Posts about Small Business Marketing

Small businesses are the core of the UK economy. SME Needs is here to help small businesses to improve their marketing, drive more leads and grow.

The posts under this tag are written to help you, as the owner of a small business, improve your marketing performance, to increase awareness within your target audience and to drive more sales opportunities.

As a small business owner, you are great at what you do. Sometimes, however, you may not be as good at getting the word out there that you are as great as you are. This is why you may need a little help and support.

If you own a small business and are looking for growth, let’s talk.

Posts

6 reasons you should invest in marketing now

picture of tree and sapling to illustrate article about reasons why you should invest in marketing nowNobody is buying, why should I invest in marketing?

With the latest restrictions imposed by the government, this is a question that many will be asking. With these restrictions potentially in place for six months, why should I not just wait until they are lifted before starting my marketing again? Why should you invest in marketing now? Here are six reasons why you should invest in marketing now…

People forget

How many emails do you get a day, even discounting those you delete immediately? How many WhatsApps and texts? Add on phone calls and all the marketing messages you see on the odd occasion you leave the house these days. There is only so much room in our minds before older, perceived less important, messages get pushed to the back of our minds and then (if you have watched Disney’s Inside Out) to long term storage.

You have to keep your brand and how you help your target audience in the front of their minds. To do that you have to have a consistent marketing programme.

Brand reinforcement

You aren’t the only company out there that does what you do. SME Needs is not the only company helping small businesses improve their marketing. We all have to keep reminding people about the value we deliver, so they remember the brand and they remember how we can help them. You have to remind your target audience and I have to remind you!

Climbing the priority ladder

You have any number of priorities to deal with. In these difficult times, you will be juggling these priorities. You will be trying to work out what really are the priorities and then making sure you don’t drop them. Your Ideal Clients will be doing exactly the same thing. They will, as you do, get any number of messages telling them why other things should be high on their priority list. If budgets are tight, as they are for many at this time, it is only those right at the top that are acted upon. The rest will have to wait.

Getting your share of their wallet

Unless what you sell is deemed a real luxury, what you sell should eventually reach the top of the priority ladder. As the third of our reasons why you should invest in marketing how, we think this is a pretty important one! When things ease again (as they will eventually), you want your target audience to be opening the company wallet and giving you some of what is available. Of course your competition want that share; what happens if they have been marketing and you haven’t?

Staying ahead of the competition

At this point, you’re hoping your competitors are thinking the same as you – why should we invest in marketing now. What happens if they are following the Kellogg’s example of the 1920’s and 30’s? You can read more detail here, but put succinctly, Kellogg’s continued marketing in the Great Depression, whilst their main competitor, Post (??!) cut back. Kellogg’s captured the market and you’re probably never heard of Post!

If your competition are still actively marketing, can you risk not maintaining your marketing activity?

Can you pivot?

Just because you have always delivered a certain solution to a certain target audience, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity to change? If you can identify an opportunity to solve a real problem that people are facing during this pandemic, you need to tell them. Of course, this does mean that you change your marketing, but you are still getting your brand out there. You will still be remembered, even if it is in a different sector. If this is the case, you have permission to divert SOME of your marketing activity and budget. If you divert all of it, you risk losing your other markets when the economy returns.

People Forget

It’s been a couple of minutes since you read the 2nd paragraph of this blog. Your phone had bleeped a few times and your inbox is a little fuller. Lots of distractions and other messages have arrived in that time. If you can get distracted in two minutes, imagine what will happen in, up to, six months!

So here are 7, well 6, reasons you should invest in marketing during the pandemic . Any questions?

If we have, let’s talk. Click here or call us on 020 8634 5911

5 expert ways you can benefit from your brand advocates

brand advocacy strength

Brand advocacy is the ultimate goal for small businesses that helps strengthen your competitive advantages.

Marketing has generated the lead. Sales has closed the deal and Operations has delivered a great service/product. You have a very happy client; a brand advocate. What can you do from this point to maximise the benefit your small business gets from this?  Here are 5 ways you can use the brand advocacy to your advantage… 

This is the final blog post in ‘activate fierce brand loyalty’ series.  

