Transcending Into the Small Business Marketing – Here and Now

Now that the economy get a bit of a lift after several years of being a drag, with gasoline at $3.60+ a gallon, higher state and local taxes, big companies announcing layoffs, and prices rising across the board, the time is here to tighten our belts and squeeze that marketing dollar until it squeals.

Trust me, the rhetoric that the economy is getting better is just that – political rhetoric, and isn’t coming from the business community in the trenches.

We know better!

As a local business owner you can identify many ways to market your products and services, but your small marketing and advertising budget is not infinite. Start by picking two or three strategies and work with them until you’re comfortable. Successful marketing comes from repeated use of different venues to get your information out to the consumer. Whether you go low or high tech, find the tools that click with your particular business and marketing style.

Direct Mail Marketing

Getting an advertisement in the mail is still one of the most successful ways of marketing. Matt Graham, in a Sourcelink article, says that 75 percent of consumers still prefer some form of direct mail advertising. What has changed is the influence of technology on the targeting of the market.

To be successful with direct mail, you need to know your customer and target them specifically. An enormous amount of data has been collected on people’s preferences, lifestyle, likes and dislikes. Research your market and find the direct mail databases most associated with your customers’ preferences. Do-it-yourself homeowners with children, people who travel routinely for business, young adults with an active lifestyle and diabetes are all examples of the level of direct mail databases you can find.

With direct mail, there is the benefit of an added opportunity to physically promote your brand so it becomes recognizable. Branding on printed material draws the consumer’s eye and stays with them. Even with tools such as a Pitney Bowes postage meter, you have the opportunity to print logos and ads on the envelopes. Anything that gets your brand information in front of the consumer is worth the effort.

Regardless of how you look at it, the most important aspect of any successful mail order business is it’s advertising. In fact, mail order success is wholly dependent, and even predicated upon good advertising.

First of all, you’ve got to have a dynamic, spectacular ad that attracts the eye and grabs the interest of the people you’re trying to sell to. Thus, unless your ad really “jumps out” at the reader, your sales won’t live up to expectations, and your ad money will be wasted.

The eye-catching appeal of your ad must start with the headline. Use the headline to very quickly create a picture in the minds of the reader – a vision of all their problems being solved, and attainment of the kind of happiness they seek.

If your headline fails to catch the attention of your prospect, you cannot hope to capture him with the remaining of the ad, because it will go unread! So in writing your advertisement you must quickly interest a potential customer in your offer, show him how he can get what he wants, and then cause him to send immediately for your “solution” to his problems.

Your copy must exude enthusiasm, excitement, and a positive attitude. Don’t be afraid to use a hard-sell approach! Say what you feel and believe about your offer. And use common, “everyday“, but correct English.

Even so, you can and must remember to be honest. Don’t exaggerate or make claims you can’t back up. Never make promises you cannot or don’t expect, to keep. To do so could get you in trouble with the Federal Trade and Fair Practices people.

Stress the benefits of your product or service. Explain to your reader how owning a copy of your book (for instance), or receiving your services will make his life richer, happier, and more abundant. Don’t get involved in detailing all the money you’ve spent developing the product or researching the information you’re selling, or you’re selling, or your credentials for offering it. Stress the “sizzle” and the value of ownership.

It is important to involve the reader as often as possible through the use of the word “you.” Write your copy just as if you were speaking to and attempting to sell just ONE person. Don’t let your ad sound as a speaker at a podium addressing a huge stadium filled with people, but as if there were just one individual “listening“.

One final point to remember: the summer months when people are most apt to be away on vacation are usually not good months for direct mail. But they ARE good for opportunity and advertisements in publications often found in vacation areas, and in motels and hotels.

Again, it cannot be stresses too much or often: success in mail order does, indeed, depend upon advertising, and as with anything else, quality pays off in the long run.

Email Marketing

Email is the number one channel for delivering relevant offers and information to customers, though most marketers are not taking full advantage its true power.

This is not just the electronic delivery of the same information you would send through direct mail. Mike Veilleux in the Direct Marketing News (2) says you need to interact with the customer to keep your email from heading right for the spam folder.

