Start with a marketing strategy plan.
Marketing your business isn’t hard. There are literally hundreds of ways you might do it. Not all of them work, but you’ll soon have more clients if you follow a few basic steps.
You need a steady flow of prospects to develop your business. An approach that uses many different strategies, all linked together, will have those prospects beating down your door before too long. We’ll discuss the strategies here.
Contrary to popular opinion, your advertising and promotion effort need not be expensive. In fact, it should be very cheap and highly profitable. You don’t want to implement marketing strategies that run at a loss; you want to do what works. You need highly targeted, results-driven marketing. When you generate that lead, qualify the lead, find out how you can help, and then offer a solution. Bingo! Another sale on the way.
Develop a marketing strategy that works. Implement it regularly. Measure its impact. If it works well, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, then stop. That’s how to market your business. Let’s explore these ideas a little bit more.
One of the biggest mistakes I see among small business people is that they simply don’t do any marketing. They have to finish off a certain job, they don’t have the money today for an advertisement online, they don’t have the expertise, they don’t have the time… the list of excuses goes on.
- Write letters and send emails to all your current clients giving them a special offer, which would then be followed up with a telephone call.
- Complete a direct mail campaign to 200 local businesses.
- Design an email blast and send discounts, promotions and offers to your currents and/or potential clients.
- Launch a PR campaign, including social media announcing the promotion.
- Ask all your current clients for referrals.
- Attend plenty of networking opportunities.
- Regular marketing means regular prospects.
- Understand your clients’ problems, then work out how to solve them.
- Do something! If you’re unsure of whether a marketing tactic will work, try it – and measure the results.
Newspaper advertising needs to be really well targeted to be successful. It would probably be more cost-effective for you to advertise in a business newspaper, rather than the local community.
If you can get a “Why you might need an X product” article published in a business magazine or website, it can work very well to generate leads.
Writing articles is a good form of PR, and allows you to “borrow credibility” from the publication in which your article appears.
Flyers are OK, but only because they’re cheap. You can target them a little (for example, by delivering them only to local businesses), and with a little luck, you might receive a call or tow as result of your efforts.
Hold A Seminar
Why not hold a seminar titled “How to Make Money Investing in Stocks”? Great idea! It’s beautifully targeted, you have the opportunity to build enormous credibility, and you have a group of hot prospects in a room for a day.
Ask for referrals from people you know
It didn’t take me too long to realize that the vast majority (and most profitable part) of my business came from prospects who were referred to us by past and current clients. Know what we do now? We ask everyone we know to please, please, please refer their friends or business contacts to us. If someone refers us to a client, we say thanks.
Referrals are perfectly targeted and don’t require any work on your part. If you’re not asking every man and his dog for referrals to your business, then you aren’t serious about being in business.
T-shirts, stickers, buttons, mouse pads, pens, and mugs with your logo on them? Don’t even think about it?
I do find these products great as gifts for clients you want to thank for some reason. But this kind of expense can only really be justified when you’re well-established and very profitable.
Fantastic! Guest speaking is free, and generates real interest on the spot. You’ll be perceived as an expert, you’ll learn the techniques required for public speaking (which are a huge advantage), and you’ll be exposing yourself in the nicest possible way to your potential market.
Brochure & Ad Magazine
Printed brochures and Ads can be good, but only once you’ve established your business. When you’re starting out, it’s much more cost-effective to demonstrate your professionalism in other ways that require a smaller initial outlay. Our research tells us that fewer than 20% of an audience will read your brochure. Learn more about online advertising.
Join the local business groups, go to the lunches, attend the charity golf days. Remember, however, to keep a close eye on the amount you spend on these events, and closely analyze the return you make.
Build a Brand
Branding and design are inseparable. A brand is not your logo it’s a gut feeling people have about you. When two or more people have the same feeling, you have a brand. You get that feeling via smart design, which creates the experiences people have with the brand. The essence of the Apple brand comes through its design. Take the logo off a BMW and you still know it’s a BMW.” Brands need to create an emotional relationship with people.
