Category Archives: Business Marketing Chat

Restaurant Marketing Ideas

When it comes to marketing a restaurant, two things should always be at the forefront of any campaign. One is finding customers and the other is turning them into repeat customers. If your strategies are not doing this then you have failed to properly market the restaurant and your business is likely to fail.

Some key areas to look at when promoting a restaurant include the signage used, the name of the restaurant, the menu and the theme. Once some, preferably all of these are included in your restaurant marketing plan you stand a better chance of succeeding.

Great Marketing Tips

While there are tried and proven methods of marketing, coming up with new ideas is also useful. Since competition is high in the industry your marketing efforts must stand out from the rest. The first step is to determine your target market and the area where you expect the bulk of your customers to come from. Are you aiming for upscale clientele or the average person? This will determine the marketing methods employed, and help avoid generic campaigns.

Your Marque

The sign you use to advertise should be attractive and capture the attention of passersby. The same is true for print or electronic advertisements – the logo and the message must stand out and make people take notice. This doesn’t mean going over-the-top, just different so that it doesn’t look like just another restaurant.

The Name of the Restaurant

Name appeal plays an important role in the success of any restaurant. You want to use a name that will say something meaningful about the establishment. A run-of-the-mill name such as John’s Restaurant will not do for most areas. Look at successful restaurants and pay attention to their names.

The Theme

The ambience of the place will also be a great marketing tool. While it will work well for after the restaurant is open, hints of what’s in store can also be used in marketing material to pull customers in. The atmosphere should be determined based on the clientele being catered to.

Menu/Food Served

The way this is marketed will help pull in customers. Some will come to try something new, while for others it may be to have a taste of something they love that no other restaurant offers. For example, Caribbean or Taiwanese cuisine may be intriguing.

Marketing to Repeat Customers

Ultimately, if your promotions efforts work and diners come to your restaurant, you need to keep them coming back. Not only do you want them to be repeat customers, you want them to tell others about your restaurant. Nothing beats word of mouth in the restaurant business.

It goes without saying that the taste of the food will be a significant factor in getting people to come back and to provide positive reviews.  Not only should food be tasty, but periodically adding something new is a great marketing strategy.

Involving staff into the marketing effort is also worth considering. This can be as simple as giving staff discount vouchers to give to friends during slow periods. The staff member that brings in the most vouchers could get a prize.

Finally, the greatest marketing effort and most delicious food will be all in vain if the service is lousy. Service is one of the most important tools for keeping customers happy and coming back. A restaurant that is known for great service can use this fact in campaigns. Diners will also tell others of their positive experience.

Successful restaurants don’t normally get to that stage without being innovative. They frequently reinvent themselves and work hard to pull in new clients with creative marketing techniques and attentiveness to customers.

Local Business Marketing Ideas

In days gone by, beginning businesses started locally then reached out globally.  With the advent of the Internet, often new businesses reach out nationally without ever tapping into their local market.  As everyone clamors to get attention on the Internet, harness the power of local services to get the word out about your business.

Check Out Your Local House Of Worship

Although people try not to mix business with religion, who says you can’t?  Houses of worship encourage local businesses to advertise to raise essential revenue for their operations and charities.  For much less than placing an ad in a newspaper, advertise your business in the fliers distributed at local houses of worship. Check with your accountant to find out of this advertising expense is considered a tax deductible donation.

Join Community Jam Sessions

While top business leaders join local organization to help improve their community, they also realize an invaluable opportunity to promote themselves.  Members of the community recognize the names of people participating in local town or village boards and community organizations.  Network with other business leaders to promote each other.  This keeps more profits local rather than reaching beyond the neighborhood.

Make The Rounds

Decades ago, budding entrepreneurs made the rounds to spread the word about their businesses.  Pass out fliers and business cards at parking lots, shopping centers and neighborhoods.  Check local laws about leaving fliers before you decide where to make the rounds so you don’t wind up violating any.  Take time to chat with other business owners when you buy your breakfast sandwich, get gasoline or sit down for a haircut.  Let them know about your business and ask if you can display a few cards near their cash registers.  Some local merchants have a community bulletin board just for posting business cards.

Host An Informational Presentation At Your Local Library

Local libraries offer information seminars to their residents.  Ask if you can host a free or low-cost presentation teaching a skill related to your line of work.  Teach novices which tools to use for minor household repairs.  Show people how to set up their first blog or take digital photos.  There are an array of classes you can teach at your local library based on what you know.  Use the opportunity to distribute business cards, fliers or simply mention your business during the presentation.

