Archives For marketing

it's-the-little-things-blog

When meeting with business owners for the first time, I always look for the little things we can implement immediately to start seeing progress (translated increased revenue) in their business. It’s rarely a big thing that is causing them to lose business or plateau in their business.

I found a great example of this while enjoying a meal at a local restaurant. After finishing our meal and getting ready to pay the check, I realized our server never mentioned appetizers before the meal and did not ask if we wanted dessert after we finished our meal. Then I started thinking about the money this restaurant was loosing as a result of not asking for dessert.

So here is the math. If a server asks everyone who comes in the restaurant if they want dessert and sells only 4 per day, that could increase the bottom line by $20. The average price of dessert in this restaurant is $5.00. So 4 times $5.00 gives us the $20.00 per day. Multiply that $20 by 365 days and you get $7300. Still not a large amount. This particular restaurant has 2200 stores nationwide. So multiply 2200 by $7300. What do you get? An astounding number – $16,060.000. Yes, that is sixteen million dollars. And from only one server. Most of these restaurants have 4 or more servers working the floor. You can do the math from here. They are losing, at least, 16 million dollars per year from not properly training their staff.

Maybe your business can’t make another 16 million per year. But what if you could make another $5000 or $20,000 per year. Would that make a difference in your business?

So back to my initial point. It is almost always a little thing that can have a big impact on your profits and bottom line. I challenge you to take an hour this week, sit down with a pad and paper, and do a little brainstorming. Find the little thing in your business that you can implement or change immediately to take your business up a notch. It could be an upsell to a current customer, a new service you could add to your business, another product offering. There are probably a couple of little things you could implement today.

I would love to hear your comments on what you found in your business that will have a huge impact. So post a comment and let me know what you will be implementing this week to grow your business.

29-marketing-strategies-blog

Do you have missing pieces in your marketing? Do you know how many marketing strategies you need to have in place to market your business effectively? You need 15 – 20 if you are serious about increasing revenue and having a successful business. And that may mean hiring someone to manage certain aspects of your marketing. You do have a budget for marketing your business … right?

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is depending on Facebook, your website, and other online media for all of your marketing. That does not mean you don’t use Facebook, your website, email marketing, and all the other digital marketing strategies. These are tools you must be using in today’s marketplace. You should be taking advantage of everything. But that can’t be all you do to market your business (or nonprofit).

Consider what your competition is doing to market their business? Almost every business has a website and a Facebook Page. What can you do that your competition is not doing? You have to be willing to do what your competition is not willing to do to be effective in your marketing. Implementing on additional strategy could mean the difference between having another mediocre year and one of your best years ever. Every business owner (and nonprofit) should be a student of learning.

Need a few ideas? Here is a list of 29 strategies you can implement for little to no cost. And these are in no particular order of importance. You may find a few strategies you can start implementing today.

  1. Send a monthly email newsletter. This is one of the best strategies you can implement! Great for list building.
  2. Work on your 15-second introduction.
  3. Place warm calls and follow up with prospects.
  4. Ask for referrals (at least one per week).
  5. Attend networking events.
  6. Launch a direct mail campaign.
  7. Post to your blog at least 2 times per month.
  8. Create a podcast.
  9. Social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram).
  10. Take advantage of real time video sharing (Periscope, Blab).
  11. Write an article and post to ezinearticles.com.
  12. Run a Facebook contest.
  13. Cold calling (yes, pick up the phone and call someone).
  14. Handwritten thank you card.
  15. Speaking/Events.
  16. Write a 10-page eBook containing valuable information for your audience.
  17. Set up a series of autoresponders for followup.
  18. PPC Advertising (Google Adwords, Facebook Ads).
  19. Billboard (in the right location at the right price).
  20. Radio & TV ads.
  21. Business cards.
  22. Market niche definition.
  23. Connect with former clients.
  24. Develop your copywriting skills.
  25. Create a one-minute video to share your knowledge.
  26. Create an email signature to use in all your emails.
  27. Website (less than half of all businesses have a website).
  28. Create a special offer for your current clients (and prospects).
  29. Send a survey to learn what your audience really needs.

In future blog posts, I will be going into more detail on how to implement a few of these. Can you think of a more ways to market your business that are not included on this list?

mike-coleman-call-to-action-image

When it comes to writing sales copy, there is nothing more powerful than a strong call to action. Anytime you send an email or direct mail piece, the most important part of your communications is your call-to-action.

This is NOT a strong call to action: Call BR549

This is a strong call to action: Call BR549 before 10:00 a.m. Tuesday morning to receive 15% off our services.

You’ve told your audience what to do, when to do it, and why they should take action. If you have these three things, you have a strong call to action. If you are missing one component, then it will not work.

