Networking: 10 Do’s & Don’ts To Make Your Efforts Pay Off

If you are a real people person, networking is likely something you enjoy. But for many owners and professionals, networking is hard work because it takes them out of their comfort zone. The good news is that effective networking requires skills that can be learned and mastered, even if you are not naturally outgoing.

If networking is one of your strategies for developing new relationships and potential business, then here are some do’s and don’ts to make yours pay off. Do’s and Don’ts to make yours more effective.

10 Ways To Get More From Networking

Have a Plan. There are a variety of ways to network. You can join business associations, chambers or groups, get involved with community organizations or your local rotary, attend social or business events, participate in workshops or classes, or go to trade shows.

All of these provide access to new people and a way to stay connected.  But they are only beneficial if they provide access to the people you want or need to meet. Be clear on what you want then take the time to research options, talk to like-minded business owners and ask questions. Then plan your networking and work your plan.

Set Goals. Specific, measurable networking goals help you monitor results, modify your approach, and keep you focused on priorities. Include goals around both activities (how much you will do) and results (outcomes you expect). Here are a few questions to consider as you establish your networking goals. How many events or seminars will you attend each month? How many groups will you formally join and participate in this year? How many new prospects do you want to meet each month or at each event? How many new alliance relationships do you want to build?

Prepare. Before you attend, take a few minutes to prepare. If you need a commercial, prepare one.  Check who else is attending and identify anyone you want to connect with. Also, remember to take business cards or other materials that are appropriate.

Take Notes & Get Contact Information. Business cards are an easy way to get contact information. Use the reverse side to make notes about the contact and any follow-up actions you commit to doing. Keep a small notebook or use your smart phone to jot down notes or contact information for times when business cards aren’t available.  As you gather contacts, think quality, not quantity.

Listen. Listening is one of the key skills for building relationships in business and in life. If you go to events ready to talk, you miss the chance to learn, help, give back, uncover opportunities and build relationships. Do you listen to hear and understand? Do you remain in the moment or think about the next person you want to meet? Master this skill and you will shine at networking.

Don’t Sell. While most people like to buy, nobody wants to be sold. Not on the phone, not at your business, and especially not at an event. Use your networking to build a foundation for future opportunities. Be patient.

Take Initiative. Most of the people in the room are there for the same purpose you are – to meet new people, reconnect or learn something new. So don’t hang out in the corner or sit down at a table. Mingle! Be willing to approach people, introduce yourself and simply break the ice by asking a question or comment. If you struggle with this, consider preparing a few relevant questions ahead of time.

Do Create Win-Wins. Networking is not about collecting business cards, but rather about creating mutually beneficial relationships. In other words, helping others and getting help in return. While help may be in the form of customer referrals, it may also be new connections, resources, information or ideas. Networking should never be one-sided. Don’t go in with a ‘what’s in it for me’ attitude or people will peg you as a user. On the other hand, abundant giving without receiving will cause resentment. It’s all about balance – and creating win-win relationships. Seek out the right people so you can give with abundance and receive with abundance.

Get Involved. Did you ever notice how well you get to know people when you work together on a project or committee? It’s a natural. So don’t just show up at events. Join a committee, serve on the board, or contribute your services to the organization to help them grow. It’s a great way to give back to the community, build your reputation, get to know like-minded people and develop some friendships along the way.

Have a Follow-Up System. A brief conversation at an event rarely produces an immediate customer or power partner. It is merely the starting point for building the relationship. Too often these opportunities are lost simply because there is no follow-up. A good networking system should provide a method to capture contact info, initiate meetings or calls, send relevant information, etc.

Networking, like other marketing strategies, needs to generate a return. Make sure your time and money investment pays off on the bottom line.

Ready to Put Your Business on the Path to Success?

Would working with a business coach help you take your business to a whole new level? Then let’s explore the possibilities with a complimentary consultation. It’s a chance to get to know each other, discuss your goals and the obstacles that hold you back. Together we can determine if there is a good fit between your needs and my services.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call me at (856) 533-2344 or drop me an email

USP, Unique Selling Proposition

Is Your USP Compelling to Those Who Matter?