Your email needs to be concise, compelling and call for some action from the consumer. You can request them to “like” you, click on a link to receive a white paper or go to a social media page to receive a discount on your product. Any time the consumer reacts with your email, you have a successful campaign.

Offering free things to your website visitors is one marketing method that often results in a lot of sales. Free courses that are delivered via email are very popular, and people sign up for such courses on a regular basis to learn more about a topic of interest to them. These courses are best maintained and delivered with the use of autoresponders.

An autoresponder can be set up to send out a series of lessons for an email course. The lessons can be set for distribution at specific intervals. You determine how often the lessons for the course are sent to the people who have signed up for it. Email courses are very different from traditional courses, web based courses, or any other type of course.

There is no student and instructor interaction. The instructor writes the information out, puts each lesson in an autoresponder series, sets the timing for the lessons, and the rest is automated. You can opt to have lessons delivered daily, every other day, every three days, or any other time frame that you think works best for your potential email customers.

This means that the first lesson would be delivered one day after the person has requested the course, and the second lesson would be delivered three days after the person has requested the course, and so on. The interval for each lesson is set for the number of days after the person has signed up. Make sure that everything is spelled right, and that your sentences are grammatically correct. You want the lessons to look and sound as professional as possible.

Next, simply advertise the email address that will activate the autoresponder. Make sure that you run a test first, sending each lesson to yourself. This will allow you to see what your email students will see when they sign up!

The autoresponder sequence does these things for you:

  • Demonstrates (not claims) that you are an expert,
  • Educates your prospect about your field,
  • Helps your prospect self-qualify herself,
  • Helps your prospect know, like, and trust you,
  • Encourages her to BUY your product/service.

Here is what I feel are the most important tips for anyone managing the email marketing process:

  • Only send emails to persons who have requested to receive them.
  • Only include content relevant to the type of content the person has requested.
  • Be consistent with your sending frequency. Pick a schedule, whether it is weekly, biweekly, or monthly and as often as you can stick to that schedule.
  • In most cases it is best to send business to business emails Tuesday through Thursday. We’ve found that the best times of the day to send are just after the start of the day around 9:30am or just after lunch around 1:30pm. It is best to avoid sending business to business emails after 4pm or on weekends.
  • In most cases it is best to send business to consumer emails either between 5pm and 8pm Tuesday through Thursday or between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.
  • To improve deliverability, add a message at the top of your emails that says something like: “To ensure receipt of our emails, please add something@yourcompany.com to your Address Book.
  • Make the From Name for your messages either your company name or the name of a person at your company. Once you choose a From Name, keep it consistent. During the split second decision subscribers make whether to open your email, the most important factor in their decision is whether the From Name is familiar to them.
  • Be sure to include both a plain text and an HTML version of your newsletter. If you don’t include a plain text message, around 5 percent of your recipients will see a message with nothing in it.
  • Don’t use all caps or multiple exclamation marks within your subject line or body. Doing this will trigger spam filters.
  • Build your list at every opportunity you have. If you have a retail location, add a point-of-sale sign-up form. At conferences or events, bring a paper sign-up form or have a laptop with a sign-up form set up and available for interested parties. Finally, add your sign-up form to every page on your web site.

What about List and List Segmentation?

For many marketers, the gold is literally in the list. Building a list of subscribers, prospects, and customers is one of the most important activities your business can undertake. Once built, a permission-based email list can create sales for your company for years to come.

There is no doubt that specifically targeted emails with valuable and relevant content work the best. By dividing your list database either by interest, purchase history, gender or demographic, sales funnel, etcetera… you will be able to appeal to the needs and wants of your consumer and improve your sales results.

Segmentation facilitates you to segregate your mailing list into smaller sub-groups, ensuing high conversion rates. An effective segmentation strategy, however, begins with the sign-up form. Make sure you are collecting the information during the initial sign-up that you will want to segment by later.

