sales

5 Steps For Marketing Your Small Business

Image from Hillbillly Haven in Armstrong BC. A nice, clean shop front will assure consumers that they are not wasting their time.

Image from “Hillbillly Haven” in Armstrong BC. A nice, clean shop front will assure consumers that they are not wasting their time.

1. Keep Your Shop Clean, Professional.

This is absolutely crucial to success. Good, clean presentation is a must. Few consumers will enter a business that looks like a dive. Why would they?

A clean, professional shop front influences people. It provides customers with the promise that they will not be wasting their time by entering your shop. It builds trust that you and your business take pride in what you offer. What is more, it can motivate your employees to hold their heads up high and take pride in their jobs.

A messy store front will do just the opposite. It will strike fear and it will create discomfort in customers and employees alike. How could a customer trust you to provide them with value for their hard-earned money, if you cannot even maintain what is your own? and why would employees take any initiative, if you yourself refuse to?

No matter how chaotic things may be behind the scenes of your business, always, always, ALWAYS ensure your business image is immaculate.

Image taken at "Kanga & Roo's Children's Boutique" in Vernon BC

Image taken at “Kanga & Roo’s Children’s Boutique” in Vernon BC. Keeping displays new and fresh draws new customers in.

2. Rotate Your Displays & Get Creative.

When we walk past a shop, we are more prone to enter if the front displays are fun. The small business owner should take their pride in their business one step further by continually revising and re-creating the displays of their goods and services. This does not mean moving where items are kept (as that can confuse your regulars). Rather it means, changing how they are displayed.

Many businesses will do a special display for Christmas or other big seasonal events, but it does not need to stop there. Keep your displays fresh and fun, change them regularly and you will see an increase in store traffic. You don’t need an event to keep things colourful.

It is a labour intensive job to stay on top of, but it will generate sales.

If you are not the “create-pretty-displays” type of person, then consider asking one of your staff. You may be surprised at the talent they possess. By handing off a job like this to an employee you are accomplishing three things:

  1. You have filled their day a little more. Now when it is quiet and the floors are swept, they will have something to do.
  2. You have shown them respect and that you trust them.
  3. You are giving them a chance to use a talent to build your business.
Target Marketing is all about zeroing in an a specific consumer demographic

Target Marketing is all about zeroing in an a specific consumer demographic.

3. TARGET Your Marketing & Advertising

Small Business cannot afford to carpet bomb their advertising. It is too expensive to advertise to everyone, everywhere via every method and it is ineffective to just place a few ad’s here and there. Consumers are overwhelmed with the amount of advertising and marketing that is already in their faces everyday. The truth is that they hardly take notice of anything but the most directly engaging types of ads.

The average consumer is hit with hundreds of marketing messages daily. Advertising is everywhere you look. If you want attention you need to make it stand out, you need to customize your marketing to directly speak to your primary consumer base.

Get to know your consumer, learn what appeals to them and make a point of marketing to that. Ensure your message is clear, concise and creative. Bland ad’s don’t work. They must appeal to the people you are selling to on an emotional level and on a rational one as well.

Find out what stirs their emotions, use that to engage and cultivate interest. Then seal the deal by providing a logical reason to make the purchase.

4. Have A Pricing Strategy In Place.

A pricing strategy is much more than simply "Cost + Margin". Your prices will communicate your brand image to consumers. Pricing must be anchored within the rest of your marketing strategy.

A pricing strategy is much more than simply “Cost + Margin”. Your prices will communicate your brand image to consumers. Pricing must be anchored within the rest of your marketing strategy.

Pricing is a powerful tool. It must be used correctly if you wish to achieve your goals. Do not content yourself with setting a price based solely on production costs plus a margin. As a small business owner, you must decide:

  1. What are you trying to achieve with your pricing?
  2. What is the message you are giving people by pricing like you do?

Low pricing is a great way to break into new markets, or dominate existing ones at the risk of a lower profitability over the short-term. Whereas high prices, although you will sell less, can give the impression of a high-end product.

Your pricing is a direct line of communication to your customers and it speaks levels about your business. Your pricing strategy should reflect your marketing strategy. Whether you are targeting high-end consumers or the everyday public, ensure your pricing is in line with your overall brand image and marketing strategy.

5. Develop A Marketing Plan.

Sit down and devise a full strategy for your goals. Create a written marketing plan. This is the best way to ensure that you and all others involved in your business have a clear understanding of company direction. A standard marketing plan must be comprehensive, thoroughly researched and it must encompass every step required to bring your products or services to the customer.

Here are a few valuable questions to ask while developing this plan:

  1. Who are we now?
  2. Who do we want to be?
  3. What do we need to do to be that?
  4. Where are we now?
  5. Where do we want to be?
  6. What do we need to do to get there?
  7. Where do our most profitable present opportunities exist?
  8. What is the best path to these opportunities?
  9. Who will do what?
  10. What is required for each member to accomplish their task?
  11. How do we equip them?
  12. How will we know when we have achieved each goal?

Okanagan-Marketing

Transition Marketing Services is a small business marketing firm in the Okanagan. Our passion Small Business Marketing. Educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how we’re doing or if you have any questions.

 

5 Steps Small Business Owners Must Follow

How well do you know the people you are attempting to sell to?

How well do you know the people you are attempting to sell to?

1. Understanding Your Customers

It’s simple logic really. Business Success requires Sales, Sales require Customers and Customers require a reason.

The first and most crucial step to starting or growing a small business, is understanding the customers that one relies on. Without a clear understanding of the audience one is selling to, one is operating blindly. The clearer and more accurately one knows their customers needs and desires, the more accurately one can meet them with products or services. Harness every piece of information available on your customers to meet their needs in a thorough and informed manner.

Here are a few suggestions for things one should get acquainted with:

1. Their behavior.

2. Their needs or wants.

3. Where they are currently going for products or services.

4. Demographics including in some instances: age, sex, race, location.

5. Where they are currently being reached by advertising (Billboards, Radio, Television, Social Media, News/Printed Advertising).

The information found here should be a driving force behind all of one primary business decisions and spending.

2. Know What Is Going On Around You.

It is highly beneficial for us to keep up to date with the changing economical and technological environment around us. Even slight changes to the economy, politics or tech available can present monumental opportunities or decimating decline.

Consider the following:

1. What is the first thing that occurs during a recession? People begin reducing spending and look for less expensive alternatives. Suddenly ones choices in entertainment may go from musical performances or nights out on the town, to renting a movie or grabbing some cheap snacks and playing a board game.

2. Their choices in groceries may also adjust, going for the less expensive products or purchasing less goods at one time.

3. New technologies allow for new products or services – and therefore, new niches to explore and new profits to be found (or lost).

4. New or changing legislation can have a broad impact also. What happens when a product is suddenly subject to an increased tax, or more stringent environmental laws impact the flow of a specific good or service.

Likewise changes can also create peaks in spending that offer small businesses opportunities to line their pockets a little bit before the next decline. Business simply is goods and money changing hands and anything that impacts that process is worth taking note of.

We must always keep a wary eye out for opportunities or threats to our livelihood.

Thorough and efficient operations reduce financial waste and improve customer experiences.

Thorough and efficient operations reduce financial waste and improve customer experiences.

3. Just Because You Build It, Doesn’t Mean They Will Come.

Don’t make a product and don’t develop a service just because you want to sell it. The worst business plan one can have, is to attempt to coerce customers into purchasing a product or service that they do not need.

Yes it can be done, but it requires great effort and a weak moral compass. Not a good plan.

Instead develop products and services that meet a need or desire within the marketplace. Meet the need and you will succeed (we did not mean to make that rhyme, but we will run with it). Quality products and services will actually sell themselves to a point, reducing the need for marketing dollars and easing the strain in ones budget.

Tailor it all for your customer base, from the product itself, to its packaging, to the means with which you promote it. This is where knowing your customers will be an asset. The more you can customize toward their wants, the easier the sale will be.

Sales are not difficult if you know who you are selling to. Know that and you will know what and how to sell. Tailor your products and services and eventually they will begin to sell themselves.

4. Be Smooth, Be Efficient.

How one conducts their business is nearly as crucial as the products and services that they sell. One can have an excellent products but quickly fail in business of their service and follow through lacks efficiency.