As business owners, we all recognize the need for uniqueness, something that makes us stand out from the crowd so we don’t simply compete on price.  While not always easy, it is important because your unique selling proposition dramatically improves your marketing results by accomplishing three things:

Unique – sets you apart from competition, makes you the logical choice

Selling – persuades someone to exchange money for your products or services

Proposition – offer or promise for acceptance by others

It should answer the question, Why customers choose us?  When I ask this of business owners, they typically start listing things like great service, open good hours, a range of choices, quality people, etc. Then I hit them with the following: Is this list based on your beliefs or a real understanding of your customers?

So before you start brainstorming ideas for a better value proposition, do a little research.

Think Like Your Customers

Many small business owners assume their customers are just like them – with the same values, beliefs, needs, problems, and motivators. Even when it is obvious that your ideal customers are different. It’s easy to fall back into the trap and apply your own beliefs.

You need to know what they think and why, so ask! What makes them come back? Is it service, convenience or reliability to name a few. What is it about your service that they love? Is it friendliness, knowledge, or maybe your willingness to help. Now for the million dollar question: Why is this important to them?

What Motivates Customer Buying Decisions. One of the biggest myths is that customers buy based on needs alone. If this were true, why would people buy a Mercedes when a Hyundai would fill the same need for transportation?

People may have a need before they consider buying, but actual buying decisions are emotional, based on desires and other motivators. Image, safety, savings, convenience are just a few that drive people to open their wallets or sign on the dotted line. So what motivates your customers to go beyond consideration and actually buy? Get your arms around this and your messages will attract more customers to your business.

Weigh the Competition

What options do your customers have when it comes to buying the products and services you sell. Why do they choose you? Sounds simple, but the answer to this question may shed a lot of light on your business that you can capitalize on, in marketing, sales and service delivery.

Today customers have far more choice. Technology has removed geographic boundaries, developed new distribution channels, made customization (or the appearance of it) more accessible, and created leverage opportunities for many small businesses.

But if you want to capitalize on the opportunities and create a compelling reason to get customers flocking to you, start by improving your customer knowledge.

There are a variety of ways to get information about your customers. The most obvious and effective way is to ASK them. Depending on your business, you can do this with face-to-face interviews, phone discussions, online surveys or small, informal focus groups (aka lunch). When customers know you ‘get it’ and really understand them, they gladly reward you with more business.

Bring Your USP To Life

Figuring out what makes you distinctive or better is certainly important. But the real power of your USP comes from the positive emotions it can arouse. To do so, you need to bring it to life and make it memorable. In other words, how do you capture the emotional gratification promised by your products or services – in a short phrase or a few words.

Think tagline. A tagline, often used with your logo, is a word or phrase that identifies and explains a company’s benefit to the customer in a meaningful way. An effective one will have a personality all its own and connect with the customer in some sort of emotional way that makes it memorable.

  • Keeping it short is a key – but here are a few other factors you should consider:
  • Focus on the promise (result or benefit) not the feature or work you offer
  • Keep it vague enough to leave room for imagination
  • Convey a positive feeling
  • Give it impact, emotion or passion
  • Be consistent with your customers’ perception of your business – your strengths
  • Avoid sounding like a commodity!

Now don’t get paralyzed as you work through this. Your USP may change over time as your business evolves and you gain an understanding of customer motivators. So what are you selling and how does your USP convey this?

More Ideas to Grow Your Business

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Lost Sales Opportunities

How Many Potential Customers Slip Through Your Fingers

Most businesses spend a lot of time and money generating new leads — to get strangers to raise their hand and say “tell me more”. But if your marketing ends there, a lot of potential customers slip through your fingers. Unconverted prospects offer a goldmine of opportunity if you stay connected and patient.

Timing Is Everything

Not everyone who shows an interest and would benefit from your products or services is ready to buy right now. They may not have the money in their current budget or simply have other priorities today. Or may be satisfied with their current suppliers. They may have a contractual agreement in place. In other words, the timing is wrong.

Fortunately, time has a way of changing things. A ‘no’ today does not mean forever. So it is important to stay connected with warm leads or prospects who represent a potential goldmine. After all, you…

  • Know they have a need because they already called, visited your website or stopped by your location.
  • Already invested money and time doing the hard work.
  • Captured their attention and gave them a compelling reason to call or visit.

Isn’t it worth staying in touch to continue to build the relationship and create future sales?

Stay Connected To Convert More Prospects

Here’s the good news. It takes little time and money to stay connected with unconverted prospects and turn them into paying customers. Here are a few keys to generate future sales and profit.

Develop and Maintain a Database. Whether you use Outlook or Google Contacts, ACT or other CRM systems, a database for customers AND warm prospects is essential if you want to stay connected easily and effectively. Make sure you use the tools in your system to categorize contacts as customers or prospects for more targeted and specialized communication. It will help you avoid sending a ‘VIP customer special’ to a prospect or a ‘give us a try’ message to a long-standing customer.

Create a System. A structured and systematized program allows you to connect with all warm leads at once and can supplement individual calls. Some simple ways to connect include newsletters, letters, postcards, flyers, social media, and email – with special offers, free information, savings or simply a holiday wish. The method you choose will depend on your target audience. How do they prefer to receive information? The frequency of your communication will also depend on your industry and target. With that said, my B2B clients get the best results when they connect monthly; B2C clients often benefit from weekly or semi-monthly communication.

Plan It, Then Do It. You probably plan your marketing to attract new prospects or sell more to current customers. You need to do the same with unconverted prospects. Determine the frequency for your program, come up with the dates (for the entire year), and brainstorm possible themes and offers for each effort. If you take the time to plan it, you may find what many of my clients find. It will be more innovative, more effective and will actually get done. And that’s the key to getting results!

Educate To Sell. Use your stay-connected efforts to educate and continue to build relationships with unconverted prospects. Remember to include an offer and call to action like you would if you were targeting new prospects.

So what would your sales look like if you did a better job staying connected with prospects who already expressed an interest in your services? How many new customers could you get if you converted just 5% of your warm leads? For most small businesses, the answer is a lot! So start tapping into this potential goldmine and watch your sales and profits grow.

More Ideas to Grow Your Business

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current customer sales

3 Ways to Get More Sales From Current Customers

What are you doing to grow your revenue or sales year after year?  If you are like most businesses, your resources are going to attract new customers.  But what about your current customers, those that already know and like you?

What if you took just 5% of your marketing budget and dedicated it to grow sales to past or current customers?  How much more income could you generate?  Whether you sell to other businesses or consumers, don’t overlook this golden opportunity.

3 Ways To Capture More of Their Budget

Up-Sell:  Upgrading customers to premium products or services is a simple way to grow sales. Premium products or services deliver more perceived value and command higher prices than standard offerings.  So take a look at your current line-up.  What can you do to beef them up with more features, special treatment options, extended warranties, higher service levels, faster delivery, etc?  Think good, better, best.  Once you have them, start promoting them!

Cross-Sell:  Think complimentary products or services.  Things that logically go together or are natural fits. Window washing with house cleaning, desert or wine with dinner, brushes and tarps with paint, and bookkeeping or payroll with accounting services are just a few examples.   Whether you bundle or package them or leave them as a stand-alone option, these products or services offer customer convenience and incremental profit opportunities for you.  And they can be delivered directly by you or seamlessly through a third party.  The key here is to ask. So get creative and partner up if necessary to take advantage of these opportunities.

Re-Sell:  Get customers to buy again and again.  Some businesses, by their very nature, have recurring customer opportunities.  Dance studios, cleaning services, and lawn care companies come to mind.  However, most companies need to create repeat business.

Quality and convenience when it comes to service, product line, payment options and hours of operation certainly go a long way to keep them coming back.  But making them feel appreciated and staying connected is vitally important.  From birthday cards and punch-cards to customer-only offers, participation in surveys or research groups and volume incentives, these are all simple ways to stay connected and show you care.  Whether you do so via phone, mail, email or social media, make sure your customers know you value their business and reward them for their loyalty.  It will go a long way.

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mktg strategy target cust

Strategy Before Tactics For Business Success

As a business owner, do you feel like you are fighting an uphill battle and losing ground? Doing lots of stuff but getting nowhere fast? Then it’s time to put the brakes on and start working smarter.

