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Business Marketing Strategy

What is it and who needs one?

The term business marketing strategy might sound like it is esoteric or stratospheric, so let’s take the mystery out of it so you can devise and implement your own business marketing strategy that fits in to your small business plan.

Strategy comes from a Greek word “stratagein” meaning “to be a general”. Think of a strategy as an overall plan of action needed to win a war. The smaller, detailed actions are called tactics. You can have tactical plans which help you achieve your strategic marketing plan or overall business marketing strategy. That’s simple enough, isn’t it?

A business marketing strategy or strategic marketing plan is an overall plan of marketing actions you intend to take in order to accomplish a specific goal for your company.

Start with a goal: $2 million in sales this year; expand into new premises by a certain date; double the size of the company in 2 years… whatever the goal may be. Something realistic but challenging. That’s the “war” you want to win. Guess who the general is.

Then work out a simple, overall plan of the major marketing steps needed to accomplish that (for example):

1. Publish a newsletter for all existing customers and mail out quarterly.
2. Work out 4 special offers in the year and promote them to all our customers.
3. Set up on-line shopping and expand the web site.
4. Direct mail campaign promoting the web site to all customers.
5. Get mailing lists of (target markets) and do a series of 3 mailings of postcards to them and follow up on and close all leads.
6. Etc.

You get the idea. Don’t rush this. Do your homework. What worked in the past? Read up on successful marketing campaigns.

Your business marketing strategy needs to be laid out in the right sequence and you should have some idea of budget when you write it. “Run a series of 30 second TV ads during the Superbowl” might sound like a good thing to do but can you afford it? On the other hand, when you build your business marketing strategy you mustn’t try and cut corners. If you don’t promote heavily, it doesn’t matter how good your product or service is, no one will know about it and you will go broke.

What really works when it comes to marketing?

Many business owners don’t have a good enough answer to this important question. I learned by a combination of study and trial and error.

From my own hard won experience I have discovered that a real marketing campaign will take into consideration at least the seven points which are outlined below:

1. Target Your Market

Your marketing will produce the best results for the lowest cost when you target prospects with the greatest need for what you offer.
Identify the best people to send your postcards to. Design your postcards to appeal to their greatest need.

If you are able to break down your target market into sub markets you can then write postcards that specifically speak to the needs of those people (an example is breaking down your own customer list into customers who buy most often, customers who spend the most money with you, customers who have been your customers the longest and then making them special offers based on the category they fit into).

2. Create A USP For Your Business

USP stands for “Unique Selling Proposition”.
It is a statement of what is different about your company and its products. Your USP gives the reason people should do business with you. It amplifies the benefit of doing business with you and your company. My USP is POSTCARD MARKETING EXPERTS.

Create your own USP and put it on all your promotional materials, invoices, shipping labels etc.

Use your USP to communicate the benefit of doing business with you and why you are better than any of your competitors.

3. Always Make an Offer

Make sure you ask your prospects and customers to do something when they receive your postcard. By offering them something you know they are likely to want and giving them a smooth path to respond on, you are making it easy and desirable for them to respond.

4. Create and Maintain a Database of The Customer Information You Collect From The Responses To Your Mailings

Most people who receive a postcard from you won’t contact you the first time they receive one.

But once they contact you, you must create and maintain a database which allows you to repeatedly contact them with offers to respond to.

Fifty percent or more of many businesses’ sales come as a result of following up with people who were previously contacted, but didn’t buy right away.

No kidding, repeat contact does drive sales. One-time mailings can get response, but are bound to leave sales on the table. Those sales can be picked up with repeated mailings.

5. Take Away the Fear of Loss

People don’t want to be fooled, plain and simple. Unfortunately trust does not run high today between customers and businesses in general. People have been disappointed too many times by being sold one thing and getting another.

A guarantee or warranty is a good way to reduce or eliminate the customers’ risk of getting something other than what they bargained for.

Guarantees and warranties increase response and sales by reducing customer risk.

6. Expand Your Product Line

Getting new customers is more expensive than selling to existing ones. By regularly developing new products and services to sell to your customers and offering these new products and services to them, you can expand your business efficiently and easily.

7. Test Your Postcard Promotions

Track the effectiveness of your postcard mailings. How many people responded to your mailing? What dollar amount of sales resulted from those responses?

Is the money you are spending to attract new business giving you a good return? What can you do to make your marketing more effective? Change your offer, headline, price, the timing of your offer. When you do track the results and improve your response.

These are the points to follow when designing your own marketing strategy. When you are done, you will have laid out the steps needed to accomplish your goal using existing resources to achieve a great marketing ROI (return on investment).

After that, you simply have to get those steps executed and that might require further planning but it is all in the context of your main business marketing strategy.

Should You Get A Gold Or Platinum Credit Card?

If you’re looking for credit, be wary of some ‘gold’ or ‘platinum’ card offers promising to get you credit cards or improve your credit rating. While sounding like general-purpose credit cards, some ‘gold’ or ‘platinum’ cards permit you to buy merchandise only from specialized catalogues. Marketers of these credit cards often promise that by participating … Continue reading Should You Get A Gold Or Platinum Credit Card?

