Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Electronics of Advertising - Part Two


ELECTRONIC MAIL

        Maybe you are still not using email to instantly describe your recycled parts to an enquiring customer or using it to broadcast a selling message or newsletter to a large group of customers or prospects, but you should be if you expect to continue to sell parts for very long into the 21st Century. As mentioned in my last blog post, an astounding 60% of the autmotive recycling industry is still not computerized. But, it's time to get up to speed. I'm therefore covering the very basics about each form of electronic advertising method giving simple definitions with a short explanation about how to use.

        What is it: Commonly known as email or e-mail, is a method of exchanging messages from an author to one or more recipients. In order to use email you need to have a computer, an operating system (like Windows) a modem and some kind of internet connection (either dial-up or High speed) from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and of course you’ll need some kind of email program (like Outlook Express). Good news is that every computer store has help to get you setup and started. Just tell them that you don’t know anything and that you need someone to help you get up to speed.

        How do you use it: Using an email program such as Outlook Express (which normally comes with a personal computer purchase), you type in the email address of the person you want to communicate with, such as “jim@example.com”, and then you type your subject into the subject space, such as “We have your part in stock,” and then you type in your message into the message box provided, such as “Henry, the part you want is in stock for only $375 plus shipping, and I can ship it to you today.” And finally you hit “send” and it goes instantly to them.

        All of your staff should have their own email address and you should include that address on their business cards and your website.

        If you want to send something such as your company newsletter or flyer to a large group of people, you can use a professional email broadcast service such as ConstantContact.com or MailChimp.com, just to name two of them. Be warned however, not to send willy-nilly to a group of people you have not first gotten permission from to send them stuff. That is called spam and you could be fined and/or blacklisted. There are legitimate ways to get people to agree to receive email blasts from you. You can ask them at the point of purchase if they would like to receive your newsletters, specials, etc via email. You can have a place on your website for people to sign up for contests, offers, newsletters, etc. NEVER just add them without getting their permission.

Next Post will be about Websites

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Electronics of Advertising - Part One


Fax Machines - Old Technology, yet still usable

        A few years ago I wanted to fax something to a recycler and called him to ask for his fax machine number. He said, “We don’t have fancy things like that here!” Therefore I ended up having to mail him what I wanted him to have. I was frustrated because it took several days to take care of something that could have been done in just minutes.

        In today’s world of instant communication, fax machines are considered slow. In fact, a lot of changes have happened in the world of electronics since fax machines have come onto the scene and yet many in the automotive recycling industry today are still in the dark ages electronically speaking. At this writing only 40% of the industry is computerized. Over the next few posts, I will discuss some electronic advertising basics from fax machines to QR Codes.

FAX MACHINE:

        What is it: This is considered old technology today, yet fax machines are still used successfully as a marketing tool. It is a very good way to get a message out to individuals or a large membership group quickly. You need a fax machine that you plug into any phone line. You can have a dedicated line to receive faxes or you can use your regular phone line. The newest fax machines can tell the difference between incoming phone calls and fax messages and sort them out.

        How to use it: To send something to an individual, place your document into the fax machine, dial in the recipient’s fax phone number, and hit “send.” It’s as easy as that. Keep in mind that photos, large graphics and certain colors such as yellow or light blue will not fax well, or maybe not at all. It’s better to use a fax machine to send simple black ink text, line drawings, or black ink only forms. If you plan to send to a large group of people use a fax-broadcast service to do so. The company you use will ask you to provide a list of fax phone numbers, documented proof that you have their permission to send faxes to them. You then fax your document to the broadcast service and they will broadcast it out to your list. A group of several hundred or more will receive your faxed item all at the same time.

        Warning, new federal regulations prohibit sending unsolicited faxes to anyone. It called “spam” and violators can face large penalties for breaking the law. Be sure to get permission first from those you plan to send to before sending them anything, and be sure to include a statement at the bottom of your fax with instructions about how to get off your list.

Next post, Electronic Mail