With list segmentation you’ll be able to do the following:

  • Send the offer multiple times without annoying people who didn’t want to know about it
  • Test two different angles to improve response
  • Promote the affiliate product only to those who clearly were interested

What are the most important email marketing metrics? According to Marketing Sherpa, “The most commonly tracked email metrics continue to be clickthrough, open and delivery rates.

Clickthrough Rate (CTR)

The number of times a link is clicked in a message divided by the number of delivered messages. For example, if a message is sent to 100 subscribers and 15 subscriber clicks on the message twice, the resulting CTR for that message is 15 percent (15 unique click / 100 delivered emails = 15 percent).

Formula: Unique Clicks / Delivered Emails = CTR

Open Rate

The number of times a message is opened divided by the number of delivered messages.

Formula: Unique Opens / Delivered Emails = Open Rate

Delivery Rate

The total number of messages sent minus hard or soft bounces divided by the total number of messages sent. Bounces can either be a hard bounce, a permanent delivery failure (the email address is misspelled or doesn’t exist), or a soft bounce, a temporary delivery failure (the subscriber’s mailbox is full).

Formula: (Sent Emails – Bounced Emails) / Sent Emails = Delivery Rate

Conversion Rate

The total number of conversions divided by the total number of messages sent.

Formula: Conversions / Sent Emails = Conversion Rate

Revenue Per Email (RPE)

As straightforward as you can get, this metric tells you how much money you made for every email address you sent to (less bounces).

Formula: Total revenue generated from a campaign / Total number of delivered emails

For example, for a promotional campaign $10,000 / 500,000 = $0.02

The “Q1 2013 Email Trends and Benchmarks Report” from Epsilon and the Email Institute, “The average open rate across all industries is 31.1 percent… This is the highest open rate since at least 2006.”

Lessons learned from email marketing: when permission is given and consumers have come to expect valuable offers, local businesses get the most from all of their digital touch points with customers.

Social Media Marketing

Every small business plan should include the use of social media, as an increasing part of the population is incorporating it into their web presence to stay in touch with their consumer’s preferences. People pass your message on to others in their network, creating more visibility for you – sometimes faster than you planned for. Keep in mind that on the flipside, a poor message will also circulate just as quickly!

Elyse Dupré with Direct Marketing News writes about a Pampers brand campaign just launched on Facebook. They are requesting parents to post photos of their babies of which some will be showcased on the company’s other sites. In just three weeks, they had received more than 20,000 photos. This is a great example of successful customer engagement.

Why I start with Facebook? Because Facebook is probably the most popular social networking site of all time and has millions of members. With Facebook, members can connect with friends, find old friends or family that they have lost contact with and even meet new friends. People can upload photos and videos to share with their friends and family. You can even connect with people that live on the other side of the world. You can set up a group for your business or interests and find other people with the same interest to join your group.

There are many people that now use Facebook and other social networking sites to build their business. You can reach out to millions of people worldwide with social networking. When using sites like these for business you must read the Terms of Service first to make sure that you are sticking to the rules. As long as you stick to their terms you can really benefit from these sites with the huge amount of traffic that they receive daily.

Twitter is also a very popular social networking website that people use to give a brief update of what they are doing. Twitter is quite unique in what it offers and has fast become one of the most popular sites online. Twitter is a form of ‘micro blogging’ where you give a very short update. People can follow you on Twitter and then they see your status every time you update. This is great for business if you spend time to follow other people within your niche and many of them will follow you back. Then you can build a good following of people that are interested in your niche and possibly your business.By building a following of people in your niche you have a much targeted audience.

Facebook and Twitter are both very popular, but they aren’t the only sites that you can benefit from. Let’s take a look at some other helpful social networking websites.

Flickr is a little different from the above sites as it orbits around photo sharing. People create an account with Flickr and they upload their favorite photos. You can comment on other member’s photos and they can comment on yours. People can even use those photos to put on their website as long as they have a link pointing back to the photo on Flickr. This is a fantastic way to network through photography.

The rapid growth of Pinterest was one of the big social media stories of 2012. OK, anyone can just pin their products to Pinterest, but that’s boring. You have to look beyond the obvious and find more creative ways of drawing people in and encouraging growth and repinning activity.

