Easy, Inexpensive Marketing to Willing Subjects

Trapp Candles

I recently received a Trapp Candle as a gift. If you’ve never smelled one of these candles before, then you are truly missing out – they have wonderfully unique scents that fill your home with the perfect amount of fragrance. I discovered them years ago when my post-college roommate burned them seemingly continuously in our then-home, and I’ve always appreciated them, but they’re a touch on the expensive side, so I rarely buy them. Needless to say I was thrilled with my gift!

When I opened the candle’s unique house-shaped gift box, a small card fell out. It explained the fragrance notes of the candle (Japanese Yuzu and Bonsai), and on the other side it tells the reader a bit more about the brand, then at the very bottom it says “Join the Trapp Fragrance Fan Club for a chance to win!” That line intrigued me: what could I win? One candle? A lifetime supply? The chance to create my own fragrance? I was highly curious, so I logged onto trappcandles.com to find out!

Upon entering the website, I easily found the “Fragrance Fan Club” button and clicked to see what I could win! As it turns out, Trapp has a weekly drawing for $100 worth of their products. Needless to say, I signed up because I love their products and want to win. Well, just like I enjoy Trapp, they should now like me because I’ve just given them permission to market to me at my private e-mail address all year long. And I’m not the only one! The website displays the winners’ names dating back to 2010, one for every week of the year. Surely those 116 winners not the only ones who have signed up for the fan club, they’re just the lucky ones. I’ll bet there are hundreds, if not thousands, more fan club members who all willingly receive Trapp’s e-mails, and who probably rave about their products to anyone who will listen (just like me!). That’s great marketing for the candle makers – just a little over $5,000 annually for fabulous word of mouth publicity from willing subjects.

Take a cue from Trapp Fragrances and have a contest for your Facebook fans or those who subscribe to your blog or newsletter. It will entice people to follow your company, and it might make them keep opening your e-mails for years to come – excellent brand exposure for very little money.

How To Stand Out at Tradeshows

Tradeshow Booth

No matter your industry, chances are your company participates in tradeshows of some sort. Be they job fairs, chamber of commerce open houses, health expos, or even boat shows, I’ll bet that a representative from your place of work takes part in at least one annually.

I often man Gossett Marketing’s tradeshow booth, and during my breaks from representing the company, I like to walk the floor to check out the other distributors’ displays. I’m always surprised by the number of exhibits that don’t clearly identify the company’s name and/or what they do. Why would anyone want to stop and talk to the person sitting behind a table when they have no idea who she is or why she’s there? The answer is: they don’t! Those unidentified booths are almost always the least-trafficked at any given tradeshow. The good news is that increasing these anonymous booths’ business is easy and just requires a small upfront investment in promotional marketing materials that readily identify the company, which will entice more people to stop by for a chat.

The first item that I would suggest to any tradeshow-displaying company is a logoed table throw. Many shows provide a standard 6 foot table to each exhibitor, and draping that with an imprinted throw will allow your company’s name to be visible at some distance. Glancing your logo might make someone realize, “I forgot I needed to speak to Jane Doe about peanut butter” (or whatever it is that you do), and bring that person to your table to discuss an order of extra crunchy.

If you display at a lot of tradeshows, then it would behoove you to make your area stand out even more than it would with just a table throw, so in addition to that item, I’d suggest adding roll-up banners or flags that gives passers-by even more information about what you do. For instance, Gossett Marketing is a promotional products distributor, so our banners show a collection of the unique, custom items that we’ve had created for the likes of the University of Miami and Royal Caribbean International. The colorful, interesting images always catch people’s eyes and start conversations with individuals who might otherwise not consider using our services.

If you are a true tradeshow regular, then chances are that you have your full booth display. These custom mini-offices are an excellent way to draw attention to your company, plus because they can even contain their own “conference rooms” within, they can give the added benefit of privacy in an otherwise-busy situation.

Big or small, using some personalized display products at tradeshows certainly makes your company stand out from the anonymous competition!

Business Card Spamming

Business Cards In the past I’ve written about how spamming is not marketing – filling someone’s inbox with unsolicited information about your product does not educate them or entice them to buy, it just annoys them as they are forced to delete yet another junk message. Well, when I opened up my purse the other day, I found that my business card holder had opened and spilled its contents: the business cards that I’d received during a networking event the day before. As I sifted through the cards I realized that I didn’t even remember the majority of the people who’d given them to me. Sure, we’d met less than 24 hours ago, but they didn’t make an impression on me because they weren’t engaging. As I pulled the cards out of my bag, I decided then and there to simply toss the cards of those non-engaging individuals because they felt like business card spam!

