer to take action. Including an order form with your letter gives the customer another option for taking immediate action, making it easier for her to respond by fax or mail.
5. Don’t include fancy graphics in your sales letter.
The general rule is that the closer your sales letter resembles a typed letter from one person to another the better the response. You may find including a single photo of your product (with a caption) works well, but leave the intensive graphics for your brochure. You don’t want your sales letter to look like an advertisement.
Even the most time-pressed business owner can attract more customers with less effort through the right cross-promotions. Why? Because when you join forces with other credible people who also reach your market you can reach your customers more efficiently, credibly and memorably with the right offers and services.
To stand out from their competition in a crowded advertising marketplace, businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies are enthusiastically adopting this nimble approach to “outmarket” bigger competitors. Their cross-promotions include “bundled” offerings, joint media appearances and events, and unconventional cause-related marketing. It might also include collaboratively produced how-to’s and other resource booklets and videos, co-branding, coop advertising, and shared space.
Cross-promotion has the potential for a big marketing payoff because partners can successfully expand through each other’s customer base. They can gain an inexpensive and credible introduction to more of their kind of customer more effectively than with the traditional “solo” methods of networking, advertising, or public relations.
Here are some low-risk and high-opportunity ways to jump-start your first cross-promotion:
- Print joint promotional messages on your receipts.
- Offer a reduced price, special service, or convenience if customers buy products from you and your partner.
- Hang signs or posters promoting one another on your walls, windows, or products.
- Mention one another’s benefits when you speak at local events or are interviewed by the media.
- Drop one another’s flyers in shopping bags.
- Pool mailing lists and send out a joint promotional postcard.
- Share inexpensive ads in local shopping papers or a nonprofit event program.
- Give a joint interview to local media.
- Give your partner’s product to your customers when they buy a large quantity of your product, and ask your partner to do the same.
- Use door hangers, posters, flyers, or postcards to promote special offers for each other’s products.
Here are some cross-promotion strategies that can really help your company stand out:
- Co-produce special promotions you could not afford by yourself. Hire local community college broadcasting/cable TV students to produce a “how to use” video and/or audio tape that involves you and your partner’s products.
- Have a contest, with the prizes contributed by your partners. For the next contest, roles change, and you contribute your product or service as a prize for a partner’s contest.
- Give customers a free product or service from a participating partner when they buy something that month from all of the partners listed in an ad or on a promotional postcard.
Business networking is an inexpensive, effective way to advertise your services and products. She sent in these business networking tips, four basic steps which will make your business networking more effective:
1. Choose Events Wisely: Attend events where there will be business owners or decision-makers to buy your product or service. Don’t waste time attending all events as there will be a lot of events where people are just not suitable to purchase from you.
2. Talk to Strangers: Walk up to people that you do not know and introduce yourself. Introduce yourself with a firm handshake, look them in the eyes and say your name and company name. After they introduce themselves, ask them questions about their business, such as “How did you get started in that business?” and “What do you like best about your business?”
Make the conversation all about them and not you. People love to talk about themselves. If you allow them to talk about themselves, you will be remembered as someone who took the time to get to know them. Remember, networking is not about the quantity of business cards with which you come home. It’s about relationships.
3. Follow-up: When you get back to your office, send a follow-up email, “snail” mail a handwritten note, or call to make an appointment. The follow-ups should be short notes to remind them of where you met, wish them success in their business, and remind them of what you do. I like to also invite them to other networking events so you are offering them value and not just trying to get them to buy from you.
4. Face-to-Face Again: If you have made an appointment, congratulate yourself. You did a great job in convincing them that you offer value. At the meeting, remember to talk about them and ask more in-depth questions about their business. Find out how you can help them by listening to their concerns. After you have listened and you think you know how to help them, then you can talk about the solutions that you offer.
1. Choose the right networking group or event. The best results come from attending the appropriate networking events for your particular industry. This should include trade shows, conferences, and associations dedicated to your type of business. For example, if your target market is a Fortune 500 company, it does not make sense to join a group whose primary membership consists of individual business owners. You can also participate in groups where your potential clients meet. A friend of mine helps people negotiate leases with their landlords. He joined the local franchise association because most franchisors lease their properties.
2. Focus on quality contacts versus quantity.Most people have experienced the person who, while talking to you, keeps his eyes roving around the room, seeking his next victim. This individual is more interested in passing out and collecting business cards than establishing a relationship. My approach is to make between two and five new contacts at each networking meeting I attend. Focus on the quality of the connection and people will become much more trusting of you.
3. Make a positive first impression. You have EXACTLY one opportunity to make a great first impression. Factors that influence this initial impact are your handshake, facial expressions, eye contact, interest in the other person and your overall attentiveness. Develop a great handshake, approach people with a natural, genuine smile and make good eye contact. Notice the colour of the other person’s eyes as you introduce yourself. Listen carefully to their name. If you don’t hear them or understand exactly what they say, ask them to repeat it. Many people do not speak clearly or loudly enough and others are very nervous at networking events. Make a powerful impression by asking them what they do before talking about yourself or your business. As Stephen Covey states, “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.” Comment on their business, ask them to elaborate, or have them explain something in more detail. As they continue, make sure you listen intently to what they tell you. Once you have demonstrated interest in someone else, they will – in most cases – become more interested in you.