Market Your Business Properly!

By far the biggest mistake I see in small businesses is failure to market your business properly.

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you are normally focused on delivering your product or service.

If you are a dry cleaner, you try to give the best possible dry cleaning service.

If you are an accountant, you make sure all accounts are done on time and as correctly as possible for your clients.

If you are a chiropractor you make sure you fix people’s spinal problems as painlessly and quickly as possible.

Get the picture?

However, when you have your own business your attitude has to change. Instead of being in the business of delivering your product or service, you should be in the business of MARKETING your product or service.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t give great service; that you should forget all about your customers and stop doing what you are doing.

I am saying that if you want to be truly successful you have to spend time, effort and money marketing yourself and your business – and make that your prime effort.

You see, marketing is the activity where you make customers or clients aware that your product or service is available and can be bought. It is the activity that makes the prospect contact you, whether it’s calling you, visiting your website, walk into your store or requesting a brochure. Without marketing, nobody knows about you.

Selling is the process of converting that contact or enquiry into a paying customer.

You can market your products or services by talking about them. You can send out leaflets or put up cards in a local shop. You can have business premises with signs on the outside and maybe displays in the windows. This is all marketing.

Imagine if you didn’t do any marketing at all. Nobody knows about you. You are sitting inside with shutters down, no signage and you don’t tell anybody about what you do.

Are you going to get many customers?

You can’t even sell to anybody. Remember, you sell to those who are contacting you because of your marketing. Nobody knows about you – so you can’t sell.

The only way to start selling is to let people know you are there. Let them know what you do. Now you start getting enquiries, and if you are any good at selling you’ll get customers or clients.

Marketing is what drives your business. Make it your first priority. Marketing comes first – before any sales are possible!

Marketing is the difference between going out of business and thriving. Finding more prospects, get them to contact you and then sell them your products or services is the key to being successful.

It’s even more important to concentrate on marketing during a recession. When most other companies are pulling back on marketing, the savvy business owner sacrifices short term profits to ensure new customers keep flowing in continuously.

How do you get more customers or clients?

Most businesses rely on only one or two methods. If you do too then you leave yourself open to risk.

For instance, if you mainly use advertising to draw new customers, what would you do if your adverts stopped working? What if a cheaper competitor is running a bigger ad right next to yours, with a better offer, and nobody calls you anymore?

One business I owner I recently spoke to relied on advertising – then thought they spent too much money on it and stopped all of their advertising. They are now out of business…

Your key to success is to not only have one marketing method, but to run many methods simultaneously.

I would strongly recommend that you should have at least 5 different methods to attract new customers, and that at no stage should any of these methods account for more than 1/3 of new business you get.

Here is a short list marketing methods you could use: Advertising, Referral Systems, Networking, Public Relations, Testimonials, Signs, Sponsorships, Direct mail, Radio commercials, Telemarketing, Free workshops, and Joint Ventures.

Another classic mistake is failing to define what you want to achieve.

In fact, this is pervasive through all kinds of businesses at all levels. Having worked for the European Headquarters of a global, Fortune 250 company, the management hardly ever defined exactly what they wanted us to achieve. We spent much time guessing, creating something, and sometimes we were spot on, at other times we weren’t.

But if you don’t know what you want, how do you know when you are successful?

When you advertise, what do you want to achieve?

No, “more sales” doesn’t cut the mustard. It’s not specific enough.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

I have information I want to give away. It’s incredibly valuable information for anybody in business, and I wanted to find people who were interested in it. I wanted those people to raise their hands and say “yeah, we are interested!”

I decided I wanted them to call and leave their name and address on an answering service – it’s non-threatening, it doesn’t take up my time and it’s convenient for the caller; they can call in the middle of the night if they wish (and they do!)

When I have their name and address I can move on to the next stage – sending them the free report.

So I ran a simple classified advert using very specific text and techniques. In that advert I used a single call to action. It only leaves them one option. They make a call to a specific number, or they miss out.

The whole advert is created to achieve this one goal: I wanted interested people to raise their hand and tell me their name and address.

Was it successful? Let’s just say I ran the advert again…

You see, people get confused when you give them a choice. If you try to do two things at once they often take no action at all.

So, what do you want to achieve with your advert?

Do you want people to pick up the phone and make a booking or buy something?

Do you want them to cut out the ad, write a date in their calendar and then turn up at that date with the advert in their hands?

You can make them do that – but only when you are 100% clear on what you want them to do – and tell them that clearly in your advert.

If you’d like help to create effective adverts that bring in customers or clients, call Jennie on 902 789 660 or contact us!

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