Professional marketing, friendly budgets, great ideas…
Posts Tagged ‘marketing for small business’« Older Entries |
Wednesday, April 6th, 2011
In these days of social media, online marketing, SEO and more sometimes going back to basics is the way to go. I'm talking about "lo-teching" your marketing.
I did some direct mail marketing for a client of mine and I decided we should do a 'split test'. You see, the DM approach is usually the glossy flyer or promotional item sent to you target market in the hopes this impresses them so much that they become your customer. and if done right that can work.
However, one of the biggest barriers to DM is getting your 'target' to even open your letter or packet or read the flyer that comes through their door.
So our split test involved a really simple tactic
Have a think…. If a letter comes through the door with a nicely printed label and/or a 'logo-ed' post mark, one of the first assumptions you might make is that it's junk mail. If you receive a handwritten letter, then what do you think? And which one are you more likely to open?
That was the essence of our split test. We bought in a database and sent letters containing a postcard to each of them. (We did this so that even if they didn't read the letter they might take notice of the postcard.)
On 50% of the letters we used printed labels. On the other 50%, we hand wrote each and every one, and put stamps on them (not post marks).
What do you think happened? From which 50% did we see our best results?
If you are more likely to open a handwritten letter (and think why this may be), then can you see how "lo-teching" your marketing can sometimes beat the high-tech, slick (and usually more expensive) methods?
Why is this important for small business marketing?
Small businesses are usually operating on a smaller budget. This is especially useful if you have the time but not the money to invest into your marketing. I always say to my clients: "You wither have to invest money in your marketing or time (and ability)." if you don't have the time then you have to invest money. If you don't have the money then you need to invest the time – and of course you need to be able to so what you want to do. If you don't have the skill – you need to learn.
How can you learn to do your own marketing?
Well you can sign up to marketing tips sites and newsletters. You can read marketing blogs and get some really useful ideas. But what most of these ideas won't do is get you to really understand your marketing and how to approach it so that you don't waste money on doing things just because you think you "should".
I have launched a programme aimed specifically at small business owners who want to understand their marketing and how to do it for best effect rather than wasting money they don't have and being disappointed. It's called Marketing Magic and you can find out more here.
It's not always about "lo-teching" your marketing but if you know the options you have at your disposal and which ones are best for your business, then wouldn't that be a good thing??
Tuesday, September 14th, 2010
You may remember (or may not as it has been a while since I updated this blog – just blame the fact of being Just Too Busy!) that I did a post on how to make networking work for your business. If you don’t remember, and I won’t blame you if you don’t, then here is the full article from last November : “Networking: How to make it work for your business”.
Well, I am delighted to say that the authentic networking I mentioned in that article has now taken shape as an actual, real-live event: the new Authentic Networking group for small businesses based in Horsham, Worthing and everywhere in between.
Now in the context of a potentially (if not actually) global blog, that probably doesn’t sound like much. But for me it is a personal achievement that I have been wanting to do for some time.
I am a member of some excellent networking groups, but I’ve always felt that networking isn’t always undertaken with the right mindset – hence the formation of Authentic Networking.
Our first meeting is on 28th September at Whites Bar & Kitchen in Steyning, West Sussex and the attendee list for this fledgling group is looking very healthy indeed. So if you are, or know of, a business based in West Sussex that would like to do some authentic networking for their business then have a look at the site. And I hope to see you (or them) there.
Not much else to say on this, except hopefully it won’t be so long between posts.
Tags: authentic networking, business marketing, business networking, marketing for small business, net, networking, networking for business, networking for your business, networking is marketing, small business marketing
Posted in Business Focus, General, Just Too Busy | Comments Off
Monday, April 26th, 2010
It’s a blind date and you’ve been set up by your BFF with one of her boyfriend’s work colleagues. You’ve spent most of the afternoon getting ready, you’re on your way to the snazzy restaurant you both settled on and you’re starting to get a little nervous and wondering if he’ll be attractive, nice, interesting or funny – or all of the above.
Then you walk through the door and none of that matters. He takes one look at you and bolts through the back door! What did you do wrong? You didn’t even get to say hello. What on earth could have caused him to flee so suddenly?