 “What about you and me?” 

This is what a client would ask when they consider active advocacy towards your brand. 

The answers to the questions below that relates to why a client would think of choosing you can be found in the previous blog posts: 

Through a combination of brand awareness, understanding of performance levels, strength of imagery, forming positive judgements and experiencing positive feelings, a potential B2B client feels inclined to work with you.  

They are in-sync with you and your brand.  

Your client feels a deep psychological bond with your brand and everything it represents. 

To maximise this intensely positive relationship, there are five key areas that can increase your advantages.

Ask for a testimonial 

A happy client will say great things about you and your business, but sometimes you need to nudge them just a little. 

When you talk to them, for example as a project is finished, ask for a testimonial. They can either say something during the conversation, or email something to you. Use that testimonial across your online and print marketing collateral.  

If you add the testimonial to LinkedIn or Twitter, make sure you mention them in the text (@insert name) so they get notified and either Like or comment – a further endorsement. 

If they could do their testimonial as a video, that would be even better! 

Their words, and feelings, can be tremendously powerful. 

Ask for a referral 

Who do they know who could also use your services/products? When doing this, try not to use the word anyone – it makes things surprisingly difficult. 

  • Perhaps they are connected to someone you’ve been trying to get hold off. Could they do an introduction? 
  • Be specific if you cannot identify a person. Who do they know in this role in this industry sector? Of course, this will have followed on from you researching their clients and their network. 
  • Ask for three. That way you may get one. 

Prospects who have been referred by a brand advocate become clients at a far greater rate than any other lead source. 

Invite them to Events 

Nobody likes someone that talks too much about themselves! That is just what you have to do as a

 small business when marketing yourself.  Sincerity is something highly valued when building business relationships. 

However, it is much more powerful to have a client who has built a strong relationship to represent your brand. Conversations ensue in the hustle and bustle of a lively event your hosting. 

In and amongst you speaking for and representing yourself, you would want advocates in the crowd to support your claims. Their intensely positive experience with you carries a weight you cannot replicate yourself. The marketing happens organically and likely to be received better. 

Develop a case study 

A well-built case-study goes a long way for a small business. It helps communicate a story that relates directly to an advocate’s experience with your brand.  

This is a fantastic tool to utilise an existing advocate to generate further leads. Prospects will search for answers as they require services for their business. It is second nature to Google and research. Especially when a large sum of money is in the equation relative to the size of the business. 

A case study narrative helps a prospect discern: 

  • The advocate’s original challenge 
  • How your business presented a solution 
  • How the solution was implemented practically  
  • The results, a prospect always wants to know what the end results are 

Go to networking events they go to 

Make the most out of that intensely positive relationship by frequenting network events they attend.  

The relationship will sell itself. Remember, however, this is a networking event so don’t monopolise their time. 

Both parties mutually benefit. Through prompting and suggesting one another if a conversation occurs where anything that connects to your brand or service is mentioned. 

There is an underlying trust and loyalty fostered over time between you and your advocate and your presence reminds them of the pleasant experience they have had with you. 

Looking to strengthen your brand advocacy? 

Do you need advice on how to strengthen your brand advocacy through your marketing efforts? SME Needs is ready with expert advice, planning and implementation of your specialised marketing plan. 

How can small businesses encourage a strong response from a client?

“What about you?” 

What about you makes you the best choice for your potential client to work with instead of others? 

This blog post will help you to recognise and communicate what your brand means to your client. 

Positive brand feelings

This is the third post of the ‘activate fierce brand loyalty’ series. 

So far we have covered, “who are you?” and “what are you?”in the previous two blog posts. 

After answering those two questions, your ideal client will start to form feelings and judgements towards you. This is due to having a base of broad awareness. Following this, the brand building blocks of performance and imagery are then taken into consideration. 

The ability to create intensely positive feelings 

A brand is more than its product or service. 

A brand evokes feelings. 

As small business owners, you must consider how your brand makes your customers feel about you and them.  

There are the four responses your business faces:  

  • intensely negative  
  • mildly negative  
  • mildly positive   
  • intensely positive. 

How best to handle a negative comment

The reality for most UK businesses is that you rarely experience mildly negative or mildly positive feelings in the form of reviews or social media interactions.  

However, you know when someone has a negative experience; it is quintessentially British to make sure everyone knows about it!  

For example, someone may dislike the opinion piece you shared in your weekly e-newsletter.  

They email you angrily about how you are a total and utter disgrace!   

It is important to politely respond. Apologise for how they feel and do your best to resolve it. If the negative feedback is unwarranted and unreasonable, do not be afraid to unsubscribe them from your list. It is best to focus your time, efforts and content towards those that value it. 

Turning the peri-peri meter from mild to spicy 

Potential clients who have an intensely positive feeling towards you are likely to follow you on social media. They may be subscribed to your e-mailing list. Most importantly, it will lead towards an intensely positive feeling in which they are more likely to buy from you. It is vital to be able to communicate your knowledge and expertise consistently. There are various ways to do so: 

  • Tips and guides 
  • Case Studies 
  • Testimonials 

To make the most of these methods to showcase your knowledge, it is best to share content to specific segments of your audience. If you are aware that your potential client is in the tech industry, share a tech-related testimonial with them.  

A practical tip is to share specific e-mail content to a specified segment of your audience that it is applicable to. Following this, send a follow up email. To be able to turn a potential client’s mildly positive feeling to intensely positive, it is necessary for them to engage with the content. A follow up email increases the likelihood of opens and click-throughs, which then leads them towards the landing page with a call-to-action.

The more relevant the shared content is, the more likely they are to react to it. 

Through these feelings, positive judgements will be formed of your business and what it represents. It will enhance your image of credibility and superiority that makes you a business worth working with and paying for. 

Make Them Believe!

Image of the Monkees who sang I'm a Believer

It doesn’t matter whether the decision maker is the CEO/owner, a director or manager, they all have one over-arching need from you. Few will readily admit it, but it is the priority for any purchase…

To make them look good.

Most people have a boss. Whatever they do is aimed at making them look good to that boss. That is what ensures they keep their job and, maybe, even get promoted in the future. People want to be seen as good at their job. They want to feel valued and to be proud of the work they do. Much of that pride and value comes from comments made by their stakeholders – their peers, their bosses, and their reports.

Even if the decision maker is the top boss, he/she wants you to make them look good. Their investors/shareholders expect performance. Their staff expect the boss to make the best decisions. Bosses who make poor decisions either don’t last long in the job or their company doesn’t last long.

The role of marketing is to make the decision maker believe that buying from you will make them look good to the people they report to.

Your marketing is, of course, just one part of the equation:

  1. Marketing makes them believe
  2. Sales get them to sign on the dotted line
  3. Operations delivers on the promises made by Marketing & Sales

5 ways to make the buyer look good

There are, broadly speaking, five ways your business can make the buyer look good:

1. Save them money

Delivering a product or service more cheaply than their current provider is a great way to make the decision maker look good. But only if you are delivering on at least one more of these.

Saving money must always come another of these ways to make them look good. The old adage “buy cheap, buy twice” should never be mentioned when a client is talking about you.

2. Improve Performance

Whether you are marketing, and selling, a product or a service, performance improvement is another excellent way to make a buyer look good.

  • Ensuring their IT simply works
  • Increasing the traffic to, and the leads from, their website
  • Servicing the company car fleet, so they never break down
  • Training staff to increase their skills and improve their individual, or team, performance

are just a few examples.

3. Make them look good

Rather than the perception improvement, by this we mean you make them, or where they work, look good.

  • Providing great looking staff uniforms to improve customer perception
  • Supplying and installing new furniture to improve the look, and comfort, of their office.

for example.

4. Repair what is broken

Going back to the adage “buy cheap, buy twice” is often used; just make sure, if you are in this equation, you are the second purchase! Repairing something vital to their business, ideally quickly, will definitely make them look good.

