3 Strategies For Effective Data Collection and Marketing Communications

You have a message you want to get out. That’s great. However, you have a lot of competition for the attention of your audience. Direct mail, TV and radio advertising, newspaper and periodical advertising and of course, internet advertising. And we have not even started talking about social media (for example, Twitter and Facebook). All of this competition for the attention of your audience could be bad news. The good news is that you have so many channels, or tools, to get your message out. With a little knowledge and some well-planned strategy your business can be one of the few that get the right message to the right audience at the right time. Here are three tools to make sure that your message stands out.

If you wanted to pound a nail into a wall, you would not use a pair of pliers. Likewise, if you wanted to tighten a faucet, you would not use a hammer. In other words, you need the right tool for the right job. That means you need to know two critical pieces of information: 1) what is your desired outcome and 2) what is the best tool to get you there. This is true in any endeavor, be it carpentry, plumbing or communicating. Here, of course, we are talking about communication, which is a good thing because I know nothing about either carpentry or plumbing.

On the other hand, I do know about communicating a message. Effective marketing and communications require you to start with the end in mind. What is it you want to accomplish? Ask yourself, at the end of this, what do I want to have happen? Without this critical piece of knowledge, you can never strategically get where you want to go. You could end up there accidentally, but it would take you a lot more time and a lot more money. In this economy, very few of us have extra time or money. I know I sure as heck don’t.

So what is the goal of your marketing campaign? Obtain more leads for your sales staff? Drive visitors to your website? Get people into a local restaurant? Have people buy their next car from your dealership? Create a robust online community? Whatever the answer is, you need a clear picture of your desired outcome before you can strategize how to get there. You then need accurate information in the form of accurate data and business intelligence so you will know what is relevant to your audience. Finally, your offer has to be one that allows a win for you and your audience.

SO LET’S TAKE A LOOK INSIDE OUR STRATEGIC TOOLBOX:

TOOL #1: KNOW YOUR DESIRED OUTCOME BEFORE YOU START
TOOL #2: CURRENT, ACCURATE DATA IS KING
TOOL #3: MAKE INTERACTIONS WIN-WIN
We will look at each of these in more detail in this week’s three part series Three Tools to Build an Outstanding Communication Strategy. So make sure you check back, or even better, subscribe to the feed. Don’t miss out on a tool you could use to build your business.

TOOL ONE: KNOW YOUR DESIRED OUTCOME BEFORE YOU START!

Good communication is never random. Never left to chance. There is a strategy behind the best, most effective communication campaigns. To come up with an effective strategy, you have to start at the end. That’s right, start at the end. By that, I mean you must determine what you are looking to accomplish with the campaign. There are some examples in earlier sections (I assume you have read the earlier parts of the series. If not, shame on you! But because I am a nice guy, here is a link).

Quite simply, you cannot start any journey without knowing the destination. Lewis Carroll summed it up nicely when he said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Even Plato understood this, stating in The Republic that “[t]he beginning is the most important part of the work.” A clear outcome is where you start your work.

What is the difference between a wish and a clearly defined outcome?

A clear outcome is well defined with start dates, end dates and metrics by which you can measure your success. Your outcome should be objective. Instead of “I want more leads,” you should be saying, “I want 5% of the recipients of this message to go to the web-landing page and register for our monthly newsletter.” In the first example, one new lead would meet your goal. If you are selling nuclear submarines, that might actually be your goal, but most of us are not in the business of selling one-offs. The difference in the second example is that you have a measurable, objective way to determine if your communication strategy is successful.

Once you have your outcome clearly defined, you have to strategize how you can reach that outcome. Let’s take the restaurant campaign as our example. You want to reach local customers and increase your customer base and your ability to communicate to your audience. The first thing you need is data. Data can come from many sources, but no matter what, data is king in this information age. You can use a list you have generated on your own or you can buy a list. Either way, it is a first step toward more effective communication.

You can also use a number of methods to reach your audience. Direct mail, email, internet advertising, text messaging, advertising, or combinations of all of them. As we are focusing on data, let’s look at a very basic, targeted customer acquisition campaign. First, you need your list. For this example, let’s say you have no data of your own so you need to buy a list. There are more companies selling lists out there than there are grains of sand on Cape Cod (hey, I’m a Boston guy; if it makes you feel better, you can say the beaches of Long Island – the point is the same). The key here is to make sure you use a reputable, list broker who keeps their list current and accurate. If your list is out of date, your campaign is doomed from the start.

TOOL TWO: CURRENT, ACCURATE DATA IS KING!

Which strategy do you think will yield better results?

1. I will send out mailers to 100,000 people to get more business.
2. I will mail 10,000 personalized postcards every week for ten weeks. Each card will have a personal URL so that the effectiveness of the message can be improved every week.

OK, that was a stupid question. Obviously, answer number 2 will get you better results. My insane pet dog even got that answer right (then he peed on my rug). Yet despite the fact that answer number one obviously results in a less effective communication strategy, I have seen more companies engage in that type of marketing than I have seen engage in the second method. Sometimes the obvious solution is not the easiest solution.

The ability to accurately measure results is critical to success in communication. Who saw the message? Who opened the email? Who read the post card? Who used the QR Code on their mobile phone? When did they read it? Who went to the web landing page and what did they do there? All of this information is easily ascertainable and it is extremely valuable.

With this list you send out a direct mail piece with a compelling call to action to visit a web landing page. In our restaurant hypothetical, you might offer a coupon for a free appetizer when you visit the web landing page and complete a brief survey and sign up for the restaurant’s newsletter. By doing this, your customer is opting into future communications. The survey might ask which pizza topping is the customer’s favorite. This accomplishes a number of things. One, you now have a list of warm leads who you know are interested in your product. Two, you know their preferences from the survey. Three, you have their permission to send them subsequent, targeted communications with specials and offers (this includes sending text messages…but SMS texting is the subject of another post). The point is that for the cost of a postcard and appetizer, you now have even more customers and even more accurate data. And as customers come in, you keep track of their orders, likes, dislikes and other relevant patterns. You build a great database.

TOOL 3: MAKE INTERACTIONS WIN-WIN!

Now that our pizza shop owner has all of this data, what can be done with it to help generate revenue? After all, generating revenue is the point here. SO let’s continue with our example. With the data collected data, our restaurant owner can send personalized email offers that match not only the customer’s needs and desires, but the restaurant’s as well. If you know you have a boatload of excess pepperoni, you might offer a free pepperoni topping with the purchase of a large pizza. You can target that message in an email or text message to customers you know buy pepperoni pizza (remember – you have been tracking customer buying patterns).

So now you have a win-win outcome. You, the restaurant owner, sells more pepperoni pizza when you need to, and your customers that love pepperoni get a price break on what they love. It is good for all, and that is marketing at its best. How can you leverage you company’s data to create win-win situations for customers and prospects? Do you need to start collecting data? Leave some feedback and share your experiences.

Niche Marketing Explained – Understanding All About Niche Marketing

What exactly is niche marketing?

Niche marketing is marketing to a select group of potential customers inside a much larger customer base. This is often done because there is a need that is not being addressed by providers who target the larger customer base. In other words, there is a demand for something that isn’t being supplied. If you can satisfy that demand, you have a potential market waiting to pay you for what you can offer them.

The Internet Marketing niche has many sub-niches

For example, inside the target market of Internet marketing, there are many niches, including search engine marketing, PPC marketing, Google AdWords, article marketing, bum marketing, and more. Those who write eBooks on just Internet marketing don’t directly address these niches.

You could further refine those to include even more specific niche markets. For example, you could fill the niche market of PPC marketers who just use Google AdWords or just use Yahoo Search Marketing, etc.

As these niche markets have grown, so have their desire for information and resources that they can directly use for their businesses, which are not satisfied by those who just target the large Internet marketing market. Those businesses that primarily focus on article marketing are not going to be very interested in PPC marketing, just like those who primarily use Google AdWords are not going to be very interested in article marketing.

That’s why there are marketers who market directly to niches – they can better satisfy what those niche customers are asking for because those niche marketers directly address the problems facing the niche target markets.

The over saturation of a niche

Niche marketing has become one of the primary ways to market over the last few years because many are starting to realize that Internet marketing is becoming over saturated with Internet marketers and their products. This makes it much harder to earn profit from the large Internet marketing market. Those who are new to the Internet marketing world will have an even harder time breaking through into the Internet marketing market because there are many established Internet marketers who have very loyal customer bases that trust those specific marketers and their products.

New Internet marketers can better compete or even dominate a niche because there is little to no competition in that niche. The more you can target a specific niche, the better the chance you will have of carving out a profitable piece of that niche and/or even becoming the main provider to that niche. This is how new Internet marketers especially can make it big online.

Niches can be discovered in just about every market

Many Internet marketers make nice sums of income online by targeting different niches, some not even related to each other. They’ll do the necessary research to determine whether a profitable niche market exists for a product/service they can supply, select a domain name, build a website, and start marketing it to the niche target market.

However, niches don’t have to deal directly with marketing. Niches can be carved out of almost any possible market, whether it would be dogs, cats, plants, electronics, writing, cars, etc.

For instance, talking about electronics, you can have niches that involve computers, stereo systems, televisions, MP3 players, DVD players, etc. Furthermore, you can narrow those niches down even further; for computers, you could have desktops and laptops. You could break those down even further – with laptops, for instance, you could have whether they utilize Centrino technology or not, as well as what computer brand they use and what processor powers them.

You can also limit niches to other factors involving the target market, such as age, occupation, income, place of residence, etc.

For instance, you can target teenagers who want MP3 players. You can make your offer more appealing to that market by including free music downloads of the most popular young artists today when they purchase the MP3 player from you.

