Business tips from the Ascentive team
Small business owners are notorious for ignoring marketing efforts. But if you are not spending time and money to market your business, then you are ignoring a critical success component. You need to invest at least 10 – 20% of your time in marketing. You may feel concerned about losing revenue if you do this, but revenues will increase as you invest more of your time and resources into your plan. Here are some guidelines and ideas to get you started:
Create a Marketing Plan
First, document what marketing techniques you’ve successfully used in the past and expand on them, creating variations on your techniques. Then plot the time it takes to execute those techniques on a calendar, creating a marketing plan. A simple marketing plan always includes a list of marketing practices and a timeline.
Most SMBS will benefit by creating relationships off-line regardless of the type of business you run. To meet like-minded people go to classes, lectures and other events that interest you. Keep your eyes and ears open at the grocery store, coffee house and other local establishments. Look into your local Chamber of Commerce and networking groups to see if those are up your alley as well.
Buy a list or hire a college student, bring on an intern, or have an assistant compile a list for you. Begin by writing a script and giving intention to your call. Know what you wish to achieve; a face-to-face visit, permission to send information, to close the sale or send a free sample.
If cold calling on your own is not an option, consider hiring a professional telemarketing firm. A few hours a week can garner one or two solid leads for you. Depending on your business, this is a simple and sure way to increase revenues.
Use Social Media to ask questions, express interest, get to know people.
Having your own podcast puts you in the position of the “expert’ and also helps you to expand your horizons. Promote your show via social media, your list,iTunes, in your blog and via your guests’ lists. Create special offers to bring traffic to your site and to build your list.
Guest blogging and inviting guest bloggers
If you are not blogging yet, do. This again, is a long term investment – you probably won’t see results right away, but they will come. Comment on other blogs and contact popular bloggers who also target your audience with ideas for their blog, offering to write for them. You will gain subscribers and expand your audience. After you build your following invite popular bloggers to do a guest post on your blog. They will bring followers, many of whom will stay.
Follow up with your list and past clients
There is plenty of untapped business with existing customers, past clients and prospects. What can you upsell? What special offers can you promote? How can you recreate yourself or your product to spark new interest?
Ask for referrals
If you recruit the assistance of your clients your practice will grow. Supply them with materials to forward or hand to their friends and family. Make it easy for people to spread the word about you.
It may take time for your marketing efforts to have an impact and prompt a significant response. We all have different “buy’ triggers and have to be in the right place emotionally and financially before we buy. Market frequently and be consistent in your key message.