Show It Off On A Shirt

Use shirts to show off your business name.  Give out shirts with your name, logo, telephone number and email address.  Have employees wear them to work.  Conduct contests for new customers with shirts as prizes.  Distribute shirts with a minimum purchase from your business.  Wear a business logo shirt when you run errands around town.  Company jackets and polo shirts are also great ways to promote your name.  If you’re on a budget, pens get the job done, too.

Drive Your Business Name Home

Display a sign on your vehicle about your business.  You don’t have to drive a big truck to tell everyone about your company.  Small magnetic signs attach to the tiniest sports cars as well as huge SUVs.  Permanent signs show your level of commitment to the business.  Wherever you park, the sign lets each passerby know what your company has to offer.  Find out local laws to see if you can display a sign on your home.  Sometimes neighbors don’t know you have a special skill they might need such as notary public, accountant, landscaper or real estate broker.

Run After Your Clients

Run in a marathon to get people to know your business.  Ask for sponsors when you join in community charitable events including fund raisers and marathons.  Distribute a press release through free online resources to let the world know about your business’ charitable efforts.  Support causes you believe in and promote your business at the same time.  Sponsor a local sports teams for young people and get involved in neighborhood causes.  Many people prefer to do business with someone who donates to charity.

Local resources are a forgotten way to draw attention to your business.  As you think globally make sure to let your next door neighbor know about your company, too!

Cheap, Easy and Effective Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Small business owners are always looking for creative and effective ways to market their products and services.  One often overlooked avenue for marketing is public relations, yet PR can do far more than simply raise awareness.  PR can be very effective at generating leads and making sales.

So what is PR?  Most people think of PR as dealing with the media, but media relations is simply a subset of public relations.  PR also encompasses community relations or community involvement, investor relations, and even employee communications.  In the simplest of terms, any communications aimed at reaching important target audiences can be considered “public relations.”

If your goal is to generate media coverage for your business, there are some basic tenets you need to know:

First, PR is different from advertising because you don’t have to pay for the space.  But, unlike paid advertising, there is no guarantee that your press release or PR efforts will lead to getting “ink.”

There are ways to improve the chances that your business messages will make it to print – either in traditional magazines or newspapers, or online on websites, journals and blogs.

One key to successful PR is frequency of communications over time.  A regular press release program helps to educate journalists about your business and establish your company’s expertise on a particular topic.  Frequent messages also show that your company is busy, and successful businesses are more likely to get media coverage.

If you’re starting cold (if you’ve never done PR before), it may take a while before your messages generate attention from the editors and journalists who decide what is and is not “news.”  When just starting out, make sure you are thinking not only about the first press release, but the next two or three that will follow it.

Secondly, it’s important to spend the time to identify the target audiences for your PR efforts.  Creating a good media list is critical.  Today knowing who to contact at a particular publication is more important than ever.  It’s also critical that you understand what types of news the publication covers and what sort of deadline schedule they are on.  Magazines have long lead times (often as much as three months), whereas newspapers that publish daily have shorter lead times.

Your chances of making the cut with your news can be improved by following a few simple rules:

  1. Identify the appropriate audiences for your news and find out who covers that information, then submit your information directly to that person.
  2. Put your news in a press release format.  That means “think like a journalist.”  Include the “who, what, where, when and why” in your news release.  Think “news.”  It is not the publication’s job to promote your product or service.  It is their job to inform readers about news of interest to them.
  3. Avoid sales-oriented content and self-serving “puffery.”  For example, avoid superlatives or grandiose statements.  If you want to include a positive statement about your product, achieve it by quoting a satisfied customer or other non-company expert.
  4. Use specific examples wherever possible of companies or individuals that have used your product or service and achieved desired results.
  5. Include photographs or graphics whenever you send a news release.  This not only improves your chance of being published, but it will increase the amount of space your news receives.
  6. Make sure your company spokespeople are available for comment or additional information.  Many news releases with a great chance of being published “die” because a source could not be easily reached prior to deadline.  If you’re putting out news, make sure you are available to clarify information.
  7. Avoid following up on your news release simply to “make sure it has been received.”  You can assume that if a journalist thinks your news is of value to his or her readers or viewers, he or she will be in touch.

So what type of information can be communicated through a news release?  Publicists often create plans based on two distinct types of news: Company news and product/service news.

Company news may include information about new hires, new store openings or locations, or earnings information.  Product or service news may include information about new products or services, trends in the industry or case studies of companies that have successfully used a product or service.

In addition to press releases, one of the best ways to get media coverage is by establishing relationships with journalists.  You can do this a number of ways.  Contacting a journalist after they’ve written an interesting article (and offering yourself as a source for future stories on the same topic) is one way of generating awareness that you or someone in your company is an expert on a particular topic.  Letters to the editor are another way to get your company name into print.

You also can request an in-person meeting with a journalist.  Offer to take him or her to lunch or to stop by to provide an overview of your company and your business.  Getting to know journalists in advance of important company announcements is a great way to increase your chance of having your news covered.

Today it’s important to recognize that your own company website is also a form of PR.  Be sure to include all news releases about your business on the “News” section of your website, and wherever possible, direct readers of your press releases to additional information about your products or services on your website or company blog.

Also remember that media relations works best in conjunction with the other types of PR.  For example, getting involved in the community through the local Chamber of Commerce or through service groups is a great way to get information about your business out to the public and to put a face on your company.  Your people are your best source of PR, so if they are active in the community, it will reflect positively on your business.

PR also works best when it is supported by an overall marketing plan that includes advertising, direct marketing, and personal sales.

Finally, be sure that your employees are aware of your formal PR efforts by making all your communications available to them before they hit the local newspaper.

Research shows that editorial commentary about your business is more effective than your own advertising at persuading consumers to try your product or service, so put some time and effort into PR, hire a publicist, or create your own PR program.  You may just find that it’s one of the most valuable forms of marketing that you’ve ever tried.

Word of Mouth Marketing – Do Free Business Marketing Ideas Really Exist?

When you have a fledgling business, you usually don’t have a large budget for advertising.  But if you don’t get the word out about your products or services, how can you make a profit?  After all, if nobody knows about you, they’re not buying from you.  There are several free business marketing ideas to generate interest in your products or services without spending big bucks. The key is, they all generate word of mouth marketing.

Word Of Mouth Marketing

Word of mouth marketing includes a variety of methods to attract attention to your business.  The bottom line is to get people talking about what you have to offer.  The major advantage of all types of word of mouth marketing is you have greater credibility.  When people hear about your business through someone else, they tend to believe the communicator is being honest.  So how to you get people to talk about your business?  Let’s consider a few of the most cost-effective business marketing ideas that generate word of mouth marketing.

The Magic Of Referrals

Your current clients are a valuable resource.  Remember, your clients have family, friends, neighbors and business associates who may need your products or services.  Let them know you welcome referrals.  Ways to encourage referrals include:

–        a line on your business card stating “We welcome referrals”;

–        a sign posted in your office indicating you appreciate referrals;

–        an indication on your website that you welcome referrals;

–        doing an outstanding job so everyone can’t wait to spread the word about your services; and

–        simply telling people verbally or in a letter that you are expanding your business and appreciate referrals.

Blogging For Business

Setting up a blog on an online platform such as Google is completely free.  For the time it takes to regularly post to your blog, you can generate numerous potential clients.  Link the blog to your business website so clients can easily access your latest posts.  When you blog, your website content is frequently updated.  This means the search engines recognize you and your website ranking improves.  Blogging also gives you a golden opportunity to announce news, updated products and additional services within just minutes.

Meet The Press

Press releases are another way to get the word out about your business.  Several free and low cost services exist online where you can post your own press releases.  A press release typically includes newsworthy information that links to your business.  They are usually 400 to 600 words.  Press releases are noticed by search engines, local publications and people looking for what you have to offer.  They are also a credible, professional way to let people know about your business.

Social Media Marketing

Once you establish a professional website and blog, you’re ready for social media marketing.  Join online forums and networking groups where you can post about your business.  Visit other websites and blogs related to your industry and leave comments that include a link back to your business website or blog.  Social media marketing is free and only costs a few minutes of your time everyday.  An increasing number of businesses use the power of social media websites such as MySpace and Facebook to promote their offerings.  After a few weeks of participating in social media, you will appreciate increased traffic to your website and blog.

