How do the kings and queens of industry wine, dine, and otherwise cajole prospects? Hint: It’s not through wining and dining! It’s by knowing how to market like a pro.
Most successful businesses speak to the needs and wants of their prospects by using a series of information-based ads or marketing materials that build emotional attachment and credibility, and provide “a call to action” to ensure their customers reach out to them. These are much more effective methods than standard company branding because it qualifies prospects and partners as it fulfills their needs and wants.
The principles that go into putting together a high impact (and, often, high-priced) ad campaign can be adapted to fit most any company’s needs with similar results and less spending than traditional paid media — if done right.
Below is a list of 30 options for putting together and executing a professional, effective outreach campaign that offers information, action, and relationship-building, all while showing prospects what differentiates you from your competition.
I don’t suggest to my clients doing one or two of these items. I recommend going through the gamut to see how we can mix and match these activities to acquire the most appropriate leads and close the most lucrative arrangements.
So here’s a list of marketing tactics that will attract the right audience for you:
- Put together a short report that is automatically sent to prospects when they contact you. This should include a short description of your business and what you specialize in as well as case studies, samples, or other proof of your success.
- Develop value-oriented yellow page ads.
- Use newsletters to educate and inform existing (and future) customers about your industry and the services you offer.
- Host a free seminar, webinar, or other lecture to build awareness of your business (make sure the information is pertinent to your target market and find speakers who are respected and known in the industry).
- Test multiple versions of your messaging to find the most effective ones.
- Use direct mail to reach specific geographic zones.
- Put together a database of previous customers and send them new or reconfigured product lines and packages.
- Offer incentives such as frequent purchasing benefits, loyalty programs, or referral programs.
- Offer a 24-hour information line with a regularly updated recorded message. Make this available to all past and future customers/clients.
- Donate materials to local charities to show support for your area.
- Offer free and approachable public “clinics” or on-site events for locals to join and discuss what they need from your industry.
- Organize seminars with a high-perception value package that your customers/clients can pay to attend.
- Approach local news outlets and offer to write a weekly column about your area of expertise. Don’t ask for money, just a byline and bio.
- Develop an overnight or destination seminar for customers/clients that provides an action-packed weekend and also allows participants to join in a tax-deductible experience.
- Take a good seminar and turn it into written form as a home study, member site program, or audio or video program.
- Approach large companies and offer to give seminars to their employees, investors, or management.
- Barter for your products or services. Offer trade in lieu of payment.
- Be willing to bring in new clients, even if at an initial loss, with the expectation it will pay off later.
- Regulate your marketing budget to maximize the potential income to hit in the next year and try to push back advertising costs for the next year to offset your expenses.
- Give away something free to everyone who brings in a print version of your advertisement. This is a great way to see which ads are giving you the most bang for your buck.
- Continually update your products and services bundles so you can offer new packages to current customers/clients.
- Develop a mail order division of your company.
- Proposition your competitors to trade customers/clients whom you were each unsuccessful in selling to.
- Use different marketing tactics as an excuse to attract new customers/clients with new offers and goodies.
- Offer a “choose-your-price” program. This is especially good for products that are sitting on the shelf.
- Buy an existing business, introduce better marketing, and grow this new business faster than a “from scratch” business.
- Approach large firms who may need your services and negotiate a deal to be their exclusive expert in your field.
- Make offers to target markets or target market businesses to pay them for referrals or shared databases.
- Join your local Chamber of Commerce and attend the networking and other activities throughout the year.
- Join a local, state, or regional professional associates for further networking opportunities.
So, there you have it: 30 great ways to get your services or products in front of business and professional prospects (B2B) as well as directly to customers (B2c).
But you can also look at other ways to get your name out there and start increasing your value. For instance,
- Offer loaner products to replace equipment that has been repaired or refurbished.
- Get involved you in your community: Volunteer, donate to local events, etc.
- Become a board member of a local organization.
For all of these options, let’s just say: Know Your Value, Know Your Customer.
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“One of the most powerful techniques every business should use is free publicity. As the name implies, there is no cost, just the time and effort required to attract attention to your business.”
— Jay Abraham
What is “free publicity”? Free publicity is also called “earned media.” It’s attention from media and news sources, or in the Internet era, from celebrities or social media influencers (people who command a mass following for being professionals in their field, or maybe just from notoriety).