We’re all familiar with the saying, ‘Can’t see the forest for the trees’ and this is true for many small business owners. Engrossed in the details and daily operations, owners often ignore or don’t see the big picture. Whether you are solving problems or developing your business, think strategy before tactics.

What’s the difference? In simplest terms, a strategy is a broad plan to achieve desired goals or results; typically longer-term or bigger picture. Tactics are the means, tasks or actions, to carry them out. They are what you implement or do.

According to Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat”. While true in military terms, it’s equally true in business, especially when it comes to marketing. You have a lot of tactical choices. But if they don’t work together and support your strategy, you waste time and money.

So as you plan for this year, take the time to revisit your marketing strategy before you set up the tactics to get there. Don’t get concerned, it’s not complicated. A good marketing strategy simply requires two things. First, a narrow focus on your ideal customers. Second, some way to differentiate your business. Here is how you can approach this.

Define YOUR Ideal Customers

You can’t be all things to all people and most small businesses know this. They don’t intend to try to serve everyone but end up there over time. With a desire to grow, especially in tough times, it’s easy to lose focus and view everyone as ideal. Unfortunately, more customers and sales do not guarantee more profit.

Even as they grow and evolve, most businesses have an ideal customer segment. To get a good sense of your ideal target, follow these steps:

  • Make a list (10-20) of your most profitable customers or clients. These may or may not be customers with the highest sales.
  • From that list, identify those who have referred business to you. You definitely want more of these!
  • From the smaller list, identify common demographic characteristics. If you lack this information, do a little research or ask the customer.
  • Next, take a look at their behaviors. How do they buy, what do they buy, why do they buy? What are the challenges they face? What’s important to them? Not sure, ask.
  • Draw a detailed sketch of your ideal client – and use it in your marketing!
Differentiate YOUR Business

This is not a new concept but one that many small businesses don’t do. Making claims for great service or quality doesn’t differentiate you – unless you back it up with something specific.

Differentiation helps you stand out from competition but also reduces your need to compete on price. If ‘how much’ is the first question your prospects ask, then you likely have a vanilla brand. Here are some questions you can use to get to the specifics you need to set your business apart from others:

  • What made you decide to hire us or choose us?
  • What’s one thing we do better than others like us?
  • What’s one thing we could do better?
  • Would you or do you refer us to others? If yes, why or what would you say?

If at any time, the customer responds with something bland like ‘you provide great service’, dig a little deeper to get specifics. Try asking ‘What does good service look like?’ or ‘Tell me a story or a time when we provided good service.’

I have done this exercise with a lot of clients. Create a simple survey and start asking your customers relevant questions. It’s not only helpful but can be eye-opening. More important, it will help you uncover some specifics you can use to stand out. And isn’t that the key to attracting more profitable customers?

With a strong knowledge and understanding of your ideal customers and what sets you apart, you now have the foundation for your marketing strategy. Choosing the right tactics to reach your target and creating compelling messages for them is now easier. Most important, your marketing will deliver better results.

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How to Avoid the Summer Sales Slump

When the weather heats up, does your business cool down? Fewer calls, proposals, meetings, and events? With more people on vacation and kids out of school, some drop-off in activities that drive your business may occur.  But the summer sales slump is less related to summer — and more related to your activities and expectations.

It’s easy to listen to and believe others in similar industries when they say things like “it’s hard to get new business during the summer” or “sales really drop off in July and August” or “marketing in the summer is a waste of time and money”.

When I started my business many years ago, I heard the same thing from others who were far more experienced than me. And I believed them. So I cut back on many of the activities that produce quality clients. And I got exactly what I expected – no new clients from June-August. I didn’t make that mistake again. The following year, I made a few minor tweaks but kept doing what I was doing the other 9 months. And I got new clients in the summer – some really good ones!

Fewer Leads, More Sales

Here is what I learned.  While fewer people called me, the ones that did were more serious about getting the help they needed to improve their business. So I converted more of those prospects to paying clients. Fewer leads, but more sales! I’ve seen this play out again and again in my business and with my clients. We expect new business in the summer – we take action – and we get results. With different expectations, you can too.

So as you head into the summer, take some time to set priorities and activities for the next three months. Include some marketing and sales ‘stuff’ on your to-do list. If you already have consistent activities to generate leads and have extra time, use the summer to work on other areas of your business.

Summer Projects To Improve Your Business
  • How can you serve your customers better?  Come up with one or two things you can start doing now.
  • What is the biggest complaint you get from customers? Work on a system to improve or eliminate the problem.  Remember, think solution, not band-aid!
  • Change often comes from getting your team engaged.  Pick one project for the team to work on together — to address a challenge or problem.
  • When was the last time you reviewed the procedures you have in place?  Pick a few and start looking for ways to make them more efficient and effective.  Not sure which ones need attention — as your team, they know where the problems are!  Never took the time to document procedures?  Now is a great time to start!
  • Are all your eggs in one basket as it relates to vendors or suppliers?  Now is a good time to start exploring additional options — before a problem arises.

Get the most out of the summer. Think sales. Think productivity. Think profit. Then get to work to make it happen.

How Do You Measure Up?

For a comprehensive checklist to help you identify more hidden opportunities in your small business, check out my Business Success Checklist.  It’s a great tool to help you assess progress and prioritize what needs to be done — all year round.


Direct Mail: 10 Tips to Attract More Customers

Direct mail can be one of the most effective tools in your marketing arsenal – even with all the emphasis on digital marketing. For many small businesses, it generates one of the highest returns on both time and money. So here’s a few tips to get more from your direct mail efforts.

10 Tips to Make Direct Mail Effective

Target Your Mailings – Very Specifically. Direct mail works when the headline, copy and offers are compelling to the people you want to reach. You can’t create compelling messages with broad targets. Small subgroups with unique needs allow you to demonstrate value and talk their language which is a key to getting the actions you want. So think smaller to get bigger results.

Don’t Limit Direct Mail to Postcards. Letters and flyers allow you to provide more information or tell a better story. So ignore the myth that short and sweet is always the way to go. Break up the copy with sub-headlines for easy scanning. And use a PS in your marketing piece. It’s  the most read copy in any direct mail.

Give People a Reason to Act. Give people a reason to act – call, visit website, stop by your location. An offer does not need to be expensive, it just needs to be compelling for your audience. Here’s a few to consider: samples, money-back guarantee, free trial, coupon, money refund, special deal or savings, a guarantee of service, unique reward or widget, or free information or help. Get creative and remember, include an expiration date to create a sense of urgency.

Include a Compelling Headline. It’s important to grab their attention. Whether you use a letter, postcard or flyer, the headline encourages them to read more. Make the headline ‘speak to them’ – another reason for a clear target! And remember, your company name is not a headline!

Don’t Gloss Over the Copy. This is one of the most important parts of your direct mail piece so make it powerful. Highlight benefits, not features. Use bullets or short segments of information. Use sub-headlines with longer copy. Use questions to identify problems, then, demonstrate how you solve them. Write like you speak, conversationally. Minimize buzz-words and jargon. Support claims and be credible.

Have a Clear Call to Action. Don’t assume your prospect knows what you want them to do. Be clear about it. If you want them to call, say so. You can also include the call to action upfront, in the middle, and at the end — or any combination.

Use a Good Mailing List. The best direct mail piece won’t attract new customers if the mailing list is not accurate or up-to-date. You can purchase a targeted mailing list, based on your criteria.  Your local library is also a good source as many of them offer free access to a database of businesses and individual consumers or households.

Make It Personal. Mailing labels, meter postage, and non-personalized envelopes reduce open rates on direct mail, especially when mailing to businesses. Always personalize it with the name, use ‘handwriting’ fonts or hand write the information and place a postage stamp on it. Include your return address but consider replacing your company name with your name for a more personal look. It may cost a little more and take more time, but is often offset by increased open rates.

Start Small. If using a new direct mail piece, try it out on a smaller sample before doing large mailings. This allows you to test the effectiveness and modify if needed. If your piece has already proven to be successful, (it generates viable leads) then systematize it and send out a pre-set quantity each week or month to create a continuous flow of new leads.

Do Track Results. The only way you will know what works and doesn’t is by tracking the results. How many pieces did you mail? How many responses did you get? There are a lot of methods for tracking results, but the easiest and most effective way is to get in the habit of always asking people how they heard of you (or what made them contact you).