Online Newsletters

Create a simple newsletter to distribute through your website or blog.  A newsletter is great for word-of-mouth marketing because it can easily be shared with others.   Include a line on your email or physical newsletter to encourage recipients to share it with anyone who may be interested.   Your newsletter should offer compelling, updated content so people look forward to reading it.  Another benefit of having newsletters is you gain access to visitors’ contact information when they sign up.

Seminar Marketing

Become an expert in your field and show it off at community centers, schools, libraries and other businesses.  Many local venues will let you have a room for free with advance notice.  Conduct one-day or ongoing seminars about your industry to build your business reputation and credibility.  When you teach people something they didn’t know, they can’t wait to tell everyone about it.

Conduct Workshops

Conduct workshops for people employed in your industry.  If you have different areas of expertise, you can refer clients according to their needs.  When you create a professional network, you are always able to meet the needs of your clients, even if it means referring them to another reliable source.  In most instances, you will receive a referral in return to show appreciation.

These are just a few of the ways to market your small businesses for free.  By simply devoting your time and efforts to word of mouth marketing, you will realize long term profits and rewards.

Real Estate Marketing Ideas – Don’t Forget the Basics

Real estate is a business that survives on marketing.  To sell property you have to create an awareness of its benefits and features, develop flyers, run ads, and today even provide virtual tours on the internet.  Everyone who gets into the business understands that.

What some new agents don’t know (and seasoned agents often forget) is that your own personal marketing will be a major factor in attracting clients to you, getting listings, and ensuring that your business grows.

If you’re new to real estate or are just feeling like it’s time to notch up your own image a few pegs, this article is for you.

Real Estate Marketing Ideas

1) Use PR Tactics to Get Your Name Out.   If you’re just getting started in real estate and have joined an existing firm, or if you just received your real estate license, joined a board of directors or if you otherwise have done something “newsworthy,” let people know.

  • Write a press release and send it to real estate reporters or business writers who work for the daily newspaper, the weekly business publication, and even the local radio and television stations.   If you’re actively involved in your community you should be able to come up with a newsworthy topic to communicate several times a year.  If you can’t, it’s time to get more involved.
  • Offer yourself up to reporters as a source they can turn to for quotes about the real estate market.  Forward interesting statistics that you find about your area to your local press contacts, and offer story ideas on occasion that have nothing to do with you or your business.  In other words, become a resource to the media.
  • If a reporter actually calls you, remember they are in a deadline-oriented business.  Call them back – fast!  If you aren’t available to comment or provide information, they won’t wait long to find someone else who is.

2) Choose a Niche and Become an Expert in It.  Just as with any product that makes it to the top, the most successful realtors are the best at “something.”  Choose a geographic area or a type of client and focus your energies on learning everything there is to know about the location or the personality.  Then position yourself as an expert for that audience or locale.  Some examples of niches you could adopt include:

  • First time home buying expert
  • Golf course and resort community specialist
  • Your condo and townhome expert
  • Executive relocation expert
  • Your second home source
  • Lake Highlands Neighborhood Realtor

Once you choose your niche, communicate that choice everywhere.  If you’re focusing in a neighborhood, let all the neighbors know with a special flyer.  If you want to be the realtor for first time buyers, consider developing a brochure or some articles for the local newspaper that help educate new buyers about market conditions, the real estate buying process, or other helpful topics.  On everything you do, list your expertise.

3) Get out there.  In real estate “He/she with the most friends wins.”  Your clients will come from family, friends, friends of friends, neighbors, people you go to church with, members of clubs you belong to, and people you meet along the way.  Be visible in your community.  Strike up conversations with people you meet.  Always put your best face forward and consider everyone you come in contact with as a potential client.  Carry your business cards everywhere you go, and don’t hesitate to pass them out.

4) Ask for referrals from satisfied clients.  Good marketers are not afraid to ask their clients for referrals to friends or family members.  If you’ve provided a good service, your clients are your best source for new business.  Get in the habit of asking for referrals, or set up a formal referral program.  Some realtors send thank you cards to their clients with gift certificates or another “appreciation” gift, and  they always ask for referrals with a “…please remember to think of me if any of your friends or family are looking to buy or sell real estate” message.

5) Treat your clients with TLC.  When you have a client, treat them like your only client.  No one wants to hear “I couldn’t call you back because I was out showing some homes to a new client.”  Your best marketing is in your performance and customer service.  If your current clients are satisfied with your service, they will recommend you to a friend.  On the flip side, you can be sure that if your clients feel slighted, they will tell dozens of friends.

