It sees as if most of the entrepreneurs I've been encountering are still looking for the "get rich quick" version of small business marketing. Unfortunately, such a thing does not really exist, but if you're looking for some tried-and-true marketing principals that can accelerate your success, I've got a few to share with you:
Pull Marketing Works Better Than Push Marketing
I'm not sure who coined the terms pull marketing and push marketing, but the idea behind them is simple. With push marketing, the small business pushes its advertising towards its prospects who may or may not be interested. With pull marketing, the small business partnerships (pulls) its prospects with interesting content and materials which are not strictly advertising based.
Push marketing can be hard. It involves cold calls and advertising and in-your-face and spending lots and lots of money. And yet your prospects are often turned off and tuned out.
On the other hand, pull marketing is fun. It involves sharing your knowledge and creating partnerships and developing relationships. Pull marketing jobs prospects who are really interested in your services and who truly believe you are the best person for the job.
Everything You Do is Branding
This is a hard concept for many small business owners to embrace, but every single little thing you do is sending a message about your business. And I do mean every single little thing. I had a client several years ago who consistently wore wrinkled and disheveled shirts. He did not think it mattered since he was not in the dry cleaning business.
But it did matter. It sent the message that he was disorganized and a bit sloppy about his personal appearance. And if he was disorganized with his own wardrobe, how could his prospects trust him to be organized with their roofing project. If he could not plan his wardrobe ahead and get things ironed on time, how could he possibly plan to get the roof repaired before the next big Midwestern thunder storm hit?
The point I'm trying to make is that your prospects are constantly making judgments about you and your business, whether consciously or unconsciously, and they're basing those judgments on the little details that you might not even be aware of.
And this brings me to my third small business marketing principle …
People Want to Be Aligned with Success
I'm still amazed at the number of small business owners I encounter who, when asked how business is, will tell you that it's terrible. They moan about how hard things are, they moan about their dreadful clients, they moan about not making enough money, and they moan about not being able to grow the business.
Um, excuse me? If your business is terrible that means people do not want to hire you. And if other people do not want to hire you, why in the world would I want to? I want to hire the provider who is going to make me successful (no matter what the service or project is) and if you can not make yourself successful, you obviously can not do it for me.
Have you ever noticed how, when a sports team is on a winning streak, their stadium is jam-packed, but when they've lost a few in a row, their ticket sales start to dwindle. On when they're on a down-right losing streak, their stadium is practically a no-man's land. No one wants to associate with a loser.
That does not mean that your business has to be on a constant, never ending upswing. It just means you do not want to telegraph it when it is not. And that conveniently brings me to my final marketing principle …
You're Probably Not Charging Enough
We all say we want the cheapest option, but the truth is, we do not. What we really want is value. Unless all you offer is a basic commodity (a very dangerous business model), then being the low-priced leader can actually be damaging to your business.
And there are all sorts of reasons for that.
First, there's the psychological impact and the fact that you'll probably end up resenting your customers (that's another topic alike). Secondly, there's the cash flow issues that you'll encounter – and it's impossible to grow a business without adequate cash flow.
But most importantly, there's the whole pull marketing / branding / success alignment scenario that we just discussed. If your services are less expensive than all of your competitors, there's a reason for that. Either you're not very good at what you do, or you're desperate for customers, or you have not quite figured out how to run your business. And in either case, it's not very attractive to prospects.
If you feel you're getting push back from prospects on your pricing, and you know your pricing is reasonable, then you need to look at how you're presenting your value. First, you want to ensure that you're using pull marketing, so you're only dealing with prospects who are actually interested in your product or service. Next, you want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I developed a target market profile to help me really understand my customer and what he or she is looking for?
- Do my prospects know exactly what they'll be getting for the money they're going to be investing in my product or service?
- Have I explained, in plain English (no technical terms here!) Exactly how my product or service is going to help my prospect?
- Have I addressed my prospect's objections in my sales materials?
- Have I created an irresistible offer that includes a no-lose guarantee?
Once you answer these questions and address these issues, you should be well on your way to being able to present your value in terms that your prospect will appreciate.
These Marketing Principles Will Work For You
As legendary market Dan Kennedy always says, the five most dangerous words to small business success are, "But my business is different." If you're thinking that these small business marketing principals will not work for you or your business, I urge you to give them a try. I guarantee you will boost your business and increase your bottom line.