There are several things that you can do to really boost profits within your business but the real secret is collecting emails.Several companies have already realized huge profit gains by simply adding one simple step to their business...collect your clients name and email address. Doesn't sound very profitable until you realize what you can do with that information. No I am not talking about spamming, I am talking about sending emails to your client that they can't wait to receive.One business that implemented this technique sells video games, hardware, ext. After walking up to the counter to pay for their merchandise the cashier simply asks for their information and includes the email address of the buyer. What better way to get someone back into your store than inviting them. So how do you send your clients an email without their getting angry and yelling spam?Send them legitimate offers that make sense. If you just email your client to tell them to come back to your store then their is no real reason for that email. In fact the person who received it might think it to be junk mail. How about setting up your system to email a person 3 days after they purchase from you to let them know that when they come back, they have a 10% discount waiting for them. You let them know that all they need to do in bring in a special code that you give them or just let them know to mention the email.There are several ways to profit from you list, especially if you run an online business. What you have read here is just the tip of the ice burg. What is written here is the very basics. The real aspects come with knowing how to multiply profits several times with other email techniques. Beware that when you start an email list you are going to run into several "road blocks".One such road block is managing your email list with the right server. Certain domain names get email delivered to your prospects much better than others. This is due to spam blocking my many of the major email companies. Another road block is timing your emails to go out at the right time. Send your email at the wrong time of day, or even the wrong day, and you may not get any responses. Another big problem is managing spam complaints. So what can you do to ensure that you do things right the first time?There is a new website that is being released that does reveal many of these major marketing techniques. Many of the secrets revealed have more than doubled profits for several businesses...online and offline. If you are interested in finding out more about the website you will need to see the resource box of this article.
Winter, New Year, spring or summer, you name it. Whatever the season is mail-order catalogs fill in your home almost every week. This is because everything imaginable can be ordered by mail today. And with the introduction of the Internet, online catalogs have allowed people to order products and avail of services online. This is not a new trend. People have been using catalogs to buy goods for years. There was even a time when catalogs were the only link people in rural areas across America have to the new products being sold in the big city. For years, shopping malls have blossomed and progressed across the country. But people cant neglect the simpler way of shopping without mall crowds and traffic. Some still prefer shopping right at the comfort of their own home. But will catalogs replace shopping malls? Perhaps not, but a combination of the two will be seen in the market for quite a long time. Catalogs seem to have taken an important role in the lives of busy people especially around the holidays. During the rest of the year people are more likely to do the actual purchasing online or at an actual store. But during the holiday season catalogs seems to be the perfect solution to getting all the shopping out of the way with a minimum hassle. However, some merchants consider catalogs as an increasingly less important part of the marketing mix as new media and marketing channels rush in the market. Nevertheless, even though catalog purchasing may decline as online shopping becomes more popular, retailers should begin to view catalogs as the gateway to their stores and their products. As a customer, remember to choose wisely and use your head when ordering from catalogs. Remember the old maxim that if something sounds or looks too good to be true, it probably is. So be very wary when ordering. Additionally, dont feel obligated to place an order just because you have received a free catalog. Companies send out huge numbers of catalogs to make money. But receiving a catalog does not mean that you have to purchase some of their products. Retailers and merchants should, thus, find ways to make their catalogs as exciting and stunning as possible. The catalog should not only be a way to show all the items available but it should also serve as an idea provider and a source of inspiration. After all, shopping is not just about finding the right item; it is about the whole experience.
1. You'll brand your web site, business and yourself by submitting articles to e-zines. You could include your name, business name, your credentials, web site address and e-mail address in your resource box. 2. You will become known as an expert on the topics you write about. This will give you and your business extra credibility which will help you compete against your competition. 3. Your article might also be placed on the publisher's home page. If they publish each issue on their home page this will give you some extra exposure. 4. You might get extra exposure if the e-zine publisher archives their e-zine on their site. People might want to read the back issues before they make the decision to subscribe. 5. You will get free advertising. This will allow you to spend your profits on other forms of advertising. You could buy advertisements in other e-zines that don't publish your articles. 6. You might get extra income from people wanting to hire you to write other articles, books, or even ask to speak at seminars. This is a great way to multiply your income. 7. You could allow e-zine publishers to publish your articles in their free e-books. Since people give them away, your advertising could multiply all over the internet. 8. You will get your article published all over the web when you submit it to an e-zine publisher that has a free content directory on their web site. They'll allow their visitors to republish your article. 9. You'll gain people's trust. If they read your article and like it, they won't be as hesitant to buy your product or service. You will then be able to increase your profits. 10. You could get your article guaranteed to run in an e-zine. You could agree to run one of their articles in your e-zine if, in exchange, they run yours in their e-zine. It's a win/win situation.