Finally, remember this simple rule when it comes to direct mail and all marketing strategies. If it works, keep doing it. I am surprised at how often small business owners replace or change a marketing piece because they get bored with it. They assume their prospects and customers do too. The time to ‘change’ or re-think your marketing is when it stops working – meaning it no longer generates quality leads and a return on investment for you.

More Ideas to Grow Your Business

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Online Reviews: Testimonials on Steroids

When customers want to learn more about your business, review sites are one of the places they go. And it isn’t limited to hotels and restaurants! From physicians and plumbers to bookkeepers and attorneys, review sites and social platforms like Yelp, Facebook and Google offer a way for prospects to get the inside scoop about your business from those in the know – your current or past customers.

Like testimonials, online reviews from customers can give prospects a sense of security, improve your credibility, bring out attributes you don’t always promote and provide content for your marketing. As a result, they can drive more sales to your business.

But did you also know that online reviews can help improve your organic search rankings in Google? They can if you keep the following in mind:

  • Normal Frequency. Are customers, clients or patients writing reviews on a regular basis or are there long time gaps between reviews. Getting new reviews throughout the year is important.
  • Timeliness. How old is your last review – six months, one year, more? Recent reviews are more heavily weighted than older ones.
  • Opinions. While not totally scientific, Google can measure positive versus negative feedback – and gives more credit to positive reviews.
To Get More Online Reviews – ASK

The best way to increase the number of online reviews is to ASK your customers. Many of your loyal customers will be happy to help you grow your business – you simply need to make it easy for them to do so. Here are a few ways my clients have used to get customer feedback and reviews:

  1. If you do after-sale feedback surveys, follow-up your conversation with a thank you email and request they write a review. Always include the link to the site — for example, your Google My  Business URL.
  2. Create a biz-card with a request for review and URL link (or instructions) to give to customers or patients at check-out. This is helpful for retail or medical practices.
  3. If you leave an invoice at a customer’s home or business when service is completed, include a brief comment/request for an online review with the supporting URL. Mention this to the customer so the comment is simply a reminder.

So what is the downside of online reviews? The one I hear most is fear that a disgruntled employee or customer will write something damaging or vindictive.

Protect Your Reputation

While there is always the risk of not-so-good reviews, there are a few things you can do to make sure the positives outweigh the negatives – and protect your reputation.

Make service and quality a priority. Happy customers write positive reviews. Go back and look at any negative reviews, customer complaints or feedback surveys to identify the gaps or issues. Common ones include scheduling or late arrivals, long waits, re-doing the work (poor quality), lack of response, and multiple people or conversations required to resolve an issue. By improving the business, you will improve the reviews.

Be accessible. A bad buying experience can often be resolved with a conversation if you are available to them. How can people contact you by phone or email? Are your contact information included on your website and social media sites? Are your online business listings accurate? Even the best businesses make mistakes. Be professional and apologetic – and you may actually turn an unhappy customer into a happy one!

Monitor Your Reputation. Keeping track of what is said about your business (or key personnel) is important. Google Alerts makes it easy. Simply set up an alert using your company name and one for yourself and key people. Once set up, Google will notify you when these appear on the web.

Keep It Honest

Fake reviews or paying for reviews to build up the number is fraudulent and deceptive. Like any false advertising, it is subject to fines and removal from ALL review sites. More important, word of such deceitful actions can ruin your credibility in the market.

Build your online reviews with integrity. Ask your customers and make it easy for them — and you will reap the benefits.

More Ideas to Grow Your Business

For new business improvement articles, exclusive tools and insights on entrepreneurship, click here to subscribe to my monthly eNewsletter. When you do, I’ll also send you my free eBook, How to Build Profit Through Leverage.

Target customers

Substance Before Style – For Advertising That Get Results

When it comes to your company’s advertising, are you more concerned about how it looks or what it says? While design and style are important, all the glitz is worthless if there is no real substance to your message. Whether you use print ads, direct mail, email, digital or social media, the copy is king!

So the next time you sit down to prepare a new marketing campaign, give a little more thought to your copy.

