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MAGLIGHTING
02-12-2009, 09:42 PM
Probably one of the best (especially right now) and most cost effective ways to market on a consistent basis is to publish an on-line newsletter or blog. Now before I get into this I must tell you that I am not currently doing this. This is something I've been thinking about for a very long time and will be doing someday hopefully soon. But I've been very busy and this has kept me from taking the plunge. Not a good excuse as it's more important to market when your busy as opposed to when you're not so, in order that you remain busy. Once you commit to it you have to deliver on a regular basis or you will lose your audience. This is mainly why I haven't started this project yet.

Top of mind awareness is what you are after and establishing yourself as the expert in your area is what can be achieved. It's a real credibility builder. Profiling projects on a regular basis, educating prospects and clients, announcing promotions showcasing your work the possibilities are endless.

It can be both posted on your website and sent to your clients, associates, trade partners and prospects .

Right now more than ever before, with things being tight, you want to keep in close contact with your clients.

Videos on the internet are all the rage now too.

If anyone is currently doing something like this let us know and provide a link .

Mark B
02-12-2009, 10:35 PM
I don't get the blogs. But I have thought about doing a myspace & facebook account. I know it seem far out. But it is free. Both sites allow you to upload a lot of pics, and videos. You can even upload a you tube on to your page. Before you blast me, think about it..... You can add friends in a age range say 30-50. I would guess that age range would have homes, jobs that might use your services. My redneck .02

LightYourNight
02-13-2009, 02:58 AM
Blogging is great... my moms retail store gets tons of response because of her blog. It keeps customers informed on new products and events happening.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-13-2009, 07:46 AM
Every market is different. What will work in one will fail in another, it all comes down to who your target market is and what are their habits. That being said, keeping in touch with your existing client base is very important and relatively easy as you (should) have all of their pertinant contact information.

Remember to ask yourself if you truly understand your clients' research and purchase habits, not to mention their 'use of time' habits. The more busy, complex and involved their lives are the less likely they will have much time or energy for reading something like a "lighting guy's blog". These people might better be reached by a simple targeted email blast on a quarterly basis....

Have a great day.

Lite4
02-13-2009, 10:11 AM
These are all great ideas guys. Mike and James, you both make good points and observations about media types and client accomodations. My goal is to shoot some video this year and showcase a few projects for you tube or a streaming video that can be linked in an online article. Mike, I have always wanted to do some really nice articles like you have produced for newsletters and online viewing. I really like the idea of showcasing a fun project (pictorially) from before, during and after to show other clients and prospects. Also a section called "emerging or new technology corner", showing and explaining some new equipment or control technology that might spark some past clients into thinking-"upgrade!". Regardless of how I approach this, one thing is an absolute must- This E-newsletter must show the same or better quality and thought as my printed media does. My goal would be to make it look like it was presentable for a magazine article, such as what Mr. Gambino produces. Just like anything printed, if it looks professional and well done, there is a better chance they may actually read it, (and maybe forward it to a friend).

There is no doubt that this year will be the year NOT to be conservative with the marketing, but rather other non traditional and cost effective alternatives will need to be sought out and utilized.

NightLightingFX
02-13-2009, 11:12 AM
These people might better be reached by a simple targeted email blast on a quarterly basis....

I think a quarterly newsletter blast is perfect. This is exactually what I am doing. My first one is scheduled to go out in two weeks

irrig8r
02-13-2009, 11:13 AM
Check out this pretty thorough comparison of email marketing software/ services.

http://email-list-manager-review.com/index.php

Who needs an email service provider anyway?

Many times small businesses and organizations start out by using a personal email account through Outlook or Thunderbird to send out 10s or 100s of messages at once to their list. As the list continues to grow, this can become more and more cumbersome to maintain. As a result, the system can collapse or become unmanageable.