Try a few of these real estate marketing ideas and see how it goes.  Marketing is a trial and error effort.  If something works, keep doing it.  If it doesn’t, move on to something else.  The most successful realtors try new marketing tactics all the time.  Good luck!

Viral Marketing 1: Word of mouth advertising

Viral marketing often referred to as word of mouth advertising, while rarely discussed as part of an advertiser’s media strategy, is actually one of the most effective and impacting advertising communications available to a company.  Viral marketing, as the name suggests, is communication about a product, service, or company that ‘spreads’ by person to person, or word of mouth interaction of people.

An interesting and sometimes uncontrollable phenomenon amongst consumers is that they like to talk.  When consumers have impacting experiences with products they tend to share that experience with family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, clients, or other members of their personal network.  More interesting, people share the more negative experiences they have with products more often than the positive experiences.  Depending on the research study one adheres to, some suggest consumers will tell, on average, 15-20 others following a negative consumption or purchase experience, and only 6-10 people after a positive experience.

While these numbers seem to point out the negative aspect of this viral network of consumer feedback, it also notes the opportunities available to a good company with a good product or service.  Not only do consumers share their company and product experiences with others, this information seems to have more impact on whether the informed will buy or not, compared with traditional media advertising communication.

How can an advertiser make use of viral marketing?  Obviously, giving consumers great experiences, great products, and great service is a first start.  By putting forth good things for people to share with others, natural advantages will be present.  But, there are also some very proactive things companies can and have done with viral marketing.

Many companies encourage viral marketing through affiliate or referral programs.  Referral programs essentially reward one customer of a company for referring, or bringing in another customer for the business.  Referral incentives include money, gifts, product discounts or giveaways, commissions, and more.  Companies simply offer their customers a reward to motivate them to make use of a natural behavior.

Affiliate programs are another unique tool many companies are using to grow their businesses through management of the word of mouth communication process.  Affiliate programs, common on many internet retail sites, reward other businesses or individuals for adding links or distributing information about goods or services.  This increased exposure benefits retailers by giving them a large network of affiliate sites or companies to promote and distribute their products through.  Affiliates are rewarded with commissions, cash bonuses, discounts, link exchanges and other unique tools.

While referral and affiliate programs are generally formal business methods used to enhance viral marketing, some companies use informal, or ‘grass roots’ advertising as another mass communications driver.  Companies will often employ ‘street teams,’ or excitement generators to go out into businesses, neighborhoods and other venues to give out free samples, talk up the value of products, and generate excitement about a new or established brand within a community.

Salespeople realize that the strongest selling tool is often a reference from a credible and reliable third party who helps establish a trust factor with a new prospect.  While most salespeople ask current customers for names and contact information of other potential customers they know, some go a step farther and seek out references that may be acquainted with prospects.  They understand that word of mouth opinion and the voice of customers is perhaps the most powerful advertising tool available to them.

Sell Yourself – 8 Cheap Marketing Ideas

Starting a new business is a wise step toward financial freedom.  Your first move for success is to spread the word far and wide about your enterprise.  Advertising is costly, so how do you tell people about your business on a tight or non-existent marketing budget?  These free and cheap marketing ideas can be used to promote any enterprise.

Take Advantage of Free Referrals

Referrals are a free, easy way to gain more customers.  When you do a great job, your customers tell you.  The next time you get rave reviews, let your customers know you appreciate referrals.  Make it obvious you want people to spread the word about you.  Post a sign in your office stating, “I welcome referrals”.  On your invoices, include a line at the bottom saying, “Thank you for your loyalty.  Referrals welcome.”  If you have a website, include testimonials from current customers with contact information such as a Hotmail address.  You can even send letters to your current customers to let them know you value them and invite referrals because you are expanding your business.

Take Advantage of Free Posting Boards

Free posting boards can be found all over town in gathering areas such as lobbies and meeting rooms.  Your local library, community center, grocery store and houses of worship all have boards where you can post an advertisement for your business.  Offer a discount for people in the community who refer to your advertisement to encourage them to contact you.  Posting boards can also be found online in the form of article submission websites and networking forums.  Join in the communities by providing useful content and comments to establish credibility and generate interest in your business.

