Gone are the days where a good product or service sells itself. Yes, one could argue that its not completely gone, but relying on this method will keep your business small, in fact you might be kicked out of business from fierce competitor. That is why marketing has become an essential part of sustaining and growing businesses in today’s world. Many people dislike selling, in fact; I personally do not enjoy selling. But if you enjoy what you do and know can see its impact in the lives of others, you will get off your backside with joy and go out there telling everyone about your business.
So if marketing is very important and every businessperson is doing it, how can one increase their chances of generating effective leads through marketing?
Talk to more people daily about the solutions you provide –
Don’t talk about what you do, but how your product/service solves a problem. Starting is always a daunting process, but remember as your do it daily, it gets easier and becomes more productive. So you can start with a small but targeted number of potential customers/Clients. For example, your end target may be to talk to at least 100 people everyday; you can start with 15 people, then increase or exceed your target number, as you get better. The more people you talk to about the help your business provides, the greater your chances of getting more clients.
Attend as many business and networking events as possible –
You should attend good and targeted networking events; or you can organize your own-targeted networking events. Business is about building relationships, networks and trust. People will most likely do business with someone they know and trust, and will also recommend their friends to your business due to the relationship they have built with you. Nonetheless, you should use your time wisely, so plan your week effective and make sure that attending networking events do not affect providing an efficient and timely product/service to your present client, because good service means repeat business. Therefore, plan to attend events during your idle/less busy hours and work at your busy hours. Keep it balanced!
Don’t spam people with selling –
I used to be part of many small business groups on Facebook, but have recently removed myself from these groups because of the constant selling. I know the owners/administrators of these group must have set up the groups for like-minded business people to network, post questions and share advice of everyday business issues, however, other members have messed it up with constant spamming. They don’t contribute, but just advertise and sell their products/services. The truth is, no one wants to be sold to all the time. So please build genuine business relationships, be a listener. When you attend business events, talk less about yourself business, rather ask questions. The good thing about asking questions is that it helps you understand the need of the individual and if you provide products/services that can help reduce or eliminate the problem, you stand a better chance of giving them that information and thus increasing your chances of a business relationship which then result in the individual buying your product or service. You also get word-of-mouth referrals via this medium.
Use free listing websites and cheap paid advertising –
There are free listing websites or cheap paid websites when you can advertise your business. i.e. Craigslist and you will get the information required. Remember to only advertise solutions; don’t waffle all about your business, because your potential client is not looking to be impressed, but is looking for a product or service that will solve a problem or enhance productivity.
Use social media avenue to market your business –
Technologies have changed the way we do business today. The arrival of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube etc. Has made business a lot easier and marketing cheaper. Using these mediums to advertise your business is a cheap way of getting leads, but don’t get carried away with the time spent on each platform. You must analyse your potential market and what platform they are mostly likely to be on and spend time there to market your business. Remember, no spamming, Build relationships, which then leads to business. If your potential customers are more on Facebook than twitter, then use more of Facebook and set the number of hours each day you will spend on each platform and try to measure the returns from each platform. I know this can sometimes be difficult, but getting these stats can help you strategically plan for your social media marketing and improve productivity. Remember, you can always outsource, if you lack time to do social media marketing yourself.
Join offline business groups and online business forums –
Offline business groups like Chamber of Commerce, Marketing consultant London group, small business groups, BNI etc. can help your business grow through referrals and networking. Joining online business forums give you a platform to network, participate in discussion, give advice and be known. As you continuously participate and provide advice, people in the group will see you as the expert and come to you when they need advice and most times, they will click on your profile to know more about you. As they do this, there is a greater chance of them clicking to your website and as you know the more visit to your website the more clients/customers you are likely to get. So when providing advice, know your subject very well and be clear and concise.
Contact Organisations about speaking at events –
Speaking at events give you more exposure. So browse through your local community website and check for upcoming events; call and ask to speak for free in some of the events. As you do free speaking at events and get known in your business, with time, you will be contacted for paid speaking. Remember when you speak at events; don’t sell your products/services on stage, else you lose your audience. You need to research your topic, be prepared to deliver the speech like your life depended on it and once you can capture the audience; they will come asking for your business details and how you can help them backstage at the close of event.
These are my few marketing tips for small businesses; larger corporation will use radio, TV & billboard advertising. But never mind, as your business grows, you will have sufficient funds to do large-scale advertising, but in the meantime don’t waste money on marketing, only do cost-effective marketing. But don’t stop marketing because that is the channel for business growth. All the best!!!