Monday, August 27, 2007

make marketing effortless

Marketing is a constant challenge—but it does not have to be daunting. The most successful marketers make it look easy because they have found a way to effortlessly market the products their company sells.

But marketing is not a one-size-fits-all endeavour.
What works for one company does not necessarily work for another and you can't rely on imitation. Marketers have to find their own unique path where they will encounter the least amount of resistance from both the marketplace and from inside themselves.

Here are six steps to put you on the road to effortless marketing:

1. Be willing to let go of struggle.

You may believe you want marketing to be easier, but stop and think. Is there some part of you attached to making things difficult? It's easy to get wrapped up in the hype of a campaign and just as easy to get frustrated when ideas aren't readily flowing. Whenever you find yourself struggling, pause and ask yourself, "How could this be easy?"

2. Market to the audiences you like—and who like you.

Many marketers focus on attracting large global clients—that's where to find the big money. But those clients might not always be the best fit for your company's services. Determine your target—major organizations, smaller businesses or solo entrepreneurs—and strategize accordingly.

3. Start with the people who are ready for your message.

You can't sell your services if people don't understand what you offer and how it will help them. Make education part of your long-term mission, but in the interim, focus on the customers who already understand the value of what you do. If you are an alternative healing service, you need to be speaking at the Whole Life Expo, not at the Chamber of Commerce. If you offer a workshop on corporate ethics, start networking with members of Businesses for Social Responsibility instead of the Millionaires Circle.

4. Choose the marketing strategies that match your talents.

Not everyone can be a stellar cold caller. As a marketer, focus on the strategies that are natural to you—whether writing, networking to build referrals or managing the latest project to completion. If you are a marketing manager delegate work according to the talents of your staff.

5. Find people who can pay what you need to charge.

If you persist in marketing to people who cannot afford your fee, you might as well be speaking a foreign language to your audience. Conduct research not only to find the demographic that would want your services, but also one willing to pay for your product. Look for the intersection between your chosen market and people who have enough resources to buy from your company.

6. Pay attention to how people respond.

As a marketer, it is your job to inspire others to get excited about the products and services you represent. If people fall asleep when you detail your latest project, chances are you were not moved by your words either. If you really want your marketing to be effortless, get involved with a business that excites you. Take the initiative and ask your manager for the responsibility to head some of the campaigns that interest you.

From the Management Advisor Newsletter, By C.J. Hayden.

C.J. Hayden is the author of Get Clients Now!. Get a free copy of her "Five Secrets to Finding All the Clients You'll Ever Need" at

RPL Ventures Inc. will scour the earth in our attempt to provide you with features and articles of value to you and germane to your business. If there are items of interest to you that you don't see here and you want us to include them in this forum, please contact us. We're only too happy to accommodate you.

© 2007 RPL Ventures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

the seven minute rule

by bill hogan

We are all so busy these days it seems impossible to get caught up. This has never before been more true than today. We’ve been down-sized, right-sized, overloaded, micro-managed and middle-managed to death.

TimeAre you caught in eMAIL hell? Too many eMAILs in your in-box? Are you convinced you’ll never get caught up?

Try this simple time management rule. Once or twice a day set aside a fixed amount of time (say one hour) to manage your workload. I follow this rule myself first thing every morning.

I put my phone on call waiting and close my office door. I then spend one hour following my seven minute rule.

The Seven Minute Rule

Take all your tasks, mail and eMAIL, assignments, over-due projects…

  1. Read it (if you can read it in seven minutes, read it…)
  2. Handle it (if you can get it done in seven minutes, do it…)
  3. File it
  4. Defer it (can’t get it done in 7 minutes? Set aside the time during the rest of the day or several days.)
  5. Toss it

If you follow this process you will quickly dig yourself out of the hole. Your sense of being overwhelmed will fade away. And, you’ll be on top of everything.

Now, take a breath. Enjoy. Let me know how you make out.

RPL Ventures Inc. will scour the earth in our attempt to provide you with features and articles of value to you and germane to your business. If there are items of interest to you that you don't see here and you want us to include them in this forum, please contact us. We're only too happy to accommodate you.

© 2007 RPL Ventures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

change is evil...

Change is good, right? Not always. But when is it bad? Is it a question of good or bad? A friend of mine says change is evil. Sounds philosophical. Maybe it is.

Consider this… why would one take something that is going good - no… great — and change it? Obvious answer is to make it better. Not!

In business or in marketing, change is not always good. When you have certain promotional actions that are in place making things happen, or in better terms, making you money - don’t change them! Why do I say this? Because I see it time and time again. Someone has a marketing campaign that is bringing in a good return on investment and they up and decide to change their postcard! What?!?! Change your postcard - why??? “Er uh, we just decided to do something different.”

