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Online Marketing: Why Social Media is Good, But Not Enough

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Are all of your eggs in one basket?

In the past three years there has been a whirlwind of marketing activity surrounding social media. Marketing Agencies across the globe have been embracing it, Brands have been utilizing it to create “Brand Advocates”, and small businesses everywhere have been flocking to it.

Social Media has to some degree turned marketing on its head and yet while many of the same core principles remain, Social Media, as any other marketing tool, has its own peculiarities and specifics.

It is an excellent tool for brands and businesses of all make, model and size and we have vouched for it innumerable times on this blog alone.

Social Media, however, it is not the end all be all and it is not a stand-alone method for your business. Every business needs to marketed in a manner that is specific to their industry and their customer base. This is especially true for SMALL BUSINESS.

This type of marketing has a couple of different faces and a names, but for sake of simplicity we will refer to it here as “NICHE MARKETING

Work Smarter not Harder

Work Smarter not Harder

Anyone operating a small business can tell you that profit margins can be tight and as such, marketing budgets can be even tighter. The small business owner must market smarter, not harder. They cannot afford to waste even nickles on anything that won’t generate sales leads and potential.

“The small business owner must market smarter, not harder”

Niche Marketing.

Niche Marketing is not simple, but it is also not as complicated as many fear. What it really boils down to is knowing who to market to. What is interesting is that many times the audience you should be targeting is not necessarily the one you would first assume.

Here is an example from our own personal experience at Transition Marketing last year.

“A Surprising Local Demographic”

We sat down with a real estate agent locally to asses their situation. They were doing well, but were ready to make the next big leap in market share. Living in the Okanagan, there is a large amount of vacation property available. Many would assume between that and local young families, that the dominant target market would be obvious.

It turned out that in the specific region we were dealing with, the most untapped market was in fact a split between older retiring citizens (65+) and elderly population looking to downsize.

Now of course. one does not necessarily want to rely solely on Social Media to chase down a target market such as this. Greater success was made using the medium most accessible to them – printed advertising. Newspapers, buy & sells, coffee shop readers and so on. Quaint, archaic perhaps, but effective and by utilizing this relatively inexpensive medium, we were able to address an often overlooked demographic to great success.

Niche Marketing is all about specific, focused efforts to reach a specific audience. To do so, one cannot rely on “blanket strategies” or “mass marketing“. Likewise Social Media is an excellent tool, but it cannot stand-alone. It is a resource best used in conjunction with other efforts. This may include more traditional avenues such as print, radio and video, or networking events such as trades and sales shows.

There is one area that all Niche Marketing has in common. One that in this day and age cannot be overlooked… a website.

A website is a necessity, not a suggestion.

Fishing for leads is great... if you have a place to land them. That is where a website comes in.

Fishing for leads is great… if you have a place to land them. That is where a website comes in.

It is the 21st century, the year 2013 and businesses that want to success need to recognize the importance of an online presence.

Online searches are the primary means of locating businesses, products and services and online searches while on the move (mobile) are quickly becoming the norm.

Consider these recent statistics:

    • By 2015, mobile internet usage is projected to overtake desktop usage. (Microsoft Tag)
    • Mobile traffic increased to over 16% of overall web traffic. Mobile web traffic increased 27% in 2012. (Marketingland)
    • Mobile data traffic globally in 2011 was 8 times greater than in 2010. (Econsultancy)
    • At time of report, there were 6.8 billion people on the planet. 5.1 billion of them owned a cell phone. (Search Engine Watch)
    • 70% of all mobile searches result in action within 1 hour (Social Media Today)

    • Use of mobile search has grown by 500% over the past two years.(Econsultancy)

    • Average smart phone usage almost tripled in 2011. (Econsultancy)

    • 50% of all local searches are performed on mobile devices. (Microsoft tag)

If your business does not have a website, how many sales leads are you missing out on? Search engines do index some social media material, but these search results do not come close to touching what the indexing and results that a good website will provide. Here is an example:

I am on a lovely vacation to the south Okanagan Valley with my family. The Okanagan is considered a bit of a tourist hot-spot and many of the local Okanagan businesses benefit from the summer tourism surge.

I have a little spending money and I am looking to sit down and enjoy a nice meal locally with my family. After that I think I will take in some of the local entertainment and maybe do a little shopping.

