Like many small business owners, you may feel like you are facing a constant struggle to grow you customer base with marketing. One thing to always keep in mind is:
‘It’s not what you do it’s the way that you do it’
Read on to find 5 things you must do right now to stop leaving money on the table.
1. Ok, maybe it is what you do…
I’ll have to send myself to the naughty step for contradicting myself but it is very important to discuss the many ways you can market you business that don’t require too much of an investment if budget it limited.
How are you marketing your business and how could you be marketing it?
On-line marketing is continually praised for the wide reach that you gain whilst having low overheads but is this a blessing in disguise? There are a multitude of methods that can be used for marketing online and offline and I feel that many businesses do not use these to their full advantage.
I would never recommend using every method. (Not unless your marketing budget is sky-high!) That said I would always look to using a combination of offline and online methods. Here’s 5 of each to get you thinking:
5 great online marketing methods
- Social media – Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are the current top 3
- Forums – What better place to find the questions/problems your market wants solutions for
- Website, preferably with blog – drive traffic away from the noise of social media to a place where you are centre stage
- Guest blogging and guest promotions – work with your competition and strengthen both your voices
- Newsletter – I’m sure you’ve heard the saying ‘the moneys in the list’ before. It really is!
5 great offline marketing methods
- Press releases – you benefit the local media by giving them content to publish/discuss and gain free advertising to all their readers/viewers/listeners. Everyone wins including your bank account!
- Attending events/places where your target market congregate – Get out there and meet people start building relationships face to face to supercharge the know like and trust factor
- Fairs/markets etc – maybe you can’t invest in a stand but could you invest in half a stand? There will be someone else out there who wants to promote their items yet faces the same difficultly budget-wise.
- Direct mail – physical items have a lot of power and a lot of people have abandoned direct mail. This gives you opportunity to stand out from the crowd
- Hold a session for a focus group -
2. OPC Power
Before you recoil in shock then I’ll tell you. This ISN’T about stealing customers from competitors. It’s about mutual growth. A pooling of resources. Shared knowledge and sometimes spared expense.
If the ‘money is in the list’ then wouldn’t you like to DOUBLE your list WITHOUT spending huge amounts of money in advertising?
Think about these pairs of people
- The beauty therapist and the hairdresser
- The small business lawyer and the accountant
- The florist and the photographer
What do they have in common? Their target market maybe? If so combining their lists and reffering clients between each other can really help grow their client base and they can also offer more complete solutions without the need for extra staff, skills and overheads.
Together really is the way forward.
3. How to sell more when you hate sales…
Sales is not my strong point. I don’t like to sell, I don’t want to sell and for those reasons alone I am not a great salesperson. I wasn’t any better when I was younger either but in a single month I sold and extra £1000 in products and services. The question is how does a 17-year-old salon assistant who hate’s sales manage in a small salon to pull an extra £1000 in revenue?
I earned my first set of scissors (jay 2.2′s for any stylists out there) plus cash commission in a month by doing £1000 in treatments products and solarium sessions. why? Because clients already know like and trust me. if you have space when a putting a colour on talk to the client about nails just chat about how its popular at the moment or that you’ve got new colours in and then say that you can do a file and polish whilst they are sat waiting. The other huge one for me was conditioning treatments I would talk about the product and the treatment and give the client the opportunity to have it done. They are already in the backwash getting what is in effect sample of the treatment all they have to do is say yes! There is no hard sell needed just simply informing a customer how you can provide them with an even better experience. To with-hold that information would be to do your client a dis-service.
- What can you do to enhance your services?
- What can you offer alongside products/services they are already purchasing?
- If you offer a service, what can they take away so that they have a physical item ?
- Have they booked another appointment? If that isn’t applicable to your business model then have you mentioned when you would expect to see them back/ hear from them again?
4. The most powerful voice
To paraphrase Ronan Keating – ‘You say it best, when you say nothing at all’
Everyone out there is trying to get attention. Everyone out there is promoting their products. Everyone out there is trying to show how they are the solution to the problems people have. That’s just business!
There are a lot of voices out there and despite the temptation to find ways to shout louder; the power isn’t in the volume. True power comes from the chatter. The testimonials and recommendations from friends.
Social proof is the difference between your company looking good and it being good.
Here’s a great article from Juan Felix of Felix Relationship Marketing discussing brand advocates: http://felixrelationshipmarketing.com/brand-advocates-referral-marketing-power (Thanks to Kevin Lau for sharing that!)
5. Keep in touch
A critical factor in growing your customer base is developing a relationship so that potential customers know, like and trust you. Whilst you are out there searching for leads and developing a relationship with new people, what is happening to your existing customer base? Are you putting in the time and effort to nurture your existing customers?
Your existing customers already know, like and trust you. They wouldn’t have purchased your products otherwise! A lot of the hard work is done but you simply cannot just leave it at that. Lose touch and the relationship slowly breaks down, it’s harder to pick up the phone and if you are leaving it up to them, they may even have lost your contact details.
Without nurturing, potential clients turn from hot to cold. Your greatest advocates no longer talk about you. Your momentum is lost.
You’ve just took your business and placed it on the treadmill that you worked so hard to escape.
Imagine how busy your business would be if every customer who had ever come to you always kept coming back. By keeping in touch with clients past and present you ensure that more and more of them do and take the pressure off constantly needing more clients.
Where there is a will there is a way
To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be the person who looks beyond the word can’t. You need to be a solutionist and always look to find a solution to the barriers you encounter. From ‘shoestring start-ups’ through to multi national corporations, we all face barriers. The key is working around those barriers to carve your own path to success.
Don’t try to do everything at once. Take these suggestions and keep referring back to them as you continue to grow.
P.S. Please share this with other entrepreneurs that you know who will benefit from the ideas discussed. The fastest way we can grow is together.
P.P.S. Get the 30 day business bootcamp which explores marketing ideas in much more detail along with all these topics: