This article has been put together from the Women Unlimited community on Linked In. A couple of weeks ago I put a call out to all the ladies in the group (over 1200 of them!) and asked them to share their best marketing advice.
We had a tremendous response with over 90 replies, so we have decided to break it down into a weekly marketing piece where we share your marketing savvy with the rest of the Women Unlimited community. Tell us know which piece of advice you think is the most valuable in the comments section below. If you would like to contribute to future future articles like this, please add your marketing advice by sending us an @reply on twitter with your best marketing thoughts in 140 characters or less or if you have a bit more to say, on our Linked In Group discussion or on our facebook page (and don’t forget to like us while you are there!).
On Communicating your message…
Tell everyone that you meet what you do. Don’t do a selling pitch obviously – but work it into the conversation as a comment. You never know who might be a po9ssible customer – or who they know that might be a possible customer. When someone is inteested enough to want a business card, give them two, then they can give one away as well.
Don’t worry about someone pinching your idea – they won’t. Everyone has their own priorities and we all tend to love what we do.
On knowing your customer…
My marketing advice would be to immerse yourself in the world of your customers as much as possible. You need to find out everything you can: their likes, dislikes, behaviour, what media they engage with, what language they use, etc. You can also use primary research to find out quantitative information on the size of your market, their demographics, etc.
Then when you develop your marketing strategy you can focus all your activities around what your customers want, and talk to them in a language that they like, so that you’re much more likely to succeed and get value for your money.
On where to be active…
My best marketing tip is to remember that you have both on on-line and an off-line presence in your marketplace. Your customers are aware of both. Therefore, make sure the two elements complement each other.
The Adams Consultancy Ltd
On Partnerships …
My marketing advice to women is to cross market with complementary companies that can not only funnel clients to them but also share the cost of marketing and advertising with them. Reduce the amount of time and money it takes to market and advertise so you can spend more time growing your business.
Describe what you do in the language of customer benefits. Does a bed shop sell beds or a good night’s sleep? And would you care about which springs it uses or the fact that it would prevent back pain? Your customers, like you, are interested in what’s in it for them.
We always advise our clients to sell their benefits not what they do (the features). Customers buy into the benefits (the end results) of the product not the actual service that you are providing.
Be totally clear what do you do and stand for and lead with this. This is especially true online but applies to all your marketing – people give you a couple of seconds and hit the back key. If you sell hand made jewellery using FairTrade materials from Africa, say that in big bold letters so it is the first thing people see. Jane’s Jewellery might be your world, but it doesn’t mean a thing to a new prospect who hasn’t heard of you. Many companies could make their logo less prominent and their proposition statement bigger and bolder.
Give value and build credibility at first with new prospects. Businesses are different, but some of you sell ‘considered purchase’ products and services which are unlikely to be bought when people first engage with you. In this case, people need to trust and respect your business and its products before they buy. Don’t propose too soon, even though you are keen to sell.
On networking …
As a complementary therapist I find that building relationships is crucial. I therefore do lots of face-to-face networking, especially at ladies groups as they are predominantly my target audience. I twitter a lot locally as well in order too so I become known as a real person and the local expert in my field. This method of marketing has brought me customers but more importantly it has brought me great friends as well
Genuine relationship building is key: with customers/clients, referral partners, and ‘the competition’ (who may become partners, associates or a support network). Networking is a long game, and the people who lose out are the ones who believe that its purpose is to produce instant sales rather than to build a sustainable community around your business.
Make sure every piece of your marketing material is consistent and promotes your brand. It has to stand out from the competition and reflect who you are and what you do. Fairly or unfairly your customers will judge how professional your organisation is by the way your marketing material looks and you may not get a second chance to make a first impression.
You might think everyone or every business is your customer, but if you are able to be more specific it helps you tailor what you do to meet their needs better and talk their language more. And importantly it will make your marketing more effective and cost-effective. Is you might find your typical customer is female, aged 25-40, family income between £30 and £50k living in London with children and maybe read The Independent. So now you know you are looking for more people like this. You can focus your marketing on catching people who match this profile. If you know anyone in marketing, ask them how easy it is to waste money on badly targeted marketing.
Just great advice …
Offer more than people expect and that will set you apart from your competitors!
One very simple piece of advise a good friend of mine told me. Know what you do, and just as important know what you don’t do. This helps you to find a position in your market where no one else sits.
My marketing advice is POISE, PATIENCE, PROFESSIONALISM and, CUSTOMER SERVICE! Small businesses would not be in business if not for the customer. So, when you get an upset customer, turning a bad situation into a good one “seamlessly” is priceless, and you will be the hero. As word of mouth gets around about how great their customer service experience was your company will reap the benefits!
Very simple, but essential is to do things in the right order. Small businesses often have small marketing budgets and resources, so when you do spread the word, make sure the sequence of events is right. For example, ensure your website is in tip top condition before doing any PR, social media or advertising – once people know where you are, you want them to have the best possible experience at every contact point.
On methods …
Take advantage of free marketing tools such as social media and use them creatively.
Research shows that video sells products and services. Video builds confidence in your customers and can raise your profile immensely – leading to more sales conversion! Always try and use videos on your website, landing pages and other social media sites out there. It simply works.
On looking after your current clients…
My best piece of marketing advice would be to look after your current clients – too often businesses concentrate on looking for new leads and sales whilst neglecting the wonderful resources they already have. Listen to your current clients, and react to their requirements. There is nothing better than word of mouth referals, and if you give excellent customer service these will natural follow.
You are an expert. You have knowledge on your industry or area of business that is valuable to prospects – use it by writing an article and putting it on your website. Offer free expertise (an article or ebook) or a taster in exchange for the prospect’s email address.
A lot of successful people make their money at the ‘backend’ – in other words, the second or third sales, which will be of much higher values are where the real profits are. So once someone has purchased have a follow up offer planned.
I hope you enjoyed these tips… Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and if you like these, don’t forget to Retweet the article.