Let’s Play Hide and Seek!

Make your customers (and potential customers) find a special item around town or in your store

This is a classic trick that was highly successful in the 1960s that involved a highly publicised search for an item.  Variations are still used today, usually as promotional stunts by radio stations on outside broadcasts but still valuable.

I remember my father taking me to a Trade Fair when I was 9 years old.  It was in a huge 3 story building that covered most of the city block and had hundreds of trade stalls set up.  Thousands of people everywhere (or so it seemed to a 9 year old).

The local radio station was there on an outdoor broadcast and regularly announced that if you could find the toy monkey you can win a prize (brought to you by xyz company).

Yes, I remember the idea very well because I won a prize.  No, I didn’t see the toy monkey but my father did and he `accidentally’ bumped me into a corner where I had no choice but to see the cleverly hidden toy.

So, put a map on your website that shows a  general area in town that you have hidden an item or if you have a large store area, hide a small but unusual item in amongst your shelves.

Just make sure that the hidden item is inexpensive and requires it to be handed in to receive a much more valuable prize, otherwise it may just go home in someone’s pocket.  When the prize is claimed then you can give them back the hidden item as well (with your logo on it).

No, you are not being generous.  It is because the item found by the winner is usually something that ends up being displayed at home by the winner.  It makes for a conversation piece after the event, sometimes for years after.  There is a story to be told –  it includes you/your business and we know that people love to tell a story.

Remember to whip up the interest in the media.

You could also consider a joint treasure hunt with a few other businesses with complimentary products/services.  This works well for towns with a small mall of shops etc.  Of course media exposure within a joint venture is always more cost effective for everyone.

If you have any other ideas like this, leave a comment and share it with others…

3 Ways to Do `Freebies’

Get your products or services evaluated for free
You can give your product for free in exchange for evaluations and possibly testimonials from potential customers.  Any likely problems with your products may be uncovered and new uses or selling points may be revealed.

When you offer a freebie from your site, submit it to `freebies’ sites
Freebie sites provide segmented categories which means targeted traffic for you.  You may be required to provide a reciprocal link by some freebie sites.  Some freebie sites want you to link to their web site before they will list your submission.

Giving your customers free postage
If you can’t afford free postage for all your customers, you can give free postage to customers that buy from you over a certain dollar amount.  You can also insert ads or catalogues from other complimentary businesses into your product package.  This can compensate for your free postage scheme.

Keeping your loyal customers happy because they are your future profits
For some businesses a carefully structured discount or cost neutral gifts are possible.  If you charge a premium price for a premium service or products, a discount may not be the way to go if you don’t want to cheapen your image.

A cost neutral gift as a freebie can be more appropriate in this situation.  Be loyal to your customers and they are likely to be loyal to you for a long time.  They can be the majority of your business profits.

Do you know of any other ways to effectively do freebies?  Leave a comment and share the info with everyone…

A web site on a shoe string budget

Do you need to throw up a quick website without exhorbitant costs?

Google can find you a mountain of freeware and shareware tools for your website and it will do the job for free.  You can also find low cost web hosting.  Just type the word `free’ in front of  what ever you want and work through the list.  (Be aware of what will appear to be `free’ can actually be a free trial to an expensive product).

You can find a relatively inexpensive web hosting package for around $50/year that will suit the average micro or small business needs in Australia.  These web hosts will usually have free Content Management Systems (CMS) that can be installed through an `installer’ program.

Your host will usually use Fantastico or Softaculous and this makes it simple to upload from your host’s list of free CMS.  Or your host may have their own simple website building program for simple brochure type websites if you just want a simple promo site.

One of the world’s most popular free CMSs is Joomla.  Joomla can be used as a normal website but you can also enable a blog, sell products, run polls, mass email marketing and many other options – either at no cost or for very little.  You can have other people contribute directly into the site with their own username/password and security levels, create a forum, add a support desk and social networking capabilities.

If it all seems too hard or you do not have time for the learning curve:

  • Get help from a school kid that knows what they are doing or for a very modest fee.
  • A good PR exercise is to ask the local high school, TAFE or University IT class to design and create it for you.  If possible, find some kind of reward for the class or purchase an item useful to the school.

There are adults that will do the job for you at a reasonable price, depending on what you want.  If you do, ensure that you are the person that buys the domain name for your site.  When your domain name is purchased through a third party sometimes it can be almost impossible to access your registration information if there is a falling out between you.

Ask around and talk to other businesses.  You can usually find someone that created their own website or can lead you to a fair website builder just to get started.  Most importantly ensure it is someone that is willing to teach you how to administrate your website and has a reputation for after sales service.

When you have your website up and running you can experiment with different text styles and web site colour themes for your site.  The aim is to test which combination will sell your product/service better to your target audience.

For example, red usually incites aggression or excitement, love, sex, fun, etc.  Various shades of blue can imply a sense of communication, calmness or an authoritive air or credibility etc.

Green is a cool, healing, peaceful or peaceful colour.

Black is a sombre colour but can be seen as background that highlights text and graphics, making the eyes more focused and concentrating on the content.

However, white also makes it easier for the eyes to read content.

Yellow is an intellectual colour.

Grey gives a sense of  disconnectedness that sends the background into the background for the reader so that the content is the focus.

Have you found any great websites that supply free support for businesses to get a website up and running?  Leave a comment and share the info with everyone…

2 Quick Ways to Make Your Products Move

Make your products sell quickly by adding bonuses
You could get the free bonuses for little or no cost by joint venturing with other businesses.  You can go to “freebies” directories on the net and find things to give away.  Then you could ask the legal owner’s  permission to use the item as a free bonus with your product or services.

Get your sales letters and web site evaluated for free
Visit business discussion boards and ask other participants to evaluate them.  Don’t get discouraged if someone gives you a lot of negative feedback about your web site.  Most people are only trying to help you.  Remember to take the criticism constructively.

These are only 2 quick ways to move your products.  You may have developed a few methods of your own?  Leave a comment and share some ideas with other here…

3 Ways to Build Your Personal Credibility Online

Build some credibility for your business by:

Writing articles – your customers and prospects will see you as an expert and trust you.  You can submit your articles to e-zines for republishing and publicity.  Ensure that you include your resource box at the end of the article.

Creating your own free e-zine directory website – you can attract a lot of traffic from e-zine publishers and people who want to subscribe to e-zines.  Naturally, ensure you have your own e-zine listing at the top of your directory to get extra exposure.

Consider a joint venture with other businesses – create an alliance with a few other websites and exchange your ads on each others’ websites.  You can then all share the targeted traffic with each other.  Giving each other some web space will provide 3 sales channels without having to pay for affiliates because you are giving each other free web space.

This does not necessarily mean that you have to jump into the frying pan with your competition, although it has worked before and quite successfully.  Find businesses with products/services that are complimentary to yours and see how you can help each other.

These are only 3 thoughts – can you think of any more ideas or have you developed you own successful methods?  Leave a comment and let us know what you did and how your did it, for everyone else to learn from you…