Marketing Strategies
for
Small Business

Marketing Strategies for Small Business

Breaking into larger organizations can be extremely frustrating as the question sent in by Tony Clarke, Fuel Dynamics Ltd indicated:

Q. “I want to do business with every Housing Association in the UK. I somehow or other have to ‘get to’ their chief purchasing officers.

My experience is that because I’m only a small business, they will not work with me. They will, it appears, only deal with ‘big’ companies who they know and have a strong market presence.

Letters do not work even to the right man. Phone calls are never put through. Faxes, which I’ve found effective in some situations, don’t get a response.

Maybe you have some tips for me and some of your other readers on how to deal with these very powerful people. They rule the roost and even their MD’s give them a free hand in terms of control.

It’s an interesting dilemma for me.”

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Marketing Strategies for Small Business

A: Marketing strategies for small business means changing the perception your target prospect has for you. This helps get that door open. And it takes more than letters, emails or faxes that introduce your company and the service or products you offer.

Sometimes you have to approach it from a completely different angle. So let me start by asking you some questions; see if they give you any ideas…

  • Do you give the impression of being a small company? Check your image, both in terms of presentation – from your business card up – and what happens if anyone does attempt to contact you. Do you have an answer phone or are calls always answered personally?

For example; many years ago when I was the sole representative of my company. I made absolutely sure that anyone contacting me got a very favorable impression. As a marketing strategies for small business, I engaged a telephone answering service that offered a good personalized service. They didn’t have a lot of other calls being answered in the background and knew that they must never, under any circumstances let on that they were a telephone answering service.

It worked, because one of my clients who I had worked with for some years, expressed surprise when he discovered that I didn’t have an army of people behind me.

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Now, the important thing is I did not deceive my client; he never asked about the size of my company – he just assumed that my company was large because the phone was always answered by a variety of different people whenever he rang. There was no voice mail or answerphone. And of course, he received superb service so had no reason to doubt my company’s ability to look after him.

  • who, in the organization, uses what you offer? Does the person (or people) who would benefit most from your product or service have any influence on the CPO? Could you recruit them as ambassadors for you and your company?
  • What challenges are the CPO’s facing that your product or service could help with?
  • Do you have expert knowledge that would help him in his job, without actually selling him anything? Advice freely given makes you more memorable than competitors who are only looking for the sale.
  • Do you have a valuable, content-rich report, booklet (or book) you can send as a gift. It would have to deliver exceptional value; not just mundane ‘facts & figures’ he can get from anywhere.
  • Have you thought about writing and publishing a book? Doing so positions you as the expert. It adds gravitas to your reputation and when you send it as a gift it raises the barrier for you; makes you stand out from the competition. And crafting a book is not as difficult as it may first seem.

  • Do you have case-studies from other organizations that demonstrate innovative approaches to solving the problems the Housing Associations CPO’s face? Collate them into a report; make sure you get permission to use the stories and check exactly how much detail your customers are happy for you to reveal.
  • Do any of your present or past satisfied customers know the people you are trying to reach. Would they be prepared to recommend you, or write a letter of endorsement?
  • Are you well known within your industry? As a marketing strategies for small business, if your prospect recognizes your name as an industry expert he is more likely to give you time to talk.  Apart from publishing a book you can achieve this by getting articles printed in the trade publications he is likely to read.  Send letters to the editor with interesting ‘industry specific’ points.  Do not make even the slightest attempt to advertise or sell your product or company.  The editor is highly unlikely to print your letter if you do, which defeats the whole purpose of writing.

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Enhancing your reputation within your industry works in your favor, even if you don’t own the company you work for.

If any of the writing activities phases you, then hire a ghost writer to create the material for you.

Like any large organization, selling to a Housing Association needs a different approach. Don’t sell but offer powerful advice that the CPO appreciates and looks forward to receiving. Marketing strategies for small business means to demonstrate your expertise; demonstrate the higher level of personal contact and customer service he (or she) gets from you compared to a larger organization where he may not always be able to deal with the same person continuously.

But most of all, remember you are still selling to a person who has his own problems; his own challenges, his own stressful situations. Eliminate some of that stress for him, make life easier and you have a better chance of getting his attention.

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4 Rules to Everything You Write

Ever wondered why some businesses seem to be ultra-successful?  

The reason is simple; they use powerful marketing strategies for small business to generate more and more sales, and they recognize the importance of nurturing their prospects and customers.  

One of the ways they do this is through their communication.  Any marketing message going into their marketplace is crystal clear and informative, so their prospect and client always feels valued and respected.

