This is the fourth post in this series and here we’re sharing even more great advice from some of the successful business women in our Women Unlimited community. Thank you ladies and keep them coming! We’d love you to share these tips on Twitter and Facebook if you like them.
Promote your business every day
Antonia Chitty • Create a marketing plan and do one thing towards it EVERY day. Even if you only have 15 minutes, make one call, send an email, speak to someone … continual promotion is THE way to ensure that your business profile grows and you eliminate quiet patches. http://www.acpr.co.uk
Don’t give up on marketing
Dr. Sheriff Alabi • We should bear in mind that it’s much easier to give up marketing during tough times (such as we are now in), as budgets becomes smaller and, almost non-existent. But, to give up is to shoot ourselves in the foot. We need to remind ourselves, constantly, that marketing is the reason we are in business in the first place. Our venture, from the outset, is to find, connect, win and keep customers in order to maintain business flow – so, don’t give up. Marketing comes in all forms and guises and, rather than giving up, we should be more creative in our approach to it – if one form doesn’t work, another will. There are many routes to the market and, in this new media age which offers a plethora of marketing tools and communications platforms, we really are spoilt for choice. Effective marketing requires the ability to think on one’s feet, to be creative and to be adaptive, constantly. When you are digging for gold, you don’t ask the price of the shovel – so, carry on marketing. Sheriff.Alabi@marketingconsultantslondon.co.uk
Give it time
Anita Markert • My best advice would be to keep your cool. It takes a bit of time to build awareness in the marketplace. Unless you have a huge marketing budget to promote your business or product, it takes time… even the big brands realize it takes not only ‘reach’ but also ‘frequency’ for a new product or promotion to resonate with potential clients.
If you’ve just launched a website or blogsite to attract clients, factor in that it takes time for the search engines to find your site – which means it’ll take a bit of time before your site shows up when people enter search criteria online.
Believe me, I know how anxious we can feel when we’re growing a business. But if you’re able to keep your cool and hang in there, you’ll spare yourself a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on the nervous system.
Anita Markert, Career Transition Coach, http://ReinventionNavigator.com
Michelle Ernsdorff • Perception is reality in marketing. If the consumer perceives that one product is better than another, he or she will purchase it, even if the reverse is true. Is the iPod really better than an MP3 player? Is it worth so much more that a consumer should be willing to purchase the product for 3 times the price of the MP3 player? Apple has been savvy in shaping our perception to believe so. Therefore, the reality has become that the iPod is better, thus we decide to pay the hefty price. We must be in control of shaping the perception in our customers’ minds.
Michelle M. Ernsdorff, Founder of Compass to Care Childhood Cancer Foundation, http://www.CompassToCare.org
Tracey Hurst • Keep up to date with what is going on in your market and be the expert that people think of when they need answers, advice and products.
Always invest in yourself so that you keep learning, it doesn’t matter how many years you have been doing what you are doing, always remain a student in some way, keep close to mentors, as well as being open to new people in the business, it is great to learn new tricks! http://www.InformationEmpires.com
Build relationships with your customers
Donna Elmore • My best experience with marketing and working with business owners is all about connection with your clients/customers. Keeping connected to them is a very special way to build a relationship for further business and a great way to get referrals. Customers do not always like to be sold on your business. But, if you actually stay connected with them at least a few times a year they feel appreciated. Remembering birthdays, anniversaries, or sending Christmas wishes to your clients speaks volumes! I call it relationship marketing at its best! http://www.sendoutcards.com/58553
Diana Barden • If you’re offering a service (or to a lesser extent a product), it’s YOU your clients are buying, so you need to espouse your business’ values at all times. Find ways to surprise and delight them, especially when things go wrong. Anybody can ‘do’ customer service when things are going well, it’s when things go pear-shaped that you and your values will be under the spotlight! Ensure this ethos runs through your business and your staff, contractors and representatives like a stick of rock! http://www.damselsinsuccess.co.uk
Cathe Gaskell • Customers are Queens (a retake on the jokey male customer is king mantra) so be helpful and go beyond the brief in service delivery and follow up.
Treat all introductions not as a sale but as a potential connection, so be helpful courteous and knowledgeable and the sale and collaboration will come later.
Be helpful even when you have no direct gain, sharing connections and knowledge is your personal brand and will make you memorable. www.theresultsco.com
Monica Luz • Word of mouth is still the best way to advertise your services and your business, I have tryed inumeroues and expensive ways and nothing worked as good as my own clients spreading the word about my services that they have experienced themselves and how delighted they were with the experience. www.theclosetmakeover.co.uk
Sandra Hewett • Create a budget, a 12 month marketing plan and monitor what works and what doesn’t. If you don’t know where to start, get some professional marketing help. Don’t be frightened of committing money – see the spend as an investment that will build a bigger business. Research is vital and you could do a lot of that yourself. But don’t try to do everything yourself. A good designer or some PR advice will pay off. www.shmr.co.uk
Share your expertise
Jane Morgan • I agree that being an expert in your field is essential. But let people know that you’re an expert by giving free advice, say on twitter. Another way of letting your prospective customers get to know you and your brand.
Caroline Endersbee • You have knowledge and expertise which is why you are in business in the first place. Give some of that valuable information away FREE, either in a leaflet, seminar, workshop, speaking at a networking event or something similar. This establishes that you are both credible and knowledgeable in your field. Give something to potential clients first, they are far more likely to want to do business with you. (and remember you!)
Caroline Endersbee, Web Boutiques, http://www.webboutiques.co.uk
Target your market
Cally Robson • It’s far easier to pick a specific target market and find what product or service they need, than to come up with a novel idea and then work out who to sell it to. http://www.shesingenious.org
Sarah Quinlan • My top tip is get online – it’s cheap and easy to monitor the results unlike offline marketing. Get a blog or website or facebook page & make connections online with prospects and business introducers. All SME’s can benefit from online marketing – not all can afford PR or offline advertising. http://www.suffolktouristguide.com
Gail Haslam • Adding social media into your marketing mix can be a great way to communicate with your customers. Make sure you treat it as seriously as other channels, with appropriate response times and tone of voice, and carry your branding and customer service ethos online too. http://www.content-happy.com
Tracey Hurst • There are many ways to use the web to your advantage, here are some ideas:
Create Press Releases and use a site such as publicityhound.com to get them out there.
Sell your products on ebay or Amazon and tap in to a ready made stream of buyers who are looking to purchase.
You Tube is another massive area for people searching for what they are interested in, other sites such as tubemogul.com can send videos to other video sites spreading your marketing message.
Start a blog. Google loves blogs because of the frequent, fresh content. Try www.Wordpress.org.
Leave your Footprints by posting on forums, Facebook, blogs etc, but use etiquette and make sure it is relevant!
Add backlinks, making sure they are quality rather than quantity, again you want relevant links to your site. Check out your main competitors, and see who is linking to them. Get other people to sell and promote your products. This can be amazing for marketing, try places like clickbank.com or Groundbreak.com.
At the moment I am finding Facebook is really helping me. You can join other groups which have an audience with your ideal customers and post comments in these groups, discreetly linking to your group and product. http://www.InformationEmpires.com
How can you help?
Dr. Daisy Sutherland • Be confident and never be afraid to share your business with others. More importantly share how you may be able to help others with your business. Too often business owners think that by simply saying the name of your business that others will automatically know what your business is all about. Share your business with confidence and with a smile, it will automatically attract others.