-Our guest blogger- Jay Conrad Levinson is the author of the best-selling marketing series in history, “Guerrilla Marketing,” plus 30 other books. His books have sold 14 million copies worldwide. His guerrilla concepts have influenced marketing so much that today his books appear in 41 languages and are required reading in many MBA programs worldwide. He was a teacher and sounding board for The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. and Marion Ross, Ph.D.) ; and after many discussions strongly encouraged us to publish a book (soon to be released) designed to assist people who struggle with implementing tools learned in business or entrepreneurial coaching programs due to self-sabotage. For more on Jay Conrad Levinson visit www.gmarketing.com
Guerrilla Marketing With Technology
Up until a few years ago, technology was not something associated with small business marketing. Perhaps it was connected with databases or inventory control, possibly with electronic spreadsheets and word proccessing. Anyhow, it was complicated and expensive — and its affect on small business didn’t stretch into the arena of marketing.
My oh my, how times do change!
Technology is currently in the process of revolutionizing small business, enabling many small business owners to dream new dreams, then attain them in surprisingly brief time spans. Sure, technology helps all businesses in many ways. But it helps small businesses in the biggest ways.
For one thing, technology gives small businesses a blatantly unfair advantage because it allows them to look big and act big without having to spend big. The price of credibility has plummeted while the achievement of credibility has become more precious. Technology provides small business owners with the tickets to credibility — in fact, season tickets — in fact, lifetime tickets.
Up till now, the advantages that small business could boast over big business were gained by utilizing the weapons of more personalized service, extra flexibility, and speed. Today, guerrilla business owners–that is, those who want conventional goals using unconventional means– have a secret weapon. That weapon blasts open the doors to increased profits.
The secret weapon is technology — though the secret is getting out as those who know it are unable to hide the grins on their faces. Technology is more simple than ever — so simple that high-tech is becoming easy-tech. It’s also becoming so inexpensive that in l997 you can invest a low four figure sum to purchase what in l982 took a mid six figure sum.
Technology has not only evened out the playing field, it has also removed the dome from the top and opened the entire world to the entrepreneur. Online, that practitioner of free enterprise can connect up with allies and customers anywhere in the community and anywhere on the planet. That small business owner has learned that virtual is a state of mind and that it really means “connected” for technology makes teamwork easier than ever possible. Being connected has never been so low in cost and high in value.
To many guerrilla marketers, technology is to be lauded because it has put them online — giving them access to the speed of email, the power of fresh information, the warmth of closely connected people, and the marketing muscle of the World Wide Web. To others, technology is the hero because it allows them to flourish in a home-based business.
Examining just those areas where technology adds potency to marketing, I find 25 that are especially intriguing to me and should be intriguing to you if you take seriously the business of earning consistent profits.
1. The first way is in the area of marketing online. A computer can help you design and then post your own website online. But before you rush off and do that, heed this: a website cannot help you unless you know marketing. It is a marketing medium, perhaps the best and most comprehensive ever — but it is not marketing all by itself and it is no guarantee of success. You must be an ace marketer in order to market online successfully. You’ve got to know how to market what you sell as well as marketing your website. The moment you think of going online is when to start thinking of promoting your website offline. That process should never stop.
To market online with the certainty of success, you must place equal emphasis on eight elements. Ignore any one of them and you’re doomed to cybergloom. The first of the eight is planning which means you should know what you want your website to accomplish for you before you put it up. The second is content because that’s what’s going to bring people back again and again. The third is design because there’s a “stay-or-bail” moment where people see your site and decide in an instant whether to see what you have to say or get the heck out — and your design influences that decision. The fourth element is involvement which determines what you want visitors to do, dictates how they will interact. The fifth is production which simple software enables you to do yourself — putting all the elements together and posting it on the Web. The sixth element is follow-up which means responding instantly to those visitors who contact you. The seventh is promotion which means letting the world know that you are and where you are in cyberspace. And the eighth is maintenance because a website is a living, breathing thing that should fascinate people into returning so they can see what’s up this week.
Marketing online doesn’t merely mean the Web. It means emailing, posting notices at forums, engaging in chats, accomplishing research, gathering market data and having a website. The keys to succeeding online are in creating compelling content, changing that content regularly, responding at nearly the speed of light, and by personalizing your messages. There may be 50 million people on the Internet but your prospects must feel you’re talking to them one at a time
I promised you 25 ways that technology helps you market and then I went off on a tangent because I want you to use technology the right way online. I always want you to be aware of 24 ways technology can help you offline as well:
2. Newsletters — Good ones are mailed to customers and prospects on a regular basis and follow the rule of 75-25.
3. Flyers — Distribute them in a variety of ways, as signs, in orders, to fusion marketing partners to distribute as you distribute theirs.
4. Direct mail letters –Have an inventory of proven letters in your computer, set to print, personalize and mail.
5. Postcards — They take away from the recipient the decision of whether or not to open the envelope.
6. Letterheads and envelopes — Desktop publishing lets you produce professional looking stationery, lowering the cost of gaining credibility.
7. Business cards — Include your name, company name, title, address, phone, fax number, email address, website, logo, theme line; your card may open up to reveal a list of benefits offered and services available.
8.Invoices & PO forms — These marketing opportunities should have valuable data in addition to names and numbers.
9. Brochures — Perfect forums for including all the details; they should be offered for free in your other marketing and posted online.
10. Catalogs — You can increase revenues through catalogs, now easy and inexpensive to design and produce, a potentially big profit-center.
11. Invitations — Guerrillas print formal invitations to customers to private sales, parties and special events. They always play favorites.
12. Gift certificates — People are on the lookout for gift ideas and a gift certificate might be perfect. Mention them on signs, in brochures.
13. Coupons — Offer discounts, free merchandise, services, anything to intensify prospect’s desire for your product. Coupons are very versatile.
14. Contest entry forms — Smart small businesses hold contests in order to get names for their mailing lists.
15. Club ID cards –Form a frequent buyer club or VIP customer club: sealing your relationship with the customers with an attractive ID card.
16. Greeting cards — Let anniversary cards celebrate the anniversaries of customers being customers, also for holiday cards and birthday cards.
17. Signs — Because so many towns have community bulletin boards, guerrillas are sure to post their signs on those boards. Guerrillas know that computers can transform some signs into posters.
18. Point-of-purchase materials — Guerrillas produce POP materials that tie in with their other marketing. Their computers do the hard work.
19. Trade show materials –You can produce compelling graphic presentations of sales stories strictly for use at trade shows.
20. Audio-visual aids — Create powerful AV support for presentations — diagrams, before-and-after photos, illustrations, and graphs.
21. Flipcharts — Audio-visual aids are built-in and your sales story has an order and flow. These can be portable, economical, and flexible.
22. Research questionnaires — Obtain customer data and simplify finding people who fit their exact profile. Act upon what you learn.
23. Books — Technology helps guerrillas from producing labels and tags to self-publishing their own books, proving they’re the experts.
24. Proposals — Computer-designed proposals add credibility, visibility, and excitability while instilling confidence in you beyond any price tag.
25. Multi-media presentations –These once complex and now simple
forums let you demonstrate your benefits with extraordinary impact.
Technology lets small business gain credibility and provide speed and power in an age when credibility is crucial, speed is revered and power comes from being part of a team. Speed comes from cellular, wireless, pager, fax, email, and voicemail technology. Power comes from networking and sharing technology.
If you’re guerrilla marketing with technology, you’re headed in the right direction. If you’re guerrilla marketing without technology, you’re not really guerrilla marketing at all.
– For more on Jay Conrad Levinson visit www.gmarketing.com