While networking can be an effective marketing tool for you, it is not the only way to put your name and services in front of a potential client. Further, many individuals do not like the practice of networking and would prefer to solicit prospects on another basis.
Marketing is a collection of activities that helps you to obtain business. These actions may involve advertising, direct mail, press releases, public appearances, promotional flyers or brochures. Your services will not be contracted unless people know about them. This is where marketing is useful. Marketing should create and image for you, one that is professional and encourages individuals to look further into what you have to offer.
Marketing is also about understanding who your base of potential clients is and where they are located. Narrowing down your scope of marketing to concentrate on the people most likely to contract for your answering service requires thoughtful analysis. For example, you could begin by focusing on just sole proprietors at first. These are people most likely to be working away from their business and in potential need of phone help.
There are numerous media outlets to advertise your services. It costs money to advertise in newspapers or send brochures out to targeted potential customers, so gauge your budget accordingly when selecting your marketing outlets. Radio and television advertising also carry a price, but can also be effective in reaching a broad number of people.
Your marketing pieces, whether a brochure, advertisement or commercial must list plenty of reasons for your services being important and specifically why you should pro-vide these services. You should decide on and then list the services you offer as some or all of this copy will become a focal point of any piece you create.
A brochure can provide a professional image for you while serving functionally to explain the services you provide. It should be simple in appearance and easy to read and absorb. Be informative without being wordy. Anticipate and answer the questions someone might have about your type of business, such as how many hours per day your service will take calls.
The brochure layout is usually a six panel, front and back 8 ½ , 11 inch sheet of paper. The panels include:
-a cover indicating your business name, address, telephone number and logo; -first inside panel describing your business and who a good prospect for your services would be; -middle inside panel should list your services and a brief description of each; -third inside panel should provide a list of testimonials from others who have used your service, or, if new, from network contacts willing to describe your phone voice, organizational skills and reliability and put their name and business next to their quote; -middle outside panel should contain a brief biography of yourself and your credentials along with any partners or other employees you may wish to highlight; and -final outside panel which will be designed as a self-mailer with your return address on it. You will mail the brochure using this panel as your envelope.
You should write the copy for your brochure, but get some help laying it out from either the graphic artist who designed your logo or the printer who will be printing the marketing piece. Using two colors and minimal design should keep the price of producing these mailing brochures very reasonable. The brochure can also be used as a hand-out piece. It adds credence to your business venture and lifts you above those others that don’t bother investing the money in this important marketing tool.
Advertising can also put your name and service out to a variety of people. A classified advertisement offering your services may initiate some phone calls, but a larger display advertisement is more likely to draw your potential prospect’s attention. Your advertisement should be written to attract the eye of the reader. The headline is the most critical part of the piece, but this will either invite the reader to keep reading or go on to the next page.
Your key service is to help a business avoid losing money by having that personal contact when someone calls their office. This concept is what your headline should incorporate, such as “How To Make Your Business More Profitable” or a similar theme.
People buy most often for emotional reasons. You are selling a service. Thus the advertisement you create must have an emotional pull that can convince a person to call you for more information. An advertisement simply listing your services won’t generate the response you want and need. But it the emotional enticement is to help a business financially, to provide that human touch in a mechanized world, you will have a better chance of attracting potential clients.
The remainder of the advertisement can list some details about you and the services you provide, but the headlines remains focused on emotion. Certainly you can continue with the emotional copy throughout the piece, mixing in some of the important details. The better story you tell, the better your response. But the headline will cause people to read the story. A poor headline will send most readers elsewhere and a good story will remain unread.
Be positive! List the benefits of working with you, not the disadvantages or passing on your services. The headline should concentrate perhaps on SAVE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TODAY rather than AVOID LOSING THOUSANDS IN YOUR BUSINESS. There are professional ad agencies and copywriters who can assist you in getting it right. It may be worth the price to put an ad together that generates substantial response rather than saving the money, writing the ad yourself and seeing little or no reaction to it.
The most effective ads tell us enough information, but leave the reader curious to know more and thus, inviting the person to call in. But once you have the person calling in, you have an excellent chance to turn that prospect into a client. After all, it’s your phone voice and manner that you’re trying to sell, isn’t it? Here, the individual will get a first hand chance to see how their own clients will be handled should you strike up a deal.
Run your advertisement in your local newspaper or other smaller community publi-cations. Try radio advertising. It’s a cost- effective way to reach people you may never get to contact otherwise.
The other marketing option for you is direct mail. You can generate some incredible responses her, but if your are going to undertake the expense of a direct mail operation, you should certainly secure some assistance from professional copywriters to get the most “bang for your buck”. Postage costs alone are high with direct mail so you need an effective piece.
Direct mail is tricky, because you must get your message across with a minimum of words. The direct mail piece is meant to entice a prospect into calling for more infor-mation. Stay focused on this. If you try to do too much, few if any people will read your piece and respond.
The importance of immediate action must be emphasized. The piece is meant to motivate the prospect to act now, today, not tomorrow or next week or next month. Effective wording can accomplish this motivating technique.
Direct mail can help you reach thousands of people you couldn’t call yourself. It expands your capacity to reach potential clients and makes the most of your limited manpower and, possibly, resources.
Look for a direct mail house that works with copywriters. There is a big difference between advertising and direct mail, so find and individual with direct mail credentials. You could write the copy yourself if it will capably produce the type of piece described.
If you intend to undertake the copywriting yourself, remember these basic principles:
-Headline! Headline! Headline! Your opening paragraph or title in your direct mail piece has to make people want to open it up and read further. Don’t be coy! List a key benefit immediately! Get your prospect to turn the page! -While listing your benefits, keep them at reality level. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. People are wary today of others who over-promise, so as you highlight the benefits of your business service, emphasize how you are able to offer this many benefits from your company. Utilize the word “you” to let readers know they will be on the receiving end of the benefits. -Be as precise as you can. Give prospects tangible services and explain simply how they work. People are bottom-line today and want to make up their mind to pursue a service or not in quick fashion. Specifics give people enough data to make up their mind and will almost always help you get a response. It will also not waste time for you and those who are not interested in your services. -Obtain some testimonials to use other people’s words, other than your own, to describe your benefits and services. Use complete names to indicate authenticity behind the comments. -Make your copy conversational, easy to read, simple. Words should be short. Sen-tences should be brief. Paragraphs should be concise. The copy should encourage the reader to act. If a reader understands the copy, the action you want (a response) is more likely to happen. -Incentives often motivate people to act immediately rather than procrastinate. If, for a limited time (14 days, 30 days), your service can be obtained for less than the usual monthly rate, you’ve encouraged people to call in and take action. If they understand the service you offer and how it can benefit them, plus you add a feature such as an incentive to call NOW, you’ll probably increase your response by a large margin. Some people need that extra shove. -Guarantee your work. Offer a no-risk, money back 30 day deal to try your service. If the customer isn’t satisfied, offer the refund. This will reassure the potential client and, since you have great confidence in your own ability, you really aren’t giving anything away since you know people will benefit from your services.
Your direct mail piece must sell you along with your services. IN a phone business, you are the most valuable asset. People buy from people. The more satisfied someone is with you, the more likely the chance of securing a contract.
Marketing is a potpourri of potential activity. Create a marketing strategy and follow it through. You can’t help but generate a number of individuals interested in what you have to offer. Remember, too, that marketing is an ongoing process. You are always on the lookout for new clients. The value of continued marketing efforts is a constant stream of prospects– and financial security for you!