When you go to a networking event the goal is to meet new people to expand your business prospects. It’s tempting to bounce from conversation to conversation, introduce yourself, thrust a business card at people, and get theirs in return – that way you can follow up with them and “really get the conversation going.” Well, I hate to break it to you, but successful networking doesn’t work like that. Sure, it’s nice to meet a lot of people, but in order to actually begin to do business with them, it is imperative to have a meaningful, memorable conversation with them. Think about how many times you’ve received a follow-up e-mail after an event and not remembered the sender (whose business card I guarantee you received, meaning that you met the person). What do you do with those e-mails? Personally, I delete them immediately, and I’ll bet that most other people do the same thing – that does not help a businessperson expand his network, it just annoys other businesspeople!

Instead of spamming people with your business cards and subsequent e-mails, focus on making real connections. Have longer conversations with people to really get to know them as a person, not just a prospect. Then when you do call them after the event, they’ll actually pick up the phone because they will remember you.

I abhore spam in my inbox and I particularly detest it in my handbag, so let’s all take a stand and stop the business card spamming and start successfully connecting with other people at networking events. Your card printer might hate me for this call to action, but your ever-expanding business network will thank me!

Social Media Marketing for a Coconut Grove Event

Great Taste of the Grove Over the weekend I attended an event called The Great Taste of the Grove – a festival featuring some of Coconut Grove’s best restaurants, as well as music, kiddie rides, and drinks. This weekend marked the event’s 22nd anniversary and it was exceedingly well-attended, but oddly enough, it was the first time I’d ever been or even really heard of it – and I’m a Miami native!

First, let me backtrack a little bit. If you’re not familiar with South Florida, then you don’t know that Coconut Grove is a part of the City of Miami. It has a small downtown area filled with bars and restaurants, there are also multiple schools, businesses (including Gossett Marketing), and many residential areas scattered throughout The Grove. It has a great – if quirky – neighborhood feel, and most Grove-ites love living there and probably wouldn’t consider moving to nearby Key Biscayne or Coral Gables if you paid them!

Now back to the festival: as you can probably deduct by the festival’s name, The Great Taste of the Grove is held in Coconut Grove, and, well, that’s pretty much the only place where it’s advertised. I’m sure that most of the folks who live in the area had driven by the banner announcing the event, but I don’t live in the Grove and I don’t pass by the signage on my way to work, so I had no idea! That is, until I got a Dealtificate.com e-mail blast offering a great package – $30.00 for admission for two plus $50.00 worth of drink tickets for the event. Even though I had no clue what to expect, I couldn’t pass up that kind of bargain on something that sounded like it would be fun, so I bought the deal!

When we got to the event, we were given wristbands to wear – they gave us access to a shady tent where we could escape the Miami sun. I found that the majority of other attendees were also wearing wristbands, indicating that they too had purchased the deal online. Of the people I spoke to with the bands, the majority said that they – like me – were first-time attendees who hadn’t heard of The Great Taste of the Grove prior to getting that e-mail notification.

Now, I didn’t do any real research or conduct any formal interviews, but I have to believe that the Dealtificate.com e-mail boosted attendance at this year’s Great Taste of the Grove. It surely reached a much broader audience than a few signs stretching across South Bayshore Drive, and that kind of social media marketing, combined with a genuinely fun event, is sure to drive attendance up which will, in turn, increase word of mouth marketing, and will hopefully make next year’s festival even more successful!

Marketing That Makes Tax Day Less Painful

Income Tax Forms

Every American’s least favorite day is coming up – that’s right, Tax Day is Tuesday, April 17th. I have never met an individual who likes mailing a check to the IRS, but I have found some companies that are trying to soften the blow by offering deals and even freebies on Tuesday. It’s a nice pick-me-up for those who have just sent a huge chunk of change to the government, and it is a wonderful marketing strategy because it is sure to get people into the participating stores and restaurants – people who might have otherwise stayed home. Here are some of the companies that are helping boost American spirits on dreaded Tax Day:

  • Arby’s is offering free curly fries on the 17th. All you have to do is go to their Facebook page and print the coupon that can be found there starting on the 13th. The restaurant’s motto is “It’s good mood food,” so hopefully free fries will make taxpayers smile.
  • Hallmark is allowing people to send a free Tax Day condolence e-card on Tuesday. This is a clever way to get individuals to register for their e-card services, which will get participants’ names on Hallmark’s e-mail list and ensure future marketing. Plus, it will show users how fun and convenient sending e-cards can be, which will most likely gain the company repeat business – only the next time, the customer will most likely have to pay.
  • If a workout is the way that you relieve stress, take up Bally Total Fitness on its tax day promotion: a free day pass to a Bally’s location for non-members or a free personal training session for members.
  • Or maybe you forked over a huge amount to the IRS and you need a stiff drink! Well, McCormick & Schmick’s has you covered. The bar/restaurant chain is offering $10.40 food and drink specials all day Tuesday (clever, huh?).
  • And if you are located in Miami (like Gossett Marketing), then you can take advantage of a free massage to kneed your worries away. These are happening at Florida Career College’s three campuses – sounds like a great escape from the sad reality of Tax Day.

These promotions aren’t costing any of these companies all that much, but they will lift the spirits of all of the taxpayers who choose to participate. It’s a great marketing opportunity that I am glad so many companies are utilizing – can’t wait for some French fries!

Masterful Promotional Marketing

The Masters Golf Tournament Although I really wanted to go to The Hunger Games this past weekend, I ended up watching The Masters instead. Not being a golf fan, I was only half paying attention to the sport, choosing instead to watch the crowd (when I could see it) and read my book (when I couldn’t). What I noticed when I was paying attention was that the majority of spectators were wearing a piece of Masters apparel. Caps with their logo embroidered front and center were most predominant, but I did see a good number of golf shirts with the same logo on the left chest as well.

The thing about The Masters’ logo is that it’s subtle. It doesn’t scream “The Masters,” in fact, if I hadn’t just Googled it, I wouldn’t have thought that the logo included the tournament’s name at all. However, it is very recognizable. That map of the United States with a golf pin sticking out of Augusta, Georgia can be identified by golfers and non-golfers alike – heck, I know what it looks like and golf makes me want to take a nap!

Back to the spectators… As I said, a large portion was wearing logoed merchandise that they had probably purchased over the weekend. Knowing that The Masters is a coveted ticket for golf fans, this didn’t surprise me at all: when people get that sought-after entrance to the tournament, they want to take home a souvenir. And because not everyone had an historic double eagle ball thrown to them, logoed merchandise had to do for the majority of attendees. This works out fabulously for the tournament because those attendees certainly do a little bragging when they get home – they wear that Masters cap when they golf with their buddies or they sport their polo shirt to the mall so that everyone knows that they actually got one of the most wanted tickets in sports! Perhaps that incites some envy in those around the individual wearing his or her souvenir shirt, which might motivate those who are jealous to apply for tickets to next year’s tournament. Or it might just start a conversation when a curious passer-by asks the wearer which Masters he had attended. Either way, it’s a great use of promotional marketing by The Masters!

Click on this YouTube video to see Bubba Watson get his green jacket after winning this year’s tournament:

Social Media Makes the World Smaller

Busy Airport Terminal

Over the weekend my sister and my best friend called me almost simultaneously to tell me that they’d just run into one another at the Atlanta Airport. Helen, my sister, lives in Atlanta and she had just landed after spending the weekend in Miami, while Diana, my friend, lives in New York and was just changing planes in the Delta terminal there.

Clearly, like the Disney ride says “It’s a Small World After All,” and with the advent of social media, it’s getting smaller by the minute. As Gossett Marketing’s primary blogger and Twitter-er, I network on a daily basis with people in Singapore, Germany, India, the UK, and all over the US. We are mostly focused on marketing and promotional products, so I’ve been able to connect and share ideas with like-minded people all over the world. They read our blog, I read theirs, and we pass information along to our networks via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

The majority of the people with whom I’m connected via social media are people I’ve never met, never spoken to on the phone, never exchanged an e-mail – and I’ve certainly never run into them in the airport! But we’ve come together just as unexpectedly. When we launched our twitter account (@marketngtidbits), I had no idea that so many people were out there tweeting about marketing or promo products, but when I sent my first blog post (“Confessions of a Pen Thief”) out into the Twitter-sphere, someone read it and shared it with their followers, some of whom started to follow me – and who I followed back. And it grew naturally from there – I found interesting tweets that other sent out, started following them, and they returned the favor. As of right now, I’m flattered to say that our Twitter account has over 2,300 followers, many of whom I interact with and learn from regularly!