The key is it’s free. It’s not paid media, also known as advertising. It’s “earned,” meaning that those who repeat your information saw its value and shared it. They basically gave you something (publicity) for you giving them something (a reason for their audience to tune in). The information you provide can’t just be interesting, it has to be valuable.
Earned media comes from having a good message to give to the public, and it can boost your advertising results ten-fold.
By focusing on public relations — the act of building publicity in combination with merchandising and promotions — you can develop a good deal of “buzz.” But it takes a coordinated effort, and you have to offer newsworthy information, and follow up with media outlets to make sure they are publicizing that information.
With a solid plan in place, you’ll have a great approach to use public relations in the best way possible.
Here are the steps to get noticed by the media:
- Put together a press release for your company. The press release should be relevant to your target market and address consumer interest, not just announce your business.
- Compact your press release to include one hook and one angle. Choose the most attention-getting to make sure the media person you are sending it to is interested in reading it.
- Put your press release in professional formatting. With press releases you need a dateline, the most important information at the top, facts, figures and wrap it up with contact details including who and how. Print the press release on your letterhead.
- Send your press release to all television and radio stations, local and metro newspapers, national newspapers, industry magazines, and any other form of media that reaches your target market. Don’t forgot to include relevant blogs, online magazines, press release submission sites, and to industry professionals.
More importantly than a perfect press release is to make sure you have addressed the needs of your target market in the products/services you offer and have made them clear in the press release.
Lastly, don’t limit yourself. The attention of newspapers, television, radio, magazines, bloggers, and more are all equally powerful. Earned media can come from many different places, and the key is to provide a solution to a problem, a way to avoid a problem, or an opportunity for people to enhance their lives. Do that, and the media and public will be interested.
Our FREE test drive can show you how to put together press releases that work! Check out how the pros do it and craft the perfect press releases for your business.
Business owners attend networking events because they realize the value of getting to know people. When you get to know people (and they get to know you), they become better able to represent your business when they refer you to others. Well, the same goes with vendors, and probably more so. They work with you on a recurring basis, and know your operations, so why not add your vendors into the virtuous circle, and make them part of your sales team?
Building relationships with your vendors can bring in new customers or clients and expand awareness of your company branding.
The people you work directly with on your products and services are really the ones with the most to gain when you find success. By taking the time to get to know them (and it really is a matter of you being a resource for them, not them helping you), you’ll find a host of opportunities you didn’t realize were there.
Look for great ways to offer your vendors rewards for helping grow your business and everyone wins. One way you can do this is by offering performance-based incentives that are much larger than their normal charges.
Here’s the step-by-step process to putting together a partnership with a vendor:
- Approach all the vendors you work with and offer an incentive-based on performance.
- Put the generous incentive plan together from their perspective, even take suggestions. That way you can craft the offer to be exclusive compensation.
- Develop a clear, concise and easy to track incentive plan. This will increase competition between vendors and raise performance levels.
- Encourage subsequent sales instead of focusing only on the initial sale. By doing this you can give away more of the profit from the initial sale to your vendors and make higher profits off the back-end products. Encourage not just future sells, but upsell better and more profitable products or services, and cross-sell to additional products.
Think of all the vendors you work with and the creative ways you can put together an incentive plan that entices them to be part of your business. Use their talents, capabilities, and connections and you’ll both be winners.
Putting together an incentive plan doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Not sure where to begin? Take a look at our FREE test drive to discover some great ideas and put your incentive plan together for maximum results.
I recently got sucked into a telemarketing scam. It was so clever, and I was in a good mood and willing to engage the caller, who kept insisting that this was a REAL call (I won lots of money) that I stayed on the line, and even went so far as to confirm my home address.
It’s very embarrassing to admit that, and as soon as I gave him my zip code, it was like my “danger, danger” alarm kicked into my head, and I started challenging the guy to his claims. After seriously several hours(!) of back-and-forth calls, I think I scared him off, and I immediately filed my complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, for whatever that’s worth.
The guy didn’t really get any information about me that’s not publicly available (one of those times when you have to Google yourself), but I hated being played for the fool.
That said, telemarketing isn’t always a scam! And if you do it right, you can help customers feel like they are getting personal attention and you can keep them from blocking your number!
As marketing guru Jay Abraham explains it:
“When selling by telephone, you have approximately 30 seconds to convince the customer to listen to you. You need an opening statement that captures their attention, conveys who you are, what you want and why the prospect should listen.”