Follow these 4 rules to give your marketing a boost…

You can do this too

You can get the results you see other successful businesses enjoying, with your marketing message.  But, there are so many competing marketing messages; it is difficult to make sure yours stands out from the rest.  And, when it does get inquiries or orders, you need to know what’s worked, and why, so you can repeat it.

Writing is a Science

In fact, for marketing strategies for small business, there is a science to writing adverts and marketing letters that increases your chances of getting the reaction you want. 

  • Use compelling powerful headlines
  • If you are using pictures include an interesting caption and show an action shot, or your product being used by a happy customer or the head & shoulders facing out.
  • Write as if you are explaining what you offer to your best friend… in a natural, conversational style.

Obey These 4 Rules in Everything You Write…

 1)   Seize your prospect’s attention.  If you do not ‘stop him in his tracks’, so he takes note of what you are saying, you won’t get a result.  That’s your headline’s job.

2)   Sustain his interest by focusing on what he will get out of using your product or service.  As I said, imagine you are writing to your best friend.

 3)   Act as the catalyst to action.  If your reader does not take favorable action, then your advert or letter has failed.  Target the people you are writing to (or the publication you are advertising in) and make your offer relevant and the best it can be.

Remember, action only happens if the person is interested in what you’ve got to offer – that’s why targeting is so important; hit the right people with an irresistible offer.

4)   A key to marketing strategies for small business, code everything you send out so you know which headline worked best; which content hit-the-hot-spot for your prospect and which offer drew the most attention.

Long Term Publication's Advertisements

Some of the adverts in your local Yellow Pages haven’t got a cat-in-hell’s chance of bringing enough business to cover the cost. As a marketing strategies for small business, ask the below three questions could prevent you making the same mistakes.

The adverts I’m talking about are frequently those ‘designed’ by the Yellow Ad’s ‘graphics team’.

You know the type I mean… the ‘Name… Rank… Serial Number’ style

Name: Business name; unless you have a highly descriptive business name, this is not going to make you stand out from the crowd.

Rank: What the business does; standard wording that rarely describes any benefit to make the advert more appealing than the other entries.

Serial Number: Contact details; with a phone number as a minimum.

Consider these three questions before deciding to advertise in any long term publication…

Q1. “Is this directory the first place my target audience is likely to look for someone who can provide my services/products?”

Q2. “How can I make my advertisement stand out from my direct competitors?” (I’ll give you a hint – think about the results your prospects are looking for).

Q3. “Is the advert I plan to use tested and proven elsewhere before committing to a 12 month publication?” Find a more frequent local business directory or publication, like monthly, that your prospects probably read. Test your advert:

  • the headline;
  • the offer;
  • the content;
  • the layout

Use a reference code so you can measure the most successful version. Then – and only then – should you agree to place that tested and proven advert in a long term directory like Yellow Pages.

Never, ever leave the design of something as vital as your advertisement to the directory publisher – for marketing strategies for small business, you can’t afford to waste money like that.

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Ostrich or Hawk

I’ve gone through a fair few recessions. And time and time again, I’ve seen businesses make a big mistake that, in some cases, has been the beginning of their demise.

You see, when the economy is good business people actively engage in marketing; pro-actively look for new business. They are hawk-like, ready to use all their skills and resources to flush out prospects who want their products or services.

Then the economy dips, maybe a recession hits and suddenly some of these companies turn into an ostrich! They bury their head in the sand, stop marketing; stop spending on the one activity that could help beat recession and generate the sales they desperately need.

Why?

Whenever I’ve asked that question I’m invariably told, “Because we aren’t getting enough revenue, and we haven’t got the money to spend!”

It’s a catch-22 situation, isn’t it? If you stop or reduce your marketing, you’re less likely to find new or additional business, which in turn means your revenues slump and there’s less money for your promotions.

But is this a wise decision? History might say otherwise. If you look at businesses that continued their marketing and advertising, in spite of a recession, they not only survived they often prospered. They prospered because their competitors, who didn’t have the courage to invest in their business marketing hit the wall, leaving more of the market ripe for picking.

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How To Give Yourself Confidence In Your Marketing Strategies for Small Business

It’s a scary time.
How can you be sure your marketing is a good investment?
Is it worthwhile?
How can you be confident about what you’re doing?

There’s only one way that makes any sense to me. . . And that’s by knowing what your customer is truly worth to you in terms of the overall gross profit they generate for you. Not just on the first sale, but on all the purchases they are likely to place with you. And knowing your direct acquisition costs; how much you spent on your marketing to get that customer in the first place.

Then – and only then – can you calculate how good an investment your continued marketing is.

In fact, I think if you carry out the exercise I’ve described above, you’ll discover a stronger, more active marketing strategies for small business could pay dividends.

So why not be a hawk and spread your marketing wings and flush out all that business that’s waiting for you?

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