I would like to hear from you. Send me a few of your calls to action you have used in the past.

 

If you want to be successful in sales, stop being a salesperson and become a businessperson.

If you can convey to someone that you are not trying to sell them something, but instead you want to partner with them to increase revenue, increase market share, reduce expenses, increase their client base, or make their life easier in some way … then you have someone eager to work with you (or at least want to have a conversation). In other words, you want to partner with them to grow their business and make their life easier. It’s that simple. This approach (and shift in mindset) makes you a businessperson rather than a salesperson.

So, number one – you want to have the mindset of a businessperson (or partner) … not a salesperson.

And number two – you want to provide solutions. How do you know if there is a need and what solution you can provide? One way is online research. Visit their website or check out their LinkedIn profile. Find the key players in their organization. Prepare what you are going to say and then rehearse it a hundred times until you are comfortable with it.

Now you are ready for your first meeting or call. You’re going into the first meeting (or cold call) thinking of yourself as a business partner with solutions to help them grow their business and increase revenues.

Think about this scenario for a moment. If you walk into a business and you are trying to sell them on how great your product is, and you have to ask who is in charge of (fill in the blank), then you are viewed as a salesperson. And worst of all, you are viewed as a poorly prepared salesperson.

Now think about this scenario. You’ve done your research, you know the key players within the organization, you have established a need, and you have come up with a couple of solutions for them that will increase revenue. How do you think they will view you now? Now you are establishing your position as a leader who cares about their business and can offer a solution to a need that you have already identified. Now you are a valued ally, a trusted advocate, and a business partner.

Everything mentioned above also applies to your online marketing. You want to convey the message that you are a businessperson who knows your target market, knows the needs of your target market, and can provide solutions.

Review the Home page of your website. Is this the message visitors to your website are getting? Are they finding the information they need quickly or do they just see a nice graphic? Do they have to click on another link to find out your business philosophy, who you work with, what you do, and the solutions you provide?

I’m not saying you can’t have a nice graphic AND great content. But if I have the choice of having a shiny new graphic on my website or giving my visitors information that is pertinent to their business, I will choose giving them the information they want as quickly as possible.  This moves the sales process forward, and isn’t that really the purpose of your website?

If you approach selling your products or services as a businessperson, find the need, offer solutions, go into meetings fully prepared, and deliver value … then your career, business, and life will move to the next level and beyond.

I have heard this phrase many times – “the money is in the follow-up”. When you think about it, this is very true when it comes to connecting with your customer, building the relationship, and making the sale. As you know, it generally takes 7 – 10 touches for a sale to occur. So following up with everyone is key to your success if you want to increase your revenue.

And, ideally, you will follow up with everyone you meet within 24 hours. But, even if it’s a few days after the initial contact with the individual or business, you can still maintain that contact. It’s never too late to follow-up or reconnect with someone.

One other thing to keep in mind. Don’t get discouraged when it seems you are wasting your time or don’t get a response. Following up with someone is never a waste of time. You will either close the sale or deepen the relationship or find more ways you can help them accomplish whatever it is they are trying to accomplish. So make an extra effort to stay in touch.

Here are a seven tips and techniques for following up:

1. Send a thank you note after a meeting. A handwritten note is still the best way to follow up with someone if you have their snail mail contact information.

2. Connect with them via email. After a networking group meeting or meeting with someone for the first time, a short email can remind them of who you are, what you do, and give you the opportunity to ask how you can help them.

3. Connect with them on social media. Almost everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

4. Get them into your database or add them to your list. Your list is the most important asset in your business, and you must constantly be working on building your list. One way to do this is to offer them something of value for free in exchange for their email address. And they can subscribe to your newsletter. This allows you to keep that top of mind presence with them and puts part of your follow-up strategy on auto-pilot.

5. Phone call. Just picking up the phone and calling someone can be a great way to keep in touch. But don’t get long winded in your conversations, Just let them know you were thinking about them and want to see if there is a way you can help them. You may want to shoot them an email and schedule the call in advance.

6. Find a way to help them. No matter what you do, you are still in the service business.

7. Keep it brief. Keep all your correspondence as concise as possible.

Here is your homework for today. Think of three people you need to follow up with and either send them a letter or thank you note; call them; send an email; connect with them on social media; or think of a way you can help them.

It’s important for you to have a periodic marketing strategy review. You may even consider evaluating your online marketing strategy every 30 days. Here are a few questions to ask when doing your review.

Have you checked the metrics on your site and is it promoting the right message to your target audience? You should have your site set up in Google Analytics and be using Google’s Webmaster tools to monitor the performance of your site. Your content should reflect the wants and needs of your core audience. Make sure your site is search engine optimized for long-tail keywords. Research the keywords that fit your needs by using Google’s free keyword tool. And use lots of them. Don’t depend on one or two keywords for your SEO.