Do you think the fact that you are wearing a wedding dress just might have had something to with it? Err duh! Of course! Who turns up to a blind date in a wedding dress? It screams D E S P E R A T E!!! And no-one wants to go out with someone who is that desperate – do they?
So is your business wearing a wedding dress?
What I’m really asking is: are you desperate for more clients? Has the last year and the economic crisis had a negative impact on your business? Is your business struggling? Would you do anything to get a flood of new clients through the door?
If you answered YES to any of these questions or would answer yes to anything remotely similar then your business is wearing a wedding dress and your clients and potential clients can probably tell that you are – just as easily as that guy could see the wedding dress (and his blind date) walking through the door of that snazzy restaurant!
The one thing that won’t get you more clients, more business, more money is looking like you are desperate for any of them. The key to having clients that are confident in you and your business is to maintain that confidence yourself. After all, most small businesses go through a quite patch at some point – mine did last summer – but what I didn’t do was panic.
Yes I was worried – it’s not nice to have a quiet time when you run your own business it’s lonely out there – but I stayed confident in what I was offering and the one thing I didn’t do was turn up in a wedding dress.
So what does a business wearing a wedding dress look like?
Quite simply it looks like any business that is doing this:
- Slashing their prices left, right and centre
- Over-marketing to the same groups of people or subscribers – this includes too many emails or too much follow-up
- Knee-jerking by trying to create new services or products without really planing them properly or thinking them through
- Coming on too strong in potential sales situations and then giving away too much too easily
- And many more
And just as turning up to a blind date in a wedding dress can be a bit frightening to the other party, so are the actions of any business that is panicking. People are turned off by it and may ultimately wonder if there is something wrong with your business which is causing you to panic.
So, even if times have been or still are tough -and they are for many – the one thing not to do is panic. Your customers and potential customers will know it and this will not encourage them to walk through your door but rather run the other way.
Confident marketing and branding is always important but never more so when things are hard and it’s easy to have a wobbly. Have a sit down and think about what it is that is keeping customers away (it’s usually more than just money) and see what you can do to fix it in terms of your marketing or your business model. Get creative and have fun with it – after all you have some time on your hands so you might as well stay positive and put it to good use!
Just remember to keep that wedding dress locked tightly away in the closet and make sure you have your best Marc Jacobs or Caroline Herrera outfit on!
Monday, February 15th, 2010
How to quick-start, kick-start your marketing….
If you know you should be doing marketing for your business but aren’t getting round to it then here are a few ideas to get your marketing off the ground, quickly:
- Find ONE networking group in your area and go along as a guest – more groups will let you participate as a member and you can meet new people quickly and easily without spending a fortune. It will also give you the opportunity to see if you might even want to join that networking group. If, however, you don’t think it’s for you then you haven’t spent a fortune to find this out.
- Sort out your email signature – if this doesn’t have – at the very least – your website address and your phone number in it – along with your logo, then you are wasting a FREE marketing opportunity every single time you send out an email. Ideally your email signature should also have a client testimonial in it and you can think about changing that every few months or so and perhaps promoting any special offers you have going on.
- Either start a blog or find one that perhaps you can guest post on. This is more simple than it sounds: go into Google Reader, browse or search for different types of blogs that have a relevance for your area of expertise or knowledge, visit the blog and send the owner an email offering your guest post services. You will get yourself some quick and easy online exposure (especially if it is a well-read blog) as your post will have your name, business and web link in it.
That’s it: a 1,2,3 way to quick-start, kick-start your marketing. It’s always hard to find time to market your business but if you need more customers then, without marketing, how do you think they are going to know about you?
Go on, get started today!!
Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
Yes I am having a rant!
Very simply, it really frustrates me to see “Internet Marketing” being touted as the answer to a small business’s marketing dreams. I come across so many instances of pure marketing being substituted with Internet marketing that I wonder if anyone who reads that information will ever move beyond the IM holy grail of building a list, selling online products and holding teleseminars and workshops (oh and don’t forget the flagship product of exclusive one-to-one coaching.)
So yes I am having a rant about how Internet marketing is portrayed and then perceived by its intended audience. What do I mean?
Tags: business marketing, How to market your business, Marketing, marketing experts and consultants, marketing for small business, marketing your business, small business marketing, successful marketing
Posted in Just Too Busy, Marketing | Comments Off
Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
This post covers what I think is one of the most effective ways of generating leads for your business: Networking – the traditional face to face type.
