How Do You Promote Your Business? Answer: Promotional Marketing

You know that you need great marketing to get your company and its product and services in front of your target market or ideal customer. Creating an effective promotional marketing program will lead customers right to your door, website, inbox, or phone and entice them to purchase what you have to offer.What is Promotional Marketing?Promotional marketing is one aspect of your marketing program and includes the specifics of how you’re going to entice customers to take action. The advantage of a promotion is to create some buzz for your business or enterprise, to get your business to be noticed for standing apart from competition and to get your business noticed by your target market – as many people as possible.Some businesses take promotional marketing to the next level by using promotional products (also known as advertising specialties, swag, or giveaways). What makes this type of marketing so effective is its ability to influence customer behavior, to encourage action, to create goodwill, and to be remembered long after the promotional event. Promotional marketing, if done well, has a lasting benefit beyond other forms of advertising.Who Uses Promotional Marketing?Every business can use promotional marketing. A company offering a bonus, gift, or additional benefits with a customer’s normal purchase is benefitting from using promotional marketing techniques.How can we get more customers into our store? TV commercials, print ads and direct mail offers are the most common methods to offer the promotion to the target market. Think of the mailer envelopes that arrive at your home, filled with coupons and special deals. A restaurant, for example, may have TV commercials that offer a free drink with a lunch order. Or, cosmetic companies offer a free gift with purchase or a department store advertises a 50% off sale for a select type of item. The promotion calls attention to that extra element or benefit, which companies hope will encourage customers to visit who otherwise wouldn’t.Other companies utilize a technique known as point-of-sale marketing. This helps increase the sales of products of sales that may be difficult to sell on an individual basis. For example, mobile phone companies may offer peripheral items like chargers and headsets at a reduced price if they purchase a cell phone with that item. (“Buy a phone, get a headset for half price.”) Since the customer is already there and has committed to the larger purchase (the phone), they are more likely to buy the extra item because they are enticed by the savings.Creating Your Promotional Marketing Program Step #1 – What is the Plan?Careful thought and planning is the first step of making the promotion effective. What is the objective? What results are you looking for? Increasing revenues, building brand awareness, or launching a new product are just a few strategic goals of promotional marketing. Your business can also promote from within with team building, employee recognition, or safety awareness programs.Step #2 – Who is the Target?Before you begin, you’ll have to identify your target audience. Who is the ideal customer? Who is best suited to buy what you have to offer? What are their needs, and how can your products and/or services meet them? Then generate your sales materials with this target audience in mind. The goal of any promotional marketing program is to make people buy your product or service by creating an appealing proposition that requires timely action. You may want to come up with different messages depending on which communication methods you’re using. Remember that this is a work-in-progress, so don’t be afraid to change your strategies depending on what is working and what isn’t.Step #3 – How to Make the Promotional Offer?There are dozens of ways to actually get your message out, including social media, internet marketing, custom web landing pages, promotional products, and direct mail. Remember that your target audience will dictate the method of advertising. For example, if your target market is those over age 65, you may want to rely more heavily on direct mail or a print ad; however, if your market is under age 25, you’re definitely going to want to take advantage of newer technology methods, such as online marketing, social media, and text messaging.Step #4 – What are the Results?In order to judge the promotional campaign, it is critical to measure the program. How many did you offer to? How many actually used the offer? How much new sales revenue was generated from the offer? Without measuring the promotion, there is no way to improve and set the bar higher to make the next promotion better. Promotions are a way to test the market. Does your promotion generate more sales with a discount, a free gift, or bonus? Promoting your business helps generate excitement about a current service or launching a new product.

This One is the Industry’s Fault!