Are you leveraging social media in the most effective way possible to engage your target market? At the very least, you should have Twitter and LinkedIn accounts along with a Facebook Page. The key to success in this area is consistency. Post a few times per week or once daily. The optimal time to post to social media is generally early to mid-afternoon during the week.

Do you have a blog on your website that provides useful information? Posting short 200 – 300 word blog posts is a great way to build credibility and become the expert in the eyes of your clients and prospects.

Are you using article marketing sites to educate and inform people in your target market? Some people say article marketing is dead, but I know firsthand that it still works. It also helps you get more content to rank well on Google if you are using one of the better article marketing sites, such as ezinearticles.com.

Do you have a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly newsletter? This is a great way to maintain ongoing contact with the marketplace to keep that top-of-mind presence. Email marketing tools, such as Constant Contact provide easy to use templates for creating professional quality emails.

How do you compare to your competition? Find the keywords they are ranking on, study their content, and ask yourself if there are missed opportunities in your current business model when compared to your competition.

Are you using offline marketing strategies? Direct mail, networking, making phone calls, making appointments are all part of your overall marketing strategy. Just because you have online tools in place does not mean you can ignore traditional marketing.

If you do everything I listed above, you will have a great start on assuring your online marketing success.

Business owners are often confused as to what business they are in. I hear things like, “I am just here to serve. I don’t care about the money.” Really?

So you don’t need money for a home, car, clothes, travel, or food. That’s great. You are independently wealthy and do not need to make money! (Now back to reality)

Most people need to make money to stay in business, but they often forget that as they get caught up in the romantic notion of having their own business and changing the world.

Here’s the bottom line. It doesn’t matter what your product or service is, you are in the business of sales and marketing. Whether you are a chiropractor, professional speaker, coach, musician, or making widgets, you are ultimately in the sales and marketing business.

Without effective sales and marketing strategies in place, you will lose your business and you won’t be able to serve anyone. So, if you want to serve others and have a dramatic impact on the world, then build a successful business by learning everything you need to know about sales and marketing.

Here are a few tips to help you get started ramping up your sales and marketing efforts.

1. Work on your personal development. Read, attend seminars, or listen to audio CDs while you are driving. Do whatever you have to do to get better at sales and marketing.

2. Embrace online marketing strategies such as creating a great website, social media, newsletter campaigns, or pay-per-click advertising. Staying connected with your audience is a great way to avoid making “cold” calls. If you are keeping in touch with people on a regular basis, they will, at least, know a little about you before you pick up the phone to call them.

3. Learn how to use the phone. This will allow you to make the most of your time while reaching a lot of people. I know it’s difficult to pick up the phone and make that first sales call, but after you do it a few times, it will become second nature. Every successful business person I know is great at using the phone.

4. Don’t forget the traditional marketing strategies. For example, direct mail still works if it’s done the right way. A book that I recommend to clients who want to do direct mail campaigns is Dan Kennedy’s “The Ultimate Sales Letter”.

You still have to reach out to people and connect face-to-face. A website and social media are great tools, but you will have to use both online and offline strategies to achieve success in your business.

Always remember, regardless of the business you are in, you are ultimately in the sales and marketing business.

Business owners are using social media, their website, videos, and other online tools to grow their business. That is what everyone should be doing.

The big mistake I see businesses making now is thinking that is all they have to do. Online promotion and marketing is very, very important, but you can’t forget the offline tools you have at your disposal.

One of those tools is direct marketing. Remember paper? Remember envelopes and stamps? Remember that little stick looking thing that you hold in your hand to place words on a piece of paper? These things are still relevant. But you have to use the right technique to make it work. The most important part of launching a direct mail campaign is the sequence. This is something I learned from Dan Kennedy, arguably one of the greatest marketers of all time.

Most people have heard that it takes 7 or more “touches” before a sale can be made. Unfortunately they forget that concept when doing direct mail. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve got one direct mail piece from a local business and then never heard from them again. BIG MISTAKE!

The best strategy is to send a sequence of 7 direct mail pieces spaced a couple of weeks apart over a period of a few months.

The other part of the equation is to target a specific audience. Don’t shotgun your mail pieces to everyone. Select a very narrow market with the right message.

If you don’t craft the right message for each mailing, you will fail. Copywriting (writing words that sell) is extremely important. So if you don’t know how to write effective copy, hire someone.

Here is how my most recent direct mail campaign has gone. The first mailing in the sequence produced ZERO results. I didn’t get a single call or email.

The second mailing got a phone call, but no sale … yet.

The third mailing got a phone call and I started seeing my website visites increase.

On my fourth mailing, I have a client.

