Sunday, December 11, 2011

Small Business Marketing Ideas - Three Tips for Success

It's a rare small business owner who planned to be in the business he or she finishes up in (and I include myself here). I ended up in my business partly through a love of writing, and partly through necessity. Few of us actually sit down and plan the whole adventure as a business from the outset, though.

A commonplace error appears to be they believe if they're good at doing the "thing", then they can run a "thing" business, too.

Unfortunately, this is typically not true. And the BIG concern is few people realize whatever business they assume they're in, they're really in the marketing of the business they're in. In other words, if you sell widgets, you're not in the "widget business": you're really in the "marketing of a widget business business".

So in this brief article I share with you what I consider to be the 3 most vital pieces in any small business's marketing plan.

There is a lot more, indeed, but if you can get the knack of these 3, then this alone is going to put you head and shoulders above your competitors.


1. Follow up till the end of time

The most successful small business owners understand the secret to success in business is unrelenting follow-up.

Put another way, you'll sell more if you tell more. Your chances of selling something to someone on the first pass are typically pretty remote, and even in my business, which is in an industry not especially noted for its long sales cycle, I routinely get first-time clients who have been on my email list for (literally) years and have only at that moment decided to buy.

2. Customers, instead of sales

The original sale you make to a client is often insignificant in monetary terms because the real value is always going to be in the subsequent sales you make. The lifetime client value, in other words.

Not too many business owners truly comprehend this, and unnecessarily waste a lot of time and energy chasing after new business without adequately cultivating and nurturing the relationships with the clients they currently have.

In my experience, it's often held true I make more money in my relationship with a client in the long term by talking them out of an early, and to my mind, unsuitable purchase.

3. Attention to Detail

What's your reason for being in business?

Any answer significantly different from "to make a profit" suggests to me you might need to think again about the whole business thing.

I'm not being mercenary here, because even a non-profit business founded for the most humanitarian and noble of reasons must make a profit to stay in business. No matter how good the primary cause, there are still paychecks to be paid out, obligations to be met, and bills to be paid.

All of this means you've got to be making sales -- and this does have to be your focus.

This is no inconsistency with my earlier point, by the way, since by focusing on the relationship and the long term value of the customer or client you are also consequently focusing on sales.

What you're not doing is focusing on any single sale as being particularly important.

Yes, you have to make sales and you do need customers and clients... but no single one of them is indispensable. If they are, then your business is in a very precarious position and you need to do something about, and soon.

Running a successful small business isn't hard and these 3 powerful tips will go a long way making it happen for you.

1 comment:

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