Include Joint Ventures in Your Small Business Target Marketing For Dramatic Profit Increases

What is consistently rated as one of the most effective small business target marketing strategies? Without a doubt it is the Joint Venture (JV), also known as a strategic alliance. Target, or niche marketing means that you are marketing directly to the prospect most likely to buy your product or service. Your JV strategy can be the ultimate form of target marketing since you are using the targeted customer and prospect list of another business owner.

The JV and strategic alliance are so popular and profitable because they leverage the assets (customer list, goodwill, relationship, etc.) your partner has developed with their client and prospect base. Nearly all potential buyers (business and consumer) prefer to do business with a company, firm or practice for which they have a degree of trust.

Marketing legend Dan Kennedy likes to say that we are all walking around holding an umbilical cord saying “plug me in and tell me what to do.” Whether you are looking for a place to buy a hot dog, to buy a yacht, or looking for a brain surgeon or a new church in your community, you are looking for someone to recommend where you should go to obtain the product, service or advice.

Don’t confuse the JV with referrals. Referrals are great for new business and are an effective small business target marketing strategy but generally are given only one or two at a time. Referrals can also dry up if you are not diligent about keeping in touch with your clients and letting them know how much you appreciate and value their business.

JV’s can be as simple as selecting a retail partner and issuing a joint coupon to one another’s client base. They can also be very complex, multi-million dollar deals between large companies. American Express is an example of a very large and sophisticated company that partners with several other large businesses to leverage the client lists of both firms. If you have one of their cards, you have received numerous calls and mailers from them endorsing their JV partners. The partners get the implied endorsement of a blue chip company like Amex and Amex gets increased card purchases as you use the card to buy the recommended partners products.

Now that you’ve decided to add the JV to your small business marketing tools, where do you start? The first thing you must do is to create a demographic profile of your target client. What else do they buy and where do they buy it? For example, Paul Flood Marketing, which is my company, implements a unique and non-traditional marketing system in small businesses and I guarantee profit increases of 25% or more in as little as 90 days. As the old saying goes, “Fish where the fish are,” so I have partnered with other small business consultants, primarily CPA’s and small business attorneys, who have endorsed my services to their clients.

If I had tried to contact many of these business owners cold, I would have probably been turned away but the endorsement of my trusted partners established trust. This is the trust you want to leverage with your potential JV partners.

Armed with the list of potential partners, you formulate your contact strategy. You could try writing letters but I am a strong believer in just picking up the phone and saying to the owner, “Hi, I am a local business owner and I have an idea that could help us both dramatically increase our sales and profits and I’d like to talk with you about it. Do you have a minute so I can explain the concept?

Great, if makes sense for us to talk in more depth, we can arrange a time to get together.” The thing I like about the phone is that I can immediately get a feel about the business and the person in just a couple of minutes.

When you first meet, you will most likely need to explain how the Joint Venture small business target marketing strategy works and how it will benefit both of your businesses. Most small business owners are only familiar with traditional marketing or networking so it may take a bit of explaining to get the concept across.

The most common objection you will encounter is the trust factor so bring testimonials and samples of your product, service, practice or whatever you are selling to the meeting. You need to show why the other business owner person know they can trust you and your business? People are naturally wary (as they should be) about referring others to their clients because their reputation is on the line, as is yours.

Always conduct due diligence. Talk to a couple of their clients and understand their product and commitment to quality service. If you feel uncomfortable at the beginning, bow out of the relationship gracefully. There’s no sense in adding aggravation to your life!

The other objection is the confidentiality of av client list, but that is easily overcome by offering to mail your endorsement of your partner to your list and they mail their endorsement of you to their list. What if you don’t have a list? Pay for a mailing to your partner’s list and pay them a commission or finder’s fee for leads you convert to customers. There are some professions that are prevented from paying or receiving finder’s fees so if this applies to you, you need to investigate alternatives.

What is the simplest JV strategy? Each partner mails an endorsement of the other’s business to their list with a description of the benefits of doing business with them and why they are recommending one another. It’s that simple. The key to success of the JV as your small business target marketing strategy is that you and your partners must be proactive in promoting one another and in managing the relationship. As the person who originated the partnership, take control and action to make it happen. If you have a partner who isn’t committed, drop them and find another.

When you are actively using the JV as a small business marketing tool, you will be amazed at the results you can achieve in a relatively short period of time. Of course, as with any other business strategy, there are experts like myself who can be delivering profits while you are attempting to find your first partner. The key is to make the decision to make it happen, to leverage your contacts and your list and get started!

Small Business Success – The 3 Business Building Benefits of an Accountability Partner

The difference between small business success and small business failure is often times quite small. The competition in most markets is so fierce that entrepreneurs are constantly looking for an “edge”. In many cases, having an accountability partner is just what a small business owner needs to take their business to the next level.

An accountability partner is an individual that a business owner is accountable to for reaching designated business objectives.

Typically, the partners will meet on a regular basis to discuss their business initiatives and goals. During these sessions, it is important to mutually determine action steps for each business, and a time table for reaching an agreed upon goal.

Each partner is accountable to the other for their small business success

Each business owner must “answer” to the other if they fail to reach the goal in the agreed upon time.

Generally speaking, an ideal accountability partner should not be a relative or a personal friend.

