"What am I doing wrong?" That's a question business owners often ask themselves when business is slow. Often, the answer is... "You're not doing anything wrong. You just need to do some things better -- and you need to start doing a few things you've been neglecting."
Here's a list you can use to evaluate your own marketing
efforts. It includes what I've found to be the 7 most
important marketing principles contributing to the success
of ANY business.
1. TARGET SPECIFIC NICHE MARKETS
Everyone may be a prospect for your product or service. But your marketing efforts will produce the best results for the lowest cost when you target prospects with the greatest need for what you offer. Identify a niche market. Customize your promotional material to appeal to their greatest need. Then multiply your results by defining several other niche markets and slanting your promotional materials to appeal the biggest need of prospects in each market.
2. PROMOTE YOUR OWN USP
USP is short for "Unique Selling Proposition". It's the
compelling reason why a prospect will do business with you instead of with your competition. You'll attract the maximum number of customers when you offer a benefit they cannot get from your competitors. If you don't already have a USP, create one by adding something to your business you're not already offering. Convert it into a benefit statement and include that statement in all your advertising.
3. NEVER ADVERTISE WITHOUT AN OFFER
Always include a powerful offer in your advertising. Offer
free information related to your product or service to
generate inquiries or website traffic. Then make the most
compelling discount or bonus offer you can afford -- to
convert these inquiring prospects into paying customers.
This automatically leads to the next marketing principle...
4. COLLECT CONTACT INFORMATION AND USE IT TO FOLLOW UP
Most prospects won't buy the first time they hear or see
your sales message. You need a system to collect contact
information enabling you to reach them again with periodic
reminders and offers. Many businesses develop over 50
percent of their sales by following up with prospects who
previously requested information but didn't buy -- yet.
Advertising is expensive. Maximize your return on it by
following up periodically with the prospects it produced to
convert more of them into customers.
5. REMOVE THE OBSTACLE OF RISK
Do you know the major reason why people don't buy something they want or need? They don't want to take the chance of getting something different than they expect and maybe even losing money. You can eliminate this risk by guaranteeing satisfaction. If you sell products, offer a liberal money back guarantee. If you provide a service, offer to continue working without additional charge until the promised result is achieved.
It's easier and less expensive to get more business from
satisfied customers than to find new customers. Continually find or develop new products and services related to what you sell -- and offer them to your customers. Affiliate programs offer a quick and low-cost way for Internet based businesses to add new products and services to their inventory.
7. NEVER STOP TESTING
Continually test and evaluate the effectiveness of
everything you use or do to promote business. Here's a
highly effective 80/20 guideline you can use. Invest 80
percent of your advertising budget and effort in proven
promotions and 20 percent in testing new variations. Most
businesses using this system continue growing -- even in a highly competitive market.
Take a few minutes to evaluate how well you're implementing each of these seven marketing principles in your business. A small improvement in just one of them will boost your sales immediately. An improvement in several will generate a big increase in your total sales volume.