Are you spending time ‘on’ your business as well as ‘in’ it? Whether you have a shop, sell products or offer a service, you need to constantly advertise.
What are your strengths? How can you build on them? What needs improving?
What changes do you need to make? Is your customer service second to none?
As you ponder, I’ll share a story with you…
Here’s how to lose easy sales by slipping up on basics. I’ve shopped at a small local independent store for South African staples such as chutney, seasoning etc for the past year.
Recently, stock delivery was late. The owner reassured me stock would be in by X date. No problem. I returned on X date to still no delivery. Further assurances offered…
Two weeks on, I called the shop. No one picked up the phone and there wasn’t an answer machine/telephone answering service in place. No email contact either. Frustrating.
After another trip there, still no delivery date. Not once was I asked for my contact details so they could let me know in person should new stock surface – if any.
And since they didn’t answer the phone again when I tried to contact them after another week passed, it felt like a waste of time. I never went back… It wasn’t the stock issue – I just lost faith in them…
How many other customers experienced the same? How many of them went elsewhere?
As this story shows, poor communication can put off even the most loyal customers. Something for every business owner to think about…
10 money-making marketing tips
As you know, it’s important to keep current customers happy whilst attracting new ones. Here are some practical marketing ideas to help you achieve both:
1: Give away a bonus
What information can you share to promote your expertise and offer unbeatable value in one go? When you give away a short report, eBook or advice sheet to help people, it shows you are not just out to sell, sell, sell.
By offering snippets of free information first, this can encourage prospects to buy a paid programme later on. Dangle a carrot before offering the whole veggie box! Try before you buy…
2: Blog it
If you haven’t a business blog, you’re missing out. Blogging fresh content:
- is an incredible tonic for your website’s health
- starts conversations with new customers
- enables you to show you are an industry leader
Better still, when promoted through social media and newsletters, for example, your blog posts can be shared with thousands of potential customers.
What is that kind of publicity worth to your business?
3: Keep in touch
Do you regularly stay in touch with past customers? Do you send them emails, newsletters or pick up the phone? What are you doing to stay in your customers’ minds?
You’ve already earned their trust. Now keep it by building on a positive relationship. A regular newsletter is a fantastic way to share latest news, send out offers and reward previous customers. If you don’t keep in touch, they might go elsewhere.
Try grouping your data base to send more personalised, targeted newsletters. This way you’ll be able to tailor it just for them. Might seem like more work, but it could be more successful.
Besides, this is a perfect job to outsource so you don’t even have to take time away from your business to do it.
4. Partner up
Some business owners hit a brick wall at times and don’t know how to climb it. The different ways round or over it initially seem hard to negotiate. Only if you think that way.
Here’s a fast way to double your audience: find a complementary business to connect with.
If you produce organic skincare, can you partner with another gift outlet, beauty business or even farm shops who promote local products?
It’s a great way for both businesses to not only offer extra value to current customers, but increase revenue.
Get started by networking locally and online…
5: Shout about it
I bet clients have raved about your service or products for years, haven’t they? Do you have a bank of testimonials you use to promote how great you are?
What clients say about your service is marketing gold dust. You don’t even have to dig for it! Just remember to ask…
Where can you use testimonials? Your website, in emails, newsletters, sales letters, leaflets – anywhere, in fact. Post short testimonials on Twitter or Facebook. It works…
Whenever I post a latest testimonial on Facebook, for example, someone always comments or congratulates me. A pat on the back feels great. Try it. You’ve earned it.
Think of a testimonial as a good news story. It’s not boasting – it’s showing the difference your business makes.
After all, if you don’t initially shout about what you do, who will? Don’t waste the chance to show off a little…
Something you might not have considered; happy customers reveal the exact difference you make to them. For instance, it was only when one of mine told me I completely changed how she thought about her business, that I realised my value was more than selling words…
Your current customers bought from you. You’ve overcome all their objections and provided a fantastic service. Great stuff…
How do you encourage repeat business? What else you could offer to continue to make their life easier or save them money? Try:
- customer discounts
- a referral reward programme/loyalty scheme
- a bundle of services/products
- birthday postcards with money off voucher
- buy 3 get 4 offers
Services bundled together can be a profitable way to help customers with a range of problems – whilst ensuring you always offer them extra value. Win-win.
7: Sign your name
Does your email signature stay the same year in year out? Whilst key contact details are important, why not be more creative? Use that space to promote something specific.
You could include:
- latest testimonials
- links to a new product, service or programme
- time-limited offers
Not all at once though. Stagger ideas during the year and change when appropriate.
8: Outsource to increase business
When you try to do everything in your business, you do nothing well. Stalemate. Just because it take you three (teeth-clenching) weeks to write your web copy, it won’t take a professional that long.
One of the ironies of business is you must spend some money to make it. And since advertising and marketing, for example, is an allowable expense which you can claim tax on, what’s stopping you?
A good place to start is decide what your time is worth. What do you do best? If newsletter writing, admin or social media networking, for instance, isn’t your strength, pay for someone else to do it. Don’t struggle on.
You’d be amazed how quickly you’ll get things done and how much business you can generate by enlisting the support of other professionals at the top of their game.
9. Get tweeting!
Twitter is big news. Are you part of the conversation? Is it one of your networking avenues?
Scores of businesses owners and brands are tapping into its revenue stream right now. If you’ve not earned business through Twitter, you’re going about it the wrong way.
Twitter is a slow grower. You won’t sell the moment you follow someone. But over time – after building up a loyal following – you’d be amazed at the opportunities.
I’ve received many referrals through Twitter, or blog posts have led to new clients. And sometimes I’ve been in the right place at the right time when someone wants help.
Like any other networking, relationship building is the key to success. Try it. Why not open an account today if your brand isn’t on Twitter? Speak to me if you’re not sure how.
10: Choose the right words
For marketing to pay off, you need to tick several boxes. As well as what you do, what you say is crucial. Do your sales words cut through the noise?
To entice buyers, they must:
- overcome objections
- inspire trust
- appeal to emotions
- deliver what people want
After all, the best sales writing is never about you – it’s about giving your customers something valuable. Making their life better in some way.
Just telling prospects you’re brilliant isn’t enough. Get to know your customers… Show you care about what they care about. Once you’ve earned their trust, only then can you sell…
Have any of these worked for you? Which one will you try next?