The day-to-day hustle in your business can make you forget to focus your marketing activities on keeping your pipeline filled. To help you reach your monthly sales goals, I have created a list of 7 marketing techniques you should revisit every 90 days. They are designed to ensure that you focus on revenue-generating activities in your small business.
1. Profile Your Customers. Who are your most valuable and profitable customers? How much do they spend with you annually? Do they fit a niche? While it’s imperative that you understand your products and services, it’s even more significant to understand what value your business brings to your customers so you can continue fulfilling their needs. Business issues can change quickly, making vendors potentially interchangeable. Be sure to thank your customers; no one owes you business.
2. Talk With Clients. If your three most important customers were sitting in a room with you, what questions would you ask them? Even with your long-time customers, schedule a quarterly face-to-face meeting to ask for feedback or just to catch up. You must stay on top of their needs and understand any new factors that influence their decision-making processes. Have 7-10 questions to ask, and then make sure you engage them around some personal small talk: kids, vacations, holiday plans, etc. The more personal the relationship, the more that relationship will allow you to obtain critical information and a strong ally.
3. Align Marketing Efforts With Sales Goals. Sales and marketing have to work together in your small business. Even if you are the only salesperson in your business, you must plan your marketing program based on the amount sales leads you need to generate in order to close the required amount of sales per month. If you know you need 500 leads per month in order to close 50 sales, then determine how many phone calls, e-mails, blog posts, Facebook ads and Twitter messages must be made, sent or posted per month to drive the desired traffic. You must establish a sales process and then proactively work your marketing efforts so that they generate the desired results.
4. Eye the Competition. Identify several competitors. Discover what benefits they provide to their current customers. Use their websites to gain insights. Compare your branding, value proposition and pricing. Based on your assessment, develop at least three strategies that you will use to position yourself effectively against them. Always think, “What is my secret sauce?”
5. Create The Win-Win. How can you develop a partnership that can contribute to your bottom line? Always go into a relationship understanding your partner’s “must have” list. It’s always best when you can find a partner who is not a direct competitor. A strong strategic alliance offers many benefits, including reducing risk, sharing costs and improving time to market.
6. Update Your Elevator Pitch. Your most important job as a small business owner is selling yourself and your business. When you can succinctly explain your business, it builds trust, but you shouldn’t use the same pitch forever. From time to time, switch it up a little. Add a brief client list; mention a recent award or media hit. Elevator pitches are designed to draw in your target and keep the dialogue going. Be careful not to talk too long. Offer just enough to get them interested in chatting with you again.
7. Use a Vision Board. All businesses have ups and downs. How you get through the tough days in your business makes a big difference in your productivity. I advise all my coaching clients to develop a life plan and then develop a vision board of your big picture goals for your life. It might include the 10 things you want out of life? Create a visual representation of your life plan. Use cutouts from magazines or clip art pictures—whatever it takes develop a visual symbol of your personal and professional goals. Post this collage to remind yourself why you work so hard. Your vision board will keep you motivated on good days as well as bad ones!
By implementing these marketing techniques, you will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing strategy and keep yourself motivated to stay on top of your sales processes.
How do you ignite sales in your small business?
For more tips on how start or grow your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com.
Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady is one of America’s leading small business experts. As a seasoned entrepreneur, professional speaker, and small business coach, she develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. As CEO of MFE Consulting LLC, Melinda educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. Forbes Magazine recently named her one of the Top 20 women for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She hosts #SmallBizChat Wednesdays on Twitter 8-9pm ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She also publishes a resource blog www.succeedasyourownboss.com Melinda is also the author of the national bestseller Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works. (Adams Media 2010)