As a general proposition, you’ve all heard that the consumer residential real estate mortgage lending industry is cyclical. This is best illustrated by thinking of a old grand-father clock, with it’s pendulum swinging back and forth. It swings in one direction for a period of time, then it reverses itself. It is those reversals we have come to call ‘corrections.’ In the early stages of these reversals, the industry goes through a cleansing period, a sort of punishment phase. The length of each swing before the correction, is as a rule, roughly for the same time interval.So there I was, in my late 20′s with 7 years under my belt in the biz operating a branch office, the recently implemented landmark Federal legislation – The Truth in Lending Act was only a couple of years old, and both Fannie & Freddie were both newborns, as I faced the first industry wide correction. Thankfully, I was employed at The Mother Company, which sheltered me from most of the negative impact of it (my employer then was a rather large, solid, and sizable financial organization). Shortly after Watergate, it came rolling in all across the Nation. As I recall it was because of serious troubles in the American Economy in the early ’70′s. We had run-away inflation, and long gas lines, etc. Rates on conforming were 10% to 12% on 1st mortgages and 16% to 18% on seconds.The industry wide punishment segment of this correction lasted a few years, and since I was shielded from it I don’t remember it being all that extensive. This one wasn’t our fault, the industry didn’t do it to itself. What developed as a result, was the seven decade old subprime industry left the confines of the consumer finance companies, and began to be noticed by the more conventional mortgage world. The reversed cycle that followed was generally good for the mortgage industry and lasted more than 10 full years. I was young and fairly green way back then, and my memory could be off a bit on some of the details, but that’s what I recollect.Only a handful of years after the MBS market was created , the Government de-regulated the Savings & Loan industry (they were most of the secondary market/portfolio buyers for residential mortgage loan transactions during that period), in ’87-88 there was a huge explosion! Countless S&L execs foolishly began to make loans that were not on local SFR’s as they had traditionally been doing utilizing depositor’s money, the previous four decades (at modest LTV’s). Instead they began to finance large investor/builder owned apartment complexes in far-flung areas they knew little about, made risky business loans, plus funding a great many non-real estate related type loans, such as lending collateralized by cattle and such! That’s what started the snow-ball. As these S&L’s failed one by one, ultimately FSLIC failed (the S&L equivalent of FDIC at that time). Although it was the de-regulation that was the core problem that time; many S&L execs were easily fooled by being in regions they were unaccustomed to, losses were astronomical, many S&L senor execs and owners were convicted of criminal activity.A few of you veterans will remember many scandals, felony convictions, and jail sentences … Charles Keating of Lincoln Savings and others. Industry wide, nearly everyone got punished, many MI companies went under, as did a great many mortgage bankers and brokers who fell like dominos … but basically it wasn’t our fault, Government corruption and de-regulation were at the center, was my analysis at the time. Today with the Internet, I found this: which summarizes it from an historical viewpoint. With my own head down and bullets flying-by close overhead, it’s not as tidy as Google shows you. The Government’s RTC bail-out (you can Google Resolution Trust Corporation) saved even more people from being punished. This industry punishment segment lasted a couple of years as well. During this one, I operated a fairly sizable nationwide wholesale company, with a $4+ Million annual overhead ($0 of that was commissions BTW), so I remember this one like it was just last month. I frequently had nightmares and was often scared to death throughout this period. As a result, the mortgage asset backed securitization market grew like gang-busters after this. The reversed cycle that followed was generally not favorable for the mortgage industry, it lasted more almost 10 full years like the last one. What I’ve written is from my memory, it was ugly, I was there and that’s how I remember it!Two years after I closed my former company, underwent two Cancer surgeries and was an independent consultant helping mortgage operators locally, came the next correction. This last one, came as a result of the Russian Ruble crisis in the Fall of ’98. Worldwide Capital markets got squeezed big time … some of you might remember Old Stone, Conti Mortgage, Southern Pacific, and many more names back from that era, who didn’t make it. This market ‘reversal’ was a quick one, the industry wide punishment was mild compared to last time; it wasn’t a long prolonged slow bleed-out like today. We didn’t do that one to ourselves either. As a result, there were more than 350,000 new originators that jumped into this business, due to the paradigm shift of big commissions being offered to originators (a notion previously unprecedented) by the few lender survivors plus the new ones that developed – since there were many unemployed people available due to lender failures, this was the largest single growth period in the history of our industry … they’re exiting now.As the pendulum swung back, this reversed cycle which followed, was historically the biggest boom-time for the industry I had ever seen. Housing values soared, rates plunged to the lowest levels in more than a half century, and generally a good time was had by all for the remained of this short lived 7 year cycle.Today as a Teacher/Mentor and the semi-retired Founder of I see, unlike the three previous ‘corrections’, this late 2005-2006 reversal has not been due to circumstances generally beyond our control, this one is due entirely to actions solely by industry insiders. Many of my peers and I have seen this one coming since early ’04 as it became apparent ‘the wheels were starting to come off the wagon.’ On the rise we saw originators working in their jammies with the bunny-slippers at home, broker/LO fraud starting to become a concern to wholesalers, wholesalers promoting irrational No Doc and Stated loans to low FICOs with high LTV’s, etc … The early symptoms began showing up in our newsletters, in late ’03 and well into ’04. An epidemic of greed prevailed nationwide for several years, with an industry flooded by unethical and unbelievably poorly educated, trained and supervised personnel who were our industry’s front-line, exploiting the public – a virtually frenzied wild-west gold-rush mentality. RESPA violations overwhelmed those that policed the industry, Wall Street greed incentivizing foolish wholesale lending program extreme offerings, that literally gave away money to borrowers, unethical behavior and greed fueled ramped fraud and abuse at all levels. By anyone’s definition, the industry did this one to itself. And, it’s going to be a long and slow bleed out, The reversed cycle that will follow, will by and large, not be complimentary for the mortgage industry.Even if it’s as short lived as the last one, this pendulum swing should last at least another 5 years, while the industry punishment segment, should be generally over by next Summer, or Fall. There’s plenty of blame to go around. I do not believe the effect on the overall market will be as massive as the ’87-88 collapse, but this one is gonna be close, and some in the know think even bigger!As in the past, as the punishment portion ends, and this recovery ultimately begins, we’ll find many new and exciting organizations emerge from the wreckage of the retribution of this harsh reversal, and there will be countless innovative programs, products, and ways of doing presented. Even though scary as it is happening, this renewal of the business from time to time, gives us all hope, for a stronger and increasingly solid industry, that’s a critical and vibrant part of the American economy.

