Day 32: What are your competitors doing well?

June 29, 2011

What value messages are your competitors using to address customer business issues (such as cost savings, best performance, best quality, etc…? today? In the eyes of customers, what are the business issues that your competitors are addressing? In what manner are they getting out of those messages? (Email, print, direct mail, website, sales training, seminars, etc…)

Try this exercise out on your own business:

In your opinion, list the three areas that your competitor is doing well in terms of marketing efforts:
1.)
2.)
3.)

What three business solutions does your product or service provide that your competitors are not addressing?
1.)
2.)
3.)

(excerpt from Chapter 13, What Your Competitors Are Doing, Market This!: An Effective 90-Day Marketing Tool)

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Day 31: Sometimes it’s all about perception

June 27, 2011

Understanding how to market your product or service is reflected in how you are already perceived in the marketplace today. Do you know how your customers view your company, your product or service? If you are a small business and your product or service is already a commodity, you may be challenged to differentiate yourself from all those competitors out there because there are so many of them.

Think about a customer who goes to a yellow page book or online listing to find a specific type of company. Perhaps your company is not listed but the customer finds another one instead and calls. Think about a customer that does a Google search and finds all kinds of great information about your competitor, but nothing is listed about you. Or, the customer thinks your business is smaller than another business because you have no website and chooses your competitor over you. The point is that people may be missing out on your product or service because they don’t know about it or haven’t heard about it before. Or, people may not have heard enough good stuff about what you are offering to take a risk to buy it.

It’s up to you to create a good impression and influence your customer’s perception of who you are. That means developing online marketing and messaging statements that show what a great product or service you have to buy!

(excerpt from Chapter 13, What Your Competitor’s Are Doing, Market This!: An Effective 90-Day Marketing Tool)

Day 30: How to Build Consistent Credibility for your Business

June 17, 2011

I was talking to someone last week who was really trying to create some immediate credibility with a potential new client. “Use your current clients/customers to show how great your work is,” was my first response. But what happens when you’re first starting out a business and don’t have a slew of customers to rely on to build our that credibility, that history of success? The answer is to build out your good reputation and credibility through consistent quality of product and work. Here’s some tips to build out consistent credibility for your business:

– Showcase the quality and integrity of your product or service to new customers through in-person discussions or face-to-face meetings
– Demonstrate how your product or service stacks up against the competition – is it price and quality that makes you stand apart?
– Drive an email campaign or newsletter effort that consistently gives examples of how new customers are beginning to use your product – use testimonials and/or live quotes to show why customers are liking what you are doing
– Continue to build out a portfolio of new customer testimonials and include in all ongoing communication to your existing and potential customers
– Don’t be afraid to ask new customers why they like your product or service, why they tried it and ask for permission to post on blogs/e-news or show as an example to new customers!
– Pick a time that you will talk to your customers – once a week, once a month and stick to it. Your consistency of communication will begin to build your credibility and people will begin to rely on your content.
– Don’t be afraid to show potential customers what you’re good at! Sometimes you have to toot your own horn and when you’re building out your credibility and your customer base, you can’t be shy!

Day 29: How economic conditions change your customer’s mind

June 14, 2011

Economic conditions can and will impact your customer’s priorities in ways of which you may be unaware. Remember, your customers have a budget. If the economy is weak and your customer’s business is cutting back, they may be cutting back in areas once thought to be very important. They will conserve, they will scrimp and they will cut back when the economy is not favorable. They may buy things that are less expensive or of lesser value to make themselves feel better about spending!

Today’s tip: Even in the toughest of economic conditions, you can still make your product or service attractive to your customers. You can do this through continued efforts to stay top of mind with customers, marketing efforts and pricing offers that keep your customers in mind. What you offer as a product or service needs to continue to add value to your customer’s life, and increase in value even in the toughest of times. Think about ways that you’ve helped current customers in a tough economy and find ways to use these examples in a testimonial to showcase your product or service to customers.

Day 28: Do today’s trends help you market your product or service better?

June 8, 2011

What’s happening out there in the world that may impact the way your customers may perceive your product in a more positive light? Are there any specific trends you are seeing with respect to research, articles or general news you see that may impact and influence your marketing efforts?

Today’s Tip: If you don’t see any trends in relation to your product or service in the world today, turn to customer trends. Look for patterns of problems that customers consistently have in the market today. Turn to social media if you can. Have you noticed any trends on social media or online communities that may result in a customer needing your product or service to solve a problem that they have? What problems exist out there with customers that can be solved with using your product or service?

(Excerpt from Chapter 12, How Current Trends Can Influence your Business and Impact your marketing, Market This!: An Effective 90-Day Marketing Tool)

Day 27: Turning Trends Into Messages That Lead to Your Product or Service

June 4, 2011

Think about what trends are out there today. What types of trends exist that could be affecting how your customers are purchasing or not purchasing your product or service? What types of materials already exist that contain trend information that you need to help sell and market your product or service better? For example, are there reports, white papers, or any recent information that could persuade your customers or potential customers to be interested in what you are marketing to them?

Today’s tip: By mentