Friday, April 25, 2008

Create Your Own "Gas Tax Holiday"

Gas prices have got a lot of people upset. John McCain has gone as far as to propose a "gas tax holiday" from Memorial Day through Labor Day. That is, to eliminate 18 cents/gallon from the price of gas over the summer. Psychologically, this has some appeal. Realistically, it might mean something like $1.80 in savings to the typical driver per week, assuming the market doesn't simply drive the price up 18 cents in response. It's a political move, which is to say it's a marketing move. Here's how you can beat him to the punch.

Team up with a local independent gas station. Send your customer list a coupon or certificate for your "Gas Tax Holiday!". Offer 18 cents off per gallon on a specific day from 8am to 7pm (with this numbered and signed certificate), good for up to 20 gallons. Assuming a mailing list of 200 local clients and a 50% response rate (which would be astronomical) the cost of the discount would be $400, if they all got the max 20 gallons. The cost of printing and mailing, about $130. Split between you and the station owner - total cost, $265 each. Leverage your promotion by sending out a press release to area publications. Take pictures during the event to post to your website. Post banners or signs at the station saying "Welcome Bob's Realty customers!". It could be a relatively inexpensive and "buzzworthy" event for you and bring in new customers for the station owner. Raise your profile. Generate goodwill. Maybe even make some news.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

New Print and Mail Service

Easy Street Designs (producers of this blog) now offers Print and Mail. Easy Street Designs will print and mail your brochures, postcards or newsletters to your Xcel formatted mailing list for one low price. Design services (if needed) are not included in pricing, but are available for an additional fee. It's part of our continuing quest to Make It Easy!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Eli Estrada Returns $140,000, Receives a Fortune in Publicity

By Ed Duffy, Easy Street Designs

When Eli Estrada found $140,000 in unmarked cash in the street, he wasn't thinking promotional value. He was thinking "What's the right thing to do.". He decided to call the police and turn in the cash. While many have criticized his decision, the reward has been immense. Not only did he reinforce his own image of himself as an honest man, but his story is all over the news and the internet, along with the fact that he is part owner of the Tuff Turf franchise in Huntington Park, California.

Eli could have kept the money. He'd be $140,000 richer and nobody would have been the wiser. Instead, after returning the money he has received millions of dollars worth of exposure. Perhaps an unintended consequence, but a well-deserved one. Kudos to Mr. Estrada, and his partner, who was with him when he found the cash.

Tuff Turf is located at 3418 Hill St Huntington Park, CA 90255-6432, 13.77 miles from the center of Long Beach, CA. Phone: (714) 342-8873

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Taking it to the Streets - Street Marketing

By Ed Duffy, Easy Street Designs

Maybe it's the backlash against telemarketers and door to door solicitors. Maybe it's the never-ending postage rate hikes. Maybe it's an increased need to stand out among an ever-growing crowd of competition. Whatever the reason, "street marketing" has become very popular of late.

What is street marketing? It's taking the promotion directly to the people. Ideally, you want to create some "buzz" in the process of distributing your promotional message. Street marketing can be very elaborate or very simple. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

The most common form of street marketing takes place at events. These days marketers are no longer content to sit behind a table and offer informational flyers and free pens. They're showing up in costume, working the crowd, handing out coupons, making appointments and making sales. The event doesn't have to be huge or expensive. Greg Wickherst of Custom Concept Exteriors reports that his company recently participated in a very small event, attended by only a couple of hundred people. The result; tens of thousands of dollars in window and siding sales. Kerns Water Treatment likes to make a splash at area events with their converted VW minivan which now serves as a dunk tank. They also have a mobile coffee and beverage stand which they roll out to local events. The refreshments are free, but there's always a donation jar for a local charity on the counter. The idea is to get you thinking about water and more specifically, how their products can make it better. If you're a handyman, consider offering a live demonstration every thirty minutes of how to patch a hole in your drywall. Attorneys could offer free 10 minute consultations. If you're a vendor, send your folks out among the crowd with product for sale, or with coupons. Attract, entertain, demonstrate, sell. When done well, street marketing at events can make the event more entertaining to the public, more successful for the producers and profitable for you.