1. Customers must be dealt with professionally, in a friendly and thorough manner.

2. Answers to questions or concerns must be supplied quickly and courteously.

3. Customers must be made to feel as kings of the world. Greeted with smiles and genuine pleasure.

4. Supply and delivery needs to be prompt and accurate.

5. Returns, refunds or feedback should be accepted without grief and with apologies.

6. The successful small business sees customers leave happier then when they entered.

7. Go above, go beyond and shock them with service.

The common thread between happy customers and unhappy customers is that BOTH talk. Make sure that the customer has no reason to speak negatively of their experience with you and EVERY reason to share their great experience.

A customer with a mouthful asked for a "Mapkin". This is what the clever employee provided. As a result it got great, positive exposure to 60 million users on a social networking site. Good employees are worth investing in.

A customer with a mouthful asked for a “Mapkin”. This is what the clever employee provided. As a result it got great, positive exposure to 60 million users on a social networking site. Good employees are worth investing in.

5. Know Your Employees & Work With Their Gifts.

Do not let the hidden talents and skills of your employees go to waste. 9 times out of 10 employers are shocked to discover what their employees are actually capable of.

I knew a young man who worked on the production floor of a busy manufacturing facility. It took him two years (and some brazen attempts) to get management to see his design and content work, but they gave him a chance and it paid off. After nine years with the company he was producing both the layout and the text of much of their marketing literature, installation guides and advertising. 

Ensure they get the proper training, equip them with the tool and resources required, look after their needs and be mindful of their situations. Offer minor upgrades to their education through local courses, provide the occasional perk and give them reason to stay motivated. One does not lead by forcing consensus but by molding it. Lead by example.

Your staff likely harbor many skills that can benefit you and your business. How do you find out? Get to know them and allow them some flexibility in their day-to-day activities. Listen to them, work with them and develop trust. When they can trust you, they will begin to share ideas and skills, when you can trust them, you can begin to use some of those ideas and trust them to see them through.

This doesn’t mean being their best friends and there are boundaries that must exist between the employer and the employee, however they are the face of your business and therefore an invaluable part of your success.  Make sure they understand their role they play in the success of the business and give them reason to push for that success.

Happy employees make happy customers.

Okanagan Small Business Marketing

Transition Marketing Services is a small business marketing firm in the Okanagan. Our passion Small Business Marketing. Educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how we’re doing or if you have any questions.

Small Business: Nine Tips To Get Twice As Much Out Of Your Printed Ads

Every small business is restricted by a budget. Every dollar matters. 

One of many stunning Kohler print ads. They have actually been approached by people seeking to purchase copies of the ad for framing.

One of many stunning Kohler print ads. Kohler has actually been approached by people seeking to purchase copies of their ads for framing.

Print ads can be expensive, both to produce and to run. Yet they possess substantial value for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Printed advertising is an excellent investment, here are nine tips to ensure if you have paid for a print ad, you get every dime out of it.

Look at it this way, you have paid for the ad, therefore the ad is now yours, so look for any and every means available to place that advertising message in the hands of prospective customers. By doing so you can double the return on the money spent. Here are nine examples:

Nine Ways To Re-use Your Printed Ad’s:

1. Order an extra supply of reprints – then go hard distributing them to both, existing and potential customers. Use every avenue available to place the ads into their hands.
2. Anytime you are sending out literature, or passing out brochures, include a print of the ad. This will reinforce your message and remind the customer of the reason they found you in the first place.
3. Distribute the ads internally as well. Ensure everyone involved with your company, is given copies of the ad. It will keep them up to date and engaged with your most recent message. It aligns them with your business and brand vision.
4. Supply extra prints to all of your retail and sales staff (essentially anyone in direct contact with your customers) and encourage them to distribute the prints freely to customers.
5. Utilize the ad in a unique way but turning it into a product and service data sheet. Simply add additional information and specifications to the back of the ad reprint. This provides with a nice eye-catching cover for your data sheets, without having to design, source and purchase new ones built from scratch. What is more, now the reader will get a double dose of your message.
6. Use ad reprints as inexpensive direct mail. Look at mailing the reprints alongside a sales letter and/or reply card. The ad will grab attention, and the sales letters, all done internally, can quickly be modified for each specific market group on your mail-out lists.
7. Do you have more than one ad created for the same product or service line? If so, consider publishing a bound collection of the reprints as a product brochure. This will increase your brand and product exposure to consumers and save you the costs of designing and printing a brand new brochure.
8. Does the ad provide valuable information that would be found useful in your industry? Consider Offering reprints as free educational material to other companies in your industry.
9. If the ad is particularly striking, visually engaging, or otherwise nice to look at,  offer reprints suitable for framing.

