The Key to Small Business Marketing Success – Practice What You Preach

I want to talk about an aspect of marketing your small business that is often overlooked, but oh so huge in determining the overall success of your small business.

The aspect — practicing what you preach.

So, what exactly do I mean by this? Well, too often I see small business owners who don’t practice what they preach in their services, their beliefs about their business, what they do for their own small business, what they’re willing to spend for a service and on and on.

Not practicing what you preach leads to in-congruency — whether conscious or subconscious — and that in-congruency will hinder the success of your small business.

You’ve no doubt run into small business owners who don’t practice what they preach, right? I know I sure have. In fact, here are just a few examples that I’ve run into…

An orthodontist who’s marketing like crazy to get new patients for braces, yet their teeth are horrible. They expect their clients to spend thousand and thousands of dollars getting that perfect smile all the while they look like snaggle-tooth.

A divorce therapist who counsels clients on what it takes to have a long and fruitful relationship, while she has been married and divorced three times.

A life or business coach who emphasizes that working with a coach will help get your affairs in order and on the right track to enjoy much success, while his life is in complete disarray and isn’t working with a coach of his own.

The real estate agent who rents an apartment.

The personal trainer who’s 30 pounds overweight.

The interior designer who has furniture that’s 2 decades old.

The financial planner who’s in massive credit card debt.

What do you think when you see a small business owner who doesn’t practice what they preach? Do you trust them? Do you want to do business with them? Do you think they’re worth the price they charge? Probably not.

So, my dear small business friends, the question is…are YOU practicing what YOU preach??

If you answered “yes” — great! You get a gold star for the day. Keep doing what you’re doing.

If you answered “no” or “not really” or “umm, yeah, well, uh sort-of, gosh, I don’t know. Jeanna quit asking me these pointed questions.” Then we’ve got some work to do. There are two main areas where you need to be absolutely sure that you are, in fact, practicing what you preach.

Area #1

Practice What You Preach in Your Services

Make sure that you are taking advantage and utilizing the same services that you offer and sell to your clients.

What do I mean by this?

Well if you’re an acupuncturist, you’d better make darned sure that you go see an acupuncturist yourself. If you’re a business coach, you’d better be working with another business coach for your own business. If you’re an estate planning attorney, you better have a will and an estate plan of your own.

Do you buy and utilize the same services that you are offering your clients? If not, then you are not practicing what you preach. If you expect others to buy the service that you offer, you’d better be willing to buy that service yourself.

Area #2

Practice What You Preach in What Your Willing to Spend

Make sure that whatever you charge your clients for your services that you would be willing to spend the same amount if you were going to hire someone like you.

So, if you’re a re-modeler and charge your clients $35,000 to remodel a guest bathroom, you’d better be willing to spend $35K to remodel your own bathroom or at the very least value your services enough to know your worth that amount. I don’t want you to miss this aspect, because it is HUGE.

If you’re not willing to spend the same amount of money on the service that you charge your clients…there’s a problem. If you don’t feel that your services are really worth the amount that you’re charging…there’s even a bigger problem.

Practicing what you preach is a key element in running and a successful small business! Practicing what you preach will help you market your services better and it will help you attract clients faster.

Final Thought

The best way to build trust and integrity in your business is to practice what you preach. If a few things are off in your business, the time to change them is now. After all you are the best “evangelist” for your services, so make sure you walk your talk.

Small Business Marketing Ideas Tips and Tools

When you think about marketing you think of advertising blocks on websites and billboards or television. These are the conventional methods because they’re effective and you can see results fast. You can also lose money fast if you make a mistake. As a small business you need to be organized and keep track of your successes and failures and set budgets accordingly. Knowing where the holes in your ship are often allows you to plug them.

Free forms of advertising such as getting your site to the top of Google using SEO can be very lucrative but take a lot of work and time to accomplish, so need to be thought about very carefully. Obviously your entire plan requires careful consideration, but lengthy projects can sometimes meet shipwreck before completion and become useless. You can’t afford to sink months into a project only to have to pull the budget from it and move it to something else because then it’s a sunk cost that you’re unlikely to see a return on.

Tips and Ideas:

  • Split test. By testing two different copies of a similar website, alternating each day or hour, you can see which one is more effective. There are some who claim this is the key to marketing and I agree that it ranks right up there.
  • Give people a reason to talk about you. Just having a good product won’t suffice here. It has to be remarkable and unusual to make people talk. Doing work in the community can give people in the community reason to talk and get the newspapers to take notice. Obviously events like this need to be prepared and relevant people contacted beforehand, so you can cause a buzz.
  • Write an authoritative resource that people can download on the subject which will help with your customers tasks and then tell a website you are giving it away for free if they will link to it and/or review it. If the website is big enough and has enough users you can pay them to review it. Users on the internet love looking for information. Your resource will help build trust.
  • The more you can interact with your online visitors the better, you want to find out their problems so you can help solve them. You need to make that interaction as seamless as possible, because people are in the click mindset you can’t expect them to fill out lengthy forms. I’ve seen people who have contact emails on their sites, but 90% of people won’t bother to think out what they want to write let alone actually send the email. You’ve got to fill out as much as you can for these people so it gets as close to just clicking a button as possible.