Blogging Is Almost Free

Blogs started as informal web logs where people discussed personal business or displayed unique photos.  Today blogs are a powerful marketing tool for many Internet-savvy entrepreneurs.  A wide variety of blogging platforms exists with all sorts of online capabilities.  You can get started on a free forum such as Blogger.  Without spending a dime, you can create an online presence for your business to give it more credibility.  Learn about search engine optimization to get your blog recognized in online searches.  Adding useful content to your blog every couple of days helps to boost your search engine rankings so you bring more traffic to your business.

A Website Is Almost Free

Starting a website is as simple as purchasing a domain name and setting up a few web pages.  Forums such as Windows Live let you get started for free but you need to keep advertisements on your website.  For a few dollars more every month, you can follow a template to create a professional-looking website for your business.  You can even add more products and services to your business offerings and sell them on your website.  This is referred to as creating multiple streams of income.  By having more than one source of established income, you know one of your enterprises is always earning something.

Fliers Are Cheap and Reliable

Although they may seem old-fashioned in today’s technological world, fliers are still a fantastic way to let everyone know you’re in business.  Make sure to ask management if you are allowed to distribute fliers before you put your name and telephone numbers all over the parking lot.  Create a colorful, eye-catching flier and give it out wherever people gather.  You can  make fliers right on your home computer and print them out on your printer.  If the nature of your business does not lend itself to fliers, distribute an informative newsletter with your contact information at the bottom.  Include a line encouraging people to share the newsletter with others.

Business Cards Are Cheap and Professional

Business cards are cheaper than ever because you can create your own with special paper and software.  For a minimal investment of about $20 and an hour of your time, you will have a supply of business cards to hand out to prospective customers.  A business card gives you a professional, polished appearance.  Also, business cards are small and convenient for people to save so they can call you in the future.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

Everywhere you look there are signs to tell you to be careful, to stop or to advertise businesses.  People read signs because they’re short and sweet.  You can purchase materials at a local construction shop to make your own sign for your business so you get noticed.  If you’re not artistic, many professional sign makers will create a small sign for under $50.  Remember, a sign is a one-time investment that can yield profits for you over and over again, making it a priceless part your business success.

Brand Names Matter

Brand names really matter.  You can march out the same roll of toilet tissue with a generic label and with a well-known brand  name and the branded package will be chosen nine out of ten times.  This is because people are familiar with the name.  Customers feel more comfortable with products and services they’ve heard about.  Create a brand name for yourself and use it on all your advertisements so people can easily recognize your business.

By using these free and cheap marketing ideas, your business will be booming sooner than you think.

Do Business Marketing Gifts Really Work?

Whether they are referred to as marketing gifts, promotional products or giveaways, these incentives have become an increasingly popular way to market businesses.  In fact, according to the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), the sale of promotional products has surpassed $13 billion.  So do these business marketing gifts really work?

The bottom line is that the right promotional gift will definitely do its job to attract new business and keep existing customers loyal.  The basic purposes of business giveaways is to promote good will about your company, make sure your company name is recognized and possibly to tie in with a particular promotion.  There are several considerations when you are selecting business marketing gifts to ensure you are investing wisely.  According to Rick Ebel, the Special Advertising Association vice president, “A lot of companies simply give away promotional products and maybe they do so with sonic results, but they’ll probably find they are going to get more discernible results if they use it in a planned, structured promotion.”

Why Am I Giving Promotional Products Away?

To find out the right promotional items, determine exactly why you want to give something away.  Do you want to use the giveaway attract new business, convey a particular message, encourage customer loyalty, reward certain customers or to promote another item?

Attracting New Business

Marketing gifts can be a great way to attract new business and get people familiarized with your company name and offerings.  They can be distributed at trade shows, as a reward for participating in demonstrations or lectures, for customers who offer their name, telephone and email address for more information, with a membership, for referring new contacts or in locations related to the service your business provides.  Different gifts can be used for various purposes.  For example, you may want to use a less expensive giveaway when you leave them in a related business and a more pricey marketing gift for people who refer new clients.

Conveying a Message

Does your business offer an innovative product or service like nobody else?  Use a catchy slogan and logo to convey your message on a giveaway and let people know what you’ve got.  The right short statement and logo can make a major impact on whether people choose your company.

Encouraging Customer Loyalty

Often businesses give premiums to customers who open another account, expand the products or services they buy or to recognize a special holiday or life event, such as an anniversary with the company or the individual’s birthday.  In these instances, spending a bit more on a memorable giveaway makes a statement about the quality of your company and the level of appreciate you have for your customers.

