The Promotions Mix: Sales Promotions

Today’s topic: Let’s talk about the promotions mix: Sales Promotions.

Sales promotions: give something away or have a very good, low sales price on your product.

The advantage of this kind of advertising is that you attract attention and can achieve a quick response, but the disadvantage is that you can destroy your brand equity and disturb positioning (too many companies in any industry doing sales promotions encourages brand Disloyalty and brand switching. Think cell phones. ) So, sales promotions are really only a short term solutions to help drive quick revenues. Remember, you can’t claim your product is superior when incentives are always offered or the perception by consumers will be that your product must not be very good if it’s always being given away for free.

Incentive to encourage sale or trial

Contests, 2 for 1 deals, price specials, premiums, etc.

This is a short term strategy that encourages consumers to Buy Now!

Networking: Business vs Social

Business owners swear by the “good old boy” network.  That is, your best resource for business is a well-connected network.  It’s important to discern between social and business networking.  The two, while not necessarily mutually exclusive, are rarely the same, especially for younger business owners who are still socially bound to roommates, teammates and family members.   The folks in these networks are social connections and, unless you attended an Ivy League university with well-connected people, are rarely avenues to serious money.  Well-meaning friends can be the source of terrible business meetings and time-wasting, non-clients who can at best provide you with barter or small income opportunities.   (NOTE: Don’t underestimate the value of a good trade: I’ve traded services to have my house cleaned, my hair done and my house painted by some of the best in the business.)

What you are trying to find, every day, are business associates who may or may not become friends. Business associates are people in a decision-making position, have a budget and are serious about doing business. Social connections are people that are described as, “a real sweetheart” or “a good guy”.  Terms of endearment may be flags that people are social connections and not serious business prospects. It’s good to learn the difference so you can decide if you want to help someone out of the goodness of your heart. I assume that any time a friend has a friend who wants help that I wont be making any money. I’ll be doing a favor for a friend and having coffee with someone who might know or become someone with a real project.  

At the onset of any meeting, you should ask about budget.  Sit down with your coffee, smile broadly, and ask, “Do you have a budget for this project?”   It’s not rude to get down to business in a business meeting.  It’s a disaster to spend time and share ideas with someone and then be told that there’s little or no budget. 

It certainly isn’t a waste of time to meet new people, no matter what their circumstance, but remember the golden rule: to succeed in business you need to make sure that you are managing your time well and are always doing the most important thing you need to be doing.

A Good Watchdog Can Stop A Thief

A Good Watchdog Can Stop a Thief
By Lori Bratz

Business owners and corporate executives use vendors to fill the role of an IT team or creative department because the resources they have in house are overloaded or simply don’t exist. Outsourcing technical and creative projects is business as usual for the busy executive.

The sad truth of the matter is that there are many interactive service providers who are more than happy to take advantage of a busy executive.  No one begrudges an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work.  I fully expect the people who work for me to make money.  In fact, I want them to make money and be successful. Everyone likes a winner.  But no one likes to be ripped off.

A friend of mine who is a VP of Marketing for an international company told me the other day that she thinks that buying products and services for her interactive division feels alot like getting repairs done to a car.  You just don’t know if you’re getting ripped off.  

Last week I met the Executive Owner of an outdoor advertising agency who told me that he’s paying his service provider a hefty monthly hosting fee because the provider registered his domain name for him and told him that he can’t move it anywhere else.  This man, a multi-million-dollar deal maker with an MBA was told a bald-face lie by a vendor and has just continually signed off on the monthly P.O.’s because he’s busy and needs his website.  I helped him understand his options.

How do you avoid being ripped off?  Checks and balances.  Bring in a knowlegable consultant for a short time to analyze your current interactive efforts, review your site, your providers, and the services you are getting. A watchdog consultant may find ways for you to save money immediately and recoup potential long term losses.

The help of a professional, knowlegable consultant means a better return on the investment you’ve made in your interactive property and overall bottom line.

Take our Free, Interactive Property Self Assessment Test now to see how vulnerable your website may be.

Business Plan Basics

How to write a Business Plan

The following information is an excerpt from the SBA’s website. For more information and the complete article, please visit:

What goes in a business plan? This is an excellent question. And, it is one that many new and potential small business owners should ask, but oftentimes don’t ask. The body of the business plan can be divided into four distinct sections: 1) the description of the business, 2) the marketing plan, 3) the financial management plan and 4) the management plan. Addenda to the business plan should include the executive summary, supporting documents and financial projections.

Elements of a Business Plan
1. Cover sheet
2. Statement of purpose
3. Table of contents

I. The Business
A. Description of business
B. Marketing
C. Competition
D. Operating procedures
E. Personnel
F. Business insurance
G. Financial data

II. Financial Data
A. Loan applications
B. Capital equipment and supply list
C. Balance sheet
D. Breakeven analysis
E. Pro-forma income projections (profit & loss statements)
Three-year summary
Detail by month, first year
Detail by quarters, second and third years
Assumptions upon which projections were based
F. Pro-forma cash flow
Follow guidelines for letter E.

III. Supporting Documents
Tax returns of principals for last three years
Personal financial statement (all banks have these forms)
In the case of a franchised business, a copy of franchise contract and all supporting documents provided by the franchisor
Copy of proposed lease or purchase agreement for building space
Copy of licenses and other legal documents
Copy of resumes of all principals
Copies of letters of intent from suppliers, etc.

Search Engines Are the No. 1 Source for Consumers Looking for Local Businesses

One of my favorite clients recently told me that she’s getting 15 times more business from her web efforts than from her yellow pages ad, and at a fraction of the cost.  I’m not a bit surprised.  Personally, when that big old yellow book shows up on my doorstep, I’m annoyed and I lug it to the recycling bin.   As if.

I found this article on Reuters:

According to the newly published report, “Why Search Matters to Local Business” from WebVisible, Inc., search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and Ask have become consumer’s most widely used source to find a local business from which to buy.

In a survey conducted by WebVisible and Nielsen//NetRatings, 2,000
Internetusers were asked how they find and interact with advertising. Search
engines are
used by 73% of consumers when seeking local products and services — more
than any other media type. By comparison, traditional advertising sources are
becoming used less frequently. Read the whole report

Lori Bratz is a Great Asset to our Business

Lori has been such a great asset to our business.  Her positive attitude is contagious and very appreciated.  Her knowledge and great ideas are priceless! Lori, you’re so awesome and we are so happy to have you a part of our team.  Thank you for all you do.  You ROCK!

Marc and Christiana Castoriano

Lori Has Played An Integral Part In The Growth Of Our Internet Business

Lori’s technical knowledge of web site programming, search engines, configuring foreign programs, etc. has played an integral part in the growth of our internet business.  Just one week after she reconfigured our web site and search engine categories, we received an inquiry from a major retailer in Oregon.  They are our biggest retail customer and place repeat orders monthly for all nine stores.  There’s just no way they would have found out about us if the search engine wording wasn’t precise.

Julie Steil
River Valley Ranch

Lori’s Knowledge and Insight Produced Great Organic SEO Results

“Lori’s knowledge and insight produced great organic SEO results for my website – My site is ranking high on many search engines and I’m receiving new business calls because of it! It’s impossible for a business owner like me to know and understand SEO/SEM. I’m glad I turned to an expert like Lori for help. I couldn’t be happier with the experience or the results. She definitely knows her stuff!” July 6, 2007 

Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, Good Value 

Kim Emery