View Full Version : Promotions, marketing, PR help please

10-02-2009, 11:52 AM
Hi there,

I have been in sales forever and it has really kicked me in the teeth to recognise recently that this has not automatically made me any good at marketing, PR and even sometimes promotions!

I have set up a new product that is simple, saves people money and is being sold through distributors (a fundraiser mainly sold through schools). While 5% the families in the schools have bought it I really feel the numbers should be up around 30% (comparing to similar products in other areas) and that it is my job to get some buzz about it in order to help it sell better to raise funds for the schools. Does that make sense? Word of mouth is playing a part but is slow and unreliable.

Some people have told me what I need most is patience (!) but the product will be very difficult to sell by the summer holidays. I can't help thinking though that there must be some great ideas out there I could be using to draw attention to my little project - which by the way has the endorsement of the town mayor and is really really good!

Won't go on forever, but suffice to say having put several thousands in of my own money to get a community fundraiser up and running, I really don't want to spend much and the margins are very tight.

Look forward to hearing from you, and if anyone needs help on cold-calling techniques or anything else salesy just let me know.

Real World Hypnotherapy
10-02-2009, 12:56 PM
What is the product?


10-02-2009, 01:49 PM
I've got great discounts from some of the best local restaurants, cafes, shops etc and produced a high quality book of vouchers.

Lot of hard work and I, perhaps naively, believed that if it offered great value, had the right people behind it and had a strong charity element it would take off. My main focus is on mums with families at home and have got 15-20 schools promoting it already but I feel it needs more "buzz" to get people to look at the marketing literature coming home in the kids bookbags.

Any thoughts? It has raised over 3k already for local charities and I can imagine I could get some leverage out of hitting the 5k mark, but was really hoping to hit 50k. Do I do an Alex Tew aka milliondollarhomepage and maybe start promoting more on my story and goal for the project rather than the product itself? I can't help thinking with the credit crunch and all the redundancies, businesses can't be seen to be throwing money at "wacky" ideas to show support any more. Am I overthinking this?!!!

Sorry for such long posts. I've read a ton of inspired posts on here for bars, florists, salons and the like so please put your thinking caps on for me!

10-02-2009, 05:31 PM
Still not the foggiest what your business does or sells or even what service it provides, which I suspect is half your problem!

10-02-2009, 06:19 PM
lol! Indeed! To be fair I thought the first sentence of my last post was quite succinct and explicit.

It's a book of over 100 discount vouchers specific for my local area. I went round every decent restaurant, shop and so on to give me an exclusive discount I could promote in a book. People save money by using these vouchers at the appropriate business. The book is sold as a fundraiser and bought by people who want to a) support the charity, b) save themselves money dining out, shopping etc, or both.

I know it isn't as common as a clubnight, hairdressers or sandwich shop but grouping exclusive discounts together and selling them for charity isn't that far out there is it?! I'm starting to think you are right MissFit and I should have just got into producing something where there were already 100 businesses doing it just so people would recognise the concept!!!

I have now attached the website in my sig - didn't think there was too much point as it is so area-specific but maybe it will explain better than me!

10-02-2009, 08:46 PM
Aghhhh right I see! Well why didnt you just say that in the first 2 lines of your first post! As someone who has worked in Sales for years, Im sure I dont need to illustrate the importance of an elevator pitch- hammering out your message in a few seconds. Perhaps this isn't what youre doing to potential customers?

I have to admit, as a business I probably wouldnt be interested in donating to your coupon book, especially if I thought you were profiting from it (as Im assuming you must take a cut somewhere, otherwise there's be no point in it?).

All deals in business should have a win-win outcome. Rule number one. I can see how your customer wins, as theyre getting coupons to save money on purchases, but what is your donating business getting? A bit of good PR? People through through the door who'll hopefully spend more than the coupon entitles? But does the end justify the means for your donatng business? If so, drive that message home to the people donating and hopefully secure bigger and better deals.

Then send a press release to your local newspapers, radio etc, saying how much the book is, an example of a few offers, which charity it benefits and where to buy it from.

I would also see about making it available through a vendor other than you, perhaps ask a clothing shop or a bakery or a convenience shop etc etc, to sell them, so you put in your media broadcast "Get one today from me, www.... or from Freds bakery on Bakery Street....."