An Inside Look at the Importance of a Smile in Sales

If you’re in sales, then you’ve probably heard all sorts of advice, from “don’t oversell” to “focus on solving problems.” However, one of the best pieces of advice that many forget is to smile! After all, your smile is one of the first features people notice about you, and it plays an essential role in the first impression you make. Keep reading to learn all about the importance of a smile in sales (as well as how cosmetic dentistry can help!).

Smile: Your Sale Depends on It!

Knowing your product and knowing your audience are key in sales. However, you don’t get far if your client doesn’t trust you or believe you. That’s why it’s so important to make a good first impression! Here are a few ways a smile can help:

• Smiling is more powerful than you might think – One study found that smiling has the same effect on our brain as $25,000 in cash!

• Smiling communicates your state of mind – Smiling is a non-verbal cue that you are happy to be where you are, that you are confident in your product, and that you are ready and willing to help.

• Smiling creates a ripple effect of positivity – Have you ever seen a friend yawn and done the same? Or seen someone take a sip of water and immediately realized you’re thirsty? Thanks to the mirroring neurons in our brains, we naturally mimic the behavior of those around us.

But What If You Don’t Like Your Smile?

If you don’t like your smile, don’t worry – that’s where cosmetic dentistry comes in. Whether you’re struggling with misaligned, misshapen, cracked, or otherwise imperfect teeth, your smile goals aren’t out of reach. The first step? Scheduling an appointment with a skilled cosmetic dentist. For both my father and myself, providing high-quality, personalized, and judgment-free dentistry is a passion. There’s truly nothing better than seeing someone walk out of our office with a dazzling, confident smile! So, don’t wait to make your dream smile a reality – it could make all of the difference when it comes to your personal and professional life!