Are you tired of writing checks for advertising and promotion expenses, month after month, and feeling like you have nothing to show for it? Learn 3 ways that you can turn your advertising and promotion activities into profitable assets, shift from marketing expenses to income, and begin to think of your marketing activities as a profit center instead.
1. Save the money you are now paying to advertisers.
Does the idea of writing checks to yourself each month rather than writing them to someone else for advertising expenses sound good to you? Here’s how to make that happen.
When you run a typical ad, you have no idea who has seen it unless they come to your establishment, call you, or buy something from you. In order to make your marketing a profit center, you have to know who those people are and how to contact them.
Don’t run another ad unless you can use it to capture the contact information of everyone who sees that ad and is interested in what you are offering. If you are advertising to get new customers, then be sure to make them an irresistible offer in exchange for their contact information. For example, a restaurant offers a two-for-one coupon that is delivered after the contact information is provided. What irresistible offer can you make to your prospective customers that they can’t refuse?
You can even test different offers to learn which ones are most popular, and have a record of which people responded to which offer. Is that valuable information to have for your future marketing campaigns? Of course it is! You can just deliver more of what your customers have already told you they want. And as you build a list of those people who have raised their hands, the list you are building becomes an asset for your business.
With a list of prospective customers and how to contact them, you no longer need to run blind ads. You can send targeted offers directly to your list in an email, so there is no mailing cost.
Instead of putting a coupon in an envelope with lots of other offers and hoping that someone will respond, you will be able to send a coupon directly to your list. You can even suggest that they share it with their friends and co-workers who might be interested in what you have to offer. And watch those “advertising” dollars go right to your bottom line!
2. Send special offers to your list that they can’t get anywhere else (and cash checks from other business owners that are providing the offers for them).
What’s even better than saving marketing dollars? Earning marketing dollars! Imagine how excited your customers will be to get “secret, special deals” that no one else gets! Of course, they can pass those offers on to their friends too, but those friends have to give you their contact information to get the deals!
You can send the offers to your list in a monthly newsletter, an email, or several other options. All can be done at low cost or no cost — but you won’t pay a dime without getting a check from another business owner first to cover the cost.
Send offers for other local businesses (that don’t compete with you, of course). Look for complimentary products, or even just products that have a similar target market that matches your customers. If your customers would be good customers for another business, that business can pay you an “advertising fee” to connect the offer to your list.
Partner with local museums or other non-profit arts organizations. Even if you don’t earn cash for your mailing, you can likely take a tax deduction — but check with your accountant so you will know what you have to do to earn the deduction. Just make sure you are getting a “special” deal for your list members.
If you have other business owners who are your customers, ask if they would be interested in having you do marketing for them.
Get in the habit of thinking of marketing as a profit center, and you will see many possibilities for profit.
3. Write a review for your customers that is included in your newsletter or an email, making a recommendation and including an offer.
Start with your customers who are business owners themselves and think about how you can promote their businesses with a review and a recommendation. Then approach the owners of those businesses and offer to provide a review and recommendation of their business (or product or service). In exchange, they will provide an irresistible offer (exclusive to your list, of course) which you will send for a small fee to cover your “expenses,” along with your review and recommendation.
This is powerful in marketing terms. This is not just “a shot in the dark” advertising, hoping that someone will respond. Your list members know and trust you, and when you give them your point of view (review) and your recommendation that they do something (take advantage of the offer that is being made), the expectation is that a larger number of people will respond to the offer than if it was just another ad placement. However, the offer must be something that your list members will find irresistible and it should be exclusive, only available to your list.