To make your marketing work for you, it’s important to have a plan that you can use to help grow your customer base and business in a manageable way.
Now, no marketing tools will work if you don’t have a quality product or service to back you up. But if the internal reality of your product or service is amazing, then it’s imperative to make that external perception match.
At the risk of sounding simplistic, here are the three most important start-up marketing tools you need to get and keep new customers.
1. In-person visit (or zoom meeting)
It’s essential you meet with customers/clients in person whenever possible. This shows you respect them and take the time to work with your clients to give personal attention to each of them.
2. Follow-up letter
Always take a moment to send a follow up letter to summarize conversations or new agreements, and to thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Likewise, you should always send thank you letters or small gifts to partners you find success with.
3. Phone call
Use a telephone call to follow up with them to talk again about the matters you talked about in your meeting and offer any assistance you can to help their business run smoothly and more successfully.
Now, coupled with those three marketing tools, here are the key steps for putting together your start-up marketing tools:
- Research potential customers, buyers, competitors and their preferred methods of distribution.
- Talk to potential customers so that you can take a hard look at your product from a customer’s perspective and see what it needs to be successful.
- Follow up with your 3-step process from above.
- Develop systems for contact follow through, quality control standards and customer service.
- Develop post-sale follow up system to keep lines of communication open is customers and build on your current relationship which increases future purchases.
Using these tools, you can put together a start-up marketing plan that can be used to help grow your customer base and business in a manageable way.
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Your marketing resources are finite. You can’t afford to waste your resources. Therefore, you need to be laser-focused in your marketing.
The two questions you have to ask yourself are:
- What do people really want to buy from me?
- What related products are they already buying?
Here’s how to find a target market of potential customers so you don’t waste precious resources on blitz marketing.
1. Find companies who already have the customer base you want.
The fastest way to develop a customer base is to find existing businesses who have the customer profile that you want to market your products or services to. Armed with that information, you will know who is more predisposed to purchase your products/services.
2. Negotiate an incentive so they’ll share that customer base with you.
Once you find other businesses with the same customer base who you can customer-share with, strike up a relationship with those business owners to work out an incentive for customers to purchase from both of your businesses.
3. Focus your marketing on this group of predisposed customers.
You develop a win-win relationship this way: you have an audience to market to, and they generate an added value from their current customer base.
But how do you figure out what kind of financial incentive you can afford? Here’s a formula from Jay Abraham you can follow with great success.
LV = (P x F x N) – MC
Here’s what it all means:
- LV is the life time value of a customer
- P is the average profit margin from each sale
- F is the number of times a customer buys each year
- N is the number of years customers stay with you
- MC is the marketing cost per customer (total costs/number of customers)
Once you know how much you need to spend to attract a new customer, you will know how much of an incentive you can offer to a business to help attract new customers.
Here’s the step-by-step process. First, find companies who already have the customer base you are looking for. Next, negotiate an incentive for them to share that customer base with you. Finally, focus your marketing resources to this group of predisposed customers.
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Many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, but you NEED to spend a good chunk of your time educating current and former customers. They already know you and they’ve already bought from you, so they can be excellent future customers as well.
Take the time to market and sell new products to your old customers and less time trying to sell old products to new customers. That will produce a drastic change in your sales, customer quality, and branding position as a result.
Here are some key elements you can use to retain your current customers.
1. Staying in contact
It is important to communicate with your current customers, whether by phone, email, e-newsletter, in person–or by carrier pigeon, if you have to!
2. Post-purchase assurance
Follow up with your customers. Your customers need to feel like they are being supported for their purchase and with the item they purchased. How many times have you purchased a product, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a thank-you note with your contact (or customer service) information can go along way in retaining a great customer.
3. Deals and guarantees
Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. You can welcome them into a club specifically designed to reward loyal customers, or you can honor them with a preferred pricing option. Whatever you do, show them you appreciate their business.
4. Good business practices
Using good business practices goes along way with customers. The safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you. Simply upholding integrity, dignity, and honesty makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.
Stop wasting all your time on new prospects while your current customers fall by the wayside.
As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and divert some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every way possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”
Educate your customers by offering them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success.
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In this article, I’ll talk about shameless self-promotion. Because your networking self-promotion should be shameless.
Self-promotion comes in many forms and you can use different tactics to get your name out there. Did you raise your hand in class to show the teacher you knew the answer? Of course! That’s self-promotion. This is the kind of self-promotion I’m talking about, with the dignity, class, and knowledge to back it up.
Natural self-promoters use three major strategies to build themselves and their businesses.
You need to position yourself around people who can make a difference in your life. You need to wake up every morning and ask yourself, “Who can I meet today who will make a difference in my success?” In fact, go a step further, write it in big, bold letters and tape it on your bathroom mirror.
Also consider, “Who can help me meet my goals?” Is it a prospective customer/client? A colleague with contacts? An association with key members who may become prospects?
Don’t settle into interacting with the people who are the easiest to access. If you reach outside your comfort zone, you will find a wealth of new connections that will bring you great success.
How are you different from your competitors and others in your industry? What makes you memorable with customers?
If you are meeting a lot of people in your networking and they don’t remember you once you leave the room, you have an opportunity to present yourself in a more memorable way.
Would you remember a commercial for Coca-Cola if you only saw it once? Of course not. Similarly, successful self-promoters say their message as many times as they need to until they get a response. You likewise have to make multiple impressions on those you are networking with in order to build brand awareness.
Repetition works in concert with positioning and style. Once you develop your positioning and style to find the right people to network with, you can find hundreds more who can help add to your success.