And then some three or four months down the road, they call back with their tail between their legs and ask - no demand to have everything back the way it was before. In this latter case - change is good.

I am not just saying that to say that one should always keep their postcard marketing campaign the same and never change it. Quite the contrary. Change your marketing, change your habits, change your way of life when it warrants it. There is really some truth to the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Maybe it is human nature to want to change everything once something gets going just the way they planned it. Who the heck knows? All I can say is step outside the human-nature box. Change only when things are drastic or when change is warranted.

Drastic circumstances deserve drastic measures. But how do you determine drastic? Sometimes that is really easy. Your company’s income is crashing. Do something! Change! Or better yet, figure out what you changed and get it back to what was working.

How about a plateau? Does that deserve change? Depends on how long that plateau lasts. I have never seen things leveling off and staying level forever. It either goes one of two ways - up or down. I know an optometrist who had a very successful practice in a small town. He never really marketed. He never really had to. People knew of him from kilometers around. Mainly he did PR stuff - a fundraiser here, networking there, etc., etc. His good works made him well known and respected and the community ooo’ed and ah’ed over him so much the paper loved printing it.

But things changed. Malls started opening up. People started shopping in the bigger cities. The environment changed. But he didn’t. He still kept a good practice, but you could see something interesting - his gross income started to plateau. And over time - many years - that plateau gradually started to show where it was really going. I actually don’t have to say where - you’ve got the picture.

Now, would that demand drastic measures? Taking into account inflation, cost of living and other factors that are on the rise - yes, I would say that would demand drastic measures. Did he take them? Not until the direness became all too apparent. But yes, he finally did take them. He started postcard marketing his you-know-what off!

So, next time you think about changing your marketing plan, look to see if it needs it. Look at your numbers. Are they improving? Declining? If your income is going up - don’t change one single thing. But if it is going down or flat-lining - for heaven’s sake, change!

RPL Ventures Inc. will scour the earth in our attempt to provide you with features and articles of value to you and germane to your business. If there are items of interest to you that you don't see here and you want us to include them in this forum, please contact us. We're only too happy to accommodate you.

© 2007 RPL Ventures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

direct mail: marketing

The number of businesses using direct mail marketing now compared to how many used this medium 10 to 15 years ago is staggeringly higher. More and more marketers understand its effectiveness and are on the bandwagon.

direct mailYears back the novelty of receiving an advertisement in your mailbox was such that any direct mail pieces were not only looked at but also mulled over. Not so anymore. The term ‘junk mail’ was coined sometime since then and I’m sure you’ve thrown out your fair share of unread pieces enough to understand why. So, what can you do about it as a marketer? How can you ensure you get the biggest bang for your direct mail dollar? Now more than ever, you have to understand how to put together a direct mail piece. More than ever you have to expertly target your mailing to go to a specific market. And more than ever you need to be patient and learn how to campaign - because that is the key to success. Don’t get me wrong… direct mail is not dead - and I don’t see it dying any time soon. It is still the quintessential part of the largest company’s campaigns.

Because it works.

In this article, we will teach you some of these three topics:

  • Designing a direct mail piece
  • Targeting your specific market
  • Campaigning

A Great Design

Many people think that the quality of any graphic design is determined by how aesthetically pleasing it is: Although making the card look good is important, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The only true measure of any design, at least commercially, is “How well does it pull?”. By pull we mean what type of response does it elicit? Does it pull in calls, or pull people into the store? In essence, does the design accomplish what it set out to do?

From this fact, it is not a reach to conclude that the merit of a graphic designer is based on the performance of his or her designs. You may be able to put together the most beautiful ad that the world has ever seen, but if it doesn’t make the phone ring it isn’t worth the paper that it is printed on.

You need to make designs that are not only attractive but, more importantly, that get the response needed to turn a profit. You want to ensure people see your ad and want your services. In short, if the ad doesn’t make you any money, it’s not a good ad.

To BE or not to BE

Easy. Say there is a monkey loose in your office and you can’t seem to get any work done. The only solution is to catch the little distraction and ship him back to the jungle that he came from. Question: How do you catch a monkey? You have to get into his head, think like him. You have to “BE” the monkey to find out what is going to bring him close enough for you to catch him.

Every potential customer is like the monkey. They are going to do whatever they want unless you can persuade them to listen to you. You have to get into their head, think like them, “BE” them. A monkey is a simple animal so you can probably get his attention with the stereotypical banana.