But where do I go? I suppose I could use a Yellow Pages directory… if PayPhones were still a thing. Let’s face it, I have my smart phone so I am going to just pop in a Google search and see what comes up.

Will it be your business?

Social media has been proven to increase SEO (Search Engine Results) for websites. By using a combination of Social Media WITH a website, you are increasing you websites opportunity to be viewed and (if you are using Social Media properly) you are also engaging your customer base.

Social Media is in itself not a stand-alone marketing strategy. It is a tool to be used in conjunction with more foundational marketing. Its use in online marketing is only truly effective if you have a website.

“Fishing for leads is great… if you have a place to land them. That is where a website comes in.”

If marketing is fishing than consider Social Media to be the fishing line and your website to be the boat. Social Media can reel in leads, but where will you direct them for further information?

Websites are a home base. A place where customers (should) be able to get everything they need to take action immediately. Whether they get there by search engine, referral, social media engagement or other… the website is where they need to land.

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.

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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.

Small Business Sales: Equipping Customers to Find Your Business

Finding-Customers-Small-Business

Finding Small Business Customers.

You finally did it, struck out on your own. You went from “wantrepreneur” to small business owner. You have the products and services, the passion and maybe even some sort of budget!

Now what?  Time to succeed!

Time to impress consumers, make sales and create a sustainable income. Ok! sooooo…how does one do that? How does one equip their small business for long-term success?

Let’s face it, the key to succeeding in small business is the same as big business.

Sales.

Without sales, there is no revenue and without revenue it can be difficult to pay the bills, much less grow.

There are many differences that separate big business from small. For example how those sales are made, who they are made to and the approach behind them. However the same truth applies: “to make a sale, you must have customers.” So how do you get customers?

Let’s break this down to elementary school basics.

Making a Sale for Dummies:

  1. To make SALES you require CUSTOMERS.
  2. CUSTOMERS are simply CONSUMERS (people shopping) until the sale is made, ergo to start you must find CONSUMERS (people shopping).
  3. To find CONSUMERS, you must make your business accessible, easy to find and easy to connect with.
  4. Once you have connected with a consumer base, you can work on making the sale.

For many small businesses, making the sale is only half the problem, first they need to find and connect with the consumers (potential customers), because “Without someone to sell to, sales can be a little tough.”

The first thing any small business must consider, is HOW to make it easier for consumers to find them. If your business is not easy to find, then that must change immediately.

There are many resources available with which to connect your business to consumers, however the most commonly overlooked (and feared) are the online tools.

Creating A Visible, Accessible Small Business, Online:Small-Business-Website

When determining how to connect and market to a specific body of consumers, we always attempt to place ourselves in the shoes of the people we are attempting to reach. Doing so can give you great insight into who they are, what they are looking for, where they are looking and how they are doing it.

Recently Todd Ebert, CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) for the online marketing firm ReachLocal, was quoted as stating the same thing: Put yourselves in the mindset of the average consumer. Think about how you buy things – and how people might find your products or services. (Source)

There is value in utilizing offline resources like the YellowPages, business directories and print medium, however small businesses must also dedicate resources to building their online presence. It is the era of online research. By default almost every consumer begins their search for products and services with Google.

Online searches provide consumers with all of the results, reviews, recommendations and refusals they could possibly need.

You typically start with a Google search. You look for reviews, informative videos, comments on social media sites and recommendations from friends and family. You visit relevant message boards and online communities to learn about the experiences of other consumers. You try free samples and trials when you can.

How your business places in these results – or whether it even places at all – is directly determined by the amount of effort you put in to your online presence. Yes this effort represents a cost and a sacrifice to you, however it is a necessary one. Newly established small businesses cannot afford to shun the online world.

Knowing where your consumers are looking, and what search results are most prominent, can provide you with the insight as to where to concentrate your efforts.

Okanagan Marketing1. Website:

First and foremost get a GOOD website. If you cannot build one yourself (most cannot) then pay for one. It will be the best investment you ever make.

This is your online home base, the centre of your online presence. All of your other online resources should link back to this. If you have ever heard the term “landing page”, that is what this is referring to. You websites homepage is where the consumer will land with the click of a mouse.

  1. Use this landing page to control the consumers first impression of you.
  2. An effective landing page is built to be clear and easy to navigate.
  3. Ensure it is professional looking.
  4. Avoid clutter and avoid too much immediate information.
  5. Instead create a website with the intention of immediately equipping the consumer base with what they need then and there.
  6. Use your homepage to engage and draw the consumer in (they can get more info on your websites additional pages).
  7. Populate the homepage with clean, easy to understand and aesthetically pleasing content.
  8. Provide easy navigation. When laying out the website, consider WHERE consumers will want to go to from each page.
  9. Ensure tabs to other pages on the website as clearly labelled. When a consumer lands on your homepage, they will quickly need to know where to go next.

2. Social Media:Small-Business-Social-Media

Yes, social media is necessary. Some still struggle with the concept, yet it has become an essential part of any online presence.

  1. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and the vast array of other social sites, play a huge role in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Web Traffic, Page Ranking and Page Results.
  2. Think of it this way. Your website is a dot, a Facebook profile is another dot, a Twitter profile is a third dot. The dot’s alone are tiny, however if you connect each dot with a line, you have a larger triangle. This is how social media effects online presence.
  3. Beyond simple page ranking, these sites offer an unprecedented opportunity to directly engage consumers, giving small business owners one more avenue to find and convert to customers.
  4. Social Media is just that, social. It is an endless conversation between people spanning ages, cultures, societies, demographics and target markets. With 180 million users on Facebook alone, a small business owner would be rather silly not to put the effort in.

For more on the ins and outs of Social Media, consider visiting our following posts, or Google it and see what others are saying.

 

Online Advertising.

Online advertising can be surprisingly cost-effective, however one must take care to ensure they are doing it correctly. Remember that the world wide web is a very VERY big place, and any advertising efforts on the part of small business need to be highly targeted.

The good news is that most avenues for online advertising provide for this. Google Adwords is a great example of intuitive and price competitive online advertising. Other options such as Facebook Ad’s, AdRoll and YellowPages360 also warrant investigation.

It only takes one or two sales and these ad’s are quickly paid for. What is more, they are very easy to set up. Google Adwords will take you by the hand and walk you through the entire process.

Conclusion.

Remember to monitor the results of your online presence. Search online regularly and see what showing up, is it what you want? if not, then take the time to adjust.

Check up and see what people are saying about your business. Read reviews, watch the social media channels. Take all of this information and use it. Use it to adjust, to react and to plan your future strategies.

Will you make some mistakes along the way? YES! It is a process, with a learning curve. Stick with it, take your lumps and learn the process, it will take your business to the next level, instigate business growth and save your business on overhead.

Create an online presence, provide your consumers with a place and the tools to connect with you and you will be on your way to converting consumers to customers, thereby driving sales.

Transition-Marketing-Services

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.

 

A “Want To” – The Hidden Propellant of Small Business Success

Small-Business

Start-Up and Shut-Down

Too many small businesses start-up only to falter after a year. Some of this is related to budget, some of it is related to economics, some of it is completely out of our control. However, there is an even more common reason behind this failure.

Lack of “Want To“.

Lack of passion.

The fact is that many entrepreneurs start their small businesses because they want to own a business, however they are not necessarily interested in the industry that they are starting up in. They do not want to do what the business CONSISTS of.

I recently chatted with a coffee shop owner whose partnership is dissolving as a result of this very thing.

Her partner in the business was interested in business ownership, however was not interested in the least, in coffee shops or any of the atmosphere that goes with it (good coffee beans, conversations, art, baking) or any of the other elements related to coffee shop success. They wanted to own a business, to be self-employed, but they hated coffee shop routines.

FACT: You can be self-employed and not want to go to work.

And that is a serious issue.

“Want To” is almost always hinged on “Passion”. If you want to start a business, ensure that it is in an industry you are passionate about, then your desire to succeed will be propelled by your natural enthusiasm and reinforced by your need to stay in the business you love.

Start a business, but start one you are passionate about, and be wary of partnerships with people who do not share that “want to”.

Okanagan-Small-Business-Marketing.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.

 

12 Small Business Marketing Tips That AREN’T Social Media

12 Small Business Marketing Tips That AREN’T Social Media

1. Printed Postcards.

Print out a fun, funny, or otherwise engaging postcard that doubles as an advertisement and use it as a mail out to prospective clients. Something of this nature is far more likely to reach customers then a standard advertising mail out. It is also more likely to be passed around and hung on to.