Research your way to discover new niches

As you can see, virtually any market can be broken down into smaller markets, or niches, by way of the product, the target market, or both. The key is to finding out what needs are not being satisfied by companies and websites that are already out there and then providing a valuable offer that that niche target market will be eager to purchase. With an almost unlimited number of niche markets, and more appearing every day, niche marketing will likely not become saturated anytime soon.

What is MLM? MLM Or Network Marketing Explained

What is MLM/Network Marketing?

BusinessDictionary.com defines Multi-Level Marketing as a direct selling method in which independent agents serve as distributors of goods and services, and are encouraged to build and manage their own sales force by recruiting and training other independent agents. In this method, commission is earned on the agent’s own sales revenue, as well as on the sales revenue of the salesforce recruited by the agent and his or her recruits (called downline).

That’s great but lets break it down and spell it out.

The Basics

In every MLM there are what I call the Basics, these basics are the Products, the Company, the System, and the Plan. To gain a solid understanding of MLM you must understand each of these basics. Like everything in business it all starts with a Product.

The Product

The object of every business throughout the world is to sell products. Now, I use products in a loose way to mean tangible or intangible goods as well as services. Really, products are anything that can be sold by one and obtained by another.

So MLM begins with a Product that someone realizes has value and desires to sell to others. That person realizes the need to begin a company who’s task it will be to continue to produce and distribute this valuable product.

The Company

Once a company is formed, it must develop the production of this product. Whether the product is Information, Juices, Vitamins, Travel, Consumables, etc. it is the task of the company to create a brand and begin the production of this product. Production is underway and a brand has been setup now a company must determine the method of distribution. They have to figure out how to move the product.

There are a couple of systems to move products. Most of us are familiar with Retailing, that is the stores we shop at and buy the product from the shelf. Some are familiar with Direct Sales, this is the door to door sales man. I remember my parents buying Encyclopedia’s and Vacuums from Direct Sales people when I was a kid. Another system is MLM.

The System

Here is the heart of MLM. MLM is truly a system to move the product from the Company to the Consumer. It is based around the notion that people will buy from a person over a corporate entity. Different MLM’s work differently however the basics of the the system work like this:

A person is enlisted/sponsored as a distributor or independent agent (or whatever the company calls them.) The agent then is able to buy the product wholesale and then sell it retail. This is one source of income for the agent. These independent agents are also able to sponsor other independent agents to create a network or downline of other agents.

Most MLM’s will pay the sponsor a percentage of their downline’s sales. This is another source of income. Most MLM’s also include a Plan or a business opportunity through recruiting a sales team. This Plan is often what MLM focuses on as a huge source of income.

The Plan

The Plan is the business opportunity side of the an MLM. This involves the benefits of recruiting others into your downline to create that powerful sales force that is moving the product. Most MLM’s offer at least one financial bonus for recruiting other independent agents and achieving different levels of success. It should be mentioned that any solid MLM will measure success via Sales Volume.

The Plan is often times why people confuse MLM with Pyramid Schemes. A pyramid scheme though is a non-sustainable business model that involves the exchange of money primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, often without any product or service being delivered. However as we explained above the purpose of enrolling other distributors is to increase the distribution of the product.

Each Plan will be different with various forms of compensation. All should include compensation from the sale of the product and as well as some form of compensation for sponsoring other distributors. Remember though that if you find an MLM based on recruiting others with an undefined product you should be leery. Because all solid MLM systems and plans know that the Product must Move or Nobody will get Paid.

Summary

Multi-Level Marketing in the end is a system used to distribute products from a company to a consumer through an independent agent. It offers an opportunity for anyone to become their own business owner and create wealth beyond their wildest dreams. This system, while often times looked down upon, has created more millionaires than any other industry. While I will never say that MLM is easy, it is a journey well worth traveling.

If you are already involved in an MLM business and are struggling to make it work. Let me tell you that I’ve personally tried the old fashioned outdated methods that so many uplines teach and realized that they did not work for me in the modern market. I realized that I needed a different way, a modern way.

It was then that I discovered the Exact Formula used by modern day 7-Figure Industry Leaders. Using this Formula I have been able harness the power of modern technology to put my MLM on Cruise Control. Never again will I pay for leads, cold call prospects, or have to sell my business.

Learn more about MLM and the Exact Formula other modern day Top earners use by visiting my more thorough explanation of MLM [http://www.cruisecontrol4mlm.com/articles/mlm-explained--simplified-8023/?c=30910].

From the Desk of Joshua Yearout, Network & Internet Marketing Coach

Joshua Yearout is a leader in the Network & Internet Marketing Industry. His path to the Top included, studying for Priesthood, Bartending, Developing Businesses, then obtaining True Freedom through MLM. Currently working Full-Time as a Network & Internet Marketing Coach his goals include living life to the full and helping as many other people achieve the same reality.