Sunday, February 28, 2010

Top 4 marketing strategies for small business

Know what problem you are solving: As business owners what we are really about is solving problems. It’s that simple really. If people have a problem they are willing to pay for someone to solve and you have that solution - then you have a business.

Unfortunately a lot of business owners don’t take the time to really understand the problems and frustrations of their potential customers. Even a simple survey with one question 'what is your biggest frustration about [your niche area]…' will help you design your product and marketing message.

Create a “Tarket”
A 'tarket' is an imaginary person. Not any imaginary person. They are a composite of your ideal customer. This is the person you imagine you are writing to when you create any marketing messages. Describe them to detail and even give them a name.

For example: 'Emma is 42 years old, recently divorced with two children in early high school. She works as an accountant in a partnership and has a salary of $120,000. She spends a lot of her spare time taking her children to before and after-school activities. She is frustrated because she has put on weight and never seems to find the time to eat properly and exercise. She’d like to meet a new man but has lost her confidence in her appearance and doesn’t know where to find a nice man her age who isn’t married or gay!'

Can you see how this profile will help a personal trainer, life coach, or dating agency specifically write marketing material that 'speaks' to their ideal client?

Concentrate on list building first
The most valuable asset in your business is a highly targeted, permission based mailing list. If your business burns to the ground, you can still continue to let your potential customers know of your 'fire sale' if you can email, phone or mail them your marketing message. So how do you develop a targeted list?

You entice them with an ethical bribe (a.k.a. gift) that only your target market would want. For example, samples of your product or information report that solves one of their most common problems.

Know your numbers
Numbers aren’t sexy but a healthy bank balance sure is. When designing any marketing campaign always plan how you will measure its effectiveness. For example, if you are advertising in two different magazines you can use two different 'codes' the readers need to mention to get their gift or discount. That way you can track which magazine sent you the most customers.

If you are sending them to your web site from the ad, make a separate page on your site specifically for each magazine. It’s a bit more work but worth it. You may find out that one of the magazines sends you very few leads and the other one is very profitable for you. You can then cancel the underperforming magazine and advertise in the most profitable one more often.

What are YOU doing for your business?
Many small businesses put marketing in the "too hard" basket. Or they adopt a "spray and pray" approach without any strategic thinking behind what they are doing. After the silly season, you may have some time to reflect on what you're going to do in 2010.

Plan the first six months of the year and detail every you are going to do from a marketing perspective. This is much better than being reactive and placing advertisements in the local paper when you are panicking that sales aren't reaching target. So plan your ideas carefully but, most importantly, ensure you implement them!

Source / read the whole story on: Top 4 marketing strategies for small business - Enterprise - MySmallBusiness - Blogs