EXAMPLE: I spoke with one client who used this to great success in her market area. The postcards were so successful in engagement, that during one cold call, she noticed one of them hanging from the company fridge.

The Why: The success of a post card can be traced to its content. It consists primarily of an image and only the necessary text. Our society is increasingly image driven, with brief attention spans. The image compounds on our natural tendency to be drawn to imagery and the brief text is enough to present a quick brand statement, without losing them.

The postcard mail-out is not meant to make the sale, it is meant to generate the lead by drawing traffic to you and your website.

BONUS: Postcard’s are extremely budget friendly and dollar for dollar have one of the highest advertising impacts.

Marketing success is directly related to content. Keep it fresh (image source marketingassasin.wordpress.com)

2. Variety Works! So Don’t Be A One Trick Pony.

While relying on the same tried and tested techniques is not a bad thing, variety substantially increases advertising & marketing impact. Try varying your approach and rotate your tactics. Consider these points:

  • Customers, have a short attention span. Changing your approach will ensure that they don’t become numb to your efforts.
  • Customers want to matter. When they see that they are worth an effort, and not just a “programmed mass mail-out” they feel important, and that in turn means they are engaged.
  • Repeating the same thing over and over, breaks several key marketing rules (and besides, it is lame). You get bored and so do your customers.
  • Marketing & Advertising are all about showcasing your business and ingenuity. Clever advertising creates business / brand visibility and positions you as a stand-out to your customers.

The Why: Utilizing different tactics is one way to ensure that you are memorable and that is what leads to sales. Give your customers a reason to remember you, keep the content and the approach fresh.

There are literally thousands of different ways to reach your clients, however not every technique will be suitable for your customer base. Explore, try new things and have fun, but remember to do your homework and use the methods that make the most sense.

Partnering with other businesses on promotions increases impact, audience and exposure.

3. Partner Up.

Let’s face it, when it comes to small businesses, we are all in this together. We ourselves have had great success in establishing promotional partnerships with other small businesses spanning all manner of industries.

EXAMPLE: A great example occurred recently. We ran a summer promotion offering to build a “custom website” for the winner.

The winner of the promotion approached us to ask if we would like to team up to offer the website prize to a local auction. This customer had access to this auction, where we did not and all they asked in return was that they get secondary billing as a contributor.

What began as a individual promotion on the part of our business, became a partnered promotion to over 500 bit ticket clients! Our business and theirs got some great visibility as a result and everyone came out a winner.

Opportunities to partner on promotions abound and are only limited by your creativity.

The Why: Partnerships can greatly reduce costs, increase impacted audiences and breed goodwill. It increases your exposure and the likelihood of word of mouth referrals by your partners. Each time you can build better relationships between your business and others you are providing the best kind of marketing there is.

4. Improve Their Day Over The Phone.

It sounds too simple, but first impressions are indeed everything. When you pick up the phone, remember that your tone and your words are going to be what your are immediately measured by. If it is a new or potential client, this is especially important.

Don’t be syrupy, but be happy. If you answer the phone sounding stressed or grumpy, people will take it personally. They do not want to feel like they are inconveniencing you with their call, and they should never have to. Remember this: Every phone conversation is a direct representation of your brand.

No one wants to deal with grouchy people, we all have enough of that in a day. Give them a reason to perk up, even if it simply your tone of voice.

EXAMPLE: Our rule of thumb at Transition Marketing Services is “Make ’em feel like a million bucks”. It doesn’t matter how your day is going, enter each telephone conversation with the single intent of improving the day of the individual on the other end.

The Why: People need to feel valued. It is wired into us all. This is all too true with customers. We all want to feel that our business is important to a brand – and no matter how small that business may be, it should ALWAYS be treated as such. If you give them a good moment, experience and memory, that will stick with them – especially if they have already had a bad day. Making your business accessible and friendly will always generate leads.

5. Change-up Your Go-To Greeting.

When answering the phone, do not be afraid to change up your standard greeting. The opening statement on the phone can easily be used to quickly promo a special offer, or to announce a quick piece of news.

EXAMPLES:

  • “Good morning this is Ben, ask me about 2 for 1 print designs”
  • “Good Afternoon, TMS, your recent Okanagan Life Magazine winner!”

Try it out. Many businesses have an auto-attendant that plays pre-programmed promotional propaganda to customers on hold, very few have a live one!

The Why: A quick statement like this is a good way to generate further dialogue and to engage your customers. It can provide a segway into discussing your services, products or achievements – without forcing it into the conversation.

Stickers can be a great (budget friendly) way to generate brand exposure on just about anything.

6. Stickers Are Our Friends.

I LOVE STICKERS! 30 years old and my laptop still looks like a skateboard deck. Stickers are a great, inexpensive means of semi-permanently branding things. Of course stickers take many different forms.

EXAMPLES:

  • Brand Stickers: There are always uses for groovy stickers. Create a fun or slick looking sticker that your customers may actually WANT to put on something.
  • Stamps / Envelope Stickers: Mailing something out? Turn the envelope into a promo as well. Every piece of direct or business mail, provides an opportunity to promote your brand and business. If you cannot afford custom printed envelopes, stickers and stamps can be a great alternative.

As with most other advertising efforts, keep the stickers clean, sharp and to the point. They are stickers, not encyclopedias. Rule of thumb: If the sticker takes more than 5 seconds to read – too much!

The Why: Quite simply stickers are inexpensive and convert just about anything to a billboard for your business. The more your logo, brand name and/or image is displayed, the more brand awareness is generated.

7. Custom Stationary – Inexpensive Branding

In the same family of thought as stickers. Printing your logo and brand philosophy on all of your stationary ensures repeat brand exposure to anyone receiving written communications from you.

8. Newsletters.

Repeat sales are over 75% cheaper to drive home then sales to new customers. Newsletters (printed or emailed) are a great way to focus specific marketing on your existing customer base. Build a list of customers and their contact info, by offering a service, deal or insider info to those willing to subscribe.

Newsletters do not need to be a weekly thing. You can keep costs down by making it monthly or even quarterly – depending on your industry and market targets etc. E-newsletters (emailed newsletters) are often be less expensive, although they are less likely to be opened.

EXAMPLE: One of our staff operated a weekly newsletter for five years for an industrial manufacturer. The newsletter garnered quite the following, and was used as a direct line to the existing customer base. It was used to highlight new products, company achievements and other information used to drive engagement and generate leads. By the time is came to a close, customers were contributing information to the newsletter – a sure sign of engagement.

The Why: Newsletters are a direct line to your customers. This provides a door for direct communications on offers, promotions and other information relevant to driving sales. Keep in mind that a newsletters success is only as good as its content. If you want it to be opened and followed up on, you need to provide a reason and establish a reputation with the recipients.

9. Seminars, Events & Open Houses.

Anytime you can draw customers to you and gain that one on one face time, you are generating brand awareness for your company. Time spent in face to face communications is worth 100 x the time spent in emailing, telephone or online. There are a number of ways to generate this exposure, that do not involve the cold call.

Host an event, a seminar or an open house. Give your customer base a good reason to come to you. Done properly events can garner strong turnouts and generate great media coverage. Remember that the event must appeal to your targets. Do not make the event about preaching your brand, but rather about giving to your customers. Create the event around your brand, but make it a goal to add value to the attendees.

If you are offering a seminar never make it free. People see “free” attached to a seminar and they are immediately suspicious. “Free”, whether true or not, indicates that there is no value to be had or that there will be a string attached. Add a price tag for admission, make it reasonable, but make sure your seminar carries value.

EXAMPLE: We will offer a seminar on “Generating Sales Leads for Small Business Through Online Content”. This is a highly specific topic, but extremely valuable to many of our clients and targets. By offering this seminar, we are giving our targets something of value to them (equipping them for success), while also positioning our brand as a leader in the industry and generating face time with potential leads.

The Why: Events draw customers out to you. They provide an opportunity to directly engage them on grounds of your choosing, as opposed to the dreaded “cold call” which places you on THEIR territory. When hosting an event you are seen as in charge and it creates a less intimidating field to engage on. When you provide something of value to your customers, they will come to you and that is a good place to be.

10. Exchanging Services.

First off. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE WORTH OF YOUR GOODS & SERVICES. Having said that, working out deals to exchange product for advertising space, or for necessary items is not a terrible idea.

The caution here is not to underestimate the value of your products or your potential partners. You do not want to low-ball a potential partner and risk insulting them, however you also do not want to come out of the deal with less than you put in.

The Why: Exchanges of this nature can be useful for cutting costs and staying on budget, however approach with care.