Rather than just showing off your products, explain to users some of the ways in which they can use your products or services. Just for exemple, if you sell food, offer boards with recipes on how to use that food. If you gardening, come up with ideas on how to use plants and other items purchased at the store.

Small or big businesses have learned that Pinterest can be a great place for a contest. “Pin it to Win it” contests have been done by big brands. Encourage your customers to pin their own images to your boards (perhaps integrated with Instagram) as a means of winning a prize. It’s a great way to get user generated content while building buzz and engagement.

Lastly, don’t forget that you can pin videos from Youtube or your website. A viral video will be a “killer“! But remember: a viral video video needs to give the viewer a reason to share it with his friends. It also needs to eliciting an emotional response from it’s audiences.

As with all social media sites, integration is extremely helpful. You can share your Pinterest board on Facebook, or link your pins to your Facebook page. And these are only two of the strategies you can utilize to use your social media sites to drive traffic to each other. Thus your fans on one site also become your fans on the other.

For maximum effect, you can use a tint (display any social media feeds from any social networks onto your site) to consolidate all of your social media feed into one location, so that users on your website or Facebook page and simultaneously see posts from your Pinterest, as well as your Facebook, as well as any other social media sites you have. This will allow them to easily see news and information about your company across many different mediums, increasing interaction and engagement.

Other social networks I highly suggest you to use: Google+, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, LiveJournal, MySpace.

Big Data in Small Packages

Companies are creating infographics as a way to display relevant information in a concise and entertaining way. These are usually posted on sites such as Pinterest or Instagram with email or social media links pointing to them.

Infographics are a new technique for marketing that originated from the way in which people get their information on mobile devices. The consumer wants news and information they can review quickly, while giving them a sample of something they can research further when they have more time.

infographic marketing

Statistics lend your advertisements a certain authority. When you’re arbitrarily making statements, consumers might not believe your marketing messages. As the saying goes, though, numbers never lie, so including a few factual figures makes your claims seem credible.

However, people will rarely read lengthy articles about a survey or study you just completed. Caitlin McCabe, founder and CEO of Real Bullets Branding, believes that infographics make numbers more pleasing to the eye.

It keeps people’s interest by lending a storytelling and visual element to what can be sterile research. People do want numbers and statistics to back the information they’re reading, but there’s also a huge demand for text-based information to be more visually pleasing,” she said, according to The Washington Post.

Infographics are highly educational and can teach consumers about your brand. Find an important topic and then conduct research on how customers are affected by that issue. You can use your infographic to inform the public and then write an accompanying blog post about how your merchandise or services can resolve problems.

Location Based Marketing

Location based marketing helps businesses connect with a consumer audience right where they live and shop. Without a background in online marketing or a thorough understanding of how location based technology works, it can be difficult for a small business owner to know where to begin. All you need is to connect with your clients, fans, and prospects in the place that is relevant to them.

One of the best perks of location based marketing is bringing back repeat customers. Offer an incentive for people to visit your store, make a purchase and keep coming back.

Here are a few ideas…

  • Post an offer on Foursquare. This will be searchable through the app’s location-based discovery feature.
  • Gamify the shopping experience. For example, offer a free gift to the customer who visits your store most. This can be tracked through mobile check-ins.
  • Promote new products with special discounts. This will entice new visitors and repeat visitors.
  • Run a contest based on user-generated content. For example, hide items throughout your store and create a quiz. People can participate while using hashtags with tweets or submitting images on Instagram.

Even if you were to create the most incredible localized marketing campaign ever, if your website looks broken on a mobile device you’re lost. You need to make sure that your website is responsive. A responsive website responds to the size of the device you are viewing the website on. It doesn’t matter whether it is a PC, iPad, iPhone, Droid, Kindle – whatever else there is out there. Your website should look like it was built for that device.


