So why aren’t small business owners marketing as well as they could be?
If you take a look at just about any market, you’ll notice that almost all of the marketing is the same. This probably goes for your market as well.
When a new business comes into fruition, the founder will take a look at how everyone else is communicating with the market, and start doing the same thing.
They assume because everyone is doing it, and they always have then it must be working.
Alot of business owners just believe that this is the way that is it supposed to be done, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
This “traditional” style of marketing consists of generic statements such as “Friendly and Quality Service”, “Serving Since 1984”, “Family Owned and Operated”, and so on.
The truth is that prospects of virtually every market are really now desensitized to such claims.
When they enter a market with intentions of selecting a provider to make a buying decision with, they only care about what they are going to get out of this particular situation for themselves.
And seeing 22 establishments all communicating the same message causes indifference, and even reluctance among prospects when choosing a provider.
Another reason that business owners aren’t marketing their business to its full potential is because they simply can’t see the opportunities that are right in front of them.
Every business, including yours has a set amount of assets that may be hidden—yet they are actually hiding in plain sight. These assets are past customers, marketplace perception, present customers, prospects, location, owner expertise, packaging, upselling, etc.
When you take a step back and identify what type of assets you aren’t utilizing in your business, you can pick and choose which type of effective marketing strategies you can utilize.
The more assets you aren’t utilizing correctly or at all, the bigger the potential your business has to grow and the better they will work for you. It’s as simple as that.
And the third reason that business owners aren’t doing as well as they could be is because many of them have the belief that marketing is hard.
Breaking News: IT ISN’T!
The concepts of most marketing strategies are dead simple and very easy to comprehend. Sure they may require some brain power and some elbow grease to get going, but it’s far from difficult—you just need to work hard at it.
In fact, after a strategy is implemented and it’s time to monitor and track your results—this is where most business owners find one of the biggest obstacles to success.
You must track and monitor your results and most business owners simply don’t.
I blame the advertising agencies for this one.
They are strictly dead-set on selling just their advertising, and not results to their clients which are unsuspecting business owners. Advertising agencies aren’t marketers, nor do they know the fundamentals of effective marketing.
After you purchase a billboard ad or radio spot you aren’t given any means or methodology to actually track your results to see if what you bought worked or not.
And when you advertise like this, without being able to calculate invaluable figures such as Cost Per Customer (CPC) or Cost Per Lead (CPL), then you just might as well be throwing your money into a black hole.
You would know if you have ever bought any advertising in the past and had it flop.
And if you confront the ad agency about how it didn’t work, then they’ll simply say “Well your results would’ve been worse if you had done nothing at all”.
How convenient. I’m convinced that they don’t want you to know how bad the results are, or if there even are any, or else they’d lose you as a customer.
So if you’re tired of dealing with no good advertising agencies who are happy to take your money without actually getting you results, and are ready to learn how to grow your business with strategies that have worked for business owners like just like you in the past, then listen up to what I’m about to tell you.
Without further ado:
Three of the Most Effective Strategies to Getting More Customers
As I stated above, the assets you have unutilized in your business is directly proportionate to what strategies you have room to work with.
To make it simple for business owners that are looking to grow their business, let’s identify a few common assets that most proprietors overlook in most their establishments.
The first asset that is most commonly over looked is an establishment’s past customers.
Depending on how long you have been in business, and how well you document your customers’ information is how well this asset will work for you.
If you’ve been in business for five years, and have a database of five thousand customers of which fifteen hundred don’t buy from you anymore, then there is great potential for growth for your business through this asset.
Leveraging this asset of your business’ past customers is simple.
Strategy 1: Past Customer Reactivation
Take the information of the customers or clients that do not buy from you anymore and use it to start selling to them again. This is normally called a past customer reactivation campaign.
Start your campaign by creating an offer.
This is generally a special offer where your customer will get something worth value for free as well as a discount on a high profit-margined profit or service.