Human beings on the other hand are extremely complex. Then you add in the fact that the mailing list is targeted and it can get quite challenging. To help you answer the question of what you should say in your ad, you should use three things:

  • Reasoning
  • Experience
  • Research

Take an unrelated subject to your own industry - sometimes it’s better to learn that way. Pick something. Say you have an upscale Italian women’s shoe boutique. You want to appeal to women that like that sort of thing. Get in her head. What would make her want to buy from you? Remember, she is bombarded with advertisements every day. What can you say that really draws her in? How about “Tired of Wearing the Same Styles as Everyone Else?” Have a graphic that
supports the message - show a fantastic pair of shoes or better yet a good-looking woman with a great pair of shoes on.

Now pretend you are a family man or woman with a household income of the $75k with revolving debt of $15K and you’ve got two kids! Kids can be expensive. So, why would you like to refinance?

Find a Specialized Mailing List

If there is one thing I can’t say enough it is that the most important part of your mailing campaign is your mailing list. It is vital that you put the right amount of energy into learning about lists - who to mail to - so that your mailing efforts aren’t wasted. There are a few different ways that you can get an adequately targeted list.

As always the first step is to determine who your target market will be. Say you want to market to homeowners. Good, now we have narrowed it down to only 291,324 people in your area. As a minimum, your mailing campaign should send to the same names three times. So all you have to do is send out 873,972 postcards at $0.185 per piece & you get the point. We need to narrow it down some more.

So how do you accomplish the narrowing of your list? Many factors can be considered, including age, gender, postal code, annual salary, profession and numbers of children are some of the more common qualifiers. It may take a while to figure out what combination works for your specific product. Don’t worry about political correctness when considering whom you should mail to. It is perfectly acceptable to test certain lists that may be considered stereotypical”. Many times these lists will work well. But you never know until you test them.

No matter how great an idea you have about a certain market, ALWAYS DO A SMALLER TEST MAILING FIRST! Average test mailings run around 1000-1500 names. Once you see acceptable returns on the smaller mailing then you can jump in with the larger numbers. Test, test, test!

The purpose of special mailing lists is to target a specific type of customer for your specific type of business. The eventual result is more customers and a better bottom line. And this is what we all want, right?

Repeating Your Message

cam-paign n.

1. A series of military operations undertaken to achieve a large-scale objective during a war.
2. An operation or series of operations energetically pursued to accomplish a purpose: an advertising campaign for a new product; a candidate’s political campaign.

intr.v. campaigned, campaigning, campaigns To engage in an operation planned to achieve a certain goal.

[French campagne, from Italian campagna, field, military operation, from Late Latin campania, open country, battlefield, from Latin campus, field.]

Definition number 2 above is the one we’re using. But from studying the entire definition along with the derivation (the word origin) you can see how all the definitions tie together. Campaigns for marketing are, in a nutshell, a series of advertising steps including repeat mailings that are strategically planned so that there is maximum benefit (more new customers) for your business.

Nota bene (that means “take note” in Latin - and I do mean take note): If you are not doing repeat mailings then you are flushing money down toilet. Sorry, I know. The truth sometimes hurts.

Why is this true? One mailing of one postcard once is barely going to get anyone’s attention for more then the minute they see it. Think about it. How many times have you seen the same TV commercials repeatedly? A one shot in the dark postcard mailing is not going to change your business, your bottom line, your life or your anything.

So, if you are not up to confronting that you need to do a campaign then maybe you shouldn’t be in business. And that may sound harsh - it is harsh. It’s a harsh world. And I want you to succeed in it.

There is another reason. Credibility. In some cases people will hold onto your postcard for a while. They can hold onto your postcard for six months. They may even hold on to your card for three years. But in most cases they’ll think “Oh, I may need that some day” and then while tidying up they’ll throw it away. When you repeat your mailings to those same people and they see your image, logo, slogan, message over and over you become credible to them. Your chances of them responding just got greater. Repeat mailings cannot be repeated enough.

To give you an example, I call it the ‘Trickle Down Effect’: Say you send out 5000 postcards. Out of that 5000, 150 hang onto your postcard. Out of that 5000, so many call the 1st week. Out of that 5000, so many call the 2nd week. Out of that 5000, so many call the next month. Out of that 5000, so many call in 6 months. Out of that 5000, so many never call…

There is a dwindling inflow from that first mailing and therefore can give a false impression of what occurs from one mailing. Someone sends out a postcard and says, “I only got four responses from my mailing!” But there is a whole dynamic that is going on that is continuing from that one mailing way after the person who sent the mailing expects things to happen. Think about it. Do you jump at every single advertisement that you get bombarded with that you think is a good idea? If you do, you are either a millionaire or broke. But most likely, you see some advertisement that catches your interest and say to yourself that you’d like to check that out some day. Then, you see it again and remember that you wanted to check that out one day. And then, you see it again and this time you decide to check it out.

