Monthly Archives: November 2016
The biggest problem most businesses have is marketing.
In fact, the top fear of small business owners is the inability to market effectively and their top pain point is poor sales. 66% say finding new customers is a major concern.
That’s no surprise considering 47% of small business owners handle marketing efforts on their own. When it comes to marketing, it’s easy to get bogged down with various techniques and strategies.
But what do you do when your marketing initiatives aren’t working as well as expected?
Instead of continuing to waste time and money on campaigns that aren’t paying off, it may be time to figure out how you can develop a sensible plan for making your marketing efforts work out right.
Want to know how?
Why Most Marketing Campaigns Fail Miserably
Before I jump into the details, let’s set the record straight.
Why do most marketing campaigns fail? Because promoting and selling products or services only works when people know, like, and trust you.
Far too many business owners are looking for the latest bright shiny object that will do the marketing for them. But if you want to improve your marketing and sales, you need people to know, like, and trust you to be successful.
The problem is…
Obscurity–Your potential customers may not know who you are. Even if they do, they’re thinking about their hopes, dreams, and problems–not whatever you’re trying to sell. As long as you are unknown or unimportant in their eyes, your chances of making a sale are slim to none.
Credibility– The second reason marketing efforts fall flat is credibility, or rather, your lack of it. People have heard it all when it comes to marketing claims. The result? Most of us are skeptical when it comes to advertising. That’s a problem since nobody buys without belief.
So, how can you overcome these two marketing campaign killers? Now that you know the two reasons marketing efforts fail, you can adapt.
Rethink Your Approach to Marketing
How then should you approach your marketing? Here are some recommendations for tackling both problems.
Offer a guarantee–If you want to establish credibility and lower buyer resistance, reduce your customer’s risk. For example, offer a money back guarantee or a 30-day trial. A strong guarantee shows you stand behind your product or service. You can guarantee your product, your service, or your customer’s results.
Deliver social proof–Skeptical prospects will rarely accept your claims at face value. But they will listen to other people. So include proof elements in your marketing. Case studies, customer testimonials, study data from respected sources and statements that support your point from a major periodical can all be effective. After all, the best way to be credible is to prove that your product or service really works.
Use specific details–Another credibility booster is specificity. When people consider buying something, they want to learn as much as they can. The more detailed the information you provide, the more credible it is to your prospects.
Partner with a like-minded business–To get attention for your small business, consider working with a complementary business to market to your common prospects. The strategic partnership could give your marketing efforts more reach without more cost.
Content marketing–This is one of the most cost effective ways to solve both marketing problems. Effective content marketing can position you as a trusted resource for your ideal customer. It also helps you gain visibility. A win all the way around.
Hold a photo contest–You could give away a $50 Amazon.com gift card to one lucky winner. To enter, you’d have users take a picture using your product or service and share on social media. This way your customers become part of your marketing team and help get the word out about your business.
The word alone makes some people uncomfortable. You attend events, meet people, exchange business cards, diligently follow up… and then the disappointing fizzle. Rarely does anything come from your efforts.
The problem is that most people think networking mean selling. Unfortunately, that puts everyone involved on the defensive. Fortunately, there’s a better way to network. It involves changing your approach to networking and taking part in meetups to build business relationships.
Free Yourself from the Pressure of Networking Events
You may wonder why so many business owners struggle with networking.
Ordinary networking fails because so many people attend networking events for the wrong reasons. They want to sell something or ask for a favor.
Think about it. A lot of people who are only interested in promoting their own businesses approach you. A few of them may turn into legitimate leads, but you never get much out of it for the time invested.
But, you’re going at this from the wrong angle…
Meetups as an Alternative to Traditional Groups
Sol Orwell is a 7-figure entrepreneur and the co-founder of Examine.com. Even though he’s an online entrepreneur, he takes a personal approach to building businesses. Sol has a great approach to building a professional network of meaningful relationships.
1. Identify Meetups that interest you and are business-related.
2. Once you have identified your niche, start connecting with people.
3. Start establishing your credibility in your industry.
Easy as 1-2-3.
In case you’re wondering “What’s a Meetup?”, Meetup is the largest network of local groups in the world. With more than 9,000 groups of like-minded people getting together every day, Meetups are one of the easiest ways to find other people who share a common interest or cause.
You want to expand your consulting practice by expanding your current client base. You may be stretching yourself thin but unless your consulting gigs are the type that take up 110% of your time every time out, then you usually want to make sure you have several streams of income going at once, and that you’re constantly marketing to draw new prospects into your sales funnel. You need to cover yourself because no matter how good of a consultant you are, you’ll still have the occasional cash-strapped client who waits till the 11th hour to bail on you. When they do, that leaves a big void that you can’t possibly fill in time for your next month’s planned income – unless you already have some sales prospects in your funnel who you may be able to convince to retain you now.
It happened to me this past month so it is certainly fresh in my mind… Here are three of my top hacks for converting those prospects to new business quickly:
Change your payment terms. If you are always asking for payment in advance, mix it up and offer a hesitant new client or a past client that you want to re-engage to signup for a 50/50 payment plan. By this I mean 50% up front and 50% at the end of the gig. It’s highly likely that someone will bite. Especially when you’re working with smaller organizations, you will find that paying in advance for the custom services you provide may be something they desire, but can’t often afford. Meet them somewhere – meet them in the middle with this 50/50 plan. It will probably get you over the hump and get the deal closed.
Throw in two freebies. Add not one, but at least two free items or services of value that you can give them but won’t kill you on cost or time. It will mean a lot to them and they won’t know that it isn’t that big of a sacrifice to you…they are only going to look at it from their perspective. It’s likely that as you have been talking to this potential client you’ve heard some needs or some pain points that you could probably easily help them out on by just giving away a couple of add-on services or freebies that will really make your offer golden.