Low Cost

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I had the opportunity to attend a class yesterday called “Technology Decoded” and learned a TON about what’s out there now, the Hot Stuff to watch for and, of course, tips on free stuff we can use today to be better at what we do.  I also received permission to repost the following from speaker/ author Tony Rubleski. While not written specifically for the lodging industry, with a little creativity Tony’s strategies can be incorporated into your current marketing efforts for minimal financial or time investments…
Thanks Tony for the post!

Five Low Cost Marketing Strategies
Here are five often overlooked low cost marketing strategies anyone can use to better promote their product, service or organization:
#1. Use more inserts with your direct mail
Anytime you send out something make sure to drop something in with the mailing such as a flier describing additional services, a positive testimonial letter, article reprint or thank you note to leverage and maximize the mailing. Very few companies take advantage of what direct marketing pros call ‘ride-along’ offers in their mailings. For example, every book order we ship from our office has a two-page flier enclosed promoting our offline newsletter and a short post-it-note on the front page that reads, “If you like the book, you should definitely check out this newsletter!”

Confession time: It wasn’t until my wife Kim made the casual comment, “Why don’t you put the newsletter flier in with book orders?” when packing a book order over the holidays, that we added inserts into every order we ship. Yes indeed, I married a smart and wonderful woman who continually reminds the ‘marketing guy’ of things he’s missing the boat on or simply forgetting to do!

#2. Postcard mailings
I’m baffled that more people don’t use postcard communications with their best customers on a regular basis. Here are a few reasons I love postcards: They’re low cost, easy to produce, fun, memorable, and when done properly they jump out of the mailbox versus other forms of marketing communications.

My dentist and local vet office are perfect examples of two businesses that use postcard marketing with precision and maximum effectiveness. With our busy daily lives, they’re masters at reminding us of upcoming appointments, special announcements and gently nudging us via a postcard that we’re either on track or overdue for a checkup.

I know this sounds like common sense, but I’m stunned at how few businesses communicate on a consistent basis with their customers using the power of simple postcard mailings. Many of you know that I’m a big believer in an amazing direct mail service called Send Out Cards. Their system allows you to not only build a database for your contacts, but also lets you build memorable card campaigns using the power of the Internet and their offline mailing services. I’ve been amazed at the incredible reaction we get by using it every week along with our other follow up systems to stay in touch with key clients, prospects, family members and friends.

#3. Article marketing
If you educate people versus selling them you’ll be amazed at how differently people will perceive you and your organization. I know, some of you reading this are saying, Tony this sounds good but I’m not a writer. That’s an understandable concern but let me set you at ease. You don’t have to be a good writer. Here are three quick ways to find great articles:

a.Leverage articles, with permission, from your industry trade groups. They often have a treasure trove of informative and timely articles available from their newsletters and archived on their websites which are great to use in your marketing efforts.

b.Do a Google search for free, public domain articles that have been granted permission by the writer or publisher. There are tons of these available and often all the writer asks for in exchange is a short bio line and putting their website address at the end of the article to build awareness and drive interested readers back to them for more information.

c.Set up a section on your site, blog and in your eletters where you reference great information via links to other sites that have articles you recommend.

#4. Set up and use a blog within your marketing efforts
I believe every company should set up and use a blog within their marketing efforts. Here’s the big reason why: you want to have a forum where you can update, share and build a following with your customers. A great free resource is WordPress.com. Many people use this to set up their blog presence.

In addition, the major benefit from consistent blogging is that it improves your chances within the online game called ‘search.’ You win in two ways every time you make a blog post. When you update your blog posts you get to share your message with others, and at the same you’re also increasing the odds that the online search engines will move you up in ranking because you regularly update your pages with new posts.

#5. Take at least one key client or referral partner out to breakfast or lunch every week
This will be the best $20-30 you can spend to not only cement a great relationship, but it’s also smart for the following reasons:
    •You can learn more about what your client does and greatly enhance the relationship
    •It’s a great way to get focused, uninterrupted, face-to-face time away from the office
    •You can educate and update your client on the many things you provide
    •To give and receive referrals
    •You discover areas of opportunity and get great feedback

Even when I’m traveling, I make it a habit to schedule a breakfast, lunch or dinner meeting in between speaking or meetings with a friend, key client or prospect. I get to enhance relationships and also build my business at the same time. This is a solid part of my marketing mix that really pays off.

There you have it. Review this list of five simple ways to increase your marketing and promotional efforts for little or no cost to see what you can add into the mix.MSS

Tony Rubleski is a best selling author and the president of Mind Capture Group. For future column ideas, suggestions or feedback contact him at tony@mindcapturegroup.com or visit www.MindCaptureGroup.com.



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