Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

February 18, 2011

‘Buy Local’ On The Rise in America.

‘Buy Local’ On The Rise in America
American Express OPEN

Feb 17, 2011 –
Most small retailers (51 percent) believe there is a growing ‘buy local’ sentiment in the U.S., according to the American Express OPEN Retail Economic Pulse, a survey of retail small business owners with storefront locations. A majority of those surveyed (55 percent) believe that ‘buy local’ campaigns can help small businesses compete in challenging economic times.
 
Most small retailers (57 percent) are planning local campaigns in 2011. One in five small retailers also say they plan to give more of their business to local businesses (20 percent) in 2011.
 
More than one third (36 percent) of small retailers say the biggest incentive for consumers to buy at local, independent businesses is ‘better customer service’. The second biggest incentive is supporting the community by creating local jobs (16 percent).
 
Local market and the web
The Retail Economic Pulse revealed half of small retailers currently advertise on local business review sites such as Yahoo! Local and Yelp. At least one in five will use social media to offer local promotions (22 percent).
 
Overall, half (51 percent) of small retailers will use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter for their businesses in 2011. Most retail small business owners expect to increase social media in 2011 (37 percent) or keep social media plans the same as 2010 (14 percent).

Kathy McNamara
Overland Park Services

Unleashing Customer Awareness with
Social Media Networking.

 

(913) 558-6024
On-Line Marketing Strategies.
 
February 16, 2011

8 Secrets to Marketing Success.

The profits of a business are totally dependent on marketing. Otherwise few, if any, sales will be generated. Learn the 8 secrets business owners can use to greatly improve their marketing success.

by Bill Dueease
Contributing Author

 

The profits of a business are totally dependent on marketing. Otherwise few, if any, sales will be generated. But, what is marketing anyway?

Marketing is doing what it takes to convince enough customers to pay the necessary price for your products and/or services to produce the desired profits for the business.

Let’s discuss the 8 secrets business owners can use to greatly improve their marketing success.

Secret #1: Give marketing top priority.  

The primary reason any customer chooses to buy your products or services is because of effective marketing. The marketing process starts at the very beginning and continues forever! It begins with Product Development, ensuring that the product or service fills a need for potential customers, so they will want to buy it. The next step is Pricing to ensure that the business will achieve profits from sales and that customers will perceive price to be less than their value of the benefits they receive. Effective Positioning allows potential customers easy interaction with the business to evaluate the product or service. The final step is Promotion, where the business communicates with their potential customers about the existence and benefits of the products or services to entice them to contact the business to learn more. Marketing is culminated in Sales, when your customers value of their benefits exceed the price of the product or s! ervice. You generate successful sales only because you complete positive Product Development, Price, Positioning, and Promotion. In fact, you will want your business to be a marketing businesses. You will want to focus on marketing at all times, to succeed.

Secret #2: Do not confuse advertising with marketing. 

Advertising is only a part of the last marketing step, Promotion, and it occurs late in the game. You will often think advertising is all there is to marketing, so you overlook the other 3 very important earlier marketing steps. Consequently, you will lose the opportunity to control and develop over 75% of all marketing, which must be well done first, to allow advertising to succeed.

Secret #3: Do not base your marketing solely on your own opinions and desires. 

Owners believe their power and freedom of choice, as the boss, means that they don’t have to deal with the opinion of others. “I am now my own boss” is only partly true. You are in virtual control of either succeeding or failing to convince – The Customer- to buy your products or services. You want to avoid IMPOSING your opinion on your potential customers. Focus on fulfilling the perceived wants and needs of your customers, from Their Perspective, so you will greatly increase the number of customers that will decide to buy your products and/or services.

Secret #4: Learn all you can about your potential customers. 

You want to conduct in depth research of your chosen potential customers. You will want to learn everything possible about Who your potential customers are, What your potential customers THINK want to buy, Why they THINK they buy, How they THINK they buy, and When they THINK they buy.

Secret #5: Learn how to screen out undesirable customers. 

You have the right and obligation to determine which potential customers you will agree to serve. You should screen out undesirable customers early so you can focus more attention on customers you want to serve. Sadly, you often may not know how to select desirable customers from the pool of potential customers you encounter. As a result, you often spend too much time, money, and energy trying to deal with a handful of hard-to-please customers who frequently demand lower prices at the expense of better customers, who go elsewhere because they were ignored. You should know the key criteria to help you decide which potential customers are acceptable.