On the fifth mailing, I noticed several of the people on my mailing list downloaded my FREE ebook and subscribed to my newsletter. And I still have my sixth and seventh mailing to go out in the next few weeks.

So for a few hundred dollars, I have the following:

  • 1 client worth thousands of dollars.
  • Increased the number of visitors to my website.
  • Grown my email list because of people suscribing to my newsletter and downloading my ebook.
  • Increased exposure in my target market.

Increased my chances of acquiring future clients as a result of the relationship I have started to build through my direct mail marketing campaign and the subsequent online connection that was created through the direct mail campaign.

I would call that a fairly decent return on investment and I still have two more mailings to go in this campaign. So don’t downplay your offline marketing while spending time doing online marketing. You need both.

Your customer list is the number 1 asset in your business. With a large list of prospects and clients, you will sell more products, get more new consulting clients, get more referrals, or grow your business. It’s that simple.

What strategies do you have in place to grow your list?

Here are a few tried-and-true strategies that will help you accelerate the process of growing your list.

1. Make it a priority. Remember the number one asset in your business is your list.

2. Create a newsletter. You can use Constant Contact or AWeber. Both provide an easy to use interface that allows you to create a newsletter and generate a signup form for your website. There is no excuse for not having, at the very least, a monthly newsletter regardless of the business you are in.

3. Place a signup form on every page of your website to allow visitors to signup for your newsletter.

4. If you are a speaker, make sure you have a signup sheet at the event to collect email addresses.

5. Create a link in the signature file of your email that directs people to your signup form. Do the same on your business card.

6. Offer archives of your newsletter so anyone who may be interested in signing up can view a few sample newsletters.

7. Create a landing page, sometimes known as a squeeze page, to collect names and email addresses. You can offer a free download, white paper, report, or whatever you think would be of benefit to your target audience. Or you can sell a product.

8. Publish articles in places such as ezinearticles.com and create a link to your signup form in the resource box of your Ezine Articles profile.

9. Make sure you have a “Tell A Friend” link in your newsletter and make it easy for your readers to share your newsletter.

10. Place a signup form on your Facebook Page to collect names and email addresses.

It’s easier than ever to interact with your target market if you are willing to put in a little work. You have to be constantly building your list and providing value to your target market. The steps listed above give you the opportunity to do both.

In his 2005 Stanford commencement address to the graduating class, Steve jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

It’s impossible to connect the dots looking forward. We have to learn to trust our gut instincts and move into the future with assurance we will make the right decisions or, at the very least, make the best decision with the information we have available.

So many business owners struggle trying to “figure it out”. You can’t “figure it out” and there is no easy road to success. It’s rolling up your sleeves, losing sleep, not playing as much golf, and, most importantly, trusting your gut. Trusting what you already know.

You already know what to do. How many seminars, information products, webinars, and all the other things that we have all spent time and money on, does it take for us to finally realize we know what we need to know to make money in our business?

The longer I’m in business, the more I realize the importance of trusting my gut. I’ve had and still have great mentors. I have been influenced and continue to be influenced by interacting with these amazing people. Because of their influence, I have confidence in the fact that I can trust my gut because of what I’ve learned and what I’ve experienced in my own business.

And I can’t stress enough the importance of having a business coach or a mentor, even if you have to pay someone. This is the best investment you will make in your business.

When you think about what it takes to succeed in business, it’s really simple. Here are six key components.

1. Know how to market and sell. This sounds obvious, but so many people want to find other things to waste their time rather than doing what needs to be done to grow their business. If you are saying to yourself, “I’m just not good at sales”, then either get a job or start studying everything you can get you hands on about selling. Get out there and have conversations with potential customers. Do whatever you have to do to get better at marketing and selling.

2. Follow up with the people you come in contact with within a reasonable amount of time. Work on building long-lasting relationships.

3. Don’t hang around broke people being influenced by what they are doing (unless you want to be one of them).

4. Develop the self-discipline to get up every morning and do what has to be done with no excuses. Plan how you will invest you time and efforts. Follow through with your plan.

5. Develop systems for everything. When making sales calls by phone, document what works so you can repeat it. The same applies to making in-person calls. If you do a direct mail campaign, create a spreadsheet to document how many you mailed, how many you followed up on, and how many responded. Develop systems, measure your results, and know your numbers.

6. Develop confidence in everything you do. Know you will make mistakes and sometimes fail. Don’t base your self-esteem on your results. Base your self-esteem on the effort you make towards achieving the result. You can’t always control your results, but you can control the effort you make towards attaining them. If you know you’ve done everything possible, let it go and move on. Don’t let it affect your self-confidence or your self-esteem.

You already know what it takes to be successful. All that’s left is to learn how to trust your gut, take action, and keep moving forward.