11. Quick, Follow Up Offers To Recent Customers.

One of my personal favorites. Taking the time to send a quick note, email etc. to a recent customer, with a special offer available only to them, is a great way to increase your B2C relationships and drive repeat sales.

EXAMPLE: A customer has recently purchased one of your products. Follow up with them, thank them for their recent business and offer them an additional discount off of their next purchase. You can provide them with a code, or coupon which they can redeem – Remember that to drive the sales urgency, you should always include an expiry date.

The Why: People love deals. They also love being appreciated. By offering a follow up coupon JUST TO THEM as a reward for their business, you are giving them both – A deal and direct appreciation. The key here is that it is DIRECT in contrast to say a “Customer Appreciation Sale” which does not shine the spotlight on the individual customer. By adding an expiry date, you are creating that sense of urgency and driving the sale home. It lessens the chance that they will forget or lose the coupon and it protects your business from having to honor it at an inconvenient time.

12. Tag-Along Marketing For Direct Mail.

Sending out mail? You are already paying the postage, so put that money to work. Include a flyer, advertisement, business card or promotion with your mail-outs. As with stickers and stationary, repeat brand exposure is always a good thing.

There are a number of ways to promote a business or brand. Many are surprisingly cost effective and can be customized to suit any size and budget.

For a any business or brand to succeed, marketing is required. Which marketing makes the most sense for you?

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 & Branding Specialists.

Attitude: The Unseen Key To Success & Business

That Aspect Of Success That Cannot Be Bought…

In previous posts we have discussed the many different tools and resources available for success in small business: Targetted marketing, branding, SEO, social media, customer service, communications and so forth. Yet one key factor in the success of any business effort is attitude.

Your attitude.

Yes knowledge, skill, effort, talent, connections and background all play a big part, yet the one thing that you have, that your competition does not, is your attitude. If you want to stand out, to set yourself apart and to lead the pack, then you need to have a grasp on how this crucial aspect plays into your business.

Success in business, as with art, athletics, politics and relationships is determined by attitude. Your mentality, your attitude and your passion are of absolute importance. This concept is demonstrated every time the underdog overcomes the favored opposition. It is what drives success despite the odds.

Attitude – Your Attitude.

Maintaining a good, positive, driven attitude, however, can be difficult. Here we will outline 13 key attributes that you can use to straighten out your mindset for success.

13 Attributes Of A Successful Attitude:

1. Passion – Possess It!

Why did you go into business for yourself to begin with? Work does not need to always be a drag and nor should it. Work should be fun and your passion is the key to this. Obstacles, doubts, moments of difficulty, can all be overcome with a passionate attitude.

Passion is infectious. It will persuade and win people to your side. It will draw people to you and therefore to your business.

This is an attribute that cannot be taught. If you are not passionate about what you do, ask yourself why? Keep in mind that difficult times will stress your passion, it will weaken it, and you may call it into question, you may call your entire business into question. During those times – take a break! – and remember all of the reasons why you do what you do, and why you will keep doing it. This break may take an hour, it may take a week, but regaining your passion for your business is crucial.

2. Believe – Have Confidence!

Possibly the most important attribute. You must believe in yourself, in your vision and in your business. People are drawn to confidence, it is a defining characteristic of a good leader. Exude confidence

Do not let doubts in. Squash them early on. Doubts will weaken you, they will cause you to avoid decisions and to eventually make poor ones. They will also push people away.

Believe in yourself.

3. Failure – Laugh At It!

It is a cliche to be sure, but failure truly is an opportunity to learn. The first impulse is to get mad and discouraged. You may even be tempted to give up – don’t. Shrug it off, learn from it and do not let it scare you from trying again.

Learn from it and figure out what went wrong.

  1. If it was in your control, change it for next time.
  2. If it was not within your control determine whether it can be adjusted for next time.

Sometimes situations are nothing more than the result of variables beyond our control. Do not count these as failures, but rather, as the storms you must weather.

4. Moral Compass – Own One!

People can and will always sniff out trustworthiness. Being upstanding and morally respectable will not only draw people to you, it will keep them there. People want to know they can trust you whether for their products, for their services, or for their employment.

Repeat business is based on consumer trust.  People are drawn to trustworthiness, so to are consumers. Give them a reason to follow you, to stay with you and you will do well.