It is best to select an individual who is as unbiased as possible, because the decisions made will be more impartial and objective.

Very often in a small business, the owner has few options when it comes to idea creation. Accountability partners can be an invaluable source of new ideas and perspectives.

They are an excellent source of motivation, as they help each other stay focused on their business goals.

They are also an important factor in helping to maintain continuous action, and often they can be the determining factor in small business success.

How To Make The Most Of Your Small Business Online Marketing Activities

Internet stands out for its speed and effectiveness. As online marketers we have to synchronize with this speed and deliver effective marketing content in the least amount of time and gain maximum mileage. Of course, we should run on a long-term-plan track, but sometimes quickness is needed to achieve business growth spurts. Let’s take a look at how this can be done effectively.

Having a detailed plan

Having a detailed online marketing plan with clear objectives and goals is a great way to start. This keeps things tight and also avoids deviations which marketers may easily fall for in the course of execution, consuming more time. Working within a detailed framework helps to keep it directed towards the goals and also helps in decision making when encountered with multiple marketing options or deviations. So make a written marketing document and then start the action, this is surely a great way to save time and get more results.

“40% of small businesses surveyed by Marchex cite not having enough time as their largest marketing challenge.”

Engage savvy resources

Online marketing is a professional’s job and attempting to do it on your own is a mere waste of time with low effectiveness. So the key is to keep it simple by engaging online savvy marketers or by outsourcing the job to experienced professionals. Their experience will not only help you in getting things done faster, but also give you the ability to try and test the latest techniques of online marketing with ease.

Focus on exclusive areas and goals

This is as simple as it sounds. First define your immediate and long term objectives and then focus on those exclusive goals or targets, this makes the whole process easy and less time consuming. For example if your objective is to generate leads, then all your efforts, tools and channels used should lead to that objective and shouldn’t deviate from it. What small businesses need to do is: concentrate on lead generation, manage their online presence and invest in relationship marketing to start with.

“According to small businesses surveyed by Marchex, the top three things they care about are getting leads (27%), keeping existing customers (29%), and communicating with existing customers (23%).”

Choose and use effective channels

Internet is a colossal mix of tools, channels, information and lots of other stuff. And being smart in choosing the right information and channel which can carry your marketing message to the intended prospects is the key. For example, use YouTube for visual ads and SEO, use Twitter and Facebook to spread the word, place your online ads only on websites which has most of your prospects clicking, anticipate whether a blog can do better than a site and so on.

“Search engine marketing, social media marketing and email marketing topped the list of most effective channels for marketing in a survey conducted in US.”

-Source MerchantCircle, Merchant Confidence Index Q1 2011

Continuous application

The response time and feedback mechanism on internet is really quick and faster than any other media. So this mandates the need for continuous application of your marketing process to make it more lively and responsive. This has two benefits; you can get faster results in less time and also create an impression of a very lively brand.

Frequent reports and assessment

This goes with the earlier point, you need to always keep an eye on the responses on your activities, its effectiveness and conversions. This calls for frequent report generation and assessment of your results and plans. Go for the change if needed at random pace, however keeping it to the point of bringing more effectiveness. This constant vigil can make a huge difference in the whole scheme of things.

Use the latest tools and technology to make work faster

The pace at which the online scenario changes is amazing and rapid, every day new ideas and options creep up and as an online marketer it’s your job to keep your eyes open to all that is coming up, which can prove more effective for you. There are many marketing automation services, social media tools, buzz monitoring tools, web analytics tools, RSS feed readers, and so on. Pick the right set of tools, and devote a fixed amount of time daily on these tools to keep track of all that is happening.

All these can surely get you the results in the least amount of time, however it all boils down to your marketing approach and application of these effective techniques.

Gravitational Marketing for Small Businesses – Seventh Law: Effective Marketing Is 95% Systems

When you deal with agency guys and design people and even media people trying to be marketing people, they always talk about being creative and trying to come up with the next great creative idea.

Effective marketing is NOT about creative ideas!

In fact, it is our belief that most creative types would be better off drinking a latte in some dimly lit coffee bar downtown or painting a picture on a sidewalk somewhere.

Thinking a ton about creativity just gets you in trouble, costs extra money and takes longer to get the results you need. Creativity, branding and image all go together and it’s a bottomless pit waiting for you to throw you money in.

A creative ad with a poor strategy WILL NOT work – PERIOD.

This goes for all the cute little postcards all these chiselers try to sell you with a “cool” stock photo on the front and some asinine, try-too-hard-to-be-clever one-liners on it.

You know the type.

The postcard with the picture of the guy pulling his hair out and the line that says, “Pulling Your Hair Out Looking For A ___________?”

That’s a bunch of hooey!!!

Don’t let cuteness interrupt your sales process – you discuss features and benefits, let them sample – show them value – and go for the close.

Your marketing must do the same thing.

You can add creativity and “big ideas” to increase effectiveness and get more business, BUT it takes a savvy response orientated marketer to put a campaign like that together. You must first learn the basics – master them and then move to the advanced stuff.

We teach you the basics and fast track you to becoming an advanced marketing master.

How would you like to learn how to make your best sales pitch your best ad? It’s an interesting idea and we’ll tell you all about it in the eighth Law of Gravitational Marketing for Small Businesses.