This is the second post offering real advice from real women who are out there doing business every day. You can read the first lot of marketing tips here and I hope you enjoy these ones!
Know your product and your customer…
Know your product or service and know your prospects. We also need to know and understand the competition!
‘Knowing’ our prospects is having a clear understanding of the problems they face; what it is that keeps them up at night. If we can see things from our prospects’ perspective this allows us to then position our product or service to help solve their problems.
In all communications it’s important to focus on the ‘benefits’ of the product or service we’re promoting, as opposed the features. We can’t be everything to everybody, so if we hone in on one aspect of our service, through our marketing activity we can then work to ‘own’ that position in the prospect’s mind and solve the problems that our competitors can’t.
Finally I wholeheartedly agree with Lorelei – nurture your clients!
Majella Wilkins • Great initiative Julie. I’ve really enjoyed reading all the tips thus far.
I would echo what a number of other ladies have said about really “knowing and nurturing your clients” – never lose sight of them, their needs and where they like to hang out. This is where you should hang out, engage with them and support them.
My other tip is never to compare yourself to others. As small and/or start up businesses it is easy to become overawed at what some other companies/competitors are doing with their marketing. Whilst it is important to keep an eye on the competition, engaging with and serving your customers/potential customers should be your main focus. Do what you do well and don’t beat yourself up about the things that have to wait.
Claire Murphy • ‘Walk your talk’ – always be an example of what you are trying to empower in others.
Adetola Popoola Be original! Don’t copy your competitors or else you will end up in a maze not knowing where to turn. Use your business plan or draw up one then follow through with what you planned.
Be yourself: Don’t try to portray yourself or company in a way that it really is not. An everlasting truth is that people buy people not necessarily their product. Let your personality come through.
Track your spend…
Sarah Dixon • Wherever possible, track the impacts of your marketing spend. Internet tools allow us to do this more than ever but it’s also important to build in measures and tracking for offline efforts. Coded promotions, ‘where did you hear about us?’ forms and of course website visitor tracking all give you clues as to where your customers are coming from and what they are responding to most positively.
Sam McArthur • As a consultant, it’s really important I discuss the benefits of what I do rather than the features of my service, which customers really aren’t that interested in. ‘What’s in it for me’ – i.e what they will get at the end is what they want to know, how what I do will improve their sales & leads, make their life easier etc!
You can find me at: http://www.forty-first.co.uk/
Test, test, test
Jacqueline Burgoa • The most important part when starting a successful business is not the promotion, it’s not the location, it’s not how much you spend on it, it’s not the latest technology, or the most awesome widgets you use, it’s not the employees you hire, it’s not the greatest idea you have, it’s not even the business plan.
The most important part when starting a business is to follow the three main business rules: 1) Test, 2) test, and 3) test again. Only when you have pinpointed a profitable niche market, you understand your target market avatar and you have tested that you will be able to attract “buyers”, then and only then, you should start a business.
Majella Wilkins My other tip is never to compare yourself to others. As small and/or start up businesses it is easy to become overawed at what some other companies/competitors are doing with their marketing. Whilst it is important to keep an eye on the competition, engaging with and serving your customers/potential customers should be your main focus. Do what you do well and don’t beat yourself up about the things that have to wait.
Do what you say…
Michele Harty • My key advice would be: Live up to your marketing message! Never compromise on the quality of product and the service that you give to your customers.
I would also strongly recommended incorporating PR in to your marketing mix; don’t undervalue the power of PR – it really does work. PR is a must if you are on a tight budget and you will find that an on going PR campaign is far more effective than isolated advertising.
Finally, I concur, without our customers we don’t have a business: really “listen” to them!
Get expert help…
Adetola Popoola Get expert help/Read: If you can’t afford a marketing consultant take advantage of their free newsletters and/or webinars. Some offer one time free consultations so look out for them then take your burning questions to them. I did and it really helped.
Have a plan…
Vicky Zadeh • Develop a clear marketing strategy. Include thorough analysis of your customer and competitors to ensure you understand them and their habits. And do a thorough cost-benefit analysis of all marketing spend you are planning and then prioritise to maximise. Ensure the marketing you do is relevant to your goals/business and try to track the benefit of what you do Marketing costs easily spiral out of control.
Hope this helps. Plus if you fancy taking some time out to save yourself money on hair & beauty, wining & dining or shortbreaks then why not check out my websitehttp://www.thedailychic.com .
Maggie Currie • Use your marketing budget wisely. In my opinion it is no use putting one advert in xxxx and then complaining that it didn’t work for you and moving on to yyyy and doing the same. I find that drip feeding information about yourself, your products works exceptionally well. Getting editorial in various publications helps your prospective clients get to know you. And of course networking works very well indeed. The more people get to know you and like and trust you the more they will want to do business with you. Not there and then at the networking event, but a few meetings down the line they will show an interest in you and your products. Above all, as Adetola has so eloquently said, be yourself.
Maggie Currie, Creedence Training Academy & Consultancy,http://www.creedencetraining.co.uk
Be your own best advert…
Gillian Wilson • I agree with so much of what has already been said. As a small business owner you are your best advert!
For me the key when marketing your product or service is to identify with your prospect what issue(s) they are grappling with and show how you can help them to find a solution. If you can’t provide the solution yourself through your business offer referrals to businesses you know and trust who may be able to help them. People remember such acts and will be more likely to recommend you as a result.
Sian MacGowan • Julie, this is a great thread with so many fantastic ideas from people who have actually done it! One thing I really think is essential is to be passionate about what you are offering. Be sincere and as many have said before, don’t try to beat the competition but be different so that you stand out. Professionalism and good customer service are the norm now – what makes you different?
Make sure you keep good records of who you’ve done work for, who you would like to do work for, who is actively promoting you, your target markets – everything!
Finally as well as standing out from the competition, make sure people know you are out there, whether it is commenting on sites like this or going to networking events or writing articles, increase your visibility, credibility to increase your profitability.