I feel like I’ve developed an online networking group almost accidentally – I ran into followers and people to follow. Be that as it may, it’s working! It is making my network larger and my world smaller, all while driving business to Gossett Marketing’s website and readers to this blog. Social media networking feels random, accidental, and occasionally weird because it forces you to interact with total strangers, but it is the fastest and most comprehensive networking opportunity out there, so embrace it!

And in case my Small World reference didn’t immediately get the song stuck in your head, here’s a YouTube clip guaranteed to do just that:

Promos to Enhance Foursquare Marketing

Foursquare Special Here It seems as though every time I log into my personal Facebook account, my newsfeed is littered with my friends’ Foursquare notifications. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this phenomenon, Foursquare allows its users to “check in” when they are at participating businesses. When they do so, that location is published on their social media accounts, allowing their followers can view their activities.

To a lot of people, Foursquare seems like oversharing – why would you want your network to know exactly where you are? Face it, your Facebook friends aren’t necessarily people that you’ve even met in real life, so why would you want them to know where to find you? Well, Foursquare is a terrific marketing tool for participating businesses. It’s cheap and it’s social, so it’s often seen as more “authentic” than traditional ads, so these businesses often sweeten the pot to encourage check ins. For instance, Whip N Dip, my favorite Miami ice cream shop, will give you a free topping if you check in there – and the cost of some crumbled Reese’s cups gets them marketing exposure that can potentially be seen by thousands of people!

Many businesses give incentives like a small discount or an added bonus for checking in; thus, gaining inexpensive and effective social media marketing. But they should go a step further and give away a logoed promotional marketing product too – something that will be seen when their customer uses it, which will give them even more exposure. For example, if a bar gives away a free bottle of beer when its patron checks in, it should hand said patron that beer in a logoed Koozie cooler. He can then take it home and use it at tailgates and other such events, which means that the bar’s logo will be flashed all over town and seen by countless more people than his check in was.

Foursquare gives any business an excellent opportunity to have its customers do its marketing, so take that idea and run with it! Give out logoed promotional marketing products in addition to a discount, and get even more marketing exposure for very little money.

Check out the tailgating portion Youtube video – pre-game tailgates are packed, and a bar could really benefit from the above idea!

How To Make Your Follow Up Stand Out

Stand Out In this section of the blog I talk a lot about networking and one of the things that I harp on is the importance of following up with the people you meet at events or elsewhere. I know, I know, I’m a broken record. And I also know that following up isn’t as easy as it sounds. You can call and send e-mails and get no response for weeks – it’s frustrating and it is so easy to give up on someone with whom you know you can build a great business relationship. If your calls and e-mails don’t seem to be working, what do you do? My advice is to make your next attempt at follow up interesting and/or beneficial to the person that you are targeting – step out of the box to get his or her attention and you are more likely to get a response from that new business prospect.

An easy way to make your follow up attempt noticeable to your contact is to send him or her an article that seems pertinent to his or her industry. For example, let’s say you sat next to Bob at your last chamber of commerce luncheon and he explained that his company provides tech support for other businesses but they are having a hard time getting their foot in the door at certain types of companies. Take a few minutes to Google articles about tech support companies and see if you can find a case study that shows how one such business expanded its reach, then e-mail it to Bob and explain why you think it is pertinent to his situation. You don’t have to say you actively sought out the piece – just say you saw it and thought of what he said at the luncheon. You will come across as considerate and as a potential resource, so Bob will most likely take a moment to thank you. Hopefully this will create an active dialog, which can result in a worthwhile business relationship. All for just a few minutes’ research!

Another trick to get a response to your follow up attempts is to use regular old snail mail. Gossett Marketing is a promotional products distributor, so we have physical catalogs. When all else fails, I write a letter explaining which promo marketing materials I think can benefit a contact’s business, mark them in our catalog, and mail them to that person’s office. I generally include one of our logoed items with the shipment – a bag that they will use or a pen that will sit on their desk keeps my name in the front of their mind. Plus, giving someone an item gets me a thank you call or note 99% of the time.

If follow up is the key to successful networking, then make yours stand out! Show your new business contact that you have their best interest at heart and get that phone call or e-mail returned!


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