Local Business Marketing Strategy – 7 Surefire Ways to Kill Your Business
Knowing what to do to keep your business running smoothly is important, but knowing what mistakes to avoid is essential to making sure your business thrives.
#1–Working “In” Instead of “On” Your Business
Straight from Michael Gerber’s book – The E- Myth Revisited, the biggest mistake that most entrepreneurs make is “majoring in the minors.” In other words…not paying enough attention to the things that really matter the most to your success.
At the end of each day, take a look at the things you crossed off your “to do” list and see how many of them could have been done by someone making a third of the salary you make. If most of them fall into that category, then you need to change your priorities.
As a small business owner, manager or VP, you may be the only one that can provide the strategic direction that the company needs to survive, but I guarantee that you’re not the only one that can do bookkeeping or take inventory. As hard as it may be to let go of certain tasks, hire out those tasks whenever you can.
Put another way…what is one thing that you could do tomorrow that would have the most dramatic effect on your company’s future. Think about it.
#2 – Failing to Create and Use a Marketing Plan
What are you doing to insure a constant stream of new business into your business? Most companies don’t even think about it until business slows down and then they slap something together (I think I’ll run some ads) without much thought or without a plan.
Studies have shown that small businesses that create and consistently use a marketing plan, experience an average of 30% higher sales than those that don’t.
STOP FOR A SECOND!
What would a 30% increase in sales mean to your bottom line? Here is a quick guideline of where to start to help you start your marketing plan:
1. List why your best customers buy from you?
2. Create a marketing message that focuses entirely on those results.
3. Break down the master plan into mini plans such as advertising, PR, trade shows, etc.
4. Hold a weekly meeting (even if it is just quiet time with yourself) to review the results and fine tune.
#3–Failing to Implement Systems
Systemize and automate as many parts of your business that is practical to do so. If your marketing, production or order entry person walked out today, how would you train the new hire?
Business tip: Get your current employees to document what and how they do what they do so well that if you are forced to hire someone new, you can hand over the manual and say…learn it, know it, do it!
#4 – Forgetting to Market to Your Current Customers
According to the Direct Marketing Association, every month that goes by that, we don’t communicate with our clients their propensity to do business with us drops by 10%?
That’s frightening! This means that if we let a year go by they are only slightly more likely than “the man on the street” to do business with us.
You can and should be getting a nice income stream from your current customers. We all want new customers, but let’s not forget who we came to the dance with, who got us where we are today.
Do your current customers know all the products are services that you offer? The easiest customer to sell is one you’ve already convinced to buy from you in the past (assuming you offer quality products and are living up to your promises).
#5 – Not Testing and Tracking Your Marketing Efforts
A great retailer once said, “We know that half of our marketing and advertising dollars are wasted-we just don’t know which half.”
It’s bad enough to spend money on a marketing campaign and not know if it is working. It’s even worse to spend money on an effort that you think is working only to find out it’s not.
If you can verify that you are getting a positive return for your marketing efforts as measured by profit (it is putting more money in your pocket than it is taking out) then your budget could eventually become unlimited.
The only way to invest in your marketing efforts with confidence is to test a campaign, track it, and measure your results.
#6 – Not Following Up With Your Prospects
According to some statistics, 48% of sales people never follow up with prospects and only 10% make 3 or more contacts, yet 80% of all sales are made on the 5th – 12th contact. You do the math. If you just continue to follow up, your odds of closing the sale go up just because most of your competitors have already given up!
#7 – Being The Same as Everyone Else
Ask most companies what they do and you will receive back an indecipherable elevator pitch that doesn’t come close to making them any different than almost everyone they compete with in their industry. They are not unique.
Sales people and marketing companies are bombarding your prospects with over a million marketing messages a year. That’s over 3,300 messages per day!
Become an expert in understanding what problems your prospects face when searching for your products and then position your company, products and services as the only solution to those problems. In this day of hyper-competition, either you differentiate or you die.
In conclusion, remember, sometimes it’s not what you’re doing that affects your business the most; it’s what you’re NOT doing.
David Carleton is a San Diego Local Business Marketing Consultant who specializes in showing small business owners how to spend less and get more from their marketing and advertising using low cost strategies in local business marketing, lead generation and conversion, Internet marketing and social media. To download a copy of the free report, “7 Steps to Website Success”, go to http://LocalBusinessMarketingSuccess.com
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