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Basic Marketing Tips Every Small Business Owner Should Know ~ A BCC Workshop

Basic Marketing Tips Every Small Business Owner Should Know ~ A BCC Workshop

Today I attended the new educational Brown Bag Workshop Series, sponsored by the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce.  This was their first workshop, and it was well attended with familiar faces, as well as a few new members:

The format for a Brown Bag Workshop is a 45 minute presentation on a specific topic with interactive Q&A. As we saw today, interaction is strongly encouraged.  These sessions are held on the second Wednesday of the month at the Brookfield Town Hall from 12:00 to 1:30pm.

Basic Marketing Every Small Business Owner Should Know

presented by Dipak Ghosh of ActionCOACH

This presentation outlined basic marketing fundamentals that apply to traditional brick and mortar marketing as well as internet marketing.  The main focus was

How to reach out to your prospect.

Dipak made a strong claim early in the presentation:

In the small business world, effective marketing that has a significant return on investment does not exist!

Facts on small business marketing:

  • 80% of strategies do not work
  •  Small Business owners do not understand marketing
    • confuse marketing and sales
    • marketing is viewed as an expense
    • no measurement systems to track results of their efforts
    • do not have clarity about their business offerings

A business exists because of the customer
Define your message in terms of the value provided to the customer

Example – Caterpillar was used to thinking they provided heavy equipment for mining, but a major concern of its customers was equipment down-time. When Caterpillar revised their mission to providing mining power, and looked at the value per mining hour, they tripled their sales.

Marketing that is taught in business school often is not relevant for small businesses

Dipak posed to the audience “Is marketing about finding new customers or getting repeat business from existing customers?”

The response: Marketing is all about lead generation, from new and existing customers.

Most people think of advertising as marketing. 

Small Businesses sign up for an advertising program, sign the check and think they have done their marketing.  While advertising is one aspect of marketing, unfortunately advertising has evolved into mostly brand-awareness.  This is beneficial for large companies as brand-awareness will increase conversion rates and shorten sales cycles. Small business have to focus on driving leads to the store-front and are disappointed that advertising does not produce leads.

Small businesses often focus on getting new leads, yet forget their biggest market is existing and past customers. Marketing to existing customers is an education process; letting them know of additional services you provide, or reminding them of a service they have used. Marketing is also thanking a customer after the sale to prevent the perception of indifference that often plaques small businesses.

Entrepreneurs are problem-solvers. Dipak categorized small business owners as either having a business or having a job.  A job was defined as “…just over broke.”  Marketing is a continuous process, and the right measurements tools have to be put in place to ensure it is working.  Most entrepreneurs get frustrated with the lack of instant gratification from their marketing efforts.  This is because traditional, well understood marketing methods are branding and not lead-generating in today’s markets.  Accountants will tell you that sales & marketing is an expense.

Without measurement, marketing efforts are only a shot in the dark.

To build your business, you need to think it is an investment, and watch it as you would any other investment – what is the return on investment? how long to hold? when to make changes?

Marketing investment – $7,000
Leads from campaign – 50
Cost per lead is $140
Conversion of lead to customer is 40% = 20
Cost per sale is $350
Therefore if we do not get $351 profit from the sale, we lost money.

Marketing could be considered successful if it brought in more leads, or if it improved the conversion rate.  Either of these will reduce the cost per sale.

Every small business should create a lead tracking sheet with the following column headers:

Lead name Source (campaign) Referred by Status Implication
Sale Value Lifetime Value

Two sides of marketing:

Acquisition cost versus lifetime value
A marketing strategy should always be to “Decrease Acquisition Cost and Increase Lifetime Value

    • Who is your target market?
      • Makes sure you target the decision maker
      • May not be the initial point of contact
    • What is your ideal customer?
      • Awesome
      • Basic
      • Can’t dealt with
      • Dead?
    • Where does your market congregate?
      • Especially with the push towards Social Media, make sure you are marketing where your decision makers and their influencers are
    • What is your offer?
      • Make sure your marketing message has a specific, timely offer
    • What is your unique sales proposition?
      • What makes you different?  All you need is imagination.
    • How will you communicate with your target market?
      • Address the need and the want (emotional)
      • Sales is emotional: people have to want to buy.
      • Most prospects are unconscious incompetent: Don’t know they have a problem, don’t know there’s a solution.

Many small businesses try to get the most for their money, and select one or two marketing channels to use.  If they don’t work, then they are dropped and another channel is selected.  Setting up the proper measurement tools can provide the instant gratification and let you know if the marketing channel is working.

Ideal Goal? Marketing mix= 10 ways of 10% = 100% ROI

3 most important parts of a marketing campaign

  1. Target market
  2. Offer
  3. Copy

 Key elements of copy

Attention: headlines, pictures, lay-out

  • 20 to 25% of your ad should be your headline
  • You only have 6 seconds to get their attention

Interest: problem identification

  • Identify their unconscious pain
  • Valuate the cost of not doing something

Desire: solution, qualification

  • Introduce your solution
  • Provide testimonials, case studies and reviews from similar clients

Action: how to engage

  • Make it easy for the prospect to do business with you
  • Don’t make them think, anticipate their next step
  • Provide clear instructions for how to engage tour services.

I was pleasantly surprised by the level of interaction and involvement that occurred with the audience at this workshop and I am looking forward to the next one on July 11th.

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