5. Make them safe

Whether it is physical security issue (access control systems etc.) or cyber security (anti-malware applications), we all live in a world where security concerns are increasing. Making the business secure, particularly in this time of remote working, is a very good thing.

So how does your marketing do this?

Three Ways to Make your Target Audience Believe

1. Demonstrate you understand the issues they face

As referred to in a recent blog, all your marketing content should be about them – not about you. Make sure your website, e-brochures, whitepapers etc. all address issues they have that you can resolve for them.

Today’s decision makers don’t have time to work out whether what you sell will help them, so you need to make it abundantly clear from the moment they engage with your marketing.

2. Prove you can deliver a solution

Talk about what success looks like. The difference between what they are experiencing now and what they could be getting shows that you have experience of helping others with very similar issues. This is a key part of getting a prospect to engage with your marketing and enter your sales pipeline.

3. Back it up with evidence

Saying you can do something is one thing. Proving you can be integral in helping your prospect to become a client. Case studies and testimonials, as well as reviews on sites such as Google Local and Feefo, are highly effective. Ensure you have enough evidence to use both to get them into your sales pipeline and then to help them over the line.

If you have a new business, there is nothing wrong with a little creative license. I’m not advocating making up the evidence, but you can use your previous experience to great effect. Most people set up a new business doing what they have vast amounts of experience doing. Use that experience to demonstrate, and prove, you can deliver – at least until you can build a new set of evidence under your new brand name.

 

When your marketing makes people believe you can help them, and make them look good, they will engage and enter your sales pipeline. It’s then up to the rest of the business to deliver.

 

Need a hand? Give us a call: 020 8102 8241

Just in case you’re wondering about the choice of image, click here.

4 simple tips to build your brand awareness! 

simple tips to build your brand awareness! 

Activate fierce brand loyalty series – Part One 

What is brand awareness?

What is brand awareness? 

Have ever been at your local supermarket and you realise you’re running low on tea, so you walk to the tea aisle and pick up Twinings or Yorkshire Tea without thinking about it?  

The reason you gravitate towards certain brands is because you already have positive associations of them in your brain. This includes the performance, in the case of of Twinings, it could be through the packaging or the taste. 

This post will give practical recommendations that put your small business in the mind of your potential clients. 

Why should brand awareness be something small businesses think about? 

This is because at the point of consideration, you want your ideal client to think of you.  Following this, you would want them to have a preference to select your business ahead of your competition. This is especially relevant for B2B businesses as once a potential client selects a business to potentially work with, they will dedicate a lot of time and resources to explore that particular avenue. Therefore, you want to be the particular business that they have chosen to give their time to as you navigate the protracted decision-making process. 

This blog post will cover three crucial brand awareness tips that help you, as a small business owner, to build brand awareness.  

Engage with your audience 

As a small business, your communication with potential and existing clients should be frequent.  

Frequency is a fantastic start but your communications must be relevant to your audience, as well as well-timed. 

If you know there’s a current sentiment, feeling or occasion, take advantage of it and join the conversation 

This can be relatively cheap or even for free in our current environment by engaging in active social media hashtags. Especially if they  happen to cross over and relate with your business or industry. 

This can occur at networking events. It provides the opportunity for you to share how you stand out from the crowd in a face-to-face environment! 

Connect with your target audience 

One of the strongest assets small businesses can have that helps build brand awareness with their audience is their ability to develop an emotional connection! 

This can be done through inexpensive methods such as social media advertisement campaigns. Some may have not tested these waters but they can be tailored to your needs and budget.  

There is a great flexibility in targeting audiences with social media platforms. It allows you to target people based on your current followers. Furthermore, you can customise your audience preferences based on the geo-location or their interests.  

With a simple slider based on your daily budget and duration, it gives you an approximate figure of the reach of that advertisement.  

It can be as cheap as a coffee and a croissant from your favourite local shop! Therefore, it is a worthwhile option to explore to be able to connect with your ideal client. 

However, the world is not just online for small businesses. It is important to be vocal and active in our local communities.  