By removing the obstacles involved in buying a book (can anyone really be ***** going to your website, sending off for one, whatever the process is and waiting for you to come along selling them restricts a whole stata of your market) will increase sales.

Out of interest, which charity does it benefit?

10-02-2009, 09:53 PM
Hello great reading about your business venture,

There is something like this that already exists here in Leicestershire (maybe in other citires aswell) they are student discount booklets the size of a credit card and they have special local offers from hairdressers to pizza outlets. They offer them for free here to students and charge the business, as obviously your advertising the business on the booklets.

Have you thought about charging the businesses to appear on your booklet which would give them free advertising. So lets say you get 50 businesses at 100 each that would give you 5K. And if you increase the number of booklets distributed then you can increase the price.

This is something like the metro newspaper.

Now if you were to open this service around the UK say to 100 cities and you make 5K on each thats 500K and now your in business :D

you would be helping the charities and yourself at the side aswell :D

just a thought?

11-02-2009, 02:19 PM
MissFit, as I said in my posts, it is being sold through 20 schools as a fundraiser. I am not relying on people buying from me or from the website. I am working through distributor channels but am trying to drum up PR to support them and speed up the word of mouth process. Press Releases have been so-so in their effectiveness. It is also available in a few shops in different parts of town. The charity that benefits is the charity selling it, so in most cases the school PTA.

I have not had trouble getting 100 of the most popular places in town going in it with great discounts, it's just the problem of getting the word out, so I was asking for help with some wacky marketing ideas would be good.

Omar, I'm familiar with different schemes including what we had in Edinburgh - the snapfax - which sounds similar to what you have. I've toyed with the idea of charging the businesses but think I would then risk losing the good restaurants and shops.

11-02-2009, 05:13 PM

I have a couple of ideas which may help to increase
a)the number of businesses that sign up
b)the discounts they offer
c)sales of the book

A profit sharing scheme between all businesses that sign up. So at the end of the year all Businesses receive a share of the profits.

By having this
a)more businesses will want to sign up
b)businesses will want to increase the discounts
c)more people will buy a book

The Businesses get something back from the scheme.

Another idea was to create an online marketplace where sellers offer a discount on everything on the site. Buyers would be able to get a discount at offline businesses and all Businesses would get a share of the profits.

Advertising and premium content would bring in more money.

This site would allow people to save money both on and offline.

I mentioned the idea above as you may be interested in pursuing it. The website would be a hub with all offline communities.

Also I think you would be better off selling plastic cards rather than a book of vouchers. It would save money. It would also be easier for the user to carry around.
(Just a suggestion)

Hope this helps


11-02-2009, 05:38 PM
Thanks Lewis,

Appreciate the thought you have put into it. I spoke to someone who runs a plastic card discount scheme and they said (off the record!) that people often forget what discounts they can use it for and which business because it is so much less visual than physical vouchers. Have you been involved with this kind of operation before at all?

11-02-2009, 06:00 PM

I haven't actually done anything like this before. I was going to go ahead with the whole project until yesterday I decided to give up on it due to a few problems

-parents not letting me run a business from home
-no money
-not enough experience to design the website.

I had the original idea for the scheme about seven months ago. Initial feedback suggested it could work.

The idea for the website came to me in december that would allow people to save money on and offline. Trouble is I don't know enough about web design.

What do you think.


11-02-2009, 06:25 PM
Lewis, You don't need any real experience in website design at all. Have you thought about advertising a voluntary job for students studying Web Design in Univeristy... Many would relish the prospect to deign a webiste as it would increase their portfolio.

Advertise somwehere like gumtree for free. And you will be stunned with th response. Also if you are having problems raising funds. Look at the raising funds thread there are some great ideas there.

When i advertised on gumtree for a webdesign volunteer i got over 150 applicants within one month. My title of the post on gumtree was ;

Media Company Requires Enthusiatic University Student Volunteers in Leicester ...

But your business could be a success if i was you i would go for it dont let anyone put you back mate.

14-02-2009, 03:50 AM
Originally posted by suddenlittlesmile
Thanks Lewis,

Appreciate the thought you have put into it. I spoke to someone who runs a plastic card discount scheme and they said (off the record!) that people often forget what discounts they can use it for and which business because it is so much less visual than physical vouchers. Have you been involved with this kind of operation before at all?

If you pm me then i will pass your details on, i know a pr expert who deals with putting people into newspapers, getting them online prescence as well as putting them on tv and radio