The Yogi Berra Marketing Guide

fork in the road image

Photo compliments of orlandk

Yogi Berra, Hall of Fame baseball catcher, was famous for saying things that didn’t seem to make much sense, at least at first.

It’s easy to laugh at some of his remarks because they sound nonsensical.  How can it get late early? And whatever does “It ain’t over till it’s over” mean?

However, when you stop to think about them for a while, it turns out those silly sayings were really quite wise.

No, really they were.

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it”

Pick your path, don’t try to go down two roads at once. Find your niche, and your passion, and pursue it. Yogi was passionate about baseball, and had enough World Series championship rings for each finger on both hands. When you love what you do (and focus your energies on doing it), you will succeed.

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.”

Make a marketing plan, and follow it. For example, write an ebook to build an audience, have them sign up for your newsletter, and then eventually purchase other products or services.

“It gets late early out there”

The Web has sped everything up. Wait too long to respond to a customer complaint or a service problem and the twitterers will let you know. If you don’t post on your blog for three weeks, or answer comments, readers will go elsewhere.

“That place is so popular, nobody goes there anymore”

When you lose your focus, you’ll lose your customers too. Starbucks built an image and a “tribe” by brewing coffee that was different from ordinary deli coffee, offering more ways to customize it, and a welcoming atmosphere. Then, they expanded too much, tried to overcome it with discounts, and now… well there are more interesting places to get coffee in New York (with beans that have been roasted in the last 10 days, or coffee ground to order).

What do you think? Was Yogi right?  Am I?

Are You Using the B-Word With Your Clients?

No, not that word – I mean budget. Do your prospects give you odd looks when you mention it?

Sure, you’re only trying to find out what the right solution is. There’s no point recommending the Lamborghini of graphic design to someone in the market for a Hyundai.  They’re both cars, and they’ll both give you transportation, but they have entirely different selling points, markets, and prices!

The trouble is, that many prospects don’t see it that way. Especially if they’re small companies, they’re not used to buying marketing or design services.

They have no frame of reference. So, they wonder if you’re asking in order to squeeze as much cash out of them as possible.

Some ways to get around the problem:

Educate your clients

They know what houses, cars, and toasters cost, but not web sites or logos. Instead of pointing out your professionalism, or years of experience, talk to them in everyday language. Explain what you’re doing and why.

Discuss the effect that changes will have on the amount of time and effort required to create a new web site. Be clear about what’s included in the estimate you give, and what will drive the price up. For instance, tell them that three design options and two rounds of revisions are included. After that, it’s extra.

Be clear about the goals of the project and what’s included

Write up a creative brief (spelling out the market, the positioning, the intended audience, and the messages) and a project scope document – the assumptions behind the price, what the client will get, what you will do, a timeline, changes that could affect the price, etc.)

Create fixed cost products or services

For example, you might offer a PC network tune-up (check for viruses, update software, run diagnostic software, optimize the machines).

Or, maybe a new blogger package (get domain name, upload WordPress theme, add 5 essential plugins, guide to how-to post/edit, upload photos).

Spell out exactly what’s included, what the client gets, and how much it costs.

Use an “Olympic pricing” strategy

Michel Fortin recommends breaking your services down into three levels, with each one explained, so the client sees why the costs are different.

For instance, tweaking existing landing page copy would be bronze (lowest price).

Creating a completely new landing page, plus some general SEO suggestions, would be silver (higher price).

A new landing page, SEO ideas, plus the order page, opt-in, and thank you page is the gold level (highest price).

Got any experiences to share about asking for budgets? A lesson learned? Share them in the comments.

Image compliments of Randy son of Robert

Revealed: Why Clients Want to Make the Logo Big

Sign: BIG ???

“Make the logo bigger!”

You’ve heard it countless times. You roll your eyes.

You think, oh Gawd, not again! They’re throwing off my design. It’s gonna look dumb. Why oh why do clients do this???

Here’s the Secret

It’s not that they’re foolish or have no appreciation for design. It’s just that they’re human beings.

The Sweetest Sound (or Sight)

Dale Carnegie said that “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” “The average person is more interested in his or her own name than in all the other names on earth put together. ” It’s a proven way to get better responses, whether in marketing or in conversation. You wouldn’t turn around if someone yelled, “Hey you,” but you would if they called your name.

It works for logos too. They want the logo big because it’s their name, or their identity, or their company (that they worked so hard to build). They have an emotional relationship with the logo (just like with their name).

So, the next time someone wants the logo bigger, be patient (and understand why they’re asking).

Photo: cocreatr

27 Free Marketing Ideas You Can Use Right Away

free marketing tools

Free beer is  a great way to attract attention.  If you give away free samples, you’re showing  proof of your skills, establishing trust, and building authority.

You don’t have to be in the beer business (or a bar owner), to do this.

