Let's say you own a small business, and you want to find new ways to increase sales. Do a Google search on ANY topic you care about, and you'll come up with dozens of X-best lists. You can spend hours (days?) looking for information that MAY address your questions. Too much information, not enough help. Starting and growing a business is a huge challenge. From our own experience here's how you can get started:
Set aside an hour or two, out a piece of (virtual) paper, and do this:
1. List your business goals. Get specific. What's your revenue goal for this year? Next year? Realistically break it down by product, service, customer type, markets (new, current).
2. Describe your ideal customer. In detail. Why would they care about your product? Are they local, regional, global? Where do they go to find products and services like yours? On-line, friends, business associates, on a bulletin board in your local coffee house?
3. Create a conversation about your products and services. Imagine you have just one minute to explain it to a prospective customer. Describe it in their "language", why they should care, what makes it the best, how it benefits your customer. You want to re-enforce your brand - what makes your business and products unique. Create a "value proposition" that is casual, compelling and exciting.
4. Develop a marketing plan based on what you have outlined above. Make a list: What kind of marketing "content" do you need and where should it be placed? You might print and post flyers, update your web-site, start or re-ignite your blog, use Facebook and other social media for low-cost targeted advertising. Leverage your expertise by writing informative articles for relevant publications. Find ways and places to create offers and incentives for customers to buy. Develop a targeted and consistent reach in on-line communities and physical locations where your target customers congregate.
5. Work your plan. Make sure you have a 3-6 month budget. Prioritize, create, and communicate. Get outside help and coaching where you need it. Measure results, make adjustments, and keep working it!
Georganne Benesch is the principal of Tiger Team Marketing, CMO of Centerline Farm and a over zealous Yoga practitioner. With 25+ years in high-tech product marketing, she consults for start-ups, small businesses and technology companies.