Global Marketing Plus

Tips and Tricks for Small Business Success

Archive for July, 2009

How Much Time And Money Should You Spend On Marketing?

July 30, 2009 By: Ron Coleman Category: General Business, Getting business to come to you, Marketing

The best methods of marketing your business in the beginning will tend to require a lower cash outlay in exchange for a bigger investment of time and energy.  Until your business is a little more mature, you should be willing to spend at least 40% of your time and money on marketing.

When your business is more successful and busy,you should at least maintain 20 to 30% of your time to maintain you sales.  Too many times I have seen businesses get successful and the owner slacks off too much on marketing, thinking he has enough business, only to find his business in trouble in just a few weeks.

The best time to market is when you have enough business!  If you wait until sales slow down, you may have to suffer through a longer slow period while you try to build sales again.

 As your business grows and your more busy with customers, you will probably spend more money and less time in your marketing efforts.

Marketing methods differ as to how fast they produce business.  As a rule, going out to find business has faster results than getting business come to you.  Writing personal letters, calling on the phone or calling on potential customers by going door-to-door or business-to-business will probably be quicker than direct mail or advertising.  They will even better than doing networking!

Next Monday, I will talk about 5 ways you can get business fast. 

Have a profitable Friday and a good weekend!

5. What Marketing Methods Does Your Competitor Use?

July 30, 2009 By: Ron Coleman Category: General Business, Getting business to come to you, Marketing

And is it working?  If they continue to use one or two methods consistently, it is generally a sign  that these methods are working. 

This can save you a lot of time and money.  Instead of experimenting with unproven methods for your industry, look at what both local and national companies are doing.  If you look deeply, you may find that some of their most successful methods are the less expensive ways.

6. Track your marketing efforts.  One big mistake that a business will make in marketing is not tracking their results.  Many times when clients come to me and ask how to save their business, I ask them what marketing methods they are using, how much they are paying for advertising, and which ones are working.  Most know what they are using, some know how much they are paying, but almost none know which ones are working.  Do you know how many people came in from the phone book last month?

Set up some way to track how each new client learned about you.  At least make sure that new customers, phone callers, etc are asked how they learned about you.  Then collect that information.  By the end of the month you should have totals of:

  • How many people learned about you from each one of your marketing methods
  • How many of those people actually became customers
  • How much each new customer bought from you

Using simple math, you can then find out how much it cost you per customer from each marketing mix.  For example, you may find it cost you $100.00 per customer for your newspaper campaign in one paper, $125.00 per customer in another newspaper, $175.00 per customer from yellow pages, and $25.00 per customer from your website.  Where would you want your customers to come from?  Of course it would be more profitable for the $25.00 customer!  Put more of your marketing money there and maybe cut back on the $175.00 cost per customer.

Then you can find out how profitable the customers are and how well your marketing methods are working by using math to find out if the customers are costing you money or making a profit by how much they actually spend.

There are a lot of other things you could learn about the results of your marketing. 

How well are each of your marketing methods working for you?

Tomorrow we will discuss how much time and money should you spend on marketing!  Now go out and have a profitable day!

3. Never Rely On Only One Marketing Method At A Time.

July 29, 2009 By: Ron Coleman Category: General Business, Getting business to come to you, Marketing

Putting all your marketing eggs in one basket can be dangerous.  Over the years, I have seen many business owners put all their efforts in one method to market their business only to find that that method didn’t work for them.  By that time they had run out of money and had no way to continue on.  Almost every one of them went out of business!

Allocate what money you have to several methods at the same time to find out which ones produce the best results.

Remember, if money is limited, use your other marketing asset… your time.

4. Select marketing activities that will complement each other.  For example, if you are speaking at a  conference that will be attended by many of your prospective clients, you might want to advertise in the conference program guide.  Send a news release about your appearance to the newsletter of the appropriate trade associations.  Do a mailing to individuals that may be attending the conference that you want to meet.  Hand out materials at the conference and include a special offer good for the week of the conference.  If booths are available at the conference, you might want to rent a booth making it easy for attendees to approach you throughout the conference.

Tomorrow we will look at even more guidelines. 

Be sure to have a profitable day today!

Selecting Your Promotional Mix

July 28, 2009 By: Ron Coleman Category: General Business, Getting business to come to you, Marketing

Here are a few guidelines for finding a marketing mix that brings you the most business for the least money.