VII. Marketing Implementation, Evaluation, and ControlHow can a country (region, state, city, municipality, or other polity) judge the efficacy of its attempts to brand or re-brand itself and, consequently, to attract customers (investors, tourism operators, bankers, traders, and so on)?Marketing is not a controlled process in an insulated lab. It is prone to mishaps, last minute changes, conceptual shifts, political upheavals, the volatility of markets, and, in short, to the vagaries of human nature and natural disasters. Some marketing efforts are known to have backfired. Others have yielded lukewarm results. Marketing requires constant fine tuning and adjustments to reflect and respond to the kaleidoscopic environment of our times.But maximum benefits (under the circumstances) are guaranteed if the client (the country, for instance) implements a rigorous "Marketing Implementation" , Evaluation, and Control (MIEV) plan.The first task is to set realistic quantitative and qualitative interim and final targets for the marketing program - and then to constantly measure its actual performance and compare it to the hoped for outcomes. Even nation branding and place marketing require detailed projections of expenditures vs. income (budget and pr-forma financial statements) for monitoring purposes.The five modules of MIEV are:1. Annual plan control This document includes all the government's managerial objectives and (numerical) goals. It is actually a breakdown of the aforementioned pro-forma financial statements into monthly and quarterly figures of "sales" (in terms of foreign direct investment, income from tourism, trade figures, etc.) and profitability. It comprises at least five performance gauging tools: I. Sales analysis (comparing sales targets to actual sales and accounting for discrepancies).II. Market-share analysis (comparing the country's "sales" with those of its competitors). The country should also compare its own sales to the total sales in the global market and to sales within its "market segment" (neighboring countries, countries which share its political ambience, same-size countries, etc.). III. Expense-to-sales analysis demonstrates the range of costs - both explicit and hidden (implicit) - of achieving the country's sales goals. IV. Financial analysis calculates various performance ratios such as profits to sales (profit margin), sales to assets (asset turnover), profits to assets (return on assets), assets to worth (financial leverage), and, finally, profits to worth (return on net worth of infrastructure). V. Customer satisfaction is the ultimate indicator of tracking goal achievement. The country should actively seek, facilitate, and encourage feedback, both positive and negative by creating friendly and ubiquitous complaint and suggestion systems. Frequent satisfaction and customer loyalty surveys should form an integral part of any marketing drive. Regrettably, most acceptable systems of national accounts sorely lack the ability to cope with place marketing and nation branding campaigns. Intangibles such as enhanced reputation or investor satisfaction are excluded. There is no clear definition as to what constitute the assets of a country, its "sales", or its "profits".2. Profitability control There is no point in squandering scarce resources on marketing efforts that guarantee nothing except name recognition. Sales, profits, and expenditures should count prominently in any evaluation (and re-evaluation) of on-going campaigns. The country needs to get rid of prejudices, biases, and misconceptions and clearly identify what products and consumer groups yield the most profits (have the highest relative earnings-capacity). Money, time, and manpower should be allocated to cater to the needs and desires of these top-earners. 3. Efficiency control The global picture is important. An overview of the marketing and sales efforts and their relative success (or failure) is crucial. But a micro-level analysis is indispensable. What is the sales force doing, where, and how well? What are the localized reactions to the advertising, sales promotion, and distribution drives? Are there appreciable differences between the reactions of various market niches and consumer types?4. Strategic control The complement of efficiency control is strategic control. It weighs the overall and long-term marketing plan in view of the country's basic data: its organization, institutions, strengths, weaknesses, and market opportunities. It is recommended to compare the country's self-assessment (marketing-effectiveness rating review) with an analysis prepared by an objective third party. The marketing-effectiveness rating review incorporates privileged information such as input and feedback from the country's "customers" (investors, tourist operators, traders, bankers, etc.), internal reports regarding the adequacy and efficiency of the country's marketing information, operations, strengths, strategies, and integration (of various marketing, branding, and sales tactics). 5. Marketing audit The marketing audit is, in some respects, the raw material for the strategic control. Its role is to periodically make sure that the marketing plan emphasizes the country's strengths in ways that are compatible with shifting market sentiments, current events, fashions, preferences, needs, and priorities of relevant market players. This helps to identify marketing opportunities and new or potential markets.The Encyclopedia Britannica (2005 edition) describes the marketing audit thus:"... (I)t covers all aspects of the marketing climate (unlike a functional audit, which analyzes one marketing activity), looking at both macro-environment factors (demographic, economic, ecological, technological, political, and cultural) and micro- or task-environment factors (markets, customers, competitors, distributors, dealers, suppliers, facilitators, and publics). The audit includes analyses of the company's marketing strategy, marketing organization, marketing systems, and marketing productivity. It must be systematic in order to provide concrete conclusions based on these analyses. To ensure objectivity, a marketing audit is best done by a person, department, or organization that is independent of the company or marketing program. Marketing audits should be done not only when the value of a company's current marketing plan is in question; they must be done periodically in order to isolate and solve problems before they arise."
