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Steve Marr's Blog

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Jul 18
2019

Free, A Key Marketing Principle

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I happen to like free goods, partly because I’m of Scottish background and I like to be slow to part with the dollar. For example I like going to Costco and I can almost make a free lunch out of the samples offered.  In some instances people are lined up for the free tasty goodie and I have to admit from time to time I’ve actually purchased a new product based on how yummy the sample. The store continues with these offers week after week because the free samples are effective at generating sales at the time and hopefully long-term.

Frequently in marketing we look at the three-tier approach, the shotgun, the rifle shot followed by the scope shot. Frequently a free product is very effective at the wider net of encouraging customers to try your product, and hopefully then graduating into buying paid products. 

Amazon offers free shipping on a wide variety of transactions, including Prime customers and free shipping to all in some circumstances. Amazon’s sales research indicates customers will buy more often and are more likely to return when the shipping is free. I know I hate to pay $20 for product online only to discover that shipping and handling is another $9.95, and typically cancel the transaction. I need to be careful because when I click on an order with free shipping I do have to be careful that I’m not paying more for the product to absorb the shipping but the word free does grab me. Further, according to research by both Amazon and eBay sellers that include free shipping tend to receive higher reviews. One not sure I understand why this would be the case but the research seems valid and therefore we need to pay attention.

Jul 15
2019

Mail-Order Houses

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Many years ago, Sears sold homes in catalogs.  These homes were a popular option from 1908 through the 1940, selling 70,000 homes. The customer would order one of several housing designs, and the prefabricated materials would arrive at the customer’s location. Everything from screws, nails, wood and shingles was included in the package. I have a family member who purchased one and still lives in one of these homes.  When I visited a few years ago, I was amazed at how good the home was designed and how well the house held up over many years of use. 

One may think the day of the mail-order house is over, but not true. Recently I came across some information on Amazon, the online store that helps you find almost anything is now selling homes. I found packages between $5,000 and $65,000 for all kinds of do-it-yourself kits ranging from a small vacation cabin to a 1300 square-foot home.

King Solomon wrote, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NIV)

Jul 11
2019

Wording Marketing Materials

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I spend a fair amount of time writing. I understand that words matter, even small words. I tell myself that I should labor over words in an article more carefully, but time does not allow me this luxury. However, when I write ad copy; I choose my words more carefully.  I realize that each word creates an image of the business and can gain or lose business. Whether I market on the Internet or through print media, words are my bridge to potential customers.

Jul 08
2019

Working Weekends

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For many years I’ve developed what some people call an old-school habit of working on Saturdays. I don’t treat Saturday in the same way I treat Monday through Friday.  However, when I awaken on Saturday morning, I don’t put all my work away.

When I was in the international trade business, I tended to arrive at my office between 5:30 and 6 am on Saturday morning.  By 10 or 11, I could get a lot done without phone calls or meetings. I could reduce my inbox substantially and increase the traffic in my outbox.

Jul 04
2019

Follow Up Leads

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Sometimes when I step in to see a prospective customer or make an initial phone call, the business is closed.  If I don’t follow up, I’ve lost a potential customer. What I have learned over the years about following up leads, I now use in a damage restoration business I have an interest in.  When a customer calls because a pipe break caused their living room ceiling to collapse, they’re usually anxious to sign the work order and have our company immediately mitigate the problem. Unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as that. It requires working with property managers, insurance agents, and sometimes referred businesses.