Tools:

Like every industry marketing has been touched by the computing movement. Drawing advertisements can now be accelerated with tools such as Adobe Photoshop. What does this mean for your small business though. Marketing is a huge topic which also influences product selection and design. It consists of parts each of which has tools that allow you to speed up the process. One of the things that you will likely find useful is a subscription to a keyword research tool to allow you to see what your potential customers are searching for and in what volume.

How Are Mobile Devices Changing The Small Business Marketing Scenario?

Mobiles are like a necessity for most of us today! We need it to text, to talk, to Google, as our alarm clocks, and what not. Mobile phones have become the technology that small businesses need to listen to. Reports say that mobile penetration has increased by more than 75% in the last two years. Mobile marketing is an effective way for small enterprises to tap and target all sections of clients. Small businesses are using it as a tool for local marketing and thus impacting their business in many ways.

Use of text message marketing:

All you need is a database of numbers and you can send text messages to your potential clients and customers. Even if you are not tech-savvy, sending a text message is the simplest thing. And unlike e-mails people tend to read the message superficially at least before deleting them. If you can catch the attention of your customers with your first line, chances are that the message will actually be saved in their box instead of going to their electronic trash bin.

Use of mobile coupons:

Small business owners send discount mobile coupons through SMS, promoting their business. For example, if you own an electronics goods store you can send discount coupons of your electronic goods to your existing customers during festival periods.

Increasing use of mobile apps:

The use of mobile applications has increased phenomenally. These downloadable applications designed for very specific functions make the device much more feature rich for its users. Tying-up with application developers or creating your own applications that meet the needs of your customers is a great way to let them know that you have expertise in your business domain.

Use of location based applications:

Through location based mobile applications, like foursquare, Facebookplaces, etc., people get to have a look at the location where your business is situated. Just through a plain Google maps app your customers/clients can find out the exact location of your business.

Acts as a form of viral marketing:

Mobile phone advertising acts as a form of viral marketing. Let’s say, you came to know of a great discount scheme through a text message, will you not forward the message to your friend or relative whom you think may benefit from the discount? Or let’s say you are thinking of taking a vacation with your friends and you get a message about great travel discounts, wouldn’t you share the information with them?

So if you are a small business and don’t have ample time and money to launch an elaborate marketing strategy, mobile marketing is one of the most convenient and easy methods to market your business. A simple text message and a little bit of creativity can do wonders for your business, especially in today’s wireless world where customers have become overtly dependent on technology to get bargains, and fulfill their smallest of needs!

Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs Social Media

Are you part of a small business? Do you use social media to market your business? As a small business owner, if you want to grow your business you will need exposure. In the past, companies invested their advertising budgets into what was known as “conventional advertising mediums” like radio, television and print (newspapers, magazines etc.) Consumers and businesses alike now receive their information through different mediums like the internet, pod casts, iPads, Kindles and more.

Without an argument, it is more important than ever for businesses of all sizes to take advantage of every marketing opportunity that presents itself. With people now that are becoming more social on the web, the use of social media to connect with customers is growing among small businesses. Social media is useful for almost every type of business. Cafes, retail stores, and even professional services can build their online reputation and increase trust. Many small businesses already have personal ties to customers in their communities, and social media marketing (SMM) can enhance those relationships, not replace them. By taking advantage of new marketing platform, businesses can make themselves more accessible, more personable, and maintain long term connections. For a small business looking to increase referrals, it can be a powerful tool. It is more about brand outreach. Make sure you have a reasonable goal and a well-thought out strategy to achieve that end. Thus, by utilizing this new marketing platform, businesses, even the small ones, can have productivity and profitability with their audience as they promote their business and products for consumption.

Social media is a big place, and navigating the many networks and tools can be tough. But without doubts, online marketing marketing is a great way to build long term sustainable, natural social media traffic and search engine rankings. The general feeling has been that SMM is beneficial for Small Business Owners and indeed, marketing gurus have been prescribing social media as a great new online marketing platform.

Though, it certainly isn’t something that can be mastered overnight. However if you apply yourself and invest time and effort into creating a long-term campaign, the returns can be phenomenal. Social Media can serve as a platform to identify, learn, and connect with customers and prospects along with those who influence their decisions. With SMM, the potential and opportunities are boundless. So if you’re not on the band wagon; you should be! Lets get started!