The measure of a successful marketing campaign is the extent to which it reaches at the lowest possible cost the greatest number of people who can and will buy your product or service. 

1. Choose methods that you will look forward to trying out.  Don’t force yourself to use methods that will be excessively stressful.  You will probably just end up abandoning them. You need to enjoy the tasks involved.  For example:  if you hate speaking to groups of people, don’t put seminars or workshops into your marketing mix.  If you look carefully, there are likely several workable methods which will suit your talents.

2. Choose the marketing methods that will provide you access to the people you want to reach the easiest and the least costly way. Investigate to discover what ways you could use that will most likely reach the people you want to contact with the least amount of effort.  Research and find out what your target market reads.  Where do they gather?  What would likely catch their attention?  Where do they shop?  Which radio stations do they listen to?

For me, I get in front of a lot of my target market by attending networking meetings and leads groups.  Check with your chamber of commerce and see if they sponsor networking meetings.  There are a lot of free or very cheap networking groups and lead groups  around.  You don’t necessarily have to pay hundreds of dollars a year.  On the other hand, many find the leads groups that cost more to be more effective.  If it costs hundreds of dollars a year, a more serious business person will usually be there. 

Also those groups that cost more will usually only allow one member from each industry.  This makes it so that if anyone has a lead in your field, you will be the one to get it.  Cheap or free groups usually allow anyone to attend.  This will mean you may have your competition showing up to the meetings.

Tomorrow we will look at more guidelines.  Until then, have a profitable day.

How Will You Spread The Word About Your Products Benefits To Those Who Need Them?

July 27, 2009 By: Ron Coleman Category: General Business, Getting business to come to you, Marketing

Successful marketers feel compelled to let people know about what they offer, even if they are shy.  It is this drive that spurs their creativity to find imaginative ways to get the word out.

Without the funds to pay for elaborate marketing efforts, your own compelling sense of passion becomes the essential element that will attract business.  That kind of passion will show through all your spoken and written communication from simply introducing yourself to describing what you do in a classified ad or website. 

That drive will propel you to find the best marketing methods available to you and to create innovative and inexpensive ways to use them.

In 1974, when I bought my first company that was on the verge of bankruptcy, I knew that what I had to offer was better than what my competitors had.  I was very passionate about it.  That created a drive that allowed me to overcome my shyness to build the business by 3,000% in only 3 months!

What Is Unique About Your Product Or Service?

July 24, 2009 By: Ron Coleman Category: General Business, Getting business to come to you, Marketing

Why would someone buy from you instead of your competition?  Stand out from the crowd by finding what is unique and let your customers know and how it makes you better.

I mentioned in a previous post about a printing company I bought that was just like all the other printers in the area.  I created a new division of the company called Medi-forms.  This company specialized in printing medical forms for hospitals, doctors and other medical facilities.  When I called a medical related company, just by telling them that that was all we did (even though the parent company printed anything, Medi-form ONLY printed medical related printing), we stood out and was unique from any competition.  How can the other printers compete with that?

Somehow your potential customers and clients have to be able to determine why they should select your product or service over similar products and services.  They most likely will not see that advantages of your services automatically.  You will have to point it out.

To help find your USP (Unique Selling Position), study your competition.  Find out what they provide and how they provide it.  How does this compare with what you do?  Chances are there are some differences.  Within these differences lie the reasons someone should choose you over your competition.

If you find that there are some things your competitor does better than you, see if you can improve those things in your own company.  Or, in some cases, you might want to turn those things into a positive thing.  For example, in one of the companies that I owned, the competition was a lot bigger with a much larger staff that was more experienced and a nice large building.  I made that into a positive for me by pointing out that our overhead was less and thus our prices were less.  I also pointed out that we usually were able to turn around their jobs faster.  I also pointed out that doing business with us was less hassle.

See what you can do about finding those special things you do different for your customers

How Does What You Do Benefit Those You Serve?

July 23, 2009 By: Ron Coleman Category: General Business, Getting business to come to you, Marketing

How are your customer’s lives or business improved by your product or service? The procedures, materials, formats and other features of your product or service are important to you.  But those who need your product or service only care about what those features will do for them.   Your job is to answer your customers question: What’s in it for me?  (WIIFM).  Clients want to know that what you provide will meet their needs; what they can count on from you; and what improvement or benefit to their life, job, or business will they get for the money they will spend.