These days, it’s actually less than 30 seconds, and there’s no room for mush-mouth or hesitation in your pitch. You have to make sure your offer is worth the time someone is taking out of his or her day to speak to a stranger and a “salesperson.”
Telemarketing gives business owners the opportunity to demonstrate their honest interest in customers. It is best for high-priced, high-margin products and services (which is probably why everyone is so skeptical when they get a phone call). It is well-paired in the beginning in the end of marketing campaigns — as the final distribution channel where the sale occurs or as an opening to drive a prospect into a nurturing campaign.
To be successful in telemarketing you need to:
- Put together a plan, so you know exactly what you want to accomplish during the call.
- Develop a list of topics to discuss and the questions you want to present around these topics.
- Input verbiage checking to see if you are calling at a good time.
- Include enough questions to keep the conversation interesting, but not too many to sound like you are interrogating.
- Start with broad questions and narrow your focus as the conversation continues.
- Offer feedback to show them you are paying attention and appreciate their time.
- Don’t insult their intelligence or manipulate them.
- Listen first, talk second.
- Be relaxed and conversational.
Telemarketing doesn’t have to be the trauma it’s made out to be. You can put together an honest, personal and effective telemarketing campaign that is endearing, informative, and gets the job done. Think of how you would want to be treated on a marketing call. Ask your friends and family what they hate most about the telemarketing calls they get, and work hard to craft your plan in a better way.
It’s easy to see how telemarketing can positively affect your business by bringing in new customers and increasing the level of awareness about your products, services, and company branding.
Join the August 29 Baltimore business roundtable to discover other techniques for quick wins to dominate the competition.
How do you turn prospects into customers and retain them for future marketing? Ah, that’s the question every business owner wants answered. Scarier still, what if you actually get the customer but then they aren’t happy with their decision. They key is to create a marketing strategy that will help your client avoid buyer’s remorse!
Your marketing may be doing its job, but you need to close the deal. When we look at the customer funnel, it goes from awareness to comparison shopping all the way down to a purchase. Marketing can get super-creative throughout (and I personally especially enjoy building reasons for your customer to choose you over your competition).
Join our August 29 Baltimore business roundtable to learn more quick wins to dominate your competition.
But you still have to seal the sale, and while you try to be inviting, informative, and enjoyable throughout the process, you gotta get past that hump of the 10 reasons customers think of or talk themselves out of a purchase.
In other words, you need to overcome the dreaded fear of buyer’s remorse (and it’s the fear as much as the actual remorse that people experience). You want to avoid someone regretting their purchase at all costs, and this can be mitigated by providing a quality product/service that delivers on the marketing claims you’ve made.
So how do you prevent buyer’s remorse? Two ways:
- Offer to refund money — no questions asked
- Offer a bonus they can keep even if they return the product or don’t wish to continue with the service.
These offers alone will mitigate buyer’s remorse (or the worry that a buyer will experience it) because the customer will trust you more just for offering these things.
There are numerous ways to turn a prospect into a customer. These are fun, fun, fun to test and try, and they enable the business owner a lot of creativity in their marketing strategy:
- Offer a special price as an opportunity for you to test the market.
- Offer a lower price with the reason of pushing inventory for your own survival (like paying an April tax bill!). This makes you feel so much more human.
- Offer a referral incentive.
- Offer a smaller, more inexpensive product first to build trust.
- Offer package deals.
- Offer to charge less for their first purchase if they become a repeat customer.
- Offer extra incentives like longer warranties or free bonuses if ordered by a set date.
- Offer financing options, if applicable.
- Offer a bonus if they pay in full.
- Offer special packaging or delivery.
- Offer “name your own price” incentives.
- Offer comparative data or other comparison tools.
- Offer a trade-up or upgrade for something they already have.
- Offer additional, educational information to help them make the decision.
The options really are as limitless as you make it. You can use these or other ideas to find what works the best for your business, products/service and target market. Just remember this …
“By making it inviting, easy, informative, non-threatening, educational, inspiring and fun to do business with you, you’ll loft your company above the competition.” -Jay Abraham
Need help with figuring out the best strategy for converting prospects into customers? Our FREE test drive gives you exclusive access to the mountain of resources and tools, along with information from some of the greatest marketing minds on Earth.