Potential pitfalls of sending from your own email client:

* Upkeep time increases as you manually add and delete people from your list when they ask to be added/removed.
* Potential to re-add "unsubscribed" people to your list, causing a possible backlash and spam reports.
* Potential to send duplicate message to the same person. This can look very unprofessional.
* Your message will be addressed to "Undisclosed Recipients", or worse, to everyone in the CC: field where everyones email address is visible to everyone else!
* Lack of central control over your list. If it's on one computer, in someones address book, is it safe from virus attacks, accidental loss or even theft?
* If you send from your own unique domain (ex. client-news@abc-hardware.com) and your domain gets flagged as sending out spam by an angry recipient, it could easily interfere with critical business email communication to and from your domain. This danger is often overlooked, but it's a big potential problem.

NightLightingFX
02-13-2009, 11:14 AM
I am taking on the mentality to do what ever I can to drive traffic to my website.

NightLightingFX
02-13-2009, 11:20 AM
Check out this pretty thorough comparison of email marketing software/ services.

http://email-list-manager-review.com/index.php

I decided to work with "Vertical Response" because they didn't require a monthly payment. They were the only one I could find that had an easy pay as you go program. It starts out a $15 for 500 names, if you have more than 500 names it still very reasonable.

steveparrott
02-13-2009, 02:57 PM
A few notes on the new marketing:

1. E-mail services. This is a must for every business. Vertical Response and Constant Contact are the big two. They are both excellent and have pretty much the same range of services. If you rarely send out email blasts then Vertical Response is cheaper since they only charge per email blast; constant contact charges a set monthly fee even if you never use it.

2. Blogs. This is becoming a huge component of online marketing. It gives you fresh content on your site (Google loves that). Google also has a "Blog Results" list that pops up for certain popular search terms. Your blog can put you on page one of the search results. 86% of web users never make it to page two.

3. Getting to page 1 of Google Results. The top ten results of a Google search are on page one. If your site comes up at #11, 86% of the people won't see your listing. If you move up to #10 then you are likely to get 5 to 6times the number of leads. This can translate into tens of thousands of dollars for your business. This is why everyone with a website needs to optimize their site and ideally pay someone to optimize it for you.

4. Google bases a great deal of its ranking on the number and quality of other sites that link to yours. Everyone should browse the web and search for every business and associate that will link back to your site. Likely sites are local business directories, chamber of commerce, trade associations. You may need to pay a small fee to be listed on some of these sites - it's worth it.

5. Someone here mentioned facebook and myspace. Little known fact, Google does not acknowlegde any links or content refering to your site from any of these social networking sites. These sites may attract business, but don't expect them to help in your search ranking.

That's all for now.

NightLightingFX
02-13-2009, 03:58 PM
Steve,
Great info, I REALLY don't know what a "blog" is. I will do some research now.
~Ned

Mark B
02-13-2009, 06:32 PM
I said facebook & myspace. I put that there so you can get traffic to your site. It is for networking with other peeps. I have pics of my lighting jobs on mine. I have not got any work from it. But you never know.

irrig8r
02-13-2009, 09:10 PM
BTW, I've played around with a blog since Nov. 2005. It's linked from the front page of my website.

I can't tell how many people might be reading it. It's more about my need to say something than a desire to have large numbers of people read it, but I have had some hits from far away places, and comments from some of my regular customers about it too.

I don't know if it can be an effective marketing tool as sporadically as I add to it.

But here it is anyway.

http://irrig8r.blogspot.com/

NightScenes
02-16-2009, 03:52 PM
I currently use Constant Contact for a monthly news letter that I send out to my current clients, custom builders, real estate agents and anyone who signs up. I also started writing a monthly column in the local business journal. Each of these things has worked very well for me.

NightLightingFX
02-16-2009, 06:06 PM
What was your approach that sold the Business Journal on your concept of having a column? I am going to try that with my local business journal.

NightScenes
02-16-2009, 06:47 PM
Ned, they actually approached me because of our frequent press releases.