Through your goodwill, character and personable behaviour with other local businesses and customers, it will build a positive image of your business and the values that underpin it. Trustworthiness doesn’t have to cost a thing but can help your small business quietly thrive. 

The importance of visible feedback!  

Credibility is a highly sought-after attribute for all small businesses. How do I show my experience and expertise to my target audience on a minimal budget?  This question has probably popped into your head at some point. 

The primary answer is something that is easily taken for granted. 

Reviews!  

It is important to utilise your existing customers who have a positive impression of your business, your personality and the quality of your services.  

This is because your target audience is far more likely to believe in what your business provides from someone who actively bought from or used your service than from your own mouth.  

In a sea of marketing, your ideal client is quite frankly overloaded with everyone saying they are the best. 

This is why client considers reviews as more genuine as it is coming from a source other than the business itself. 

So if you know a client who is extremely happy at the service you have provided or the product they have bought from you, do not be afraid to ask for a review.  

Each one counts 

For example, when potential clients find your business on Google and see a substantial amount of positive reviews, even if your brand isn’t instantly recognisable, it becomes associated with being trustworthy 

Keep it up! 

The best method to activate brand awareness is through small and consistent efforts.  

Repetition is key! 

Through an application of one of or a combination of the previous tips, you can achieve the first and the most crucial stage of brand loyalty in brand awareness. 

This is by making the most of your touch-points with your target audience, firstly, by making sure you bring your business into the conversation and then developing on that by building an emotional connection.  

Over time, through persistent engagement and connection, a broad positive awareness and recognition will occur in the mind of your targeted client when they think of anything that relates to your business and the service you provide. 

Final Thoughts 

These simple tips to build brand awareness should get you thinking the next time there is a decision to make.

The next time you need something, think about what brand or business you choose over the other options.  

It could be when you think about your biscuit tin contents running low? 

Perhaps you need some tech developers to build an application for your business? 

Maybe it’s time to upgrade your phone?  

Or maybe you’re looking for a marketing agency to build your business’ strategic plan with?  

This should help you consider the importance of brand salience and why you should build it for your business.  

In terms of your own business, you know you have achieved brand awareness and recall when an enquiry is made, either in person in your local area, on the phone or through your website when a potential client thinks of needing something connected to your services or industry. 

The power of brand knowledge

How can small businesses utilise the power of brand knowledge?

Knowledge is Power. That’s a phrase we have many times over but how does it connect to you as a small business in an ocean of competition fighting for the same space in the minds of your target audience?  Through harnessing the power of brand knowledge, this blog answers that exact question.

This post answers it above by providing a pyramid which consists of four brand developmental building blocks that helps to positively establish your brand in the minds of your clients. 

Why is this helpful you ask?  

Each stage of this pyramid has its own rewards and merits as it helps you to build aspects of your brand which are covered below. This culminates in gaining active, loyal, and recurring clients, who also share the benefits of partnering with you to those around them. 

Brand Resonance Pyramid building blocks

Step 1 – Identity 

Firstly, we start with salience, the fundamental foundation for all the other brand building blocksSalience is the ability for a small business to build a detailed firm awareness of our business in their headsKnowledge from the perspective of a small business is in how you convey who you are to your clients. Who you are is dependent on how clients recognise you when you come to their minds.  

The biggest businesses and brands in the world all had to start with being recognisable. When we think of some of the largest B2B brands such as IBM or Adobe, the performance of their products would mean absolutely nothing if you didn’t initially recognise them! 

Once you reach the point of salience, you become a part of the mental conversation of a client that gives you the potential to gain opportunities to business growth and awareness! 

Step 2 – Meaning 

Simply being recognised isn’t enough though, once you achieve the base of brand knowledge in salience, clients then search for the meaning of your brand and consider is it matches their needs and wants.  

This can be surmised by the next question that forms in the minds of potential clients; ‘what are you?’ 

What your business isis dependent on how you meet the needs of your clients in terms of product or service performance, as well as socially and psychologically. 