If you’re looking for credit, be wary of some ‘gold’ or ‘platinum’ card offers promising to get you credit cards or improve your credit rating.

While sounding like general-purpose credit cards, some ‘gold’ or ‘platinum’ cards permit you to buy merchandise only from specialized catalogues. Marketers of these credit cards often promise that by participating in their credit programs, you will be able to get major credit cards (such as an unsecured Visa or MasterCard), lines of credit from national specialty and department stores, better credit reports, and other financial benefits.

Rarely, however, can you improve your credit rating or get major credit cards by buying ‘gold’ or ‘platinum’ credit cards. Often the only major credit card you might get is a secured credit card that requires a substantial security deposit with a bank. In addition, many of these credit-card companies do not report to credit bureaus as they promise, and their cards seldom help secure lines of credit with other creditors.

Such ‘gold’ and ‘platinum’ credit-card offers usually are promoted through television or newspaper advertisements, direct mail, or telephone solicitations using automatic dialing machines and recorded messages. People who live in lower-income areas often are the target of these sales pitches.

Watch out for…

Be wary of ‘gold’ and ‘platinum’ card promotions that:

Charge upfront fees, without saying there may be additional costs.

Some ‘gold’ or ‘platinum’ card promoters charge $50 or more for their cards. Only after you agree to pay this fee are you told there’s an additional fee, sometimes $30 or more, to get the merchandise catalogues. Yet, these catalogs are the only places you can use the cards.

Use ‘900’ or ‘976’ telephone exchanges.

Ads for ‘gold’ and ‘platinum’ cards may urge you to call numbers with ‘900’ or ‘976’ exchanges for more information. You pay for phone calls with these prefixes — even if you never get the ‘gold’ or ‘platinum’ card. The cost for these calls can be high.

Misrepresent prices and payments for merchandise.

You’re not allowed to charge the total amount when you buy merchandise from ‘gold’ or ‘platinum’ card catalogues. Instead, you often must pay a cash deposit on each item you charge — an amount usually equal to what the company paid for the product. Only after you pay your deposit can you charge the balance. Also, catalogue prices can be much higher than discount store prices.

Promise to easily get you “better credit.”

Marketers of ‘gold’ and ‘platinum’ cards often claim its easy to get major credit cards after using their cards for a few months. In fact, the only major cards you usually can get through these marketers are secured. A secured card requires you to open and maintain a savings account as security for your line of credit. The required deposit may range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Your credit line is a percentage of the deposit, typically 50 to 100 percent.

How to protect yourself

Follow these precautions to avoid becoming a victim of ‘gold’ and ‘platinum’ card scams:

Think twice about any offer to get “easy credit.”

Be skeptical of promises to erase bad credit or to secure major credit cards regardless of your past credit problems. There are no “easy” solutions to a poor credit rating that’s based on accurate information. Only time and good credit habits will restore your credit worthiness.

Investigate an offer before enrolling.

Contact your local Better Business Bureau, consumer protection agency, or state Attorney General’s office to see if any complaints have been filed against a particular promoter of ‘gold’ or ‘platinum’ cards.

If a marketer promises that a card is accepted at certain retail chains, verify it with the stores.

If a marketer assures you that reliable information about you will be reported to credit bureaus, call the bureaus to confirm that the merchant is a member. Unless ‘gold’ or ‘platinum’ card merchants are subscribers to credit bureaus, they won’t be able to report information about your credit experience.

Be cautious about calling ‘900’ or ‘976’ telephone numbers.

Calls to numbers with ‘900’ or ‘976’ prefixes cost money. Don’t confuse these exchanges with toll-free ‘800’ numbers. If you dial a pay-per-call number mistakenly, contact your local phone company immediately. They may be able to remove the charge from your bill.

Last Will And Testament Planning Is Necessary

Ready to start thinking about your Last Will and Testament but don’t know where to start?

Choosing an attorney

Find a lawyer with related areas of expertise, like estate planning and taxation law.

And check with local the Bar Association to see if the attorney has had any disciplinary actions taken against him or her.

A Living Will is as Necessary as a Last Will and Testament

Tell family members, your lawyer and your doctor where your Living Will is located and what it says.

When you enter a long term care facility, give your Living Will to the director to make sure they will honour it.And make sure all your friends and relatives, know about it too in which case they will help carry out your wishes.

Make sure your Last Will and Testament is up to date as well as your Living Will. Don’t do your Living Will and Testament yourself. Office supply stores and the Internet sell computer programs that create Wills and power of attorney forms, but these often gloss over the intricacies of tax laws. You may save money on legal fees up front, but you can put yourself in a disastrous situation down the road.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a most important document. A power of attorney appoints someone to take care of your finances when you are too incapacitated to handle them yourself. This document has various clauses that can help to protect your assets if you, your spouse or your parent needs to go into a nursing home. But many things require rearranging – sometimes with gifts, sometimes by setting up financial vehicles, sometimes through purchases. But nothing can be done if you’re incompetent to deal with your finances and nobody else has authority to deal with your finances either.