You want continuous and consistent growth. So what do you do? Look at this scenario:

What if…

You send out 5000 postcards one week and you have all that going on that I mentioned above. You send out 5000 the next week and you have all that going on that I mentioned above. You send out 5000 the next week and that dwindling flow chart is going on, on each one of those outflows. What is going to happen? Eventually it is going to snowball - it is coming in from all different places!

You are really putting your communication out there consistently in a big way.

And yes, it costs a lot of money to do it. Once you have your list - which you will use repeatedly - only paying for it once - postage is more then 55% of your costs. So, FIND THE MONEY. If you are going to borrow money to do a business, spend that borrowed money on marketing!

Start with a list and mail to one list one week, another list the next week and another list the following week. Then you rotate those lists - again. And again. And again.

Now you ask - what if you only have one list? You can still rotate one list. And it is always good to put it on a spreadsheet or a flow chart to track what you are doing and what you have already done.

For instance: You get one list of 6000 identities. You can mail to 2000 one week, 2000 the next week and 2000 the third week. Then you rotate. There are your three different lists!

A campaign is mailing to the same people over and over and over again. The point is you want to hit your prospects with different communication about the same thing or hit them with different products with the same look and feel or both. The rest will come.

Because what you are building with a marketing campaign is credibility. You are building your business through communication. You are communicating consistently, so much that people will believe you (credibility) and they will respond; they will come, they will spend.

In 1744, Benjamin Franklin published and mailed the first direct marketing catalog that sold scientific and academic books. Direct Mail has come a long way since then, so DON’T let your piece get lost in the mail, so to speak, make it stand out by applying these three basics of successful marketing

Contact The UPS Store Winnipeg Downtown to get your marketing campaign off the ground.

RPL Ventures Inc. will scour the earth in our attempt to provide you with features and articles of value to you and germane to your business. If there are items of interest to you that you don't see here and you want us to include them in this forum, please contact us. We're only too happy to accommodate you.

© 2007 RPL Ventures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

direct mail: postcards

I receive postcards all the time. The other day I received a postcard trying to sell me a copy machine. It had tiny, tiny lettering slathered all over the front and a large portion of the back of the card.

It was extremely hard to read, so hard in fact that I threw it away.

direct mail postcardsSeveral days later, I received a postcard with 32 words on it telling me that I could get complete information on unrestricted long distance telephone service for 5.5 cents a minute with no additional monthly fee by calling the 800 number on the card.

I did call. I got the information, had my questions answered and ordered my long distance service changed. The company who offered me the long distance service was using a time tested 2 step selling process:

Step 1. Generate a lead - Get me to call them.

Step 2. Provide the requested information - Provided to me on the phone by one of their sales representatives, who was able to answer my questions and make me feel confident that I could save quite a bit of money on my long distance bill and that the service would be as good or better.

What’s So Good About Two Steps?

It is much easier to create interest (a lead) than it is to get a person through an entire buying process (a sale).

You are not getting the prospect or existing customer to part with any money just yet.

You can use postcards to inexpensively promote to your target prospects and customers and generate leads (inquiries about your products and services) to then be followed up on and converted to sales.

This two step process also helps you to create a list of people who were interested enough in what you offered to contact you.

You can then contact the ones who you did not complete a sale with when they first inquired, preferably until they do buy from you.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to get the information you will need to contact the people who responded to your postcard offering.

Repetitive follow-ups with the people who contacted you will result in increased sales. Make it a company policy to follow up with those people who contacted you about your products and services.

The Most Effective Use of Postcards:

The purpose of your postcard’s message is to generate a sufficient level of interest in the mind of your prospect to get him/her to contact you to ask you about your offer.

You are generating interest, not collecting their money (not yet anyway). That is what the 2 step marketing process is about. Generating interested prospects and customers who contact you for more information.

Your message needs three parts to be most effective:

  1. A clear statement of the biggest benefit of your product or service (in the long distance example, it was cost savings).
  2. A good reason for them to contact you NOW.
  3. A simple, easy way for them to respond (an 800 number for example).

Your message should be short and to the point. Short messages on postcards produce more leads than long ones.

For example:

  • Call 800-555-1212 for Your Copy of Our Free Report: What 99% of Business Owners Don’t Know and Will Never Find Out About Using Postcards to Explode Their Profits
  • Offer ends 5-5-01 (Print a date 3 weeks from your mailing date to create some urgency)

Many people will respond to find out what they might not know. Don’t forget, they responded, which is least some interest in the information you have created a curiosity about.