Here are 27 free marketing ideas you can use to get more leads, build your reputation, and spread the word about your services.

Offer Free Information

1. A free newsletter – use it, and a how-to guide, to build up your email list. Put sign-up forms throughout your web site.

2. How-to guides – take something your customers find difficult, and break it down into easy-to-follow steps (like setting up a blog).

3. Checklists – following a list always makes things easier. Create them for video production, printing a brochure, or producing a Web site. Share them with your clients.

4. Tutorials – video demos, printed instructions, or a series of free lessons.

5. Software demos.

6. Mini-reports – Combine several blog posts on a related topic, post the report, and allow it to spread virally.

7. Run a survey on a topic important to your industry, gather the results, and report the results to your customers, your newsletter readers, or your blog readers.

8. Free trial (or a free, limited version of a paid product).

9. Free special report with a snappy title (little known ways to cut design costs)

Social Marketing

10. Start a blog (if you don’t already have one).

11. Answer questions on industry forums like or LinkedIn’s Advertising and Creatives Groups.

12. Join with other bloggers in your niche and share comments and guest posts. Take turns commenting on each others’ blogs and spreading the word (with cross-links and tweets).

13. Subscribe to other blogs in a feed reader (that’s the big orange button on the upper right of this blog).

14. Create a series of podcasts (you can talk yourself, or interview someone else).

Online Marketing

15. Hold a webinar. Make it informative, not a sales pitch. Even better, have a series of them.

16.  Have a regular series of tips that help your clients and businesses like them.  Gather together information from industry experts, as well as your own input, and curate it each week.

17. Free gifts. Add extra free bonuses to your paid products (receive $247 in free bonuses with your purchase). This works offline too.

18. Write a press release and release it through PR Web.

19. Track your promotions, both online and offline (yes, it’s my direct marketing genie coming out of its bottle). You’ll know which of them worked.

Offline Marketing

20. Band together with other people. Exhibit designers can work with companies that create videos for conferences.

21. Show appreciation with a thank you. It’s a small human touch your clients will appreciate.

22. Keep in touch. Send notes on silly occasions (National Ice Cream Cone Day!).

23. Freemiums – nonprofits have been sending trinkets for years (light catchers, stickers, address labels). Add a small gift to your invoices. Or, throw in some “free soup” as an extra treat when you do a project.

24. Offer your services for free to a non-profit in a bind (the publicity can lead to paying contracts).

Viral Marketing

25. Make a funny video.

26. Enter that funny video in a viral video contest.

27. Run a contest. Offer a service for free to a few lucky winners. Spread your name (and build your list; make sure you get permission).

What Every Email Marketer Should Know Before Hitting “Send”

You probably know about how email marketing can lead to big profits.  It’s cheap to use, targeted, and easy to do.  Just type in your message and hit send.  Right?  Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Before you start, there are four email marketing tips you should know about that can drastically affect the results you get.

1. Deliverability

This is the percentage of people on the list who actually received your email.  If nobody gets your email, they won’t open it, read it, or buy anything.

Why email bounces:

  • a bad address  (just like snail mail)
  • an ISP with a bad reputation
  • spammy content (make millions, free satellite TV, weight-loss pills)

Protect yourself by using a reputable email marketing company (I recommend AWeber. Use this link to sign up, and I’ll get some milkshake money) to deliver your email, cleaning your list regularly, and checking your content for content that can trigger a trip to the spam folder.  Use double opt-in (asking first for the email address and then for verification) to stop spammers.

2. Open rate

This is the number of people who open the email you sent.  You can increase this by:

  • using a from field from a real person (your name or company name), rather than something spammy (Acai Weight Loss Marketing)
  • writing a great headline that promises value and solutions to problems
  • make the first few sentences worth reading, since many people read email with a preview pane

3. Click through rate

This is the number of people who click through to the Web site with the rest of the sales pitch and the ordering information.  Click through is affected by:

  • copy  – building up the benefits, what people will get from your product, how you solve a problem
  • the offer – what they actually get when they click, such as a free report, details about a conference, or a video
  • formatting –  whether the paragraphs are long or short, if you used bullets, where the line breaks are

4. Conversion rate

The number (or percentage) of actual sales, leads, or opt-ins generated by the email.  Remember to use a landing page, not your home page, to make the rest of the sale.  The email “pre-sells’ the offer:  why you’re sending it, what you’re offering, what it will do for them, why they need to click now, what they should do once they get to the landing page.

5. Be human

Put a human, personal face (like your own, or the person who handles the account) on your messages. Include a name, photograph and contact information. Your customers will feel as if you’re talking directly to them. If you have a sales staff, they’ll feel more connected to “their” subscribers. It’s more personal, it creates a connection, and it establishes accountability.

Tomorrow, how to boost your email conversion rates and get more sales.

Photo:  wikimedia