Small Business Marketing Tactics That Will Grow Your Business Quickly!
“I need more leads”
This is the first thing I usually hear when I speak to one of my potential new clients for the first time.
So many small business owners are obsessed with finding new leads. Personally I prefer to obsess on making you more money!
You see getting more people through the door or on the end of your phone is just one way to grow your business.
Actually there are five ways to grow your profits, and remember its profit that’s important at the end of the day! There’s no point in growing your sales if you don’t make any money from them!
Do you know what the only 5 ways you can increase your bottom line are?
5 ways to grow your small business:
1. Generate more leads 😉
2. Convert more leads in to Clients
3. Get your clients to spend more
4. Get your clients to spend more often
5. Cut your costs
These are the 5 tasks you should focus on improving in your business.
If you only focus on one of these tasks (such as finding new leads), then you’re literally leaving cash on the table, because you’re not maximising the potential profit your business can earn you.
Look at it another way; why would you keep pouring your money in to advertising if your actual sales process is poor at turning enquiries in to orders? Surely you’d be better addressing your sales process first?
I’ll cover what you can do improve your business in each of these five areas in a moment, and how you can use them to develop a quick, simple marketing plan that will deliver fast results.
But first I want to make sure you really understand what marketing actually involves.
Let’s start with this simple question…
Do You Know the Difference between Marketing and Advertising?
Most small business owners think of marketing and advertising as being the same activity, but they’re not.
Advertising is simply the promotion of your business. Advertising is the task of spreading the word about your products and services to your potential audience. It’s just one marketing activity.
Marketing covers much more than just advertising (although if you visit the web sites of many small business marketing consultants you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s only about branding and publicity!).
Marketing is actually about developing your products and services to fully satisfy the needs of your clients. It’s about positioning you and your business in your market to maximise your potential returns.
Marketing literally encompasses every point of contact you and your business have with every lead and every client you find.
You won’t be really successful with your business until you grasp the true depth and importance that marketing has on your business results, and until you really embrace the process of improving each element, not just once, but over and over again.
Here are just a few marketing areas for you to consider…
- How do you answer the phone?
- How quickly do you follow up on enquiries?
- Who are you ideally targeting with your products or services?
- How much do you charge compared to your competition?
- How often do you communicate with clients?
- How do potential clients feel when they see your van or shop front?
- How do you dress?
- What extra services or products could you offer a client?
All of the above questions impact the service your clients or leads receive and how they perceive you and your business.
Perform below your clients’ expectations in any of these areas and your business will suffer as a result; for example you’ll get fewer conversions, receive fewer referrals and generate little repeat business.
So if you really want to grow your business and earn more money both in the short and longer term, then you need to focus on every aspect of how you market your business, because focusing on advertising for new leads alone won’t maximise your profits.
When you focus on improving every aspect of your marketing you’ll create a distinct competitive advantage for yourself because I guarantee the majority of your competitors will only be focused on where their next lead is coming from!
Do You Have a Marketing Plan?
99% of you reading this will answer “no” even though you’re reading this because you want to grow your businesses!
If you’re really serious about wanting to build your business, then you need a plan to achieve it, because without one you’ll never maintain your focus on the tasks that have be done.
Think about it; you’d never set off to drive across the country in your car without a map (or satnav) to help you find your destination, would you? You’d never attempt to build a house without a set of plans?
Yet most of you are looking to build your business without a clear plan of action!!!
A plan keeps you focused and prioritises what tasks you need to get done and when. A plan also allows you to measure your progress towards your goals. Can you see… without a map how do you actually know whether you’re even heading in the right direction, let alone know how far you’ve still got to go?
The words ‘marketing plan’ turn most people off, but you shouldn’t be. You don’t need a degree to write one!
Look the simplest business plans will always achieve the best results. Let me show you below how to write your own.
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How to Put Together a Step-By-Step Marketing Plan for Your Small Business
To begin with you need to know what it is you’re actually trying to achieve.
· How much are you currently earning each month and how much would you like to be making?
The gap between the two numbers becomes the goal of your plan.
How long do you want to give yourself to achieve your desired goal? Whenever you set a target you should always attach a timescale for its completion.
Now you’ve defined what you’re trying to achieve you need to break it down in to smaller, achievable chunks that you can prioritise.
Start by breaking down what you’re currently making and how you’re achieving it:
- How many new enquiries do you currently receive each month?
- How many sales do you make each month?
- How many sales come from the new enquiries?
- How many sales come from the existing clients?
- What is the value of an average order or sale?
