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Using Pens As a Promotional Strategy

Cost-effective advertising and promotion can be a tough balancing act; after all, in today’s age where you get what you pay for, settling for cheap promotional material means getting at most mediocre results. But what the advertiser or marketer wants and needs is a promotional solution that is both effective, and not too costly. What the marketer needs are solutions such as cheap pens.

At first the idea of using pens in a marketing campaign may seem absurd, but then again Einstein himself said that “If at first an idea is not absurd, there is no hope for it.” Besides, promotional pens have long been classic advertising paraphernalia. Perhaps what makes it a concept that at first would seem to be ineffective is that nowadays a marketing repertoire is mostly comprised of Internet ads, animated banners, and other online advertising stunts suited for the current Web trend, whatever the rend may be. Indeed, how would cheap pens hold water compared to such technologically advanced marketing means? Well, pens aren’t reliant on trends for one. And of course, pens are always handy.

Internet trends come and go faster than the seasons change. One marketing tactic that works for the current trend might need massive recalibration and tweaking to accommodate the next one. Pens are exempt from this reliance in trends and fads that are at best only passing. Besides, though more and more people usually use blogs and not journals to “write” on, pens will never go out of style. They will always be needed to jot down a note or a quick reminder to self.

This permanence and usefulness and the fact that they’re affordable makes cheap pens great marketing paraphernalia. Though of course you don’t just go out and buy pens and then give them away. Usually pens are bought in bulk and then printed on or adorned with whatever marketing motif or theme or slogan your campaign has. Used the right way, promotional pens can be a very efficient tool in bolstering your campaign regardless if its purpose is for advertising, an advocacy, an election candidate, or whatever.

Of course, most of the time cheap pens are employed into a campaign arsenal as a secondary or accessory effort, supporting a larger, more central endeavor. But on its own, mixed in with guaranteed marketing tactics like niche and target marketing, advertising through pens can yield positive results that can parallel the results of other major campaign efforts.

This would entail a bit of knowledge and know how on the use of marketing tactics of course. Take target marketing for instance. Used in a pen drive, you’d distribute the promotional pens in question to a specific consumer pool categorized by demographic. The best way to illustrate this would be to tag along a major campaign effort like a fundraiser in a community where you’re sure a lot of potential consumers reside. So if your target consumer pool are teenage girls, then giving away your cheap pens with promotional print on them at a fundraiser at an all girls campus should do the trick.

How to Manage Your Marketing Mix

Here’s the deal: advertisement is not marketing. It’s like saying
you want to have a garden, but you’re only willing to plant the
flowers. Forget about watering, fertilizer, good soil, weeding and
sunshine. You don’t need them, right?

Wrong. And the same goes for generating revenue. Done in a vacuum,
none of these tactics will get you what you want. For professional
services – where your relationship with your target audience develops
based on them trusting you – it’s all about layering your “market
touches” in a way that incrementally builds trust over time. Too
much, too close, too soon, and you scare people off.

Instead, you have to know what strategy to use and when, based on
clear objectives. Each strategy has a different purpose. Here’s a
quick look at how to make the right choice.

Advertisement is getting the word out about your firm through paid-
for ads or commercials in the media, including print, radio,
television and internet. You advertise to…

* establish awareness

* build interest in the market

* educate

* interrupt

* change attitudes about your brand or another’s brand

* influence perceptions

* meet a longer-term objective (like raising awareness)

Advertisement tends to be very expensive. Done well -with good
messaging, good design, and a big enough budget to be consistent over
time – it can be effective. But blowing a big piece of your overall
marketing budget on an ad or two is a HUGE waste of money.

Public Relations is getting the word out about your firm through the
press, including articles about you (not by you) and interviews with
you. These can appear in print, as a story in the media, and online.
You use Public Relations to…

* build credibility (and sometimes trust) through a third-party (the
press)

* move up a level in the eyes of your target audience and clients

* align publicly (i.e., with a cause)

* generate buzz (i.e., pre-launch)

* get “free” attention

Getting good publicity requires a knack for WIIFM-oriented messaging
(What’s In It For Me?). You have to pass the “who cares?” test every
time. If you start a press release, for example, with “ABC Company is
pleased to announce…,” you’re DEAD in the water. Good relationship-
building skills with the press are also a must. PR is often something
to crank up once you have the tools in place to “catch” the attention
you’ll garner, including a website laden with value and a decent keep-
in-touch system.

Promotion is getting the word out through articles/
columns/newsletters that you write, talks you give, networking,
sponsorships, events, committee work, referrals you give and get,
follow-up meetings, thank you notes, and calls. You promote to…

* encourage your target audience to try you (i.e., visit your
website for a valuable download, to subscribe to your free e-
newsletter)

* invite your target audience to an event (real or virtual)

* give stuff away (trials)

* introduce a new offer

* meet a shorter-term objective (like fill a workshop)

* test new ideas (i.e., run a poll)

* invite interaction (i.e., to an online discussion forum)

Promotion tends to be the most effective way for professional
service firms to build trust in the marketplace. The arsenal of
options in your promotional toolkit is both extensive and affordable.
Get a basic system of online and offline promotional tactics in place
- anchored by a value-packed website to act as your “revenue hub” –
and you’re in good shape.

You also have tactical choices to make for each strategy: online vs.
offline, print/graphic vs. audio/visual, live (in person) vs.
virtual, and so on. Here are some rules of (green) thumb to guide you:

* deploy the WIIFM factor at all times

* unless you have the backing of a big corporate marketing budget,
promotion and PR tend to be your smartest investments

* online is generally more cost-effective than print

* permission-based approach is a must for professional services

* don’t randomly try tactics. Have a plan that moves your target
audience from Stranger to Acquaintance to Friend to Lover to Loyal
Partner (see my article, “How to Earn the Right” for more on this key
success factor)

If you want awareness, interest, trusted advisor status, and
credibility, you need all three strategies – Advertisement, Public
Relations, and Promotion – in your marketing mix. For most firms,
having a solid promotional strategy in place first is the smartest
ROI. Add public relations and advertisement to the mix next, and your
garden will flourish and grow.

Web Site Promotion & Internet Marketing – Simple Ten Step Blueprint For Starting an Business Online

I don’t care what your product or service is, it always comes down to ten simple steps. Here is my easy yet proven formula on how you go about starting from scratch and building your own online business.

Step 1: Research your target market to see if there is actually a viable market to enter in the first place.Once you have proven that it is viable then move to the next step.

Step 2: Research, analyze and create  your keywords list of your best ones as it relates to your target market. Determine which ones generate the traffic volume you need without being subjected to overwhelming competition. Finalize that list down to your three or four best.

Step 3: Set up a test PPC campaign as an affiliate just to test the market in real time. Analyze your results. If the numbers work, get ready to roll out your product or service on a small scale at first.

Step 4: Create your product or service…be unique, fill a need, fill a void in your market.

Step 5: Create your web site and implement on-page SEO tactics using those 3 or 4 best keywords.

Step 6: Perform the necessary SEO strategies for web page optimization to enhance your page rank and organic search results placement.

Step 7: Roll out more and more marketing campaigns as you start generating income. Tweak things along the way as needed. Seek out JV partners and start attracting affiliates to sell your product or service.

Step 8: Incorporate web 2.0 marketing techniques to drive more traffic to your site.

Step 9: Make sure everything that can be automated is automated and hands-off.

Step 10: Manage the business & Repeate this process on your next business idea.

I know this is a very top level explanation of these steps, but I can assure you, that you can implement what I teach here into almost any business model or market.

My sincere wishes for you to make it online!

Matt Lopilato