(Webinar: Getting Started with Mobile and Location Based Marketing)

Make sure that you are listed accurately on sites such as Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare and Mapquest, writes Brian Honigman for Entrepreneur.com. This allows your business to come up on the consumer’s mobile devices as they approach the area. Entice people to visit by offering special deals for walking in. Location based marketing is evolving as mobile devices become more sophisticated.

Before you can optimize your business for local networking, you need to step back and determine what you want to accomplish.

  • Are you hoping to increase foot traffic to your store?
  • Do you want to sell more of a particular item?
  • Do you want more patrons at certain times of day?
  • Do you want to promote a specific product?
  • Are you looking for new customer acquisition?
  • Repeat customers?

You may say, “I want all of those,” but to be effective, you need to set specific objectives. These will determine your approach to the entire process. Luckily, if you need to change things around to fit new objectives in the future, the cost of doing so is very small.

Other Low-Cost Promotion and Marketing Ideas

I know a pet breeder in a large city that was struggling for several years – until he came up with an idea. He started giving away customized “birth certificates” for the pets he sold. Almost immediately, his sales rose more than 10 percent.

The owner of a new home cleaning service was trying to attract clients. She couldn’t afford much advertising, so she began offering “home cleaning seminars” to civic groups. After two months of seminars, she was swamped with inquiries and clients.

Promotion often makes the crucial difference between business success and failure. Customers or clients must know about a business or product line before they’ll buy and they must have a reason to buy.

If you are trying to marketing your business now, you can move in one of two directions:

1) You can take the conventional route to promotion and mount an elaborate marketing campaign, spending a considerable amount of money, or…

2) You can let your creative juices flow and mount a low-cost promotion effort, using a potpourri of attention-getting gimmicks to bring your message to the buying public.

Now, to be sure, conventional marketing and advertising is valuable. If your business is large enough or if you’re selling numerous product lines, you may find that a full-fledged campaign is the most efficient and cost effective way to promote your business.

If money is tight, however, or you’re not sure you can amortize the heavy cost of a campaign over a period of time, the following is a assortment of low-cost techniques you can try. Not all may be appropriate for your particular local business, and certainly it would be costly to try them all. But you’re sure to find some ideas that will work for you.

Giveaways – People love to receive “free” items, especially items they can use to gain knowledge or improve their lives. You can base an entire promotional campaign on this desire. If you’re running a furniture repair business, for instance, you could give away a furniture repair brochure, free furniture planning guides, or color swatches. Once you begin giving away authoritative information customers will begin to perceive you as an expert in your field.

News Creation – Want to get names and news from your business in the local newspaper? It may be easier that you think. If you don’t have any news to report to the local media, create some. Maybe you’ve taken on a new associate. Or maybe you’re selling an unusual product line. Or maybe you’ve opened a free advice center for the community. Or maybe you’ve received an award from a civic or professional group. Local papers or TV/radio stations are often quite interested in business news of this sort and can help you attract the attention of thousands of people.

Events – You may be able to attract the attention of the media or a crowd by staging a special promotional event. If you run a fitness class, for instance, you could stage a celebrity instructor day. If you’re promoting a new real estate business, you can offer tours of a model home in the area. If you’re selling children’s products and it’s springtime, you can offer lunch with the Easter bunny. Get the idea?

Charity Tie-Ins – Are you launching a new product? Trying to increase visibility among a particular segment of your community? Offer your product to one or more local charities as a raffle prize or for use at a fund raising event. You’ll receive lots of exposure among people who buy tickets or attend the event.

Contests – Offer a desirable or unique item – or even several items – as contest prizes. First, find a contest theme that tiers into your business. A caterer might offer a quiche-eating contest. A photographer might offer a young model contest. Invite contest submissions and offer prizes to the winners. Do contests attract attention? You bet. All it takes is a few signs, a small press announcement or two, and the word will spread throughout the community grapevine.

Community Service – Nothing brings you to the attention of the people faster – or more favorably – than community service. Ask yourself how your enterprise can be a “good neighbor” to your community. If you’re running a lawn care and gardening service, perhaps you can offer one season’s services at no charge to a needy charitable organization or nursing home in your area. Hundreds of people will hear about your work in the process. Volunteer for various community causes. If appropriate, you can step in during community emergency, offering products and services to help an organization or individuals in need.

