The oversimplified answer to managing your marketing time is to pick strategies that fit the goals of your business.
Strategies are different for those in business under 5 years (generally growth mode), 5-10 years (refinement of service, marketing, operations and finance) and over 10 years (prevention of burnout – keep the flame lighted or plan for departure).
Different strategies are used for businesses during tough economic times, but to level the peaks and valleys of revenue, planning and action are key.
A marketing expert will establish plans that fit your company’s exact goals, resources, budget and timeline. These are just 7 common strategies for most start-up or growing businesses – especially in our 21st century:
1. Increase Outreach to keep your sales pipeline filled.
Tactics for this include building your outreach list to 10,000 people. Why? Sales is a numbers game. Outreaching to many will net you a few new clients (or business) on a regular basis. That’s how sales goals are reached and stabilized. Outreaching to just a few is generally where small businesses make costly mistakes. Larger entreprises often make their mistakes being too generic and not speaking more personally to each group of potential clientele. Build your web and social media presence, gain visibility, do some networking, speaking or writing – those tactics work for companies of any size!
2. Don’t be a Lone Wolf: Get help where you need it. The ability to figure it out and do it yourself is both an asset and a threat to entrepreneurs. Sometimes, doing it all yourself just doesn’t make sense. For example, If you bill out your services at $200/hour and spend 2 hours on bookkeeping (or administration or tweeting around with no results), you just cost your company $400 in sales. If you’d hired a terrific bookkeeper at $40/hr. you would have just paid $80, but saved $320 by devoting that time to sales.
Worse, if you spent $5,000 on a website that doesn’t work to convert sales, you may need to revise it as well as revisit your marketing strategies to ensure you’re launching tactics that work best for the time, cost and abilities that you have.
3. Strengthen Customer Service: Make more sales to existing clients
Do your clients know all the ways you can help them? If you’re an acupuncturist, for example, who’s helped a client overcome hay fever symptoms, make sure they know your acupuncture can also help with their back pain, an easier birth of a child, or even menopause. This applies to all product and service companies – 60% of new business can come from your existing customers buying more of the items you offer – if only they knew you could help!
4. Increase Distribution (for products) or find sales reps if appropriate to your type of company. Some industries benefit greatly from representation at shows, events, media, or in-person sales if they have the established relationships in your target industry (like fashion, for example) and you don’t. But until you’re making a good amount of proven sales, a rep won’t likely be interested in helping your company. Since reps take a percentage of sales, this can sometimes be a vast benefit if you know how to manage reps properly. (If not, get some marketing advice from an expert so reps don’t kill your business. This happens all the time!)
I find that often clients believe their only market is local when they often could double income by outreaching to wider territories. Test sales for select products/services online to find out if you have a wider market who really needs your help.
I did. Let me share my experience in hopes that it gives you ideas of creating your own. (if you need help figuring this out, simply contact us) . . .
I’d been writing customized media materials for years. The cost usually ran $700-$1000 for a top quality service that features a company properly for the media (or web visitors). I had a programmer create a form that creates the media material for you. I figured it would save me some time and my clients some cost if I could make this easy for them. The cost for this online tool is currently under $30 and this company profile tool has created profiles for companies worldwide in a range of industries from airline hangar rentals to artists. The product has been selling for 10 years and best of all, I’m selling it while I sleep.
If you have knowledge about what you offer, some of your ideas could be “productized”, too!
A few other tips for building products for service businesses:
- write e-books,
- planning tools,
- estimate forms,
- resource guides,
- special reports or checklists,
- instructional videos, webinars, teleclasses
Sell these products for $7-$197. You can charge $497 for an annual membership that offers monthly training (for service companies) once you have proven value in your training. If you sell only 30 memberships you’ve just increased revenues by an extra $15,000.
It’s critical to stay top of mind with your potential market or they’ll forget about you with the 20,000 bits of information they are bombarded with daily. It’s also critical in this century to:
- Promote with multiple media: web, speaking, blog, social media and more. Not everyone will read a blog or listen to your talk, so it’s important to reach your audience with various media.
- Your website must be optimized so people can find you top of Google. If you’re not on the first page you won’t get the business.We have a helpful article to get you understanding the ‘truth’ about SEO so you’re not misled by thinking you can guess at keywords and immediately rise to the top of Google.
- Make it your website work hard! It should not just be a cute brochure. It should convert looky lus to sales. Collect information about visitors. Drive business to your landing pages & shopping carts so visitors get what they need. It can schedule your workforce, share documents, track timesheets or more. It should link to all your social media sites. With these solutions, your site is now saving you time and earning you more money.
- Use a blog as a hub for social media, directing comments on Facebook, Linked in or Twitter to your blog posts.
- Create or promote events so clients get to know you,
- Build webinars or videos to educate clients on how you can help them.
7. Create strategic alliances
We have ad agencies who need our agency to provide social media management or writing while their in-house staff design campaigns. Or they have us design while they handle media buys and we create landing pages on the web, or produce television commercials for them.
Who could be a strategic alliance that needs your services, teams of experts, or products the same as ad agencies need ours?
Need more help? Find out about our San Francisco Bay Area Marketing & Communications services, who we help, and what we can do for you!