Set an example of trust to other merchants and businesses. Be the example people refer to when they talk about service. Create a brand recognition of trust and remember that it is the little things. Create a brand that other businesses can learn from.

5. Flexibility – Use It!

Times change, plans change, strategies change and so too will your small business. Adjusting to new ideas, new products, new services and new competition is all a part of owning a business. Luckily small business is far more flexible and adaptable then its larger colleagues.

Adjusting is all a part of the equation, and your attitude should reflect that. The key here is to be flexible, yet  no matter how easy the sale, no matter how small the adjustment – never change your morals. Be upstanding and refuse to be anything less, even if it is the easier road.

The moment you bend your morals once, it will be that much easier to do it again.

Do not hold out against new ideas or opportunities. Always be open and give everything a fair chance.

6. Decisions – Make Them!

It is alright to go with that gut feeling once in awhile, (unless you ate a bad taco the night before, then give it a pass).

Planning and forethought are good, yet delay can mean missed opportunities.

Your Attitude Needs To Mean The Ability To Make Decisions

Your attitude needs to include the ability to make decisions

7. Value – You Have It! 

Working a 70 hour work week can actually damage your efforts. You are better to be well rested and making sharp, informed decisions for 40 hours instead. Keep your health in mind, take care of yourself. You are quite literally the brains of the operation and if those brains are drowsy, it is going to affect everything.

No machine, no computer, no app, nothing is more important to your business than you yourself. It should never come down to choosing between family and business, work or play, sleep or espresso (mmm espresso….). Maintaining your health is crucial to your businesses long term success.

8. Your Ego – Shut It Up! 

By spending your profits on toys and gear to impress the world you are setting yourself up for failure. Did you make a good sale this week? Skip the Porsche and set that cash aside. A few bad weeks and you could be handing that Porsche back – along with the keys to your business.

Instead, reinvest a portion into the business and set aside another portion for the unexpected. Having a nest egg set aside for a rainy day, or a great new opportunity is invaluable to long term success.

Transition Marketing - Reinvest Your Profits Into Your Company Not Your Toys!

Don’t be tempted into wasting profits on toys when your business could profit from and investment.

9. Mistakes – Admit & Accept Them! 

Create an environment that allows for the ownership of mistakes. You will make them, your employees will make them, your suppliers will make them and your customers will make them. By acting graciously towards others, they will return the favour to you. As long as humans are involved in anything, mistakes will happen, one is better off learning to deal with it, then stressing out about it.

It is better to encourage your employees to disclose mistakes then to have them attempt to hide them. For one thing, knowing the mistake early on means addressing them quickly.

This gracious spirit needs to be reinforced regularly. Stating it once and putting it in a generic company policy will not make a difference. People need to see it, and experience it.

10. Criticism – Take It! 

One of the most difficult attributes you need is the ability to accept criticism. Anyone with a fragile ego is tempted to get angry or even to lash out. This is the opposite of confidence and will quickly undermine your leadership. It will alienate employees and customers alike.

Learning to take criticism is all a part of growing up. It will reinforce relationships, build trust and heck, you may even learn a thing or two!

11. Strong Work Ethic – Exemplify It!

Show a strong work ethic and others will follow suit. As the head of the business, your example means the world to your employees. If you work hard, they will as well.

If the head creates an example, the body will follow and soon you will be outworking your competition. On the flip side, if you do not put your back into it, do not expect your employees to either.

12. Don’t Look Back – Bounce Back!

You will meet obstacles along the way. Building a business is not an easy task. Push forward, learn from mistakes and do not dwell on them. Until we have reinvented the DeLorian we will remain unable to change the past, so move on.

13. Your Comfort Zone – Get Out!

There will be opportunities that require you to step out of your comfort zone. It is the nature of business to have to change, adjust and evolve and this will require making difficult or uncomfortable decisions.

The key is to do it. Do not let your comfort zone prevent you from implementing necessary or high potential changes to your business. In order to grow, your business will need you to step up.

Take some time out of your day each day to remember what it is you are doing and why

Every business will have a certain level of skill, smarts, talent and background but none will have your attitude. Use this to your advantage! Become the boss you always wanted to have and drive the business you always wanted to be a part of!

Attitude – it’s what will lead you to success.

Transition Marketing Services - Okanagan Small Business Marketing Solutions

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.