The Top Experts Reveal Small Business Marketing Strategies
That Get Results In This Economy
Small business marketing should run like finely tuned car’s engine. Give it the right fuel and you’ll enjoy steady acceleration when you step on the gas, but let the tank run dry or put in diesel when your engine runs on gas and it will sputter and stall. If you’re marketing isn’t helping you attract a steady stream of new clients and accelerate the growth of your business, chances are you aren’t using the right fuel to market your business.
The first step in any successful marketing strategy is to get the attention of your prospects. If they don’t know you or your products and services exist, you won’t be able to grow your business. All too often service professionals and small business owners think that touting their expertise and the benefits of their services will get them the attention they want. Unless you are a well published author or sought after expert, this marketing strategy rarely works.
Problems Precede Solutions
Prospects’ primary interests are solving problems and meeting their needs. If you can show prospects you clearly understand their concerns and know the problems they are experiencing you’ll get their attention and have the opp0rtunity to demonstrate your expertise and the solutions you provide.
When you take your car to a mechanic you don’t want to them to replace parts until they’ve diagnosed the problem. A good mechanic will start by asking you to describe the symptoms, then they may hook your car up to the computerized diagnostic machine to further understand the problem before they order that expensive part.
Similarly if you want to sell your products and services to a prospect they must first have a problem that needs to be solved or a need to be filled. Despite an understanding of this fundamental sequence, most firms’ marketing efforts start with a focus on their services, products and credentials. Sound familiar?
Tired of having your business marketing limp along as if it were only running on 2 or 3 cylinders? You’re not going to get any better response by continuing to do the same thing. Use this link to discover how to get double the response and double the business from your ads, letters and web site.
Client Problems Fuel the Small Business Marketing Engine
Without prospects’ problems and needs your firm wouldn’t exist. And without the services and products you provide, you wouldn’t have a revenue stream. You need both prospects’ problems and service solutions to keep your marketing engine running smoothly. Problems are the fuel that provide the power and your solutions are like the cylinders of an engine that do the heavy lifting.
Fueling your business marketing engine requires a constant focus on client problems and needs. The more accurate your identification of client’s pressing concerns and interests, the more power you’ll get out of your marketing engine.
Power Up Your Marketing Materials
Take a look at your marketing materials and or marketing meetings. Do you start with clients’ problems and concerns or do you start with a description of your services and products and benefits?
Prospects want to see themselves and their concerns clearly identified in order to feel confident that you understand their needs. If you lead with this in your marketing materials you’ll get their attention.
Which of the following describe and focus on prospects’ problems and which focus on benefits and solutions?
- Your one liner describing what you do (Tagline, audio logo, meme, business card or elevator speech)
- Your positioning page (first page of your web site and /or brochure)
- Your ads
- Your exploratory conversations with prospects
- Any articles or press releases you write
If you are trying to fuel your marketing with the solutions you provide, chances are your marketing will sputter along and you won’t attract all the clients you want. Make the switch to using client problems to power your marketing engine and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your marketing helps your business accelerate.
It’s like putting a race proven engine in your car. When you use this simple marketing technique you’ll see a surge of responses and sales. Use this link to discover how to accelerate your sales and your business.
- Marketing Copy – Writing Attention Grabbing Headlines
- Got Meme? Writing Marketing Copy That Attracts Attention
- Marketing Copy – Words That Attract Clients and Increase Sales
- Selling More with Your Marketing Copy
- What is the One Question Your Marketing Copy Needs to Answer?
- How to Write Great Ads! Marketing Copy That Pulls in Prospects and Sales
As the plane lifts off, imagine yourself reclining comfortably in your first class seat. You’re headed for San Francisco where you’ll be met by a driver and whisked to a luxury hotel with views of the bay. The tab is being picked up by a company looking to buy your firm, and your biggest concern is how much cash and stock to ask for when you meet with the president of the company and the senior officers. Sound like a fantasy?
Actually, I was the person being whisked across country, a few years back, to negotiate the sale of a web site I had built. With a lot of hard work and a carefully executed positioning I created the opportunity to make more than I thought possible from what had started as a just for fun web site marketing project.
Whether you are a builder, accountant, realtor, market researcher, or manufacture loudspeakers or baseball bats, the way you position your firm can determine your success.
Do you want prospects to seek you out?
Do you want people to pay you more?
Do you want to stand head and shoulders above your competition?