What are these new attorney-client matching services? Who are the players? What do they cost? What is the risk to me? What is the return for me? What is the buzz on them? Are they ethical as marketing for law firms? Will they save me money and are they for me? Will they get me clients I would not have otherwise?In part one of this article we will look in depth at a relatively new wrinkle in "marketing for law firms" known as attorney-client matching services. Part one focuses on the facts about these firms. Part two gives you my conclusions and recommendations as a result of my research. First a little background is in order. The legal services market segment is expected to reach $82.5 billion in 2008 according to Euromonitor International a market intelligence firm. In recent history consumers have been finding attorneys through word-of mouth or through the yellow pages. Often the word-of mouth advice does not deliver people to the best possible solution for their particular needs and the yellow pages is certainly not a great place to select a lawyer I am sure you would agree. Additionally, according to the Pew Internet & American Life over four million consumers and small businesses currently search for legal services via the Internet every month with these numbers expected to rise to over seven million by 2007. I think you can see this is a huge market getting larger. It is imperative that attorneys understand this marketplace if for no other reason your potential clients and clients are moving to the Internet and yellow page advertising is a dying marketing for law firms vehicle. Understanding attorney-client matching services is one new way to tap into this Internet marketplace.What I will not be talking about here is attorney-listing services. Please dont get confused between attorney-listing services and attorney-client matching services. The two majors in the attorney-listing services arena are Lawyers dot com or FindLaw dot com that are used by many in marketing for law firms. With attorney marketing one might want to get a minimal listing on one or both of these two major sites. Both do drive a large amount of traffic to their sites for sure (in the millions of visitors per year). If you do get a listing then track your results carefully and see if being in the middle of a pack of listed attorneys actually does produce clients for you. Please dont spend more on them than the basic listing that will run about $150 or so per month, at least until you can document results with the basic listing. Also, dont buy your website through either of them, even if after testing you find good results, for many reasons that can be found under the Internet marketing tab on my website. One last note here, you probably dont want to test most of the lesser attorney-listing competitors like LawInfo dot com, LawCore dot com or AttorneyFind dot com is my take, however if you do be sure to track your results. The rest of this article is about attorney-client matching services.Attorney Marketing Via Five Attorney-Client Matching PlayersIn the attorney-client matching field there are five competitors for the "attorney marketing" dollar offering online attorney-client matching services. The first and originator is LegalMatch dot com and its newer competitor being CasePost dot com as well as a third competitor LegalFish dot com. The two big players that offer almost everything in attorney marketing, Lawyers dot com and FindLaw dot com; have also recently begun to offer a version of attorney-client matching services. Lets begin with LegalMatch that was established in 1999 and is based in San Francisco. LegalMatch uses a double blind matching system. By double blind they mean the consumer does not see identifying information about who the lawyers are and the lawyer does not see identifying information about who the consumers are although all the cards are put on the table for both to see before any contact is made between them. Through an allocation model LegalMatch makes the decision about which lawyers get the consumers information. Consumers can opt into priority service for a fee to talk with a LegalMatch staff attorney about their case and work with that attorney in selecting the attorney for their case. LegalMatch does have partnerships with the Utah State Bar Association, ATLA and NACDL. Membership fees for this marketing for law firms vehicle run from $2,500 to $25,000 per year (they will finance the membership fee if desired) depending on practice area and geographic location of the attorney. For example, a PI attorney in Los Angeles would likely be charged more than a family law attorney in Los Angeles, while the family lawyer in Peoria is likely to pay less than the family law attorney in Los Angeles. Their guarantee consists of extending your membership at no fee until your revenues have exceeded the fee you paid them. The details of the guarantee are available on their website.Are There Legal Marketing Ethics Issues with Attorney-Client Matching?A relevant digression here, since this model is not a lawyer referral program, a pre-paid legal service plan, a joint or cooperative advertising or a directory listing service it is not subject to ethics rules around much of marketing for law firms it has been asserted. Recently the Professional Ethics Committee of the Texas State Bar was looking into these practices and that committee received a seven-page letter (May 26, 2006) from the FTC that was agreed to by a unanimous vote of the FTC commission members that this attorney marketing practice is indeed ethical.Already the states of North Carolina and South Carolina found the practice ethical. The Rhode Island Supreme Court specifically named in an ethics opinion that online matching services are ethical. Finally, the Utah State Bar (a mandatory bar) has retained LegalMatch as their lawyer referral service clearly indicating their thinking about LegalMatchs ethical nature it seems to me. Naturally you do need to check with your state bar to be sure