Don’t get so busy with the day-to-day hustle in your business that 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 in the fourth quarter of each year. They are designed to ensure that you focus on revenue-generating activities in your small business.
1. Profile Your Best 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 Your 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 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 Your Sales Goals. Sales and marketing have to work together in your small business. Even if you are the only salesperson in your business and you also handle the marketing efforts, 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. Never Take Your Eye Off 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 signature move?”
5. Create Win-Win Relationships. “Give to get” is a motto that works well in business. A strong strategic alliance offers many benefits, including reducing risk, sharing costs and improving time to market. 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.
6. Refine Your 30-Second Commercial or 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 give TMI (too much information). 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. One of the tricks I use and advise all my coaching clients to use is to develop a vision board of your big picture goals for your life. If you are successful the way your business plan projects, what are the 10 things you want out of life? Create a visual representation of your list. Use cutouts from magazines or clip art pictures–whatever it takes develop a visual symbol of your personal goals. Post this collage to remind yourself why you work so hard. Ten reasons 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.
Do you have any marketing tactics that have worked to ignite sales in your small business?