A Power of Attorney For Your Last Will And Testament Can Expire

Make sure your power of attorney is up to date. Remeber you are giving the power to enforce your Living Will as well as your Last Will and Testament if necessary.

Last Will And Testament

Consider building in compensation for extra special care. People often leave their assets to their children in equal shares, but many times one child is especially involved while others are less attentive. If one child is giving you care directly, probably in their home, you may want to consider giving them more.

Make sure your Will is up to date. Laws change and your Last Will and Testament is your last chance to see wishes and bequests carried out.

Cut Down Your Interest Rate with Secured Loan UK

In simple terms, a secured loan is that where the person uses his property to get a loan. And this property acts as a security to the lender in order to balance the risk involved in lending the amount to the borrower.

Needs and requirements vary from person to person. So the amount being borrowed certainly depends on the individual circumstances and the capacity of the lender to provide the money. Moreover, the interest rate or the annual percentage rate depends on the value of the collateral, ability of the person to repay back the loan and the financial status of the borrower.

Getting the best secured loan is not an easy task. The person has to shop around in the financial market to various lenders. While visiting the various lenders, the borrowers have to ask for the quotation from the lenders. This quotation generally contains the costs involved in getting the secured loan UK. These costs vary from lender to lender; as it also depends on the amount to be borrowed.

After receiving the quotations from various lenders, the next step is to compare these quotes on the basis of the costs involved in it. Always try to choose that lender that offers loan at lower rate of interest and suits your financial needs. While choosing the lender not only consider the cost but also the terms and condition of the loan. In other words, consider the various other aspects such as its repayment period, the clause regarding early repayments, its flexibility and many other. Generally, the repayment period varies person to person but the maximum limit for repayment of secured loans UK is up to 25 years. But it is also dependent on the amount of loan being borrowed.

Secured loan UK can be used for any purpose you want. There are rarely any restrictions on the secured loan UK. So from your education to your wedding and buying a car to buying a house, it can be used as one wants. In other words, it is a multipurpose loan.

Before you go for such secured loan UK plan your budget. That will you be able to repay it along with some unforeseen costs involved in it. Just for instance, when you are taking loan for your home improvement, the unforeseen cost can be the increase in the price of material and the labour.

As borrowing larger amount from the lender reduces and cuts the interest rate on the loan, so if the person has the capacity to borrow larger amounts, then he should always give priority to it as to cut down his rate of interest.

What You Can Do To Improve Your Credit Score

It is hard to watch television these days without hearing about credit scores. If you are not looking to get a loan or credit card, you may be wandering whether or not they are important. Your credit score is important, regardless of whether or not you plan on applying for a credit card or loan. In this article I will explain what a credit score is and why it is important.

What Is A Credit Score?

Your credit score will determine whether or not you’ll be approved for a mortgage loan, and how high your interest rate will be. Your credit score will also determine the cost of your car insurance. Even certain jobs, which you apply for, will require you to have good credit. Having a low score will make things much more expensive, and you may find that some companies won’t hire you. The easiest way to get a good score is to make sure you’re responsible with making your payments on time. It is also important to understand what is used to calculate the score.

Calculating Your Total

The type of different loans you have makes up about 10% of the score. If you don’t have an established credit history, the number of different accounts you have will be considered. Your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score. The number of different accounts you make payments on is considered, as well as number of late or missed payments you have. Any liens, bankruptcies, or judgments will be reviewed, and this information will be used to factor in your score. Services such as furniture rentals and car loans are included as well as credit cards.

The total amount owed makes up about 30% of your credit score. The number of accounts you have and the amounts you owe on all of them are reviewed. The closer you are to maximizing out your loans, the more likely it is that your credit score will be lower. How much you have paid back on your loans is also taken into consideration. The age of your credit history makes up about 15% of your credit score. If you have a long credit history your score will be higher if you don’t have any negative marks in the past. The last factor that makes up your credit score is called new credit.

New Agreements

New credit refers to the number of new loans you have opened recently, and makes up about 10% of your credit score. The number of request you’ve made for credit cards or loans is also computed. Now that you know all of the things that are used to calculate your score, what can you do to improve it?

What You Can Do To Improve

One of the things you can do is make sure all of your bills are paid on time. If you are too busy to make sure your bills are paid on time, set up automatic payments so that the money is debited from your account on the day it is due. You also want to make sure you don’t open too many accounts within a short period of time. It is also important to keep your balance low in proportion to the total amount of credit available on the loan. You should owe 25% less than the total available credit on your loan or credit card.

It is also better to pay off your credit card instead of moving over the balance to a card that has a lower interest rate. Constantly moving around your balances can cause your score to become lower, because the total amount you owe could fluctuate if you close certain accounts.