Secret #6: Know and appreciate the value of your existing customers. 

You may often become so focused on getting new customers you ignore your existing repeat customers. Your business will probably not survive without repeat business. Repeat customers present a wealth of opportunities to you. They frequently provide you excellent feedback; they provide an excellent reference and referral service (read free advertising); they are the least expensive and most likely source of additional business, and their unnecessary departure causes substantial damage. Upset customers will complain to at least 5 to 9 others. Stay close to your existing customers and learn as much as you can from them.

Secret #7: Create a positive identity that is distinct from your competitors.

Most customers compare. They need a good reason to choose your product or service over others. You complete more sales when you understand your competitors extremely well and position your products or services for positive customer comparison.

Secret #8: Consider the overwhelming power 

Emotion has on the process of deciding to buy. The entire buying process is governed by emotional forces (some say over 80% of the entire process is emotional). Yet, you probably focus your energies on price and avoid the real emotional reasons customers will buy. You should know and feel the emotional connection your potential customers will attach to your business, your products and/or services, and the way customers interact with your business. You will want your entire marketing program to address the emotional issues to attract and keep the right customers.

The normal human thinking process of deciding to buy almost always starts with an emotional need. The emotional need causes the customer to consider buying something to fill it. The search and evaluation of the possible choices of products and or services is also frequently emotional, and additional emotional forces are often added. The price issue comes in near the end and, in reality, the customer wants to know the price to help justify the emotional decision they have already made. In fact, the request for the price from a normal customer is a very strong buying signal (does the cost allow me to buy what I want and is it fair for what I decided to get?). Business owners succeed when they know how to deal with this emotional process and permit the customer to complete this process through final payment.

What a wonderful opportunity! You can take charge of learning, succeed in your goals, and have a ball along the way.

Provided as an educational service by Bill Dueease of The Coach Connection, where “connecting great people with great coaches” is their goal. You may receive a free copy of the article “10 Insider Secrets Most Business Owners Never Learn” by contacting The Coach Connection at 800-887-7214 or 239-415-1777 or coaches@findyourcoach.com, or at www.findyourcoach.com/0o-business-coach.htm 

February 15, 2011

Overland Park thrives despite tough economy, mayor says.

Overland Park residents still get a good bang for their taxpayer dollar even though the city slashed millions in spending to climb out of the recession, Mayor Carl Gerlach said in his annual State of the City address today.

The city has cut staff and reduced spending on streets, parks, bridges and other services as it copes with declining property and sales tax revenues during the last several years.

Nevertheless, the city has been able to preserve one of the lowest property tax rates in the state as it weathered the historically deep recession, the mayor said.

“Overland Park, for the money, is outstanding,” Gerlach said.

Gerlach pointed out that the city’s property tax rate is lower in 2011 than it was in 2004. It also continues to be lowest of any city in Johnson County and of any first-class city in Kansas, he said.

To hold spending down, the city reduced its capital construction by more than half since 2009, going from $225 million down to $103 million next year.

The city also has delayed street work by eliminating an extra $1.7 million targeted for enhanced maintenance. As a result, the city will improve 6 miles of thoroughfare rather than 16.

Looking ahead, Gerlach enumerated a number of priorities that included:

•Creating more jobs and sustaining Overland Park’s appeal to businesses. In the last two years, the city has added 6,000 jobs, including 2,800 in 2010.

“Let everyone know that companies in Overland Park will be hiring this year,” he said. “That sounds so nice to say, ‘Companies are hiring in Overland Park.’ ”

•Promoting “outstanding and safe neighborhoods.”

•Balancing new growth out south with redevelopment of aging parts of the city.

•Ensuring high-quality constituent services.

•Attracting more cultural and entertainment amenities.

Gerlach pointed to the development of a new half-billion project in southern Overland Park that will feature exhibits from the American Museum of Natural History.

The project, called Prairefire at LionsGate, is expected to draw more than 400,000 people a year.

“It is absolutely clear that Prairiefire is moving forward, that investors are starting to take notice of it and want to be part of this truly regional attraction and destination for Overland Park,” Gerlach said.

Gerlach made no apologies for Overland Park’s aggressive pursuit of economic development, but he looked beyond any of the state-line competition issues that have been brewing in recent months.

