Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Marketing Tips For Your Farmers Market Display

You've nurtured your tomatoes from seed, they survived that crazy wet spring and even several hornworms... but finally they are ready for market along with other treasures from your fields. It can be really hard to find some time or energy to think about your farmers market display. It's essential to have great product and great service - but it's also important to give some attention to your marketing presence.
If you had to move, even 2 spaces, from your current location would customers recognize this? Cookie Roscoe, Market Manager for The Stop's Green Barn in Toronto notes, "if I move a vendor 15 feet over, I get customer comments like - it's too bad those guys aren't here today or where is that lovely man?"
Farmers markets are naturally full of colour and activity and it's unlikely you are the only one selling tomatoes. To develop loyal customers you need to be memorable. Keep these tips in mind when developing marketing materials to promote your farm and its products.
Set a budget.
Estimate how much you will sell over the season and use 3-5% of this as a potential budget. For example, if you expect to sell $500, on average each week for 12 weeks, your total sales would be $6,000. In this case, with a budget in the 3% to 5% range, this would equal $180 to $300. If you are investing in items that will last more than one season, such as a banner, then spending slightly more is realistic. Don't forget that there may be taxes on items, and that some items may need replacing before the end of the season.
Consider your environment.
Farmers markets are naturally full of colour and activity. Keeping key items such as your banner simple and impactful will help ensure it gets noticed. Don't be tempted to add lots of patterns or photos. Make sure any signage can still be seen once the market becomes busy with customers. Items placed at floor level may become hidden, and also restrict traffic flow.
Be careful with terminology.
This is a very sensitive area. Make sure you are not over promising and be prepared to explain any claims you may make. The key is to maintain your credibility and trust with your customers as well as market management and your fellow vendors.
Make it visible.
Whether you hired a graphic designer to create an amazing brochure, or it's your neatly typed price list - make sure you can place it in a location where customers can see it. One of Cookie's examples of what not to do is to use a photocopied price list in black and white taped to the top of a freezer. As she simply states, "It gets lost in the sea and doesn't stand out."
Check with your market manager.
Your market will likely have specific guidelines for signage and other marketing materials. They may also have specific rules around the use of specific terms such as organic, natural, sustainable etc. If you are involved in more than one market, be sure to check with each one and develop materials that can be used at all of your market locations as much as possible.
Weather - keep it in mind.
Larger marketing expenditures should not be spent on materials that become easily damaged by wind, rain or sun. Signs printed from a home computer or written out quickly by hand should be somewhat weather resistant so they can make it through a bad weather day but can be replaced easily and quickly before the next market date. Produce extras and keep them handy if needed.
Think through transportation and storage.
Give some thought to how materials will be transported to and from the market and how they will be stored. Marketing materials cost money, and take time to create so it is important to keep them in good condition for as long as possible. Invest in a container where materials can be stored. This could be an inexpensive plastic folder for price signs or a cardboard roll to protect your banner.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Marketing for eBay Sellers: Part 1

Like any other business, honest item description, friendly and straight forward communication, prompt shipping are the cornerstone of any successful online business. There are no differences between traditional brick and mortar businesses and doing business online and even owning an eBay store. If you want to go beyond just being good at customer service and retain a loyal customer following, which will guarantee longterm success and repeat purchases then you should implement a direct email marketing strategies as part of your marketing campaign.
With email marketing you send current and potential customers periodic information about new products, store promotions and other happenings in your eBay Store. eBay makes email marketing a breeze. They have provided all the materials, tools and a detailed and easy way to implement a marketing strategy. You can customize up to five different messages which allows you to focus more on your campaign. They show how to attract new customers and to support their buying interests.
You can select how and when your emails are sent to your customers. You can choose to send different marketing messages to different niches. You can also divide your customer lists into different groups and market to them accordingly as well eg. some are interested in just when there is a sales and others want information. This email marketing system is very flexible and very effective.
When designing an email marketing strategy you want to make sure that customers are able to opt in and out easily. You can send your emails to everyone based on your findings but give them an option to choose. With eBay marketing, that is not an issue since it is designed to be straight forward. They can choose to be part of your mailing list by adding you to their "favorite store" list or subscribe to your newsletter. You have to include a link in all listings and other eBay store pages to get maximum exposure.
If you choose to design your own email marketing campaign you will also have to make sure it complies with eBay requirements. eBay prohibits links to off eBay sites. With this in mind you will then be limited in what you can offer your customers in opt in choices. One advantage is that you can market your own store on other sites freely.
With eBay Email marketing campaign all the guesswork is eliminated. You will only have to follow the steps provided. You can design and start running your campaign within minutes. With Email marketing you will be able to attract and retain customers to your business for a long time. This will end up bringing in repeat business, loyal customers and eventually profits.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Glance at the B2B and B2C Marketing Collateral

