As a business owner, marketing is vital! If you don’t do it, how are your customers going to find you? In the last blog “10 marketing commandments for small business part 1” we looked at the first 5 must-do marketing commandments for small business success.
You’ve no doubt learnt by now that part one required you to actually do a little work. Of course, commandments 6-10 are no different (sorry!)
Your 10 marketing commandments
- Deliver over and above what’s expected (and do it consistently!)
This kind of goes without saying, but we all forget how important it is from time to time when we’re buried in the work of getting stuff done. Make sure if you promise something to a customer you deliver it, exactly as you’ve promised and then some. Always better to deliver earlier than you’ve promised (because you’ve managed customer expectations appropriately), than it is to miss a deadline or a budget.
- Reward frequent customers/tell customers you love them
Treasure the customers who choose to do business with you. Never take it for granted! If you have customers who return to you again and again, demonstrate how much you appreciate their business. Make sure you celebrate their milestones, birthdays, successes. And nothing says “I love you” like a ‘just because’ present. It doesn’t have to be huge, it might just be a handwritten note with coffee, flowers or movie tickets.
And if you ever find yourself in a situation in which they could potentially lose money, sustain reputational damage, etc, make it your mission to do whatever you have to do to prevent that – even if there’s no revenue in it for you. A little care and feeding goes a long way.
- Tell people your story – why do you do what you do?
Why did you start your business? What was it you wanted to bring to your clients that they couldn’t get from someone else? By sharing your story, you’re fostering an emotional connection with your clients, and your prospects too – and it’s more than just a business connection. They’ll appreciate how it humanises your business, and it’ll demonstrate the passion and enthusiasm you have for what you do. Write a blog about it, write it into your about us section on your website and wind it through your presentations/materials.
- Be involved in your local community
Did you know that just a few hours of volunteer work makes a difference in happiness and mood? Not only that, it’ll do wonders for your business. By connecting with your local community, more people will get to know about your business, and will remember you when they come to need your product or service next.
As an example, KAMCT’s reason for being (point 8) – we love helping develop better communities by helping to build sustainable businesses, and in keeping with that we support www.kiva.org. Through micro-loans we can help tiny fledgling businesses in developing nations access the capital they need in order to build a sustainable business, which in turn builds their community.
(Sidenote: best $25 you’ll spend – EVER!! And as the funds get repaid, you lend it again, and it goes around again. It’s almost always paid back and each individual loan is small enough so that if anyone defaults it doesn’t hurt and you send them on their way with no ill will.)
- Keep filling your new business pipeline
Don’t let yourself rest on your laurels or stagnate. It’s important to be constantly working towards filling your new business pipeline (see points 2 & 3). If you have a list of new business opportunities that never runs dry, it’s going to be so much easier to keep yourself motivated and dedicated to maintaining your existing customer base and keeping up with prospects.
So much easier than doing new business like a demon every time the work dries up, then forgetting about it for the next x months whilst you’re busy and then starting from scratch over and over again.
Yep, we said 10, but in keeping with point 6, here are two more commandments, just for good measure!
- Always, always, always ask for the business (or at least the next step on the new business path)
How often have you been to a meeting with a prospect and then at the end everyone shakes hands and leaves? No agreements as to what comes next, no business, just smiles and nothing. That’s hard to follow up and it’s leaving business on the table.
Before you go to a meeting with a client or a prospect, make sure that you’ve a plan for what comes next. If you’re there to ‘sell’, talk proposals and numbers, start dates, etc. If it’s an initial ‘exploration’ meeting, ask how you can help, talk next steps, timeframes, what they need to see to make decisions. It doesn’t have to be heavy handed – it just needs to be done – every time.
Remember, just because you ask, doesn’t mean they won’t say no. But if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.
- Be clear on what you’re selling
If you’ve done the work on developing your ideal customer persona, then you know what it is that they’re really buying from you. Hint, it’s probably not what you thought you were selling. Hence you need to make sure what they’re buying is now what you’re selling and that’s reflected throughout your marketing materials.
For example if you’re selling website design and development – your client might be buying less hassle, speed to market, being found online, greater revenues, looking bigger than they really are, partnership, etc. – not a website per se. You need to know what that is. And sell that.
If you think your business is lacking a little something in the marketing department, you might be in need of a marketing makeover, or if you’d like to know more about making the 10 marketing commandments work for you, we’d love to hear from you. Give us a call on (02) 8012 8008 or drop us a note.