Small Business Marketing Without Spending Money on Advertising

Is Your Small Business Marketing Delivering Clients and Profits? Small business marketing is too often a mystery for the typical small business owner. A major problem for them is that they look at what large businesses are doing and try to do the same thing on a smaller scale without determining if the strategies the big companies are using works. It’s ends being like the blind leading the blind.

As a small business owner, your marketing should have a single goal and that is to deliver customers who spend their money on your products or services. It’s not about “building a brand” or “top of mind awareness” or other terms agencies or media reps will try to sell you. If your prospect knows your brand but doesn’t know the benefits of buying from you or how you are going to help solve their problems or make their pain go away, do you think they will call you? I so, you are living an illusion. Your first job is to build a loyal following of customers. The brand-building comes later.

The 5 Steps to Increasing Sales Without Spending Money on Advertising.

Differentiate yourself from your competition a powerful Unique Selling Proposition. Your USP is the foundation of your marketing system. It tells your customers and prospects why they should buy from you and will benefit from doing so right now. The USP is different from an ad slogan or catchy phrase. It is the foundation on which you build your entire marketing strategy. Too many businesses start by creating their mission statement, which is why you are in business.

The problem with the mission statement is that your prospects don’t really give a hoot about your mission, how many years you’ve been in business or how many buildings you have. They care about one thing and one thing only – What will you do for them?

Send a letter, card or email to each of your customers thanking them for their business and giving them a special offer with a deadline. If you have never sent them a letter before, try this one. You will be amazed at the results!

Dear Customer,

We got to thinking a few days ago about what has made us so successful and the answer was immediately obvious. It is customers like you. We realized that we have never really expressed our appreciation for your business and want to do something about that.

What we’d like to do is make you an offer that is better-priced and provides you more savings than any offer we’ve made in the past! Why would we make such an offer? The answer is simple. You are worth more to us. You buy more frequently and we want to reward you for it.

For the next fourteen days, we are offering you a discount of X% off all of your purchases. In addition, we have created a few special package offers not available to the general public.

There is one catch. We ask that you be discreet. We are only making this offer to a select group of clients so when you talk to your sales person, quietly mention this letter and mention that you want to take advantage of the preferred client discount.

We hope that this special offer will show how much we appreciate your business. Thank you for your past business, your present business and your future business.

Sincerely, Your name, Business owner

Learn how to sell, particularly how to cross-sell and up-sell. Most business owners have had little if any, professional sales training and it shows. If you have a prospect in front of you, can you go through a rehearsed presentation that will uncover their needs and show how you are the solution? If not, you are leaving money on the table. It is very common for businesses to increase sales by 25% to 100% or more by learning professional selling skills. It is no secret that many of the highest income earners in the country are in the sales profession.

There are numerous books, CD programs and consultants that will teach you how to sell. It doesn’t matter what business you are in. The great thing is that once you learn to sell, you can teach your staff to do so as well and continually improve your results and performance. Think of it this way, would you rather spend thousands on an ad that may or may not work or would you spend the time and money to learn how to double your closing percentage or double your average sale? Get the skills before you invest a fortune on getting more prospects.

Collect customer data and market to your existing clients. Can you remember the last time a restaurant or retailer asked you for your name and address? Have they ever thanked you for buying from them or asked you to return? Who are your top clients? Which are in the top 20% in revenue and profits? How often are you calling, mailing or emailing them with special offers and other reasons to return. If you are the average business owner, the answer is NEVER! Can you see how far ahead of your competition you will be if you do this simple task? If you do not collect customer data and use it to develop a relationship with your clients, you are forever doomed to spending countless dollars trying to find the next customer.

By the way, you are not bothering most of your customers by asking for this information. Some will not want to give it to you. So what? If you ask 10 and 7 give it to you, you’ve collected information on 70% that you wouldn’t otherwise have!

Establish joint ventures and alliances. I’m not talking about referrals here. What you need to do is find non-competing businesses that have a customer profile similar to yours. You approach them and tell them you would like to form an alliance. You are going to pay for a mailing to their customers in which they endorse your services or product and you are going to do the same for them to your list.

People buy from people they know and trust. They also buy from businesses recommended by those who they know and trust. This is a very simple and very powerful marketing strategy and can easily bring you large numbers of new customers. You will need to set up a tracking system to track the success of your alliance. You will also need to have a database of clients to offer to your JV partner. This is another powerful reason you have for collecting your customer data.

If you implement the above marketing strategies, you WILL achieve exponential growth. It is common sense marketing. You should first market to those most likely to buy from you. Wow them with phenomenal products and services and get them to buy from you again. Implement a referral system to get their friends, family and associates buying from you. In the marketing consulting profession, after creating the USP, the first thing we do is to look for what we call the Low Hanging Fruit, which are your current and past customers. We implement the strategies above to deliver the sales increases you’ve dreamed about.

What You Never Knew About Business to Business Marketing

There is something very special that happens when one business markets to gain the trust and sales of another. The thought of most businesses catching the ignorant consumer’s attention by simple tricks, innuendos, and media hype is a good one… but simply doesn’t apply in the world of business to business marketing. The world of b2b marketing is so much more complex than most realize. Many of the standard marketing rules don’t apply when it comes to marketing to the average American (and even non-American) business. Even more so, there is a nice sized opportunity to grab this market, because not many have!

As most business owners begin their journey, they head straight towards consumer sales and marketing. Business to consumer (or b2c) marketing is hundreds of years old, and most of the same tactics work as they did back when our great-great grandparents rode around on horses while eating 1-cent candy. Luckily for us, many of these marketing strategies have been refined since the massive rise of internet business, and since then, the competition is bigger, but the rewards seem to grow as well. This also can be said for business to business marketing.

Business to business marketing has been a good friend of mine for a while. While I must say that it is probably the trickiest type of marketing to master, it is definitely the most rewarding. One of my first businesses operated in a manner in which it only sold to businesses, and very rarely to individuals. I quickly learned that although the competition wasn’t as plentiful as a pure B2C marketing environment… these b2b marketers really knew what they were doing, and they were NOT afraid to knock down crying children (aka, small b2b-aimed businesses) in the process. I will happily admit that I got trampled on more than once by these superior B2B powerhouses. Needless to say, I have learned enough lessons to fill an entire book on the subject.

Business to business marketing is almost like losing weight. It takes a while to learn what works and what doesn’t. Like all business matters, b2b marketing can best be described as a “trial and error” type of process. Methods that work for your b2b marketing efforts may not work for your competitors. It’s all in how you brand yourself. Setting yourself apart is key here. Don’t get the wrong idea… I’m not telling you to go out and re-design your logo to include tacky, neon colors… No … No… No. There’s a way to set yourself apart, while being completely slick about it.

Getting your point across in a creative, yet efficient matter has been the core of all of my own b2b marketing campaigns. Get creative, elicit a laugh, a chuckle, or even a lasting question in the client’s mind. Don’t let them see your advertisement or marketing materials and NOT remember it! While doing this can prove to be risky at times, I promise, if you really delve into the art of “trial and error” you’ll get it right if you pay attention to the numbers. To decipher a winning campaign, pay attention to every detail… your website stats, and where your traffic is coming from. Don’t forget to ask all phone callers where they saw your ad, and why they decided to call. The feedback you get from this process will prove to be priceless in all of your own business marketing efforts!