Tag Archives: ideas

5 Simple Marketing Tips for Any Small Business

top 5 list on blackboardFIND the CLIENT is all about finding more clients so that you can get back to doing what you do best — sharing your skills. If you’re spending hours upon hours marketing your small business and you’re not seeing results, consider the following five small business marketing tips:

  1. Focus on search engine optimization. Choosing to invest in search engine optimization, or tweaking your website so it ranks higher in search engines, is one of the smartest decisions any small business owner can make because it can result in passive sales/lead generation. While you can only work a set amount of hours per day, your website can work 24 hours a day.
  2. Invest in social media. Similar to investing in search engine optimization, investing in social media is an effective marketing strategy. With a strong social media presence, you’ll be able to encourage your satisfied customers to speak on your behalf via their social networking accounts, which is far better for your bottom line than most other marketing strategies.
  3. Send free products to influential bloggers (including interesting eBooks you’ve written). Encouraging influential bloggers to review your product(s) is one of the most cost effective marketing techniques available. All you have to do is ship free versions of your product to a handful of people accompanied by a well-written letter. Even better, send an email first to gauge interest in your product. That way, you won’t end up sending something that is just going to be thrown out.
  4. Create frequent customer punch loyalty cards (or create an equivalent reward system to encourage loyalty among your customers). Perhaps the easiest way to drum up additional business is to tap into your existing customer base. If you’re marketing a restaurant, create a loyalty card that your staff punches every time someone orders a meal with the idea that every ninth meal is free, for example. This will allow you to convert infrequent customers into frequent customers with minimal effort. Though I provided a restaurant example, this idea of offering loyal customers a price break can apply to nearly any industry.
  5. If you’re going to distribute tangible marketing materials, opt for durable items. For example, instead of providing people with fliers, try experimenting with refrigerator magnets that people tend not to throw out. Though they’ll be a bit more expensive per item, from a business perspective, what you should really think about is how many times someone’s eyes will come into contact with the marketing message on the promotional item over its lifespan relative to its price.

Photo credit by ilco.

Four Ideas for Your Business Growth Goals

arrows pointing upIt’s that time of the year, when we make plans for our business’s growth in the new year. Here are four simple ideas (some would say the only ways you can grow a business) you can use to increase the revenues your business makes in 2011:

  1. Bring in more customers. Of course, they have to buy something for this to work!
  2. At each transaction, get each of your customers to buy more. Fast food restaurants have perfected the art of the upsell with their simple statement, “Do you want fries with that?”
  3. Once you’ve got them to buy more, create continuity by encouraging them to purchase more often. Think of ways to package up different items or make your service more consumable.
  4. Finally, and the easiest of the bunch for any business owner, is to increase your prices. But beware — most goods and services are relatively elastic, meaning that changes in price have relatively large effects on the quantity demanded (sorry for the Econ 101 lesson, but it’s important to keep this in mind).

Which one of these will you focus on first? Which one will you ignore?

Photo credit by svilen001.

Simple Ways to Provide Great Client Service

easy buttonProviding good service is often the fastest, least expensive way to make more revenues for your firm. Start by satisfying your clients before they even walk in the door, such as returning phone calls quickly, and really listening to their concerns. Often, lawyers are so busy they may miss huge opportunities (and referrals) without even knowing about them by not returning calls.

Another way to provide good service is to empower your staff to make decisions and reward them for good choices. This is often hard for lawyers or other professionals, who often have difficulty delegating tasks and incorrectly believe they are the only ones capable of making business decisions. But empowerment won’t bring down the business; it actually boosts job satisfaction, keeps turnover low and breeds loyalty. All of which equates to better client service, more revenues and more time for you to develop business and build on your competitive advantage.

What happens if you’ve really, really ruffled some feathers? It happens. Most attorneys just ignore problems, letting voicemail or worse, their assistants handle the brunt of client complaints. Instead, let your clients vent, directly to you. Even encourage them to do it. Imagine you are the one with the concern, and treat them how you’d expect to be treated. This could turn an ugly complaint (which, gasp, could even be posted online as a negative review!) into an opportunity to really hear someone out, and improve your service.

An interesting way to provide great client service is to show, don’t tell. Consider making social responsibility part of your client messaging. Many clients like to see and know what causes are important to you. So, consider posting information about your involvement on your website, and including it in client literature. Even better, involve your clients too. For example, if you’re collecting or donating food to a local homeless shelter, consider putting a box in your office, and ask your clients to contribute. Client loyalty increases when they see involvement with a good cause.

Great client service doesn’t happen by pushing a button. Review your current office policies, and consider implementing the above suggestions. I’m confident they will make an impact.

The Easy Button can be found at Staples.

The Guiding Principle of Marketing

concentrate-and-focusThere is no secret formula for successful inbound (or outbound, if you dare) marketing, but there is one main, guiding principle – stay focused on your core competencies. Of course, expand as you see fit, but never forget the business reason why your clients came to you in the first place. Consider some law firms who will retain anyone, vs. those specializing in one specific area of practice, like bankruptcy. If the bankruptcy attorney started doing personal injury, and then wills and estates, they’d eventually lose clients because their overall service would decline.

So restrain yourself from trying every new marketing idea under the sun. Don’t jump from a website this month to dropping flyers the next. Take your time when considering the various approaches. Stick with one medium, preferably inbound marketing, and only change once it becomes a predictable, reliable source of business.

For those of you just starting out, particularly all the young lawyers, and newly unemployed, ex-large law attorneys, concentrate on one core practice area. For example, it’s far easier to make a name for yourself and build referrals if you’re known for being the “auto accident attorney”. You’ll also build up precious knowledge faster, which ultimately becomes more and more valuable down the road. If you’re having trouble figuring out what your core practice area is, ask yourself these three questions:

  • What is it I’m really selling?
    Don’t define this as legal services, declare it in terms of a solution for your clients. For example, life insurance professionals don’t sell policies, they sell peace of mind. If you can’t figure out what you’re really selling, how are you going to focus and attract those who really want it?
  • Who are you really selling to?
    Demographic targeting aside, the answer you’re looking for are the kinds of problems they have (that you solve). This is what your clients really want, and will pay to get.
  • Why should they hire me?
    Do you have what it takes to solve their problem, and give them what it is they really want? Speak with conviction and authority when meeting with prospects. Don’t tell them what you can do – show proof (where allowed) with testimonials. The easiest way to win trust from your clients is to sell something you personally believe in.

Inbound marketing is a long-term project or investment, so treat it that way. Be patient, stay focused and you’ll get great results.

Photo credit by a_kartha.