As most networking groups wind down for the Christmas break, now is the perfect time to look at what your networking strategy is going to be for the New Year. And by strategy I simply mean how are you going to be using networking to promote your business?
Networking is Marketing
If you aren’t doing any networking as yet for your business, it is certainly something you should be thinking about. Networking is a very useful marketing strategy. To get the most out of your networking, however, you need to consider the following:
1. Networking is a long-term strategy. You may think that if after your first networking meeting you don’t walk away with a new client then it has been a waste of time. Wrong! Although it is certainly possible to walk away from your very first meeting with a new client (or a potential one), it is not how you should be viewing your networking strategy. Networking is about meeting new people, developing relationships with them and establishing your credibility with those people.
2. Networking is NOT selling. I like to think of networking as a press release rather than an advert. You do not walk into a networking event and shout, “Hey I’m from Just Too Busy, I do marketing, come and buy from me or send me people who will!” That’s networking as advertising and there are some groups who think this is how it works.
What you should be doing is talking and listening to people at the event, perhaps making some suggestions based around your area of expertise, offering advice, giving feedback – basically being helpful and demonstrating that you know what you are talking about and are not at all interested in the sell, but in building relationships with your fellow networkers.
3. Networking is about brand. Taking into account points 1 and 2 above, your networking is about your brand. Your brand is the essence of your business and should be what you aim to promote at every single networking event. Promoting your brand means ensuring that you have a clear “elevator pitch” – one that tells people what you do without the sell attached. It also means that you have a very clear understanding of your business brand including your service/product offering and your target market.
4. Networking is about getting business. At the end of the day, networking should be about getting new business for your business. This must be the point of any marketing in the end. But it is how you approach that getting of new business that defines the type of marketing strategy you use. Networking is essentially about building relationships, establishing your credibility and promoting your business with a long-term view. Any networking that promotes quick wins or instant referrals isn’t promoting the type of networking that really works, the type that I like to call “authentic networking”.
So what is Authentic Networking? For me Authentic Networking is:
* Long-term investment of time (not just money)
* Developing new relationships (not just buyers)
* Being there to establish your credibility (not just status)
* Looking to gain freely given testimonials (not just pressured referrals)
* Helping your fellow networkers where you can (not just looking to sell, sell, sell).
So, whether you are already networking or whether you have yet to start, I hope these points will help you approach it in a way that in the long-term, both for getting you new business and for your reputation, will, I think, do you and your business the most good.
If you have any questions about your networking strategy then feel free to get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: business marketing, business networking, how to develop your brand, marketing for small business, marketing tips, networking for your business, networking is marketing, successful marketing
Posted in Just Too Busy, Marketing | 1 Comment »
Friday, November 13th, 2009
Use joint ventures to cut your marketing budget in half and double your list…
Small businesses are always looking for ways to save money – especially right now. Joint venture marketing is a perfect way to do this. You share the costs and you share the list.
And it’s EASY!
So in this installment of the Marketing Basics: 17 Ways to Generate Leads for your Business, I am going to give you some ideas on how you can generate leads for your business while keeping your costs down using joint venture marketing. (more…)
Tags: business marketing, joint venture marketing, Marketing, Marketing basics, marketing budgets, marketing for small business, marketing tips, small business marketing, successful marketing
Posted in Just Too Busy, Marketing | Comments Off
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
How to break free of the marketing activities
that everyone else says you should be doing!
As a small business owner, responsible for pretty much everything from running the finances, to making the tea, from organising your diary to doing the marketing, have you ever felt overwhelmed by all the different marketing activities you think you should be doing – because everyone else is?
I know I have done in the past!
I have spoken to three people in the last week or so where the topic of conversation was just this: what marketing should I be doing and how do I know it’s the right thing?
With more and more ways to communicate with your target market, it seems that the choices for marketing activity is just growing. The explosion of social media has just compounded this. For example some people say that to be effective in your marketing you SHOULD be doing a monthly email newsletter, a weekly or daily blog, Twittering like crazy and regular online networking etc.
WRONG! Your marketing, your specific marketing for your specific small business, is just that: specific. Just because other people are doing those things, doesn’t mean you have to or SHOULD.