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Marketing matters: Creating a zero-resistance selling environment

July 22/29; Volume27/Number 7

Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 4.11.39 PMBy Jim Armstrong

Part 1

FLOOR DEALER: We carry a large selection of well known, high-quality products and we provide great customer service.

JIM: So what’s the problem?

FLOOR DEALER: The only thing our customers care about is cheap prices. Continue reading Marketing matters: Creating a zero-resistance selling environment

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FCNews, Jim Armstrong offer free webinar

‘How to Quickly Double Your Flooring Store Traffic’ on Aug. 8

July 22/29, 2013; Volume 27/Number 7

By Melissa McGuire

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 11.19.15 AMFloor Covering News and “Marketing Matters” columnist Jim Armstrong (Jim Armstrong Marketing Systems) will present a free webinar for flooring retailers on Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. EST entitled “How to Quickly Double Your Flooring Store Traffic,” designed to fine tune flooring dealers’ marketing techniques. Armstrong, who has coached hundreds of flooring dealers across the U.S. and Canada, has touted the use of unconventional selling strategies since 1993.

“The first step in the program is to identify how a retailer sells,” he said. Determining a marketing message, getting that message across to customers, and the nature of the message’s delivery are all crucial to the profitability and survival of a flooring store. “If you get your marketing strategies wrong, your advertising is doomed to fail with poor, mediocre results.”

Armstrong launched the Inner Circle Club “Profit Explosion” marketing program in 2007, the foundation of which is a three-tiered approach. Tier 1 is called “Targeting Your Warm List” and focuses on determining a specific type of customer. This includes people you know, those who like you, and those who trust you, he said. The warm list is comprised of past customers, current customers, referrals, referral partners and a sphere of influence. Marketing to the warm list includes tactics ranging from e-newsletters to targeted campaigns.

Tier 2, called “Cold Marketing to Ideal Prospects,” includes websites, direct mailing, Val Pak insertions, and display ads, to name a few.

Tier 3, “Mass Advertising,” encompasses radio, television and billboards.

Armstrong stresses the tiers should be implemented in a strict, orderly procession.

The largest marketing mistake made by virtually all dealers is focusing on Tiers 2 and 3 while ignoring Tier 1 altogether. “This means you are spending the lion’s share of your time, energy and money chasing total strangers, and you’re completely ignoring the only people on the planet who have proven they will do business with you—your past customers!”

Advantages of Tier 1 marketing include better responses, higher tickets, commanding premium prices and generating store traffic. Armstrong adds that a dealer will have more referrals, work with a “pre-sold” customer, interact with customers with whom he is already familiar, and have an established trust.

In addition to offering guides for selling, the webinar provides information on how to implement other forms of advertising. For example, while any successful marketing campaign must include a newsletter, Armstrong claims “most newsletters stink.” Using descriptive terminology that includes “boring” and “snooze-letter,” he provides a formula that boasts fun, informative, valuable, entertaining and welcome communication. Using a variable approach of emotional triggers, Armstrong states he can turn a newsletter around and make it a go-to for those in the industry.

Selling techniques, guided tools, referral strategies, handling difficult customers and utilizing testimonies will all be included in the webinar to help the flooring retailer. And the Inner Circle Club also provides a Testimonial Marketing Module that claims to generate an ongoing stream of testimonials, provides guidance on offering audio and video recommendations, and gives the dealer 20 different ways to use those endorsements.

“All of the techniques and strategies I provide in my webinar will give you the power to command premium prices,” Armstrong concluded.

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Compelling marketing

Jim ArmstrongVolume 26/number 28 June 10/17, 2013

by Jim Armstrong

Steve was standing in his Arizona flooring store when a man walked in holding a letter.

“My neighbor said I should come and see you,” the man said, handing the letter to Steve.  Steve recognized it as one of the direct mail pieces he sent out the week before. “You sent this to my neighbor, and when he found out I was planning to have tile installed in my house, he brought this over to me and said ‘You’ve gotta go see Steve.’”

The letter was not your typical flooring ad; I know because I wrote it. It was four pages, crammed with text in 11-point font, and had neither photos nor any mention of flooring products. Yet the advertisement generated an 11-1 return on investment, Steve later told me. Continue reading Compelling marketing

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Cardinal sin of marketing

Jim Armstrong by Jim Armstrong

Recently I was having a terrible time falling asleep, and after a week of insomnia I went to my doctor to get help.

“Doctor, I’ve tried sleeping pills, reading, watching the Weather Channel, counting rolls of carpet—nothing works,” I told him, desperation in my voice. “I’ve barely slept in seven days. Can you help me?”

He stroked his chin and gazed out the window, as if struggling to make a decision. Finally he said, “I can prescribe a treatment that will virtually guarantee you will fall asleep. But,” as he held up a cautionary finger, “I only use it in extreme cases, and must warn you to be very careful. Do not drive and make sure you are lying down because this treatment works almost instantly.” Continue reading Cardinal sin of marketing

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Guest column: Turbo charge your website’s effectiveness

By Jim Armstrong

Volume 26/Number 26; May 13/20, 2013

(Second of two parts)

In the last issue of FCNews, I revealed a lead-capture strategy which compels your website visitors to leave their contact information. This is important because you can have hundreds of visitors to your site each month, but without a lead-capture strategy the vast majority will leave and you’ll never hear from them again.

After spending thousands of dollars on a website, pay-per-click and SEO development, this is the kind of thing that can cause a dealer to weep openly and consider a career in organic chicken ranching. However, by using lead capture, you now have the opportunity to do follow-up marketing, which is the main topic of this part of the series. Continue reading Guest column: Turbo charge your website’s effectiveness

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Guest column: Turbo charge your website’s effectiveness

Volume 26/Number 25; April 29/May 6, 2013

 By Jim Armstrong

(First of two parts)

During one of my coaching webinars for floor covering dealers, I was discussing strategies to increase the effectiveness of their websites.

To hammer home what not to do, I Googled “Flooring Los Angeles” and opened the top three sites in the organic search. I showed how each site used the same formula: Business name at the top, tabs listing products it sells and contact information. I call these name, rank and serial number sites. Continue reading Guest column: Turbo charge your website’s effectiveness

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Why advertising fails

by Jim Armstrong

(Third of three parts)

In the first two installments of this series, I listed the three reasons most advertising fails floor dealers and then discussed the first two. There is a lot of misunderstanding among floor dealers about advertising, and retailers are unaware of alternatives, to brand building types of marketing.

The final reason why most dealers’ advertising fails comes as a result of the first two. Put simply, because of the misunderstanding about advertising and being unaware of alternatives retailers wind up copying each other’s methods. Continue reading Why advertising fails

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Guest column: Why advertising fails

Volume 26/Number 22; March 18/25, 2013

(Second of three parts)

In the previous installment, I listed the three reasons most advertising fails flooring dealers—misunderstandings among retailers regarding advertising, unawareness of alternatives to “brand building” types of advertising and dealers duplicating each other—and then discussed the first one in detail.

In this column, I’ll explain the second reason for failed advertising and note other, effective methods. Continue reading Guest column: Why advertising fails

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Succeed at advertising

Volume 26/Number 21; March 4/11, 2013

by Jim Armstrong

(First of three parts)

When surveying flooring dealers across North America, I always ask:

• How are you promoting your business? The answer I virtually always get: Internet, newspaper, radio, TV, direct mail.

• What are your results? The answer I almost always get: Lousy, hit-and-miss, unpredictable, disappointing.

In spite of poor results, dealers stubbornly cling to outdated advertising methods that do not work even after admitting they know they don’t work. Continue reading Succeed at advertising