This method works and is sure to produce a large number of inquiries if sent to your proper market. This two-step marketing process works.

Use the tips you have read here to create your next postcard’s message and see what happens. You will generate a bunch of leads from people who are truly interested in your products and services.

RPL Ventures Inc. will scour the earth in our attempt to provide you with features and articles of value to you and germane to your business. If there are items of interest to you that you don't see here and you want us to include them in this forum, please contact us. We're only too happy to accommodate you.

© 2007 RPL Ventures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

getting things done...

Too much on your plate and not enough time on your hands? We all have too much to do. How can we get more done in the same time? First, get organized. Some tips and tricks to do that are listed below. Second, use The UPS Store Winnipeg Downtown as your virtual marketing department…

cluttered deskCategorize your tasks

Use Windows or Mac folders or Outlook Tasks to do this - or any other system that works for you (yes, you can set up multiple, custom-labelled Outlook Task folders). Do not use more than seven categories. If tasks have deadlines, add them to your Calendar or set deadlines in the Outlook Tasks area. Otherwise, categories like “Professional”, “Personal”, and “Someday” might work for you. (”Someday” is a powerful one — it’s a place to put long-term goals like “get a pilot’s license”.)

First thing each day, empty your inbox.

Process every single item in your inbox by either filing it in one of the category locations you have created (more on this below) or completing it, and never make exceptions to this rule.

Label actions with next step.

As you are filing tasks to do later, make sure the label of the tasks (file name, subject line, or Outlook Task heading) contains two elements:1) Clear, concise description of the task; and 2) the next step. So a task might be labelled like this: “Set Up Monthly Budget Meeting | Call Steve for Availability.”

Follow the “seven-minute rule”.

Every time you read or handle a step or a task (or entire tasks) that might take less than seven minutes, complete it right then and there. More.

Read every task, every day.

Once your inbox is empty, go through each of your task-category folders, and just read what’s there. While doing this, you will be able to delete items that are no longer valid or that have been completed, “tweak” items with new information, and generally remind yourself what tasks are pending.

Create a “today” folder or list.

Create a short list of things you have to complete everyday (daily tasks like “review week in calendar” and “clean desk”). Add to that list the most urgent and/or important items as you are going through you inbox and task-category folders, Grab items you really want to complete today, and add them to your list. Then go through that list slavishly — doing exactly what it tells you to do, in the order it tells you. You can also do this with task-files in a folderor in an Outlook Task folder labelled “Today”.

The concepts above will relax your mind by getting to-do items out of your head and into your trusted system; give
you 24/7 “situational awareness”; and will motivate and propel you as you find yourself, yes, actually getting things done.

Also, note that it is not easy to see how these concepts help you until you actually do it. So try it.

Source: David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” edited with a few of my proven time management tricks.

RPL Ventures Inc. will scour the earth in our attempt to provide you with features and articles of value to you and germane to your business. If there are items of interest to you that you don't see here and you want us to include them in this forum, please contact us. We're only too happy to accommodate you.

© 2007 RPL Ventures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

RPL Ventures Inc. Acquires the Assets of Paper Plus


Contact: J. William Hogan
Tel. 204.784.6500
Cell Phone: 204.998.2837

Paper Plus is under new management.

Glen A. Duke, President and CEO of RPL Ventures Inc., has acquired the assets of Paper Plus and will immediately assume the day-to-day management of the company. RPL Ventures inc. is a Winnipeg based The UPS Store franchisee. Paper Plus is a Winnipeg off-set printing company.

Said Duke: “Under our management we will exceed all Paper Plus’ customer expectations, bringing the same high-quality standards that our clients have come to expect from The UPS Store. We can provide the full range of business services business needs, from design to delivery. Our current offer includes Marketing and Communication Services, Document Management Services and Mailing and Distribution Services.”

Continues Duke: “This is an exciting time for RPL Ventures Inc. We will be celebrating the grand opening of our fourth The UPS Store in Selkirk on September 6th with an open house and bar-b-cue, and now the acquisition of our new offset printing and business services hub.”

“We plan to make it easier for our clients to get quality end results according to their satisfaction. I offer my personal commitment to ensure that we continually meet their business needs. I look forward to serving yet another satisfied customer.”

Glen A. Duke

CEO / President

RPL Ventures Inc.

RPL Ventures Inc. is a private Winnipeg based business services company with three The UPS Store franchises in Downtown Winnipeg and one The UPS Store in Selkirk serving Manitoba’s Interlake region.



The Winnipeg Free Press...