Couponing – Americans are very coupon-conscious. Test the market: at what level will coupons increase the volume of various product or service lines? When you get some tentative answers, start distributing coupons that offer a discount on your services. Distribute them to area newspapers, on store counters, in door-to-door mail packets (which can often be quite inexpensive), at the public library, at laundromats, at any location where people congregate.

Badges and Novelties – You can easily and inexpensively produce badges, bumper stickers, book covers, and other novelty items for distribution in your area. You can imprint your business name and the first names of the customers on many of these products at little cost and distribute them for free. Or you can tie your novelty program into a contest: once a month, you can offer a prize to any individual whose car happens to carry one of your bumper stickers or badges with peel-off coupons, redeemable at your place of business.

Celebrity Visits – With a bit of persistence, you may be able to arrange to have a local media celebrity, public official, or entertainment personally – even a fictitious cartoon character or clown – visit your service. The celebrity can sign autographs, read stories to children, perform cooking demonstrations, or perform any one of a hundred other traffic-building activities.

Celebrate Holidays – You’ll probably want to celebrate major public holidays with special sales. But celebrate some of the offbeat holidays as well. Almost every business has a few little-known holidays. Ever hear of National Pickle Day, for instance? Or Cat Lovers Month? Once you find the “right” holiday, you can sponsor a special sale or special product arrange special media coverage of a holiday event.

Go Where The People Are – Can you open sales information booths at community fairs and festivals? This promotional technique can work for gift retailers, craftspeople, and personal service firms. If you have the people and the time, can you handle regional fairs or even trade shows?

Mailing Lists – Once you begin establishing a committed clientele, gather their names on a mailing list. Save the names from your mail orders and telephone inquiries. Eventually, you’ll be able to send product circulars or even catalogs to the folks on your list and you’ll be able to promise your products by mail.

Scavenger Hunts – If you want people to buy NOW, offer them an unbeatable deal. If they bring an old product – a small appliance, a book, whatever – to you, you’ll give them a worthwhile discount on a comparable new item. Or stage a general purpose scavenger hunt. Customers who bring in three canned goods for your community’s food bank will receive a discount on products purchased that day.

Parties – Everyone loves a party. Why not celebrate the anniversary of your business or some special holiday by offering baked goods and beverages? If you’re running a service business, perhaps you can offer an open house or obtain a small banquet room in your community. Besides refreshments, be sure the place is brightly decorated.

Greeting Cards – Do you send out greeting cards to major customers or clients? Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries make nice greeting card occasions. Greeting cards create enormous goodwill and keep your name in front of people.

Online and Offline Seminars – In this information hungry age, people love to receive advice, especially about their personal needs and hobbies. If you sell health foods or run fitness classes, perhaps you can offer “wellness” seminars during lunchtime to your area’s business community. If you’re an interior decorator, perhaps you can offer one-hour decorating workshops to any group of ten people who will gather in someone’s home. If you’re running a printing business, perhaps you can offer tours and layout seminars at your plant.

How To Reduce Costs and Anchor More Profits

I bet that got your attention! It’s something that every local business owner knows, but it seems to get lost in the shuffle of our day-to-day doing business. I’m not going to give you a lot of rhetoric on the subject. Instead I’m going to simply give you a list of points on each that will jog your business memory.

Let’s start with some savvy ways to reduce the cost of you doing business:

1) Barter or JV – You should be bartering goods or services with other businesses. Try to trade for something before you buy it. Just keep in mind that bartering is just a form of using joint ventures (JV). I know, I know… you can easy get discouraged when it comes to start a Joint Venture. Probably your offer has been rejected too often, or you get scammed by “con artists”. Or maybe you didn’t know how to find powerful JV partners and super-affiliates.

Don’t discourage! Help is at your hand… If you use the fresh strategies outlined into the Web 2.0 Joint Venture Secrets EXPOSED system, you will never face that initial “skepticism” again. Just ONE shift in your approach will change the whole game altogether – you’ll be amazed when you’ll see this for yourself.