Build a Website
3 Reasons Websites Are Vital for Small Businesses.
Running your own business is no easy task, and your to-do-list is guaranteed to never end. This said, you shouldn’t use this as an excuse to take shortcuts when it comes to having online visibility. Beginning with your website, it’s vital to position yourself online with a strong, professional destination that gives customers the impression you mean business and the motivation to want to engage more with your business. With this in mind, consider these five reasons why having a strong website is important.
- First Impressions Count
Let’s face it – we live in a world where people Google GOOGL +1.41% before they shop, visit online review sites like Yelp YELP +1.45% before they buy and “check-in” via Facebook as they go about their days. Because of this, you want your first impression to be the best it can be. Beginning with your website, consumers are passing judgment and making decisions about whether or not they will even visit your store, restaurant or office. They’re likely to dismiss you entirely, as well, should they believe your website doesn’t reflect the kind of experience your business – or a business like yours – should offer.
- Window Shopping Isn’t What It Use to Be
Strolling down your local Main Street isn’t the only way people check out stores and other small businesses nowadays. With routine visits to Yahoo YHOO +0%, Bing, Google, Yelp and other online sites, customers are constantly seeking where they plan to make their next purchases. Make sure your business is well represented on these sites by first and foremost, having a website – but by also being represented among each of the online search engines, review sites and other online spots your business may be considered for customer review. Beyond having your URL address available, also be sure your street address, phone number and email are easily visible. Social media links can’t hurt, either, but only include these if you are actually active on social media.
- No Website Means Losing Business
By now it’s clear that if you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on opportunities for customers to identify who you are and if they want to spend money with you. This said, if you have a bad website it is better to have no website. While no website equals missed opportunities, a bad website can actually be worse since it literally makes your business look bad. With so many template-based websites available nowadays, such as Shopify.com, for you to customize for your unique business, there’s truly no excuse for your website to look unprofessional and sloppy. If you can’t proudly promote the website you have currently live and available for the world to see online, take it down. A bad website is far worse than no website – but let’s be clear… both are bad for business.
Whether you are a one man or woman show or operate with 100 employees, your website should appear as if you have a team dedicated exclusively to keeping your online presence strong and noteworthy. The key here is “appear” versus actually having someone updating your website every day. For most small businesses, this is simply not necessary. However, having a professional, polished looking website that functions easily and offers customers easy navigation, strong photo images, professional quality content and an overall experience that engages them enough for them to want to do business with you is key.
If you don’t have a website, your chance of ending up in customer online searches is significantly reduced. (Source: Forbes.com. Photo credit: Google.com)
Prepare a Video/Animation
Describing your business and the benefits you provide in a video is a great idea. Promote your video on Social Media, think strategically, target your audience demographically. On social media the attention span on videos is about 30 seconds to 1-minute videos, they perform better, think about it. Click here to see some examples.
Website “Search Engine Optimization” or on-site SEO is the process of methodically increasing a website’s visibility to those searching online for your products or services. SEO marketing is not new, but the time and skills required to be competitive in the digital marketplace require more strategy and specializations than ever before. Learn More.
Social Media Marketing
Because it appeared quickly, social media has developed a reputation by some for being a passing marketing interest, and therefore, an unprofitable one. The statistics, however, illustrate a different picture. According to Hubspot, 92% of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media marketing was important for their business, with 80% indicating their efforts increased traffic to their websites. And according to Social Media Examiner, 97% of marketers are currently participating in social media—but 85% of participants aren’t sure what social media tools are the best to use.
Facebook now has 2 billion monthly users… and growing.
Here’s a look at just some of the ways social media marketing can improve your business:
- Increased Brand Recognition
- Improved brand loyalty
- More Opportunities to Convert
- Higher conversion rates
- Higher conversion rates
- Increased Inbound Traffic
- Decreased Marketing Costs
- Better Search Engine Rankings
- Richer Customer Experiences
- Improved Customer Insights
The longer you wait, the more you have to lose. Social media marketing, when done right, can lead to more customers, more traffic, and more conversions, and it’s here to stay. If you’re interested in getting started but aren’t sure where to begin—head over to our website or contact us below!
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