With a simple positioning strategy you can get more attention than you imagined and bring in those high-margin projects and the profits you want. Here’s how I positioned one of my ideas for success.
1. IDENTIFY A NEED
In 1999, a new search engine was appearing on the Internet almost every week. Some were much better than others. Knowing which search tool to use was confusing. Through my own interest in finding better tools to navigate the web, I’d discovered a common need.
2. EDUCATE PPROSPECTS TO DEMONSTRATE YOUR KNOWLEDGE
Based on four years of study of search engines and a book I’d written previously on marketing to the search engines, I’d become an expert on how they did and didn’t work. To help my own online research and to help others, I built a web site that provided a directory of search engines and reviewed their usefulness and functionality.
What are your areas of expertise?
The objective of my site was simple. At a time when most people were just discovering the web, I wanted to help them find the best possible search tools for their particular task. My mission was to educate people about how to find what they were looking for online. The site primarily focused on the growing number of reviews I authored. Instead of leading with information about my credentials, I used the content on the site to demonstrate my knowledge.
What can you do to educate your prospects?
How can you demonstrate your expertise?
3. IDENTIFY AND REACH YOUR TARGET MARKET
Now I needed a way to get people to the site. While my target market was almost infinite – anyone searching the Internet – my advertising budget was zero. (Remember I was doing this as a back pocket project while maintaining my small business marketing consulting practice.) How could I attract attention and get people to come back to the web site again and again?
I identified online editors and reference librarians as identifiable, approachable groups with a high level of interest and influence. I started an ezine directing readers to current search engine reviews and updates on the site and published approximately once a month.
What is your stay-in-touch strategy?
After just three issues of my ezine reporters started calling me for radio interviews and magazine articles. I received an offer to buy the web site with the price tied to the number of monthly visitors and page views. Three months later I had grown traffic to the site from thirty thousand to three hundred thousand page views per month and closed the deal.
POSITIONING YOUR COMPANY
To position your product or service for success:
A. Identify a Common Need
B. Identify a Market
C. Demonstrate Your Expertise to that Market
D. Continue to Stay in Touch
If you’ve been in business for three years or more you’ve accumulated a wealth of experience and knowledge. The more you share your ideas, the more people will view you as an expert and seek you out. Give your prospects examples of your expertise and they will think of you when they need your products or services.
You can use an ezine, your web site, a book, workshops or public speaking to demonstrate your knowledge and put your firm ahead of the competition. Using the strategy outlined above and a little effort you can position your business for success and put yourself in front.
Is advertising the best way to generate more leads and sales and grow your business?
You might be surprised to know that in most cases, the answer is NO. You could generate ten times the business you’d gain through advertising by using the three marketing strategies detailed below.
Yes, advertising should be part of your overall marketing strategy, but don’t make it the centerpiece of your strategy when there are more effective – and more cost effective – ways to generate leads and sales.
What are the limitations of advertising?
Advertising is expensive –
The high cost of advertising can sink a new business before it has a chance take off. TV ads can cost millions, print ads in magazines with national reach like Fortune or Forbes cost tens of thousands, and radio spots can run you thousands of dollars. Even a micro, pay-per-click ad in Google can cost four to five dollars per click, depending on your keywords.
Advertising disappoints -
Ever run an ad and get only a handful of leads and even fewer sales? Many small businesses spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on ads that don’t pay off in increased sales – or just barely do. Has this ever happened to you?
Advertising doesn’t get noticed –
The average American is exposed to thousands of marketing messages every single day. Advertisers compete harder and harder to get our attention, with more ads in more places every year. The result of this increasing abundance of advertising is that it’s harder and harder to get people to pay attention and respond to your ad.
Advertising isn’t believable –
Not only is your audience saturated with ads and information, they’re sophisticated and skeptical. Most people dismiss the claims made in ads. Even if your ad is completely factual, your prospects’ tendency is to not trust it.
Advertising is touted as the miracle pill for growing your business. You pull out your checkbook or max out your credit card and pay for your ad campaign. But for many small businesses, the results rarely justify the cost.
Don’t get me wrong, advertising can work, if you know when and how to use it but there are better ways to generate leads and sales that you should be focused on first, before you turn to advertising.
Discover exactly how to grow your business with the 5 fundamental strategies you need to take your business to the next level. Use this link to claim your copy >>
What works better than advertising to grow your business? Here are three strategies you’d be nuts not to use:
1. Give Away Something For Free
People love getting something they want and need for free. I use a free 20 page marketing guide. Financial planners give away free seminars. Pfizer gives away free samples of drugs to doctors and some auto dealers give away travel certificates to motivate prospects to visit their showrooms.
