Six Keys to an Effective Marketing Program for Your Small Business

Create a unique selling proposition, learn the art of cross-selling, manage a client list, establish partnerships and JVs, study the competition, and present your brand professionally

To increase small business sales, you need to look at yourself first as a marketer. As a marketer, you insist on marketing that delivers results and a positive ROI. You need to first look at these five marketing strategies se they work, work well and work almost all of the time. Which of the many small business marketing tools and tips do you use and where do you spend your money? The first thing to do is to put the wallet or checkbook back in the drawer and pick up a pen or open a blank document on your computer and name it "Hidden Marketing Asset Plan."

You will create a strategy to build a marketing system that will create a dramatic increase in sales and profits - in less than one calendar quarter.

1. You MUST create a Unique Selling Proposition. It is the reason you are in business and gives your prospects and incredibly compelling reason to buy from you - NOW." Without a USP, you are one of the many choices. With a USP, you are the only choice. Would you hire me because I'm a marketing consultant or because I guarantee rapid increases in sales and profits in a matter of weeks? Do you use FedEx because they ship packages or because you know your package will arrive tomorrow?

2. Learn selling and the art of how to bundle products, cross-sell and up-sell. Almost anybody selling a product or a service can increase the average sale value by offering or suggesting additional products that complement what they are selling. When you offer the client an add-on product, you will get more sales. Knowing the right words to make it desired by the prospect, who does not feel they are being sold, is part of the value of sales training. Which sentence would make you more inclined to order an appetizer with your dinner? "Would you like an appetizer?The chef has an unbelievable appetizer she created just for you. You are going to love it!" This is such a powerful and simple way to increase small business sales that you will find it as easy as breathing.

3. Create a database and capture client names, addresses, phone numbers, purchase history, preferences, birthdays, hobbies and other information. Just send card or note to thank customers for their business and prospects for thinking of buying. Include a coupon or an offer (with a deadline) for them to buy additional products or services. Use the information to invite them back to your business and develop a personal relationship with them. If you don't do so, your competition will. In certain cases, you'll want to manage an email list. If you're not technical, look at an email contact management tool like iContact which automate this process for you and help you turn better ROI out of your email list.

4. Establish Joint Ventures (JV's) and Strategic Marketing Alliances (SMA's). When you are considering buying a new product or service, you want to know you are making a good decision. So do the rest of us. JV's and SVA's leverage this emotional need by using the power of endorsements and recommendations. Identify non-competing businesses that have customers similar to yours. Approach and tell them you have a proven strategy to increase their sales. Say you want to endorse and recommend their products/services to your clients and have them do the same for you. It's that simple! Some will and some won't but when you find proactive partners with the right list, you will be shocked and amazed at how quickly you can grow.

5. Look at, and study the standard marketing and advertising the majority of companies in your industry are using. Know exactly how and what they are doing. Here's the little known secret about using this information: Do something totally different! Why copy your competitors? You know you have a better product or service? Be outrageous, be different and get your prospect's attention.

6. Present your brand professionally. Don't skimp because you're a small business startup. You only have one chance to make a first impression. Hire a professional design firm (Logoworks is a popular choice for small businesses in my client base) and consult with them to develop your logo in accordance with your brand strategy. Have marketing collateral produced - including business cards, brochures, and letterhead - from a major online printer such as VistaPrint or PrintPlace. You'll be amazed at how cheaply you can have a professional brand, logo, and collateral developed. These are the six most critical elements of marketing to keep in mind when starting your business. I've been building businesses for over 30 years, so I've seen what works and what doesn't. I hope these tips help, drop me a note with your comments.


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