One fantastic example that allows you to express the meaning of your small business is through providing case studies and testimonials. This covers both the performance and provides positive imagery of what it means to do business with you. 

Step 3 – Response 

Following this, clients will make judgements about your business and construct feelings towards your brand: 

  • They will assess the quality of the product or service; the actual quality, as well as the perceived quality based on your marketing message 
  • They will also consider the level of credibility your business has through three key criteria: the level of expertise, the amount of trustworthiness and through the extent of likeability 
  • Consequently, clients will weigh up the level of relevancy your product or service has towards their needs and wants 
  • Finally, clients will measure you against potential competitors and consider what competitive advantages you have that makes you the superior choice to select 

Clients will have formed these judgements based on the quality and likeability factors you have provided in your marketing messaging or through referrals 

You will know you have reached this stage because clients will be making enquiries, as well as increase their levels of engagement on platforms such as social media or by click-throughs on email newsletters. 

Step 4 – Relationships 

Once you show this level of knowledge through your marketing communications, you reach the pinnacle of the pyramid, brand resonance. 

This is the place all small businesses will want to reach because once you reach this stage; it activates four crucial factors: 

  • A fierce loyalty which results in recurring clients and purchases 
  • It evokes a strong attachment and trust in which they consider it a ‘special’ engagement 
  • You develop a powerful sense of community amongst your clients who feel like they are part of a business ‘family’ who share similar values and understanding 
  • Clients remain actively engaged which is the strongest form of resonance as they carry the business values and vision as an ambassador into their personal conversations and engagements, this is one of the strongest forms of word-of-mouth marketing and is viewed as sincere and authentic by those that hear of your business  

Similar to stage 3, as a small business, it will become evident you have reached resonance through seeing increased engagement from clients, but on top of this, they will carry your brand strengths and values in conversations, both online and offline if the occasion occurs where your brand is recalled or relevant to the discussion. 

What does all this mean?   

Once you have achieved all 4 stages, the relationship your clients have with you, and your brand, will both increase the frequency they refer you within their network. Furthermore, they remain a loyal client for a long time to come.

Transmitting knowledge is a key cornerstone in building a healthy flourishing business, and at SME Needs we have the rights tool, connections and listening skills to share your vision with your potential customers.

8 of the best remote marketing tools

marketing tools article open sign image

With the threat of Coronavirus upon us, and many people predicting a real hit on the economy that could last months, it is vital that you keep your marketing going. In a world where we get so many messages every day, it is easy for people to forget about you. So here are 8 marketing tools that will allow you to keep in touch with your target audience…

Email

If you have their contact details, email marketing is one of the easiest ways to maintain awareness within your target audience.

Whether you are using email marketing tools, such as Mailchimp, or simply sending them from your Outlook or Gmail account, keeping a regular stream of relevant and useful emails going out to your target audience will show them how you add value and will ensure they remember you when the time is right.

Social Media

Our phones are rarely more than a few feet away from us. This means social media is another marketing tool for small businesses to use to maintain awareness. Remember that the social media tools you should be focusing on are the ones your target audience uses. Don’t try to include every single platform just in case. You are far better off using two platforms, perhaps LinkedIn and Instagram, and doing it well, rather than trying to maintain accounts across LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok and others – the more you try to use, the less time you have to generate great content.

And don’t forget to also share other people’s content when you believe it will be useful for your target clients – this can generate just as much credibility for you as a post of your own.

Blogs

Articles that show how you help your target audience are proven to maintain and increase brand awareness, increase SEO performance and generate leads. They also provide valuable material for you to share over email and social media.

Think about the issues facing your target audience, both right now and throughout the year. What can you write that will show them you can help them?

Webinars

Webinars allow you to talk directly to your audience without the need to be in the same room as them. Email and social media can be used to make your target audience aware and to get them to sign up; the webinar gets you in front of them.

Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way of travelling with your target audience. Your listeners can either stream or download your podcast, with many people listening whilst they travel or during a bit of work downtime. If people are self-isolating because of coronavirus, there is only so much daytime TV they can watch! Give them something useful to listen and you can quickly build an audience.