- What is the cost to your business of each sale?
If you know the answers to these questions for your business you’re in a great position to start developing your plan. If you don’t know, and I’d suspect many of you won’t, then I suggest you immediately, from this day forth start recording these numbers every day!
If you don’t know what you’re achieving today then how will you know if you’ve improved in the future?
TIP! Take 5 minutes at the end of each day to write down your results for the above so you can graph your progress. Visually recording your results will help you to stay focused and keep you motivated day after day.
Why are these numbers so important?
Think back to the 5 ways you can grow your business…
Knowing these numbers identifies your starting position, where you are today so that for each area you can set new targets and measure your progress against them.
Small improvements in each of the 5 areas will have a dramatic effect on your overall earnings.
Let me prove it to you…
Imagine you decide to focus on just 3 of the 5 growth opportunities:
· number of leads
· your conversion rate
· average spend
If you target just a small 10% improvement in each area, then the result will be a whopping 33% increase in your sales income!
Here’s an example:
Your current business drives 100 new enquiries each month and you convert 20% of them in to clients who each pay you £200. So your monthly sales are £4,000, with me so far?
Now having read this great article, you decide to focus on your marketing and as a result you increase your new leads by 10% to 110. You improve your sales process and your conversion rate increases to 22% and you put your price up to £220. Your monthly sales now rise to £5,324, an increase of (you guessed it) 33%!
10% increases shouldn’t be too daunting for you! But the rewards are significant!
I’ve included this example to show you how realistic a large increase in your business can be when you break your goal down in to smaller, achievable targets.
It’s much easier to think of ideas for increasing new leads by 10% than it is to conjure up a way to increase your business by 33% don’t you think?
So you’ve set your targets and broken them down, but how do you actually go about putting together a plan of actions that will achieve your new growth goal?
How To Generate Marketing Ideas For a Small Business
The simplest way to do it is to grab 5 sheets of paper and title them with each of the 5 ways you can grow your business.
For example, the first sheet would be titled ‘Ways to Generate More Leads’, the second sheet ‘How to Convert More Leads in to Clients’ and so on…
These sheets will form the foundations of your business’s new marketing plan. Here’s what you need to do…
Sheet 1: How Can I Generate More New Leads?
At the top of this page write down how many enquiries you currently receive?
Looking at your current number, how many additional leads do you think you can realistically generate in the timescale you have given yourself? Your minimum goal should be 10%! 🙂
This is your new target!
Now below your new goal, you need to start listing as many ideas as you can think of for generating new sources of fresh, targeted leads.
To help you with this task, consider these three questions and write the answers on your sheet:
1. Who is your ideal lead?
2. What do they need just before or at the same time as they need your service?
3. What marketing channels can I use to reach my target market?
By defining your ideal lead, you can focus your advertising budget and your time on the people most likely to need and pay for your service or product.
- Are they male or female?
- How old are they likely to be?
- How wealthy are they?
- Where do they live?
- Where do they shop?
Use your answers to build up a simple buyer profile and from it you should generate ideas on who and where to target your advertising.
The second question can open up lots of lead sources that you might not have thought of without asking it.
Here’s an obvious example: consider a wedding cake supplier. A couple looking for a wedding cake will also be looking for a wedding car; a wedding dress, men’s suits; a church; a florist; a photographer, a jeweller; a reception venue; a printer… the list goes on. All of these businesses are an opportunity for the cake maker to promote their business, either via joint venture cross promotions or simply by leaving their marketing materials with them.
The best opportunities are the businesses that are needed by your target lead just before they need your service or product. An example would be someone needing a builder usually needs an architect or planning permission before they can start the build.
So to the third question; how many marketing channels do you use today to promote your business?
Most small businesses use one or two channels at most!
I’d suggest you want to be using four or five different methods at least for getting you marketing message in front of your target market. You should be looking at both online and offline marketing tactics.
In fact ideally you should be using combinations of techniques to get your message over more than once, because your target prospect is very unlikely to buy from you on their first contact, in most markets it may take seven or eight contacts to make a sale.
The more your prospect sees your marketing message, the more likely they are to make the jump from prospect to client.
On your sheet of paper start to list all of the possible ways you can think of to advertise your sales message to your leads, even if you know you won’t use them write them down because they may lead to variations that you will use.
Sheet 2: How I Can Convert More of My Leads in to New Clients?
Write down the number of new clients you generate each month from the new leads you currently generate.
Write down the number of new leads you generate each month (excluding repeat customers).
Divide your new clients by your new leads and multiply the answer by a 100.