6 Steps To Make Marketing Easier and More Effective

Step 1: Define Your Ideal Customer

The best marketing starts with a clear ‘audience’ in mind! Write a one-page description of your most ideal client/customer. Describe in detail all about them. For consumers, this might include age, marital status, the car they drive, the number of children, income range, personality type, common problems or challenges. For businesses, this might include size, industry, the number of employees, decision maker title, hobbies, personality type, goals, and common problems. This answers the question “Who” is your ideal client (not your target market – your IDEAL “A” class customer)

Step 2: What Would They Buy?

“What” would your ideal customers buy from you? Most businesses offer more than one product or service for their ideal customers, so identify all of them.

Step 3: Why Would They Buy?

This is important and is two-fold. Why would they buy from you instead of your competition and what are the benefits they receive when they make the purchase? Your Unique Value Proposition is important here so you don’t compete on price alone!

Step 4: Headlines That Speak to Ideal Customers

Whether you are creating a landing page on your website, an email marketing campaign or direct mail piece, a powerful headline is a must to get attention and encourage ideal customers to read more. Brainstorm and write down 10 headlines that speak to your ‘who’ and grab the attention of your ideal customers. Here are a few headline starters to get you thinking:

    • Here’s How You Can …
    • 7 Ways to Increase Your…
    • 5 Reasons to Try (or Call)
    • For Less Than $5 a Week…
Step 5: Outlandish Offers

Offers are a must for small businesses to get people to take action – call, visit your website, come into location, sign up for an event, etc. So based on “What” they would buy – come up with 3-5 outlandish, over-the-top kind of offers.

Step 6: WIIFM

Develop benefit-oriented copy based on the answer to the ‘why’ above. Remember the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) — How can your products or services solve their problems, ease their fears or make their life better, simpler or more profitable.

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4 Strategies to Grow Revenue in Your Small Business

When you want to grow revenue, many small business owners are surprised when I say that there are only four ways to increase sales in your business. Sure there are hundreds of tactics or methods you can implement – but they all support these four basic strategies:

Get more customers … in current or new markets

Get customers to spend more … increase average transaction

Get customers to buy more often … increase frequency

Get customers to stay longer … customer retention

So before you start selecting the techniques to grow revenue, be clear on what you want to accomplish. It keeps you focused on the desired outcome and makes it easier to choose the right tactics to get there.

4 Strategies To Grow Revenue
Get More Customers.

This is the most obvious and common approach when it comes to growing sales. It is also the most expensive method in terms of both time and money. As a result, I typically recommend that my small business clients maximize the other three areas before focusing their resources here. You can get more customers with existing offers to new targets or new offers to existing targets. The key to success comes from matching the offer with the needs of the target and communicating it in a way that is compelling to them!

Get Customers to Spend More.

Often overlooked, this is one of the easiest ways to grow revenue. If you could increase every transaction by just 5%, what would that mean to your business? So how can you do this? Raising prices is certainly one option, but you can also promote premium products, upsell or cross-sell complimentary products or services or expand payment options or plans.

Get Customers to Buy More Often.

It’s not enough for customers to buy, you want them to buy again and again. So you need to keep them coming back. You need to stay connected and give them a reason to do so. Maintain a customer database and use it to promote customer only offers via mail, email or text. Start a monthly continuity program or newsletter. Use a reminder system. Develop followers on social media and promote special offers to them. Educate customers on your full range of products (don’t assume they know).

Get Customers to Stay Longer.

If your new business simply replaces lost customers, you gain nothing. Keep the customers you have. It costs 6 – 7 times more to get new ones. Plus existing customers tend to be more loyal and less price sensitive. If you could keep every customer for an additional month or year, how much revenue would that represent to your business?

The key to retention is simple.  To quote one of my clients, deliver what you promise and then some! Here are a few techniques to consider: thank you or bonus gift with new or first purchase, send birthday and holiday cards, follow-up call after purchase or job completion, ask for testimonials, recognize customers in newsletters, blogs or social media, and give ‘free’ information or advice.

More Ways to Grow Your Business

For new business improvement articles, exclusive tools and insights on entrepreneurship, click here to subscribe to my monthly eNewsletter. When you do, I’ll also send you my free eBook, How to Build Profit Through Leverage.