Print ads offer incredible visual impact. That is where their power lay. Pay for a good ad, but make sure to get every dime out of it.

Print ads offer incredible visual impact and that is where their power lay. Our society is incredibly image driven and print advertising works off of that. It is worth it for small businesses to pay for a good ad, so long as we make sure that we use the ad to its fullest.

It is all about out of the box and creative thinking. The key is to find the means to place that printed ad, into the customers hands and in front of the consumers eyes. Remember that advertising and marketing is all about displaying the value in your products and services. Convince the customers that what you sell is worth more to them than their money and use print advertising to do it!

Transition-Marketing-Services

Transition Marketing Services in the Okanagan. Our passion Small Business Marketing. Educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how were doing or if you have any questions.

One Little Sign Can Land You A Sale

One little sign can land you a sale.

Because every place you put your business info is a chance to land sale.

Take our neighbours down the road. Recently they built a nice, new, LARGE shop on their property.

Mikes Neighbourhood Garage

As we drove by we admired it, but thought nothing more.

About a month later, we passed by to see a nice new sign at the end of their driveway: “Mikes Neighbourhood Garage

It was more than a shop, it was a business. Our neighbour Mike was now selling mechanic services!

Had he not taken the time, and the few extra dollars (a minimal cost), we would likely have never known that his services were available.

All to often we tend to miss or forget the simple things. In small business, where budgets are tight, these little things can make a big difference.

It may “JUST” be a sign, but if it lands just one sale, it has more than paid for itself.

If you want your small business to succeed, give your customers a fair chance to find you!

Start small and build on your success.

20121223-142313.jpg Transition Marketing Services. Our passion is educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how were doing or if you have any questions.

Follow Up With Unhappy Customers

20121220-192412.jpg

How’s this for follow up? DirecTVwas so concerned about losing this customer that they CRAMMED his inbox with emails trying to get him back.

We are sure there is more to the story, but whatever the reason behind this inbox barrage, this sure looks bad on their part.

A SINGLE follow up email would have been a great idea. This, however, is just plain annoying and could simply be the nails in the coffin.

What do you think? Leave a comment!

20121220-193900.jpg Transition Marketing Services. Our passion is educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how were doing or if you have any questions.

Christmas Marketing In November…

UGH, Christmas In November?

Yes indeed, in the marketing world, Christmas begins before Halloween ends.

Do we like this?

Personally, no, not at all.

I cannot handle Christmas carols in November. Walmart stocking shelves with stockings before we have even paid homage to our Veterans strikes me as rather…awful.

However, if one dismisses these rather tacky actions, the fact of the matter is that if a business wants to be prepared for the ACTUAL Christmas season (AKA “DECEMBER PEOPLE!”), then they need to begin prepping in November or earlier.

There are all manner of terrific opportunities for small business owners at Christmas time. It is a season of giving, of jovial spirits, of engagement and festivities. Humanity, for the most part, tends to relax a little and allow themselves to fall into the swing of things.

What is your business doing to be involved in the holiday spirit? How do you intend or reaching the happy holiday consumer this December?

A special sale?

A Christmas card mail out?

Fruitcake?

It is time to plan, plan for that wonderful time of year that draws us all close.

Don’t be tacky, don’t be about the dollars, instead get into the Christmas swing of things, engage your customers, and they will reward you with some Christmas cheer of their own!

But first, take time to remember the Veterans!

Transition Marketing Services. Our passion is educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how were doing or if you have any questions. TRANSITION MARKETING SERVICES – Small Business Marketing Specialists.