Are you a business owner looking for innovative ideas to market your products? It is important to know the various marketing techniques involved and the B2B and B2C differences in order to create the right marketing materials for your business. The first step is to analyze the type of your business and the kind of customer you serve to. The following article is an attempt to distinguish between the B2B marketing methods and analyze B2B marketing tools to create effective marketing collateral.
In the world of business, there are several marketing techniques for B2B and B2C marketing respectively. B2B and B2C deals aren't the same; they differ in volume and strategy. While B2B focuses on corporate clients, the B2C involves retail marketing directly to consumers. It is the B2B and B2C differences that make the marketing strategies unique for both. Modern day marketing tools are quite innovative and creative and produce a great impact on the business. Some of the most commonly known B2B market tools include websites, brochures, outbound calls, and other marketing collateral.
Effective marketing collateral is a must to achieve success in B2B and B2C deals. The continuous research in the marketing arena has revealed much on the design of the marketing collateral that can create a positive impact to businesses. The ultimate purpose of the B2B marketing tools and the B2C marketing tools are to alter the decision making capabilities of the buyer. Whether it be a concrete product or an abstract one, there are a lot of competition in the market and one has to strive hard to make a sale happen.
A glance at the design of an effective marketing website will enlighten you on the nuances in the marketing arena. A B2B business website that targets corporate clients differs greatly from a website that caters to the retail customers. The findings of research in the corporate market are incorporated in designing the B2B marketing website. Some of the techniques include white space, larger text, images, and videos of products and the benefits of using the products over their competitors'. The same is true of B2B brochures. The design of the B2B marketing collateral should be in such a way to impress corporate clients. Much is actually made of what a B2B and what a B2C are. A B2B, by basic or general definition, is the Business to Business dealings which result in business. A B2C, on the other hand, again by the same basic or general definition, is the Business to Consumer which results in a transaction and business.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Best Ways to Get More Traffic to Your Blog

Sadly, people will not find your blog (in the beginning anyway) unless you do a little legwork. These are some of the things I did to get traffic and some that I still do. The first thing I suggest doing is writing a few great articles about your topic and feature them in your sidebar. Then I would start working on generating traffic, because you not only want traffic, but you want returning traffic as well.
- Guest Posting: I think this is one of the best ways to start getting some quick traffic
- Sign up for blog community sites: Just a few off the top of my head are mybloglog.com, technorati.com, and blogcatalog.com. Look for other blogs in your niche and join their networks and ask to become their friends. Networking with some of your fellow bloggers here will send a few visitors your way and is a good way to get started.
- Submit to Blogcarnivals: One of the best things beginning bloggers can do is to sign up for blogcarnivals. At this site you can submit articles that you wrote on your blog to be included in a list of articles by the hosting blog. It is kind of like "open mic night." If you have a good article with a good title, you can get some good traffic from blogcarnivals, not to mention incoming links from other related sites.
- Join Directories: If I were starting a blog today, one of the first things I would do is Google "whatever topic I want to blog about" + "directory" This should return a list of web directories about your topic. Getting added to these directories will only help. You may not get a lot of traffic from them, but ultimately they will help you get more traffic from the search engines. A few of the more valuable ones to get you started...
- Forum Commenting: Becoming involved in forums related to your topic and having a link to your blog in the signature line can send a few visitors. Google "your topic" and "forums" and you are sure to find a few. Just don't be annoying and go in just to promote yourself. People can see that from a mile away. The new age of the internet (aka Web 2.0) is very much a "give and you shall receive" environment. If you seek to give and be a benefit before seeking your own rewards, you will be much better off. Why not get started at the Christian PF Forums?
- Linking to other blogs: I don't know what it is, but everyone wants to know when someone is talking about them. So it is with blogs. When people link to my site, I get a notification and often go check out who linked to me and what the context was. I have had some good relationships form just from this.
- Create Squidoo pages: Squidoo.com, InfoBarrel.com, Hubpages.com, and a handful of others are sites that allow you to build a simple page about a topic. You can do it very quick and the pages often rank well in the search engines. If you build a page that gets a little bit of traffic and have links coming back to your site, you will catch some of those visitors. If that weren't good enough, many of them allow you to earn money from your articles as well.
- Article submissions: Submit articles to article submission sites. These sites collect articles and most allow a bio-section that can include a link back to your blog. Here are a few that are worth looking into...