this is an ethical practice in your state. Now back to the options in the marketplace.CasePost, based in Southern California, was established in 2002 is a second player in this area of marketing for law firms. They operate in a similar fashion as LegalMatch in matching clients with lawyers; however, the directory of attorneys is shown to the consumer immediately. The consumer can decide whether they want to remain anonymous or give their contact information to the attorneys. The consumer is limited to four attorney responses. Thus the consumer determines what attorneys will get their information. In May of 2006 CasePost has made a major expansion as a result of their partnership with HandelOnTheLaw dot com that is powered by a successful nationally syndicated radio show on over 120 stations with attorney Bill Handel. This show has been running since 1985. They also have a strategic relationship with LegalZoom dot com that began in 2006 that has increased their reach. Like LegalMatch the membership fees for this attorney marketing vehicle are from $2,500 to $25,000 per year (financing is available if desired) depending on practice area and location. Their guarantee to a member is based on a minimum amount of referrals over the year.LegalFish is a third player in this arena. It entered the marketplace in 2003 and is based in Chicago. It is a bit different than the other two in a few ways. Like the other players the consumer can input their information and post their cases to the site as well give their identifying information or not. In a number of cases LegalFish will contact the posting consumer themselves by telephone or email to delve deeper into the needs of the consumer so they are not totally automated. There is an allocation model used by LegalFish in referring the cases to their members. Another difference is LegalFish charges a monthly fee for this marketing for law firms vehicle ranging from $180 to $750 to members that are non-contingency based practices. For contingency based practices the fee ranges from $1600 to $5000+ monthly only if the client retains the attorney. If LegalFish does not deliver a referral to a member that retains that attorney they dont charge a fee to that attorney for the month (a form of a guarantee). Creating something of a shared risk system. Naturally, with this type of shared risk system, long-term success for both parties is based on LegalFishs ability to generate new client opportunities and create demand for legal services, and their member attorneys ability to convert those referrals to paying clients. Both parties have to pull their weight. Finally, LegalFish reports they are particularly committed to serving the solo and small firm market with ten employees or less.The next player in this marketing for law firms arena is Lawyers dot com (mentioned earlier in this article about their directory listing or attorney-listing service) with their new Attorney Match Service. If you go to their homepage what stands out on that homepage is their Find A Lawyer Quick Search. This is their free to the consumer attorney-listing service (this is why you might want to test a listing with them and track results). To get to the Attorney Match Service you have to know to click on Contact Lawyers navigation tab or notice it up there at the very top of the home page. Clicking on that takes you to a page where you input your zip code and the practice area you are seeking, however, it also tells you how many lawyers there are listed that are interested in receiving your request. You are required to fill in the identifying information with other case information. Once you do that you see the attorneys listed and pick the ones you want to send your request to and wait for their replies. The fee for the attorney member is $495 per year, however, you must have a biographical level listing on the site to be on the Attorney Match Service and that is $150 and up per month depending on the size of your firm. There is no guarantee for this service.The final player in this legal marketing arena is Thompsons Findlaw (mentioned earlier as an attorney-listing service) with their new attorney-matching website http://www.LegalConnection.com. The FindLaw system is similar to the Lawyers dot com system with three steps of #1 Select your legal need; #2 Tell us about your case; and #3 Choose the attorney thats right for you. It is different from Lawyers dot coms system since they have broken it out of their attorney-listing services completely with its own dedicated website. Their fees generally run from $500 to $1000 per month depending on your practice area and geographic location. They do not have a guarantee. They do report that they do set targets for each geographic area as well as practice combination and then will manage their marketing to get positive results for attorneys.Well, now we have all the players in this particular niche of "legal marketing" with a lot of information. I think it would be imperative for me to mention one more item. Both Legal Match and CasePost have negative information on the Internet and it needs to be considered. If you go to Google and search just the term LegalMatch and then do the same with CasePost you will be able to find details about the negative information. One location that covers the negative information on LegalMatch with relevant links is at Wikipedia dot org (go to the site and look up LegalMatch) although that is disputed as not being sufficiently neutral in tone, which is one of Wikipedias requirements. If you want to see a string of negative information on CasePost go to: http://counsel.net/chatboards/marketing/topic111/6.23.04.11.34.29.html . I am not sure one needs to be overly concerned about this information since it is mostly in the past and you need to consider it.See Part II of this article for my conclusions and recommendations as a result of my research. I can tell you now that this approach does have some merit but there are definite cautions as well so do read Part II.