Business Week ran an article on March 12th about Chipotle’s successful give-to-get marketing strategy. The fast food restaurant chain has handed out tens of thousands of free burritos and tacos as way of building a loyal clientele. In just one day Chipotle gave away 6,000 burritos when they opened a mid-town location in Manhattan.
This customer-satisfying strategy cost them $35,000, just about the same amount they would have spent for a half page black and white ad in the New York Times.
Let your prospects sample your ideas or your products. It’s the fastest way to help people understand the value of what you provide, to trust you and to want to do business with you. Chipotle has leveraged this strategy to become one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in the country. Imagine what this marketing strategy could do for you!
2. Get Free Publicity
When your prospects read an ad you wrote, they tend not believe it. When they read an article by you in a magazine or newsletter that is published and distributed by a third party, you have instant credibility. Write and distribute your articles widely and people will see you as the expert to turn to.
3. Use Email To Build Profitable Relationships
Once you have a lead, write and send series of emails that give your prospects information they can use. Demonstrate the value of your products and services. This simple strategy can convert a high percentage of prospects to new clients within one or two weeks.
I’m not suggesting that you stop advertising altogether. But use advertising as a supplement to the three business building strategies above, not as the mainstay of your marketing. Here’s why:
Spend $12,000 on advertising online, and if it works perfectly, you could generate up to 2,400 leads and convert those to 1,000 sales. Spend the same amount implementing the three strategies outlined above, and you could generate ten times the business; that’s 24,000 leads and 10,000 sales.
Ready to discover what really works to generate leads and sales online? Like you, I hate to waste money. I’ve detailed the fastest and lowest cost ways for you to make your business a success on the Internet. Use this link to claim your copy >>
Wish you could take a vacation from your business and keep making money? If you run your own business like I do you’ve probably asked yourself this question many times.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a business where the cash kept coming in whether or not you were at work?
I’m taking a few days off this week and won’t be online to answer people’s emails or process orders — but I certainly don’t want my business to stop making money. I’ll be heading up to Vermont to spend a few days at our condo.
I’ll be spending time with my wife hiking, biking and enjoying the fall foliage. Now, I love my work, but while I’m away, I want to enjoy myself and not think about business. The condo has a phone but we don’t have internet access because my business runs itself while I’m gone.
So, how do I keep making money while I’m on vacation enjoying the fall foliage?
Even while I’m on vacation, I want to continue to:
• Grow the number of qualified prospects,
• Convert more prospects into paying clients,
• Process orders and fill up my bank account so I can continue to afford condos in Vermont and my passion for skiing.
There are two key ingredients I use to keep my business growing even when I’m on vacation. The first is knowing what to do, the second is having a way to do it.
Over the last nine years I’ve developed a web marketing strategy that has been highly successful for me and for my clients. This is the strategy I used to grow my first million dollar site, which I sold six years ago.
I wrote ‘Creating Web Sites that Sell’ to show you exactly how to use this exact same web site marketing strategy to build your online business. In it you’ll find everything you need to know in it, from how to market your site to the search engines to how to convert visitors to buyers.
Having a web site marketing strategy that works is the first ingredient to wining at business. The second is having an easy efficient way to implement your marketing plan.
One of the biggest challenges is staying in touch with prospects and converting them to clients. Each week four to five hundred people sign up for my free marketing guide and I want to make sure they download it. Then I want to go to work converting them from prospects to buyers.
When they are ready to place an order, I want to process it immediately so they get what they want and I can accept their payment.
If I had to respond to each inquiry and process each order manually, I’d need to hire dozens of assistants and have to manage them. Neither of which I have any interest in doing.
So how do I manage the business while I’m gone?
I use an email broadcast system and shopping cart system that handles all of the above tasks automatically. I write emails and schedule their delivery, or input the sequence of emails I want a new subscriber to get and it is sent automatically.
For example I wrote this email and article last Thursday. Then I scheduled it in the system to go out Monday at midnight.
One of the keys to successful web site marketing is having the systems in place to stay in touch with your prospects and clients and keep the sales pouring in. If you’re ready to automate your online business, whether you need to use simple email broadcast services or want to set up a full fledged online store, I recommend the following service. Get the details >>