Video

In the same way that webinars and podcasts allow you to reach your target audience remotely, video content (via YouTube or Vimeo) will help you get your marketing messages across. Your phone’s camera is perfectly suitable for creating video and all you need is a space you where you won’t be disrupted.

Make video content that shows how you help your target audience and they will remember you when they need help. Great content is always shared too, expanding your audience even further.

Direct Mail

Not something you would normally think about, but if you are self-isolating, think about writing a few letters. If your handwriting is good enough (meaning I will always be typing!), handwritten letters are effective. People recognise the time you have invested.

Your Phone

Perhaps the least used feature on many people’s phones is… the phone.

Dial someone’s number and talk to them. Humans are naturally social animals and there is only so much isolation we can take. This more static period is the perfect time to build and strengthen relationships. Get on the phone and have a chat. Check in on how contacts and clients are doing and show you care about them and their business.

 

To keep your business growing during times of economic uncertainty, whether that is the current coronavirus epidemic or a recession, the small businesses that keep their marketing going are the ones that survive and the ones that benefit most when things return to normal. Even when the decision makers aren’t buying, you need to ensure that you remain in their thoughts. When they are ready buying again, they remember you. The time you have invested up to now mustn’t be wasted by allowing them to forget you going forward. These eight marketing tools will help you maintain awareness within your target audience so you are at the forefront of their minds at the point they need your help.

For help with marketing your small business in this difficult time, give us a call on 020 8634 5911. I hope this has helped you and that you, your loved ones and your business stay healthy and prosperous through this tough time.

Winning Clients: The 4 Step Programme

image to support pointing you in the right direction article

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The role of the owner of a small business is varied, encompassing a wide variety of different tasks. From finance to sales, from marketing to operational delivery. The problem is that most entrepreneurs go into running their own business because they love what they do. Does this sound familiar? Do you love doing what you do and really wish you could spend the vast majority of your time doing just that? You are highly skilled in delivering your passion. You know exactly what to do and how to help your clients. And the biggest problem is actually finding more of those clients to help! Let’s look at a quick and easy solution to help you do that; one that doesn’t cost the earth and won’t take up huge amounts of your working week – however long that may be. The process of attracting, and then winning, new clients can be complex, particularly when you aren’t 100% sure on what you are doing. Here’s our four-step programme on how to attract and win more clients.

1. Know what has worked so far

Do you know how you won the clients you have right now and the ones you’ve had before now? How about how you attracted the prospects that you didn’t convert? Knowing this is a vital step in winning more of them.

If you know what worked and generated more leads, in stands to reason that you would do more of it. Conversely, if you know what isn’t generating leads, you’d stop doing that wouldn’t you?

Tracking your leads and your sales is actually relatively easy. You write them down somewhere. For some companies, it makes sense to invest in a CRM. For others, a spreadsheet will be more than sufficient.

2. Decide who you want as new clients

There is nothing to stop you signing up whoever comes to you, assuming you are confident you can deliver and they will be profitable. However, when it comes to being proactive to attract new clients and generate leads, you have to be focused. The word anyone MUSTN’T be in your vocabulary.

Identifying the industry sector, geographical area and decision maker allows you to focus your marketing. Focusing means your resources aren’t spread thinly and will be more effective.

Once you identify who you want to acquire as new clients, you can develop the right messages, by ensuring they show how you can help that target audience. In today’s world, people no longer care what you do, they care how you can help them.

Finally you can pull together a book of evidence that proves you can help them and deliver on your promises. In the same way that you look at reviews on TripAdvisor before booking a hotel, prospective clients want to see proof you will deliver value for money.

3. Determine how you are going to generate leads

How many sales do you need to achieve your targets? How many leads do you need to generate those sales? What marketing is needed to develop the leads? You must start with a target and work backwards.

  • If a client is worth £15,000 a year to you and you want to grow by 10% from your £1,500,000 revenue last year, you need 10 new clients this year.
  • If you convert 10% of all leads, you need 100 leads.
  • Last year’s marketing generated 60 leads, on a budget of £75,000, so you need to generate 2/3rds more this year.