Decide whether it would be best to communicate to your customers through the avenues of direct mail or e-mail.
Then hire a copywriter to write a sales letter, e-mail, create a post card, or if you are well-practiced in these areas then you could do it yourself.
Make sure a genuine concern for your customer or client is extended through your communication for why they haven’t been in lately, and maybe even apologize if you feel you may have accidentally wronged them.
Then use your offer as a reason to show them how much you value them as a customer.
The next asset that most business owners overlook is the perception that their marketplace has upon their establishment. There are various contributing factors to this asset, but the chief factor is having some sort of competitive advantage.
So ask yourself these questions:
Why would the prospects of your marketplace choose to bring their patronage to your place of business instead of to one of your competitors?
What can your establishment provide that no other can?
What makes your business different from all the others in your industry?
Which brings us to…
Strategy 2: The Unique Selling Proposition
You need a clear reason why they should choose you over your competition. To do this you can utilize a marketing mechanism known as the Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
There are many benefits that one could base a USP upon, like the convenience of your product or service, speed, price, broad selection, proof or results, etc. Countless successful businesses have used this strategy in the past, and are still effectively utilizing it today.
For example, the USP that FedEx developed early on that lead them to absolutely dominate their market was “Federal Express: When it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight”, which emphasized speed.
Another USP that helped a business attract success was “Everything is easier on a Mac”, from the Apple Corporation back in the ‘90s, emphasizing ease and convenience about their computers.
One more USP that lead to a business absolutely crushing its competition from the start was “Fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less” from Domino’s Pizza.
This USP clearly conveyed to their prospects that their problem of not wanting to cook, but wanting food quickly was to be solved when they chose to order from them.
A third asset that most business owners could take advantage of is their present customers.
These are of course the customers who are active with your establishment, whom you see return as happy customers.
So our last strategy is…
Strategy 3: Generating Referrals
The best way to take advantage of your current customer base is through generating referrals.
Referrals are friends, associates, or colleagues of a happy customer that has been recommended your business’ product or service.
Because these prospects have been informed of a business in an unsolicited fashion from someone they know or trust, it is automatically a more believable claim instead of having come from the business itself.
These referred customers are also the best type of prospects you could possibly bring into your business because they have been preconditioned to accept what you have to offer them.
They have heard first-hand what type of favorable outcome that your establishment provides and are ready to experience it themselves.
However, referrals don’t just happen spontaneously. Some business owners find that referrals mostly come by chance, if one of their prospects just happens to feel compelled to tell a friend or colleague.
The best way to start generating referrals is to make sure you provide an unforgettable, spectacular experience. When prospects enter your establishment, blow them away and give them value and service that they would not otherwise expect from your competitors.
For example, an auto lube shop I frequent has a full carwash and detailing service 100% for free when you buy an oil change.
Instead of walking into the average dirty and greasy auto lube shop, inside customers are greeted with the sweet smell of car air-fresheners, squeaky clean floors, cushy chairs, flat screens, and a free hot chocolate or cappuccino available to drink while watching TV until your car is finished being serviced.
Needless to say I felt obligated to refer my friends and family to this shop.
Another great way to bring referrals into your business is to simply ask for them by setting up an inquiry system.
Sounds crazy right? Stay with me here.
A week or so after a prospect makes a purchase follow up with them and ask how their experience went with your service or how it is going with your product.
Assuming it’s going or has been going well, ask if they have any friends, family, associates, or colleagues who are similar to themselves who could benefit also from doing business with you.
Some business owners harbor the preconceived notion that asking for referrals are like asking for a favors from your customers.
Granted you already have an unforgettable, spectacular experience that ultimately provides incredible value for your customers, or you take the time to weave one together—it is quite the opposite.
You are actually giving them an opportunity to share something great with their friends, and giving your prospect something of value to share with their social circle can make them feel good, or even increase their social standing.
Well there you have it, three of the most effective marketing strategies for generating more customers in just about any business. Don’t just sit on this information, take action!