Another form of street marketing takes the streets. It can be as simple as handing out flyers and coupons to passers by. The Enchanted Fairy in Security has had great response to handing out flyers with coupons in high traffic areas. It can be a bit more involved. Domino's Pizza on B Street once handed out bags containing a doughnut and a pizza coupon at an intersection near the gate to Fort Carson at 5:30 in the morning. It was a big hit. Gordon Ramsey of "Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares" often uses street marketing to draw attention to his rehab projects. He employs things like impromptu parades and clam eating contests. Sometimes pleasantly surprising a few dozen people can have a much bigger impact than presenting a few thousand with more of the same ole same ole. What if a whole neighborhood came home one fine Spring afternoon to find one your promotional frisbees on every lawn? Tape a coupon to the underside and you've got a very easy distribution system. What if your local tire dealer handed you a flyer offering to take away any old tires from your home or garage free of charge? It might make you think of the tires on your vehicles and whether it's time to replace them. Of course a big truck with a company banner on each side would show up to pick them up. It could all be scheduled for one or two days to maximize efficiency as well as "buzz".

Getting help for your street marketing project can be as easy as calling up your local church group, boyscout or girlscout troop, or other non-profit organization. They need dollars, you need a few hours of their time. Make a donation in exchange for their help. You not only help out one of your favorite causes, you also help out your own company. Don't be shy about showing your company colors while you help out the community. The big guys do it all the time. In fact they'll often spend millions of dollars letting people know about their tens of thousands in charitable contributions. There's nothing wrong with benefitting from your good deeds, unless you're an Emmanual Kant fan, in which case you don't own a business anyway. But that's another story.

People have more choices in how and where to spend their hard earned money than ever before. I have to buy gas, but I don't have to buy it from you. However, since you handed me a coupon for a free chili dog with the purchase of $20 or more in gas as I was walking out of the movie theatre, I might just stop by.

There is no single best way to advertise. But street marketing can be a very effective and fun part of the mix. Make it fun. Provide value. Make it personal. Make it memorable.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Procrastination Can Work For You

I believe it was E.W. Scripps who said "Never do today what you can put off for tomorrow. In fact, if you can put it off, it's probably not worth doing at all." At first glance, this may seem like a counter-productive piece of advice. It is actually among his 12 points for success, and quite profound.

How can procrastination lead to success? First of all, you have to have clear goals and be actively working toward them. Each day, make a list of the things you would like to accomplish that day. Now prioritize them. At the end of the day, look at what you've actually accomplished versus your list. The undone portion may become part of tomorrow's list, or other priorities may move them down the line even further.

It's important to reconcile your behavior with your stated goals. Sometimes this means you should change your behavior. Sometimes it means that your stated goals aren't actually your goals. Did your list of accomplishments reflect someone working toward financial well-being or were you working on some other agenda? Acceptance? Validation? Revenge? Take an objective look at your own behavior and see if there may be some sub-conscious issues influencing your decision making process.

It's possible that these sub-conscious issues need to be top priority, but they should be addressed consciously for maximum efficiency. It may also be that you are burning time and resources on trivial issues without being aware of it. Become aware of it and stop doing it.

If you continually tell yourself and others that something is very important to you, but it never seems to make it to the top of the "to-do" list, your own behavior is telling you that it's not nearly as important to you as you think it is or as you would like others to believe it is. Either take it off the list, or get it done, right now.

The key, as always, is awareness. Self-observation and analysis can help you discover what is really important to you. Once you have determined that, you can focus your attention and resources on achieving what you really want to achieve. It's not as simple as it sounds. It takes continual awareness and evaluation. We don't always know what it is we really want or need, and the answers often change over time.