“Cities have no choice but to compete for jobs, residents and tourists. Competition isn’t local. It’s global,” Gerlach said. “By that, I mean we are in competition with cities around the world for the creation of a highly educated and talented work force.”

But new development in Overland Park will not look like it has in the past, Gerlach said.

Out south, large-lot housing will give way to higher-density subdivisions populated with more typical single-family homes. And in the northern parts of the city, residents can expect to see higher-density projects that incorporate housing, retail and office space together.

And developers already are joining with the city to secure financing help to overhaul shopping centers at the corner of 95th Street and Antioch Road in northern Overland Park.

As he pilots Overland Park for a second term as mayor, Gerlach said the city must always be looking ahead for the next opportunity.

“We must always continue to look to the future,” he said. “We must make long-term investments that will support and enhance the quality of life. We will not ignore problems today that will put this city in a difficult position to have to play catch-up.

“The Overland Park of tomorrow, and for the next 50 years, begins today.”

February 15, 2011

Top 10 Tips for an Effective Advertising Campaign.

The goal of advertising is to cost-effectively reach a large audience and attract customers. If done correctly, advertising can enhance the success of your business. Here are 10 advertising tips to pay attention to:

 

  1. Go after your target audience. An advertising campaign should be geared to your niche market. It is a common mistake to create generic ads that do not speak the language or grab the attention of your potential customers. For more information, read How to Identify and Reach Niche Markets for Your Business.
  2. Highlight your competitive advantage. One of the keys to all advertising is to accentuate the pros of your company, those factors that give you your competitive edge. Too many ads are clever but fail to sell the benefits of the product or service.
  3. Establish an image. You can recognize the McDonald’s arches while whizzing by on the highway. Likewise, there are plenty of products that you recognize by their packaging or logo. Image counts when it comes to advertising and promoting your business. Too many advertisers do not work to build a consistent image. Check out Three Brand Identity Myths That Will Bring Your Business Down for additional issues to avoid.
  4. You have to spend money to make money. There are ways to save money, but typically advertising is not the place to cut corners. It will affect sales, and that affects the bottom line. Successful advertising may cost some money, but that is because it works. Check out More Bang for Your Advertising Buck for cost-cutting tips that won’t cut your goals.
  5. Advertise in the right places. Your favorite magazine, radio station, or even television program might not be a favorite of your audience. Know what they read, watch, and listen to, and advertise in media that reaches your target market.
  6. Don’t allow your budget to run your advertising campaign. If you budget $5,000 per month for advertising, you’ve made it very easy from a bookkeeping perspective. However, if like most businesses you have seasonal highs and lows, you are spending too much money advertising during down times and not enough when you want to attract customers. Too many entrepreneurs do not budget according to their seasonal advertising needs.
  7. Diversify. It is all too common for business owners to choose the best place to advertise based on price and potential rate of returns and then stop. As is the case with investing, you do not want to put all of your eggs in one basket. Spread your advertising dollars around.
  8. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. No product or service will appeal to everyone. Many business owners, including corporate executives, try to come up with ways to reach every market. Typically, this does not work. It can spell disaster for small businesses, who cannot afford to spread themselves too thin. Therefore, find your market and be everything you can be to that audience.
  9. Test your ads in advance. If you have the time or money to invest in focus groups, you should test your ads on other people. Do they understand and accept the message that you are trying to convey? For further information, read Focus Groups: How They Can Work for Your Small Business. There are other less-expensive ways to test your ads as well: questionnaires, for example. The article Creating Questionnaires for Gathering Market Research can be helpful.
  10. Monitor your ads. It is very easy to ask new customers or clients where they heard about you. As simple as this is, many entrepreneurs do not bother to do so. It is advantageous to know which ads generate business.

February 12, 2011

Learn How to Increase Your Customer Base.

Do you want more customers?  Does your small business need help with its marketing?  Do you need help creating your new website?  Overland Park Services can help.

With more than 25 years of marketing expertise, Small Business Marketing Experts is the solution to your business needs. For a business consultation, contact us today.

Specialties include:

 
* Website development
* E-mail marketing campaigns
* Internet advertising
* Sales Collateral development
* Business and marketing plans
* And so much more!

February 12, 2011

Welcome to Overland Park Services.

We’re excited to be Overland Park’s latest resource for business services available throughout Overland Park, KS.  More information coming soon!