Marketing, whether for small business or large, is a system, a necessary system. But, setting up an effective marketing system is much easier than you think, even if you don’t have a marketing bone in your body.
Set up correctly, it will run on autopilot with minimal tweaks to allow you to get back to the better work of growing your business. Or, maybe you’d like to spend more time watching your kids grow up. Or, take some time to have that vacation you promised them a couple of years ago. Or, maybe you’d just like to sleep at night without stressing about the next day at work.
Or, maybe you’d like to spend more time watching your kids grow up. Or, take some time to have that vacation you promised them a couple of years ago. Or, maybe you’d just like to sleep at night without stressing about the next day at work.
We need an upgrade. We need the 5Ps of Modern Marketing.
This is the age of the Internet and social media. These new marketing channels have leveled the playing field and enable us to compete with the big boys. Get it right, and they won’t stand a chance.
Before you go looking for new customers, you need a Presence, somewhere for them to come to and find out more about you. This involves a website and social media platforms.
You may think I’m stating the blindingly obvious saying you need a website. But, this should be a website you can update and change when necessary, in-house.
The most effective way to have that control is to use WordPress, (but, not the free WordPress.com).
Surprisingly, the web design is not that important provided it is professional, updated regularly and uses a solid framework such as Genesis. Their child theme templates should be enough for any business.
You don’t need to be using them all, but you should claim your name and make sure there is a link back to your website with a modicum of content. Your customers have their chosen favorites and expect to find you wherever they choose to look.
Remember, even if you don’t Twitter or Facebook yourself, your current and future customers do. Also, remember that these are to build relationships and send people to your website. They are not for selling.
Probably the most important step is to define your perfect potential customer. This is often referred to as a persona or avatar or profiling.
You cannot afford a marketing scatter gun approach and hope to catch someone.
Your current customers have some common traits such as age range, gender, location, job, qualifications, family status, hobbies, TV shows, car, personality, fitness, likes and dislikes, etc.
The best way to find these is to use a free survey tool such as Google Forms or Survey Monkey. Don’t ask too much, make it relevant to this exercise only, and offer an incentive for completing the survey.
From the survey information, write, on one page, a full description of your perfect customer. Include a name, age, spouse name, kids and everything you ‘know’ about her.
Describe her as if describing a friend and find a picture of her. Every message, email and advert will be for her and must appeal to her. She is your target market.
Now you have a presence and you know your target audience, you need to create content and social media updates that appeal to them. Then you can ask for Permission to market.
This is lead capture and, for that, you need a lead magnet. This is the ethical bribe where you offer your potential customer something they cannot resist for free in exchange for their email address.
Popular lead magnets include an ebook, a short course, how-to videos, tip sheets, free membership, and discount coupons. The magnet must be a work of greatness; something that you would prefer to be selling. It must be irresistible.
The most common fail in this area is ‘Sign up for our newsletter’. Nobody wants to read your weekly fire extinguisher maintenance newsletter. But they may want a copy of your ‘How to save money on your fire extinguisher maintenance’ cheat sheet.
Make sure that the opt-in form is at the top of the sidebar on every page and at the end of every article. Then, big and bold below the header on the home page.
Also, create a dedicated ‘landing page’ with no other distractions, other than the form. Use that link in your social media profiles.
Once they are on the list, we need to build a relationship to have them know us, then like us, then trust us. This is lead nurturing.
Once you have that relationship, they will eventually make their first Purchase, and we can wait for that.
You can set up an autoresponder series of emails. Provide helpful tips, information, links, updates, how-tos, and gentle pointers about your products and services.
This autoresponder will send the messages out at set intervals from the date they signed up. You only have to write each one once and you are creating automated content for years to come.
In the first couple of weeks, the email intervals may be every couple of days. Then, they can slow down to provide solutions to your reader’s problems over time until they need you.
Every once in a while, after you’ve gained some trust, you can make an offer. People respond best to special offers that have time limits.
Now they have become a customer or client, you Wow them.
Phone them a few days after and ask if the service was as hoped for. Remind them of your 100%, no argument, money back guarantee (You have got one of those, right?). Send them a gift or candy out of the blue (without an offer). Write a short hand written note with a real stamp telling them how great it is to have them as a client.
You must become so utterly memorable that they will come back to you the next time they need whatever you are selling. And then they become a repeat purchaser.
Once they do this, they are saying that you are wonderful. So, you can ask for referrals. You may surprise yourself how many say yes.
And, there’s the magic. Your customers have become Preachers or evangelists for your product and service.
They become your main source of potential new customers. These referrals arrive at your website and the cycle starts all over again.
Think of Apple. Someone showed you his or her new iPhone or iPad. Think of Google. Someone told you to try the new search engine. And who told you to try that new restaurant?
Once the system is set, you only need to add content and excellent customer service to keep the system fueled. Your next problem will be how to cope with too many customers!