Tag Archives: tips

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.

Networking Like A Pro

man extending handshakeIt’s that time of the year again, when holiday parties, social events and get-togethers begin to fill our calendars. To make the most of in-person networking, try these conversation starters (or enders, if you’re trying to meet as many people as possible!):

Starters
Keep questions like these in your repertoire, so they flow naturally:

  • How long have you been a member of this group / club / association?
  • What made you decide to join?
  • What other groups / clubs / associations do you belong to?
  • How did you get started as an ______? (assuming you know what they do already)
  • What projects are you working on now?
  • If I were to refer people to your business, what should they need?
  • Have you been to this location before?
  • Have you attended other events here?

Enders
Wrapping up is often challenging, especially if the other person won’t let you come up for air. So you’ll need to do your best to exit gracefully. Whatever you do, extend a handshake before parting!

  • I need to see ____ before she leaves, it was nice meeting you.
  • Would you excuse me, I need to use the bathroom (make sure you leave the room!).
  • Before I go, could I have your card?

Things Not To Do

  • Avoid “filler” conversation, like talking about the weather, a recent sports game, etc.
  • If you’re into direct sales (like Avon or nutritional supplements), please don’t solicit new members, or gasp, try to sell your product on the spot

I hope these tips help you in your upcoming gatherings. What did I miss? What are your favorite conversation starters or enders?

Photo credit by Henkster.

Face to Face Networking Ideas

light bulb ideaIn today’s connected, social society, we focus heavily on our digital networking. But often, it’s traditional, face to face networking where business gets done. Here are a few ideas to help make your introductions and meetings powerful:

  • Check your arrogance at the door. It’s OK to be upbeat, positive and confident, but there’s no need to gloat. If you’re business is doing well, say so, but remember, you’re always looking for new and interesting clients (or projects).
  • Keep business cards in your pocket at social events. Remember, the event is social, so be discreet when handing out cards. In fact, make it a rule to only hand out a business card at a social event when asked.
  • Know what you want before asking for it. Be specific about the types of clients, companies or industries you work with; and also be specific about the types of problems you solve.
  • Be prepared with several introductory statements. Sometimes, you only have a chance to say your name, occupation and who you help. But if asked for more information, have a situation or client story to tell which relates to how you solve problems.
  • When saying what it is you do, focus on outcomes. For example, instead of a boring “I’m an attorney” try “I help fathers negotiate the divorce process”. It’s impactful, meaningful and memorable.
  • Practice, practice and practice some more. If it sounds canned to you, imagine how the person hearing it for the first time thinks?

I hope these ideas help, and look forward to meeting some of you at future networking events!

Photo credit by Buckey.

Five Things You Didn’t Know About LinkedIn

blackboardAs readers of this blog will confirm, I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn for selling and consulting. I wanted to share a few additional features many casual users of LinkedIn probably are not aware of:

LinkedIn has a store, where you can buy branded merchandise. Up for sale include mugs, shirts, luggage tags and even reusable grocery shopping bags. For me, I’ve got my eye on the lapel pin for in-person networking.

The LinkedIn blog is frequently updated with all the new and cool enhancements on the network. Writers use the content here for their own blog posts. And for those of you who like to comment on blog posts, the structure here publishes your profile URL, which is a unique twist, and may help you with optimization.

A fairly new feature is the ability to reorder the elements on your profile. Via simple drag and drop, you can move the pieces of your profile around to best highlight your skills, expertise or experiences and stand out from the crowd.

I launched my first DirectAds campaign earlier this week, and the results seem promising. The targeting is robust, but the $10/day minimum is pretty high when compared to Google and Facebook ($1/day or so). More to come on the results of my campaign.

LinkedIn also makes it very easy for you to promote your profile with badges. When logged in to your account, the badges are automatically updated to include your profile URL.

I hope you find these features useful to your networking goals on Linked In, and I welcome your comments, and connection requests.

Photo credit by ilco.