I recently attended a convention with online sellers and I was very surprised at how few of them were marketing their businesses to other sellers—who are, of course, potential buyers.
Amazingly, many of them didn't even have the obligatory business cards. And the ones who did made some serious errors on this small, but potentially powerful piece of paper—the kind of errors that would cause a buyer to skip a seller. Eeks!
However, at this same convention, I saw some incredible marketing handouts. These included:
- Mini jars of honey from Grannie Annie, a seller of Hawaiian items
- Small coffee packets called Go Go Beans to promote Gosinta's DJ/Record business
- Black cat swizzle sticks and '50s playing cards from a hip gift store called Bombay Bongo
I know for a fact that these business owners are doing well. Yes, even in this economy. Gosinta's business has increased by 600 percent! You will be hearing more about Gosinta's marketing ideas in the next couple of articles.
Since marketing your business should be one of the top areas you focus on daily, I would like to spend the next few columns talking about:
- Where to have your promotional materials created
- The dos and don'ts of promotional marketing
- And tips on wowing potential buyers with your giveaways (not to mention getting them to spend money!)
Practice focused marketing: Don't overwhelm your potential buyers
Before we get into the places that can help you create your unique marketing opportunities, let's focus first on what you are trying to accomplish. In creating your promotions, go back to your "roadmap to success" (i.e., your business plan). What is the goal for your business? Think of the people who will be attending the event or receiving the package.
- Want more newsletter subscribers? Make sure you include your "legal bribe" and a link to your newsletter signup.
- Want people to know about a new product or service? Include a photo, and perhaps a limited-time coupon for that product (or even a sample).
- Want to have people sign up for your classes/coaching? Provide testimonials from previous students and perhaps some upcoming dates. Don't forget to include a link and/or contact information to sign up.
- Want to network with others? Provide your Twitter and Facebook information.
But… promise me you will pick only one focus per promotion. Practice focused marketing: Don't overwhelm your potential buyers.
Let's take a look at some of my online favorites for creating marketing products for your business.
Where to go
VistaPrint—www.vistaprint.com: This is the fan favorite because of its low prices and extensive inventory of printable products. Of course, VistaPrint has the typical business cards and postcards, but it also carries mouse pads, vinyl decals and large banners (great for an eBay Education Specialist's class or booth at a show). Customized gift certificates can be created for those extra-special buyers you have. You can entice them to shop more often with a coupon.
You have full manipulation control over the design at VistaPrint and can be quite creative. Or just call them up and most products come with free custom design.
MOO—www.moo.com: Although not the cheapest by far, Moo has a very loyal following because of its quality paper, beautiful printing and the fact that you can choose multiple images to use for each order. The mini-card is a huge favorite of the arts and crafts sellers. There's a great article on Etsy about getting creative with MOO.
Imprint's Deal of the Day—promotions.4imprint.com/dealoftheday: Sign up for the e-mail notifications that usually come first thing in the morning. These are very limited deals, with sometimes as few as three lots being offered. Previous deals have included custom printed folding chairs, USB drives, coffee mugs, post-it notes and more—all for great prices. Some of my favorites have been:
- Custom-printed pizza cutters—100 for $159
- Cork coasters—500 for $139
- Balloons—1,000 for $94
Because of the great prices, these deals sell out very quickly.
CafePress—www.cafepress.com: Of course this marketplace has the traditional T-shirts that made it famous, but did you know it also carries…
- Dog gear
- Throw pillows
You can even create a skin for your Flip video camera. What a great way to put advertising for your business on something that will be visible to others.
Etsy—www.etsy.com: Believe it or not, Etsy is one of my favorite places to purchase creative marketing products. I had awesome luggage tags (pictured at right) made by a seller on Etsy. Another seller, April Ink, makes very cool rock-style posters and note cards. There are also:
There are many other promotional companies out there besides the ones I've listed. However, hopefully these have opened your creative thought process into other options for marketing your business.
In the next article, we'll discuss why you should never use a business card as a business card, and other dos and don'ts for your promotional marketing plan.
Other Entries by this Author
Janelle Elms is a best-selling author, inspiring educator and Visionaire of the OSI Rock Stars. You can hear her on wsRadio every Wednesday on Ask Janelle Radio. Learn the success information you need to grow your business at www.osiRockStars.com. For step-by-step training on how to set up an eBay Store for maximum exposure and profit, visit One Percent Coach.
Opinions expressed here may not be shared by Auctiva Corp. and/or its principals.