I liked the fact that Alasdair started the half day session by saying that his aim was for everyone attending to leave with a minimum of five concrete things they will do for their business.
I was also impressed by the way he refuses to use PowerPoint. Instead he handed out detailed notes and had lots of photos on screen to illustrate his points.
Alasdair started by briefly covering the standard elements of a small business sales and marketing strategy:
– What are you selling
– What is your USP (unique selling proposition)
– Competitor analysis
– Who are your customers
– Lead generation – which methods are appropriate
He quickly launched into the marketing ideas and concepts we needed to understand to give us a competitive edge.
The first of these was understanding the power of customer testimonials:
– These can be the most valuable form of marketing in the long run, especially if you manage to get an influential customer to sing your praises.
– Work out what questions you need to ask to generate testimonials
– Make sure they include some measure of the benefit of your product or service.
Then we looked at the power of case studies and success stories
– These are more in depth than testimonials and can include video.
– They should include the problem – what we did – the positive result
– When making video testimonials make sure you concentrate on the sound quality over the visuals. It is worth investing in a directional microphone.
– We have used our Success Stories on our YouTube channel to generate 200,000 views.
The power of having a customer database
– For long term success you should have a database with all your customers details and purchases in one place. This could be as simple as an excel spreadsheet or a full CRM (customer relationship management) systems such as SalesForce.
– The best way to think about what to keep, is what would someone need to know to keep your business going if you were away from the office.
Know your competitors – ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’.
– Take advantage of your competitors hard work to develop their products or services and their understanding of the customers they market to.
– Sign up to your competitors email lists using your personal email address. Gives you insight into their marketing strategy.
– Look at their websites and Facebook pages.
– Use seospyglass.com to check out where your competitors are promoting themselves on the web.
Know your target market
– Get to know your ideal customer – where do they live, shop, eat?
– This will impact your choice of marketing strategy.
Understand the marketing funnel
– Don’t try and get a sale straight away, build up to the sale.
– You need to have a really good opening offer that hooks people in so you get them into your funnel.
– Three examples
o Free download – build up price as the customer goes deeper into the funnel.
o First contact is a cold lead – move them from warm to hot to customer to raving fan
o Initial enquiry from customer – build information until they become a customer.
Have an irresistible offer
– What irresistible offer does your business have, so that people who first come into contact with your product or service make contact with you or buy from you?
– Examples would include: first session free, money back guarantee, discount for first order, vouchers.
Understand the importance of having a clear call to action
– Give people a compelling reason to get in contact.
– E.G. On your website
o Call you
o Ask questions
o Email you
o Buy from you
o Join your email list
o Request information
Focus on benefits rather than features
– Look at all your marketing materials and re-word them.
Understand what problems do you solve for your customers.
– What factors might make their business fail.
– What market are they will be operating in – Information about their competitors and customers.
Be aware of approximately how much do you earn from each customer during their lifetime?
– This will have a big impact on how you price and market your services.
‘If you sow seeds all year round, you get vegetables all year round.
– Make sure you have a variety of customers, like a garden with a mixture of plants
– This can help when a recession hits, or you lose one set of customers.
o Customer who buy or work with you once
o Ad hoc customers
o Regular repeat customers
o Make sure you have a lead generation system in place that gives you a steady stream of leads.
Be aware of the importance of Search Engine Optimisation, especially on Google.
– Google has revolutionised marketing, triggering a move from masculine to feminine.
– Masculine – going out searching for customers using adverts, yellow pages and telemarketing
– Feminine – waiting to found, by being attractive to your customers, let them come to you.
Alasdair covered quite a bit more during a very full half day, so I recommend you book yourself on and find out more.
One of the additional benefits of these workshops is meeting aspiring entrepreneurs, and it was here that I got talking to Bertie Stephens about Flubit. I’ve joined the fun Flubitron club