By Ann Clarke
Home Office Computing magazine
Ann Clarke is a public relations expert who has been nationally recognized for her success in personal promotion marketing. When asked what were some of the secrets to her clients’ success, Clarke laughed. “There are no secrets–we recognize that consumers want to do business with someone they know. It’s called ‘handshake marketing’ and it’s done by companies and individuals alike. And it’s why Wal-Mart has greeters, and why local TV stations fight to broadcast the Parade of Lights. It pops up in advertising, in print and on TV. It’s making it easier for the people you want to do business with to get to know you. It’s just another way for the consumer to say, ‘gosh, they’re just like me–same values, same interests–we have so much in common, I feel comfortable in doing business with them.”
Clarke suggested these ten quick, inexpensive tricks to put a little personality in your marketing.
1. Put your picture on your business card, your stationary and every piece of paper that leaves your office. People are 80% more likely to recall your name if they have a picture to associate with it! A photo on your business card automatically sets it apart from 90% of the cards out there.
2. Make your business card a sales tool. Make it into a coupon; offer a discount or a small gift; stash a card in with the check when you pay your bill.
3. Keep a handful of business cards with you wherever you go. You never know where a client will come from. Dash off a “thank you for the excellent service” note on the back of your card and leave a card with the tip at a restaurant.
4. Spend your money with those who already LOVE you. Reward your good clients with a discount or a small gift every time they use your service. Laureen Persson, a certified massage therapist in Fort Collins, Colorado, gives bottled water to every massage client. Reward repeat customers with a discount or a punch card. Market yourself to those who have done business with you, then reward them every time they send you a lead. At the very least, a phone call or a thank you note. Better: chocolate, flowers or movie tickets. REALLY reward them when the lead becomes a client–dinner, theater tickets, gift certificates.
5. Spend your money with those you know. Create relationships with businesses you use: give them leads, promote their business. They will promote you in turn. Create a WIN-WIN atmosphere.
6. Get to know the people at the paper. Create name recognition through press releases. Send your PR to the right person. Make sure it’s newsworthy: when you sign a new account, get a new project, or complete a project. You’re building name recognition with the reporters as well as the public.
7. A newsletter can be your best marketing piece. Avoid company or canned newsletters–they end up in the trash. Put lots of personality in your newsletter as well as information and news your customers can use. Try to have a photo to illustrate each segment.
8. Take your camera with you everywhere you go. Take pictures of you doing the things you love, with the people you love. Then use those pictures in ads, flyers, newsletters and postcards.
9. A personal brochure can open the door. Create a front cover that says “pick me up” and include a personal biography. Selling is emotional so include your family, your hobbies and why you are in business. Make it say “this person is just like me” through your personal code of ethics–what you stand for. Include testimonials from past clients and well as key benefits.
10. Affiliate with organizations which promote service and networking: Chambers of Commerce, service clubs, and networking groups. Volunteer for projects you love. It doesn’t matter if it’s Partners, Wishes Are Horses, Alternatives To Violence, The Boys and Girls Clubs or your church. Invest your most precious asset: your time. You will not only feel GREAT about volunteering but you’ll build relationships to last a lifetime, in both your business and your personal life.
Clarke concludes, “If you put a little personality in your marketing and put yourself in the spotlight, people you’ve never met will at least feel as if they know you. And better yet, they will want to do business with you!”
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