Congratulations! You now know your Sales Conversion percentage.
This is a hugely critical number to any business! Small improvements in this number can seriously increase your profits! Let me demonstrate my point because it’s important that you really grasp it.
If your business receives 50 new enquiries each month resulting in 5 new orders worth £1000 each to you in sales, your conversion rate of 10% generates you £5000 in monthly income.
Out of the 50 new leads you’re letting 45 get away. If you could convince just two more of those escapees to spend with you, your income would increase by 40%!
So increasing your conversion rate from 10% to 14% results in a 40% increase in sales!
How hard to achieve does that really sound?
So use this sheet of paper to write down ideas for getting more of your leads to actually part with their cash.
Questions you need to ask yourself?
- How can I reduce the risk for the prospect?
- How can I better promote the benefits I offer?
- How can I improve my sales follow ups to stop leads escaping?
- How can I make my offer irresistible so they can’t say no?
- Why do leads currently walk away without spending with me?
Writing down as many answers as possible to these questions should in turn lead to lots of ideas as to how you can improve your sales process.
Just at a glance, it should be apparent that many of the actions you can take in response to these questions will cost you very little to implement, but the potential effect they’ll have on your sales is massive!
And when you improve your conversion rates in combination with increasing your leads the growth you can achieve is huge!
Start writing as many answers as possible to the 5 questions above and then start writing out improvement ideas to address your current weaknesses!
Sheet 3: How Can I Get My Clients to Spend More?
Start by writing down what the average spend of your clients is currently.
Underneath write the words ‘target spend’ but before you write your target down, generate your ideas for increasing it first and then decide what you actually want to achieve; you might surprise yourself with the figure you write down!
So how can you get your clients to hand over more cash?
Well you could simply put your prices up? Would 5 or 10% make a difference to your clients?
How have you positioned your business in your market? Do you serve the low end or high end? How price sensitive are your clients? If you’re currently competing on price with the majority of your competitors then consider how you can reposition your business to target wealthier clients.
- Can you offer different service levels?
- Can you offer premium products?
- Can you offer additional services or products?
Give these questions serious thought because the answers can easily add 50-100% to your bottom line, just like they do for the likes of MacDonalds or BMW.
Whereas the first two sheets can really boost your profits, this sheet can literally transform your business!
Sheet 4: How Can I get My Clients to Spend With Me More Often?
How many times a year on average do your clients do business with you?
Remember at the start of this post I said that most owners I meet say they need more leads? In most cases, they’re neglecting a big opportunity right in front of their noses which is their existing or past customers.
Be honest with yourself, how often do you follow up with a clients after you’ve left their home or they’ve left your premises?
From my own experience, I can’t remember the last time a small business followed up with me, whether just as a follow up courtesy call or to sell me another product or service.
So I’m guessing your business is no different and you neglect your clients once cash has changed hands.
Firstly you need to find ways to stay in regular contact with your clients to encourage them to use you again or recommend you to others. Secondly you need to come up with ideas that will encourage them to spend with you more often. Think additional services, service contracts or membership schemes.
It’s easier to sell to an existing happy client than it is to a cold lead. Therefore you must have processes in place to help stimulate repeat orders.
Start writing down ideas on your sheet for how you can implement regular communications and stimulate further sales from clients routinely.
Sheet 5: How Can I Reduce My Costs to Increase My Profits?
Hopefully you can work out what to do with this sheet!
This sheet can certainly help you to increase your profit margins, but of the five sheets it usually has the least scope in terms of impact on your business.
Look at the significant costs in your business, including use of your time and generate ideas on how you can reduce or eliminate costs and increase efficiency in your business.
Putting Your Marketing Plan Together
You’ll be surprised with how the exercise of sitting back and taking the time to analyse your business using the advice I’ve given you above will throw up obvious opportunities that you’ll wonder how you haven’t thought of them before!
As I said at the start, you don’t need a degree to be good at marketing. You simply need to look at your business wearing your marketing hat rather than your day to day cap!
To generate your Marketing Plan all you need to do is take your ideas from each of your five sheets and create short term action plans with them. Simply prioritise the ideas that are likely to generate the biggest growth and put dates against them for completion.
Focus on working through them one by one, and at the end of each month measure your progress against your goals and graph your key metrics. Rinse and repeat.
By tracking your results and metrics you’ll soon see what works and what doesn’t so that you can modify your plans and priorities accordingly!
So there you have it, a simple but very effective method for achieving rapid growth in your small business. All you need now is some sheets of paper and a pen!
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