Rewarding Certain Customers

If a customer refers other customers or makes a major purchase, you can reward them with an incentive giveaway.  For example, a customer who spends a certain amount of money will qualify for a special gift.  These gifts should be valuable and desirable to encourage customers to take that next big step to do further business with your company.

Promoting Another Product

Marketing gifts are often used to promote a new product or service to raise awareness about its availability and generate additional interest.  For example, you can offer a special gift or added products or services when a new product or service is purchased.  These giveaways should be enticing enough to make people want to explore your new product or service.

The Effectiveness of Business Marketing Gifts

Business gifts really work and the facts speak for themselves.  Research performed by the Georgia Southern University, published in Promotional Products Association International, showed that using promotional gifts with mailings sent before trade shows is proven to entice more attendees to visit your booth during the event.

A survey conducted by American Express through their Open Small Business Network showed that there was an increase of business owners who plan to give gifts for the holidays from 61 percent to 71 percent.  Popular gift items for the holidays were also affordable and included cards, calendars, gift certificates, items with the company brand and log, fruit or food gifts and wine or liquor.

Consider a recent case study of an optometrist.  The doc mailed postcards to clients who did not see him in over two years offering free eye exams with a variety of different eye tests.  The results were the optometrist made an additional $10,000 in just two days and the phone wouldn’t stop ringing.

We can even use the Hare Krishnas of the sixties and seventies as an example.  They followed the law of reciprocity, meaning people want to give back when they get something, by offering tiny wooden umbrellas for a donation.  This promotion was particularly effective because many times the people threw the umbrellas away and the Hare Krishnas fished them from the trash and solicited more donations with the same umbrellas.

Types of Promotional Products

The many types of promotional products available are as diverse as the various different businesses in the world.  You can give away free services, ebooks, educational literature, pens, golf balls, hats, t-shirts – the possibilities are endless.  The giveaway should match your unique type of business, be within your budget and include a recognizable logo and contact information such as a telephone number or email address.

Everyone loves to get something for nothing so carefully selected business marketing gifts are a terrific way to spread the word about your business.

Pixel Advertising

Ever since England’s Alex Tew developed “The Million Dollar Homepage,” the pixel advertising phenomenon has fascinated internet advertisers and aspiring techies.  Tew had a very innovative idea to help pay his way through college.  He decided to sell space on his homepage for $1.00 per pixel.  His ultimate goal was to sell one million pixels and make $1 million.  Not only was Tew successful at making $1 million, but he inspired a whole new form of internet advertising.

What is a pixel?  A pixel is essentially a measuring tool used to determine resolution or space used in a computer page.  One pixel is very small, which is why Tew required a minimum purchase of a 10X10 block, or $100.00 worth of space.  In order to have an ad that has visible presence, Tew said anything smaller would be impractical.

Inspired by Tew’s success with, other entrepreneurs have tried to take advantage of the new advertising medium.  For instance, currently is populated by some of the most well know names on the internet, including such companies as and

While pixel advertising certainly was innovative, many wonder whether it was and is a viable means of advertising.  The limited space gained from pixel purchases allows for little else than branding for a company.  The pixel page is inherently full of advertising clutter.  Is it possible for one brand to stand out amongst the rest?  Tew believes that his idea was not only creative, but for companies that used his initial site, a great opportunity to be associated with his phenomenon.

As more pixel sites pop up and brands it is possible that branding may be diluted with hundreds of other brands sharing space.  However, brands can stand out in a web page in the same way they might in print media.  They can go bigger and stand out with color and unique design in their ads.

The benefits of being branded on the original million dollar home page are definitely significant. is currently selling pixels for $.25, which is one-fourth of the pixel value drawn by Tew’s site.  This is logical as the more availability of such advertising space, the less relative demand to drive the price.  Similarly, while Tew’s page remains full, and other competitors have pages that are only partially full.  They have not been able to fill the available space.

One of the advertising benefits to pixel advertisers is that curiosity seekers who look over the pixel ad pages can link directly to the advertiser sites with a simple click.  With the significant traffic to Tew’s page and to some others, only a small percentage of filtered consumers are needed to make the advertising investment pay off.  Compared with the relatively high prices required for television advertising and some of the traditional media, pixel advertising is a very low risk investment.  Even if there is little to no return for advertisers, the cost is certainly effective.