#5 ways to use marketing to grow your business
By Nial Adams, Author of Make Marketing Work.
I’ll let you in on a secret. My first foray into the world of marketing wasn’t great. When I started a new business at the age of nineteen I had a lot of knowledge about my subject and the product I offered but knew very little about what really made a business work.
Like a lot of people I honestly believed that ‘getting my name out there’ would be enough, so I started in the same way most people do; by wasting money on advertising. Back in those days there were limited options for a company with little budget. Print advertising, for the most part was completely out of reach. Of course there was no Internet or email marketing!
However, I did find a couple of magazines that were relevant to my industry and managed to get a good rate on a monthly advert. I did my best to write the marketing copy, put my telephone number on it and kept my fingers crossed.
Actually, the adverts worked pretty well and now, thinking back on it, I was probably quite lucky in that the magazine I advertised in was ideally targeted for my market. The sort of people I was looking for were typical readers, so my message appealed. The phone rang and I got bookings.
What I didn’t know, as nobody every explained this to me, was that marketing was much more than simply ‘getting your message out there’. It took me several more years before I really started to learn what this subject was really all about and how to make marketing work.
I’ll be frank with you, there is a great deal of utter rubbish talked about marketing. There are ideas and methods that sound great on paper but have no real part to play in taking a really tactical approach to driving your business forward.
Here are 5 top tips and reasons why I strongly encourage you to think differently about your marketing;
Tip #1. Test your offer
What you sell and why you think people should buy from you isn’t actually that important. What is crucial is creating an offer or proposition that really connects with what people want.
With marketing you can test this in a number of ways. Split-testing or binary testing is vital if you want to be serious about your marketing and you want to get increasingly better results.
Don’t decide on one offer or proposition, design two, three or more and then test them to see which one hits the sweet spot. Getting a message right, and that can literally be just a few words or sentence that is different, can magnify your results ten-fold.
Tip #2. Test your price
The price-point at which your customer will part with their money is all about how they perceive your offer and the value that they think it will bring them.
People DO NOT BUY ON PRICE, they buy on value and value is always a personal perception. This is how effective marketing can encourage customers to spend more on one product than another.
Use your marketing wisely, test your pricing and see where the limits are; if customers keep buying then be bold and be prepared to increase your prices as you increase the perception of value.
Tip #3. Test your customer
There are very few products or services that are right for everyone. So you can use your marketing to home in on the type of customer, or customer profile that fits your offer.
If you’re using marketing in different places then you need to remember that you should tailor your message to them.
Look at your current marketing and ask yourself this “is it easy for my (would-be) customer to identify themselves with my offer – am I speaking to them and do they recognise this?”
Tip #4. Build a relationship
Marketing is in a totally new phase of change. Permission marketing, as it’s been called (see Seth Godin’s work on this) is all about allowing the right customer to find you, for the reasons that suit them.
Today with digital marketing and all the tools at our disposal we can now use this to build a relationship with our customers.
People buy from people and people they like. How can your customers get to know and like you if you don’t share with them?
Tip #5. Build a long-term strategy
Too many business owners think that marketing is a smash and grab exercise. Fire out an email one day and make profit the next. Yes, this certainly can be possible but this is only the start of the strategy your should be developing.
Use your marketing sensibly, create a plan for the longer-term and watch your profits come in consistently over time. Building a database of your customers is absolutely vital and you’d be amazed at how few business owners and managers do this.
Marketing can deliver profits but it can also deliver capital value. Talk to anyone who has sold a business or is involved in selling them and they will tell you that a business that has a solid ‘book’ of customers will always be worth significantly more than one that doesn’t.
If you’ve never really taken marketing seriously and always thought of it as something you do when sales are down and things are quiet, then now is the time to re-think this. I strongly encourage you to do this now.
Marketing can be a lot of fun, it can be very satisfying and when you connect marketing to sales and top-quality customer service it can become the core of your business.
Author and Mentor – Make Marketing Work
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