You have a choice at this point. Simply do more of what you know worked last year, whilst stopping what didn’t work. Or, identify other marketing activities that you believe can bring in more leads.

4. Get it done

Perhaps the hardest part of this four-stage process is getting the marketing done. At the beginning of the year, you will be eager and you’ll keep to your marketing plan. What happens when it is working, generating the leads and you are converting them to new clients. You’re going to be busy delivering for your clients. If you want to attract and win more clients, this has to happen.

How are you going to maintain the marketing plan so you have a consistent level of marketing activity happening?

Two choices – employ or outsource – or a 3rd in work every hour sent!

One of the conversations we have very early on with, almost, every prospective client is around the fact that what we do, they could do most of:

  • With some thought and number-crunching, you could quite easily measure your own marketing performance.
  • Looking back, and thinking ahead, identifying your target audience and pinpointing your Ideal Client would take time but you could do it.
  • Developing a plan and then delivering it is all well within your capabilities…

 

So why use SME Needs? Because the hat you want to wear is the operational delivery hat. You want to do what you set up this business to do – work with your clients and grow your business. Your marketing is all about how to attract and win more clients. We help you ensure that happens properly.

4 Changes to maximise growth in the New Year

4 changes to maximise growth

Don’t stop talking

When businesses start to worry, they start saving. They stop spending time and money on things they believe they can save on. Talking (or marketing) is one of them. But, when you stop talking, people are quickly forgetting what you want them to remember. We all see too many messages for everything to stick. Only the really memorable, or often repeated, will remain.

As your competitors stop talking to your target audience, you have the opportunity to make more of an impact. With, fewer voices out there, you have a better chance to being the one being listened to and being sought out for assistance.

NEED HELP KEEPING YOUR MARKETING CONSISTENT? CLICK HERE

Talk about your clients – not yourself

There are still too many businesses out there talking about themselves. They talk about how they are “the leading provider of…”, or they talk about the features (and usually complexity – because that means they are clever) of the product or service they provide. The problem here is that they are expecting the target audience to translate that into how it helps them to resolve their problems. Something they simply don’t have time to do.

Take a look at your service/product from the client’s perspective. What is it they are looking for? If you talk about things from their point of view, about how you can help them, they will “get it” faster. They will look at you positively because you’re thinking about them and they are far more likely to get in touch and talk in more detail about how you can help.

Finally, talk in the language of your clients. Using the language of jargon of your industry means you can understand what you’re saying, but you are the person who needs to understand your marketing messages. If your target audience cannot understand your messages, they won’t engage and they won’t talk to you.

Talk to the right people

With reduced investment in marketing comes reduced focus. After all, it takes less time to send, for example, an email campaign to everyone in your mailing list, than it does to segment your audience and ensure the right messages get in front of the right people. Here’s just a few thoughts…

  • Define your Ideal Client(s). The more precise you are, the better you can make the marketing messages you use. You can also use this to ensure your network knows exactly who you want to talk to.
  • Segment your emailing lists, using segment or tags. You may need to add to the data you have in order to do this.
  • Go to topic or industry-specific networking events, rather than the bigger events where you will meet anybody.
  • Consider direct mail campaigns. The higher costs of postage and printing will make you think twice about just how many people you include in the campaign. This gives you the opportunity to make your DM campaigns highly targeted. The more relevant to the reader, the more likely it is to work.

If you really want to maximise growth in the new year, the more focused you are, the better.

Show off your successes

You have delivered some great work for your clients this year. Stop for a moment and think about the projects you’ve delivered and the successes.  Your target audience want the same results, but they won’t know you can deliver those results unless you tell them.  Case studies and testimonials are great evidence that you can deliver on your promises. Add them to your website and use them in your marketing, so you’re spreading the word about just how good you are.

If you have decided to make this the year you really kick start your small business, these four points are where you need to start. Of course, if you would like a hand, get in touch and we will help you maximise growth in inthe new year.