2) Network – Could you trade leads or mailing lists with another business similar to your? This will cut down on your marketing and advertising costs. If you don’t have a leads list, try bartering your goods/services for their leads.

3) Wholesale/Bulk Buying – You can save money buying your business supplies in bulk quantities. Get a membership at a wholesale warehouse or buy through a mail order wholesaler.

4) Free Stuff – Try visiting the thousands of “freebie” sites on the Internet before buying business supplies. You can find free software, graphics, legal forms, online business services, etcetera.

5) Borrow/Rent – Have you purchased a piece of business equipment and only needed it for a short period of time? You could have borrowed the equipment from someone else or rented it from a rental store.

6) Online/Offline Auctions – You can find office furniture, equipment, and even cars and trucks at online and offline auctions. Pay special attention to those held by law enforcement agencies or IRS that auctions off items seized from offenders. I’m not saying all the time, but before you pay retail for some big ticket items try bidding on them.

7) Plan Ahead – Make a list of supplies or equipment that you’ll need in the future. Watch for stores that have big sales, and purchase your items when they go on sale before you need them.

8) Used but Not Abused – If you equipment and supplies don’t need to be new, buy them used. Cars, desks, file cabinets, can be found at yard and garage sales, used stores, on message boards, and free publications. Some excellent items are sometimes offered when a business decides to relocate or is closing.

9) Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate! This has become a lost art. You should always try to negotiate a lower price for any business equipment or supplies. It doesn’t hurt to try. Pretend you’re talking to a used car salesman.

10) Search – You can always be searching for new suppliers for your needs. Look for suppliers with lower prices and better quality. When you find one, try pointing the difference out to your current supplier. You may get a better deal from him and not have to change. Don’t be satisfied with just a few. You never know when your favorite supplier may decide to go out of business.

5 Models of Sustained Business Growth

Retain Your Customer Base: Keep the growth that you have already earned by coaxing customers into complex relationships that make it a hassle for them to switch to your competitor. Tailor your products/services using data gleaned from your customers giving you an advantage. Proactively managing customer defections will help you anticipate and pre-empt them. Bonding with customers wherever emotion is tied to an interaction is another great way to retain them.

Gain Market Share at the Expense of Your Rivals: Give customers a reason to abandon a competitor’s product/service for yours. Do what it takes to lower the switching costs. Pulling customers away from a competitor can be difficult, so you must devote many resources to raiding their customer base. Offering higher value and quality are crucial to this end. Buying a competitor is another way to do this.

Exploit Market Position: Show up where growth is going to happen by spotting it early. This can be done by watching the industry for shifts in buying criteria, product or service innovations, and population trends. You must be able to spot positioning opportunities to make the most of them by continually using a systematic approach to the process.

Invade Adjacent Markets: Before moving into a nearby market, decide whether it offers significant long-term growth and profitability. Determine whether you have an advantage over a competitor, and ensure you can match its standards of quality and value.

Invest In New Lines of Business: If you take this approach, never overpay for a new line. You must find simple strategies instead of complex ones, and partner with the new business by assessing it’s leadership team and balance sheet.

Conclusion

Although a successful growth portfolio might not include all of the above marketing and advertising strategies, it must contain more than one. Only a balanced growth portfolio can keep a local business growing when the market shifts dramatically.

When you’re an entrepreneur in today’s marketplace you have to be inventive and creative to buck the “big boys” on the block. I suggest that every local business owner read about the life of P.T. Barnum to get a better understanding of a truly great entrepreneur.

Even though lavish budgets are history, the creative entrepreneur must go into “guerilla marketing” mode. Creativity is the key! It isn’t always the almighty dollar that gets the best results for our business; it’s the best IDEA that makes you stand out in the crowd.

Look, I know you’re a smart person. I know you have the drive and passion to succeed. So why not learn the right ways to funnel your smarts, your drive, and your passion into success?

Here’s to your success as a Maestro of your own fascinating and profitable business!

Val

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