What benefit does your product or service provide?  Will it save your customers money, time, or effort? Can you make them compete better in their market?  Can you make the buyer look good to his boss? Can you give them peace of mind?

Put yourself into your customer’s shoes, then if you talk, promote and advertise from that perspective, your potential customers will be more likely to take notice, become interested, and decide to buy.

To help you shift your thinking from seller to buyer, pretend you are buying the product or service from someone else.  Do role playing with both you as the buyer and then as the seller.  Talk to those who use your products or services, either from you or your competitor.  Listen to them  and find out their needs and concerns.  How does your product or service meet those needs and concerns?

So this is the marketing shift #1. 

Develop A Marketing Campaign Tailored For You

July 22, 2009 By: Ron Coleman Category: General Business, Getting business to come to you, Marketing

If you have a product or service that solves a problem, you have customers trying to find you right this minute!  But they don’t know where you are and you probably don’t know where they are!  Somehow you must find each other.  This is where marketing comes in.  It shows those who need you where to find you.

There are probably a lot of other businesses that have similar products or services as yours, so marketing also helps distinguish you from your competition.  It allows you to stand our from the crowd.

The successful marketers I have talked with are successful in attracting business by putting in place a variety of promotional activities that support and enhance one another  to provide them with the most possible customers within their time and money limits

What these successful marketers have in common is that they have a marketing mindset — they are excited about finding ways to let people know about them.  This mindset enables them to come up with creative and cost-effective ways to attract business rather than having to sell.

I have found that even those who are new to business and marketing, by working with a marketing mindset they were able to create effective ways to attract business.

Working with these successful marketers was exciting because I realized that anyone can become a successful marketer by making three mental shifts in thinking about his or her business.

Tomorrow I will discuss the three mental shifts.

Lesson #5: Become An Expert Marketeer!

July 21, 2009 By: Ron Coleman Category: General Business, Getting business to come to you, Marketing

Very few of the successful small business owners I have worked with were expert sales people, however, most were excellent marketeers in that they used a variety of methods to attract new customers.

They didn’t run a normal ad, their ads sparkled.  They didn’t have the normal brochure, their brochures had unique colors and folds.  Their mailings weren’t normal, they included gifts.  They didn’t simply attend a lot of network meetings, they spoke engagingly before those groups.  If there were no networking groups that fit their needs, they started their own.

The only difference between a great marketeer and other business owners is using the marketing tools in more personalized ways.

Marketing can open the doors to strategic alliances, establish you as an expert in your field, and generate a stream of customers who are eagerly seeking what you and only you can offer.

Most of the things an expert marketeer does to attract attention are not costly, but they are effective.  Over the years, as I have turned around near bankrupt companies, I have found that the best ways to let potential customers and clients know about the products and services the company offers were not the most expensive.  In fact, in most cases for small businesses, using standard and expensive advertising can be a kiss of death when you find the advertising does not work.  Many run out of money and give up, thinking that there is no market for what they do.

So how do you find which method will actually work for you as a small business?  Can you really use direct mail to get business?  Will advertising be a waste of your money? 

Tomorrow we will begin to explore how to develop a marketing campaign that is tailored for your needs.

Sample of Small Business Marketing

July 20, 2009 By: Ron Coleman Category: General Business, Getting business to come to you, Marketing, Uncategorized

Today I watched a commercial for Home Depot on TV that depicts a small hair cutting business.  Across the street a large hair cutting chain opens for business.  The chain offers haircuts for $6.00 which the small business owner cannot compete with. 

The small business owner could try to compete on the chains level by buying advertising and try to our advertise the large chain.  The problem with this would be that the chain has much deeper pockets than the small business owner.  The small business owner should know that he could never compete with dollar for dollar advertising!

He buys some sign materials and puts up a sign that says “We fix $6.00 haircuts!”.  Within a few months, the large chain closes it’s doors and more business comes to the small business.

I love this ad because it shows that by using unique advertising that did not cost the small business owners much money, (only the cost of some sign materials), he out smarted the large chain.  If the small business would have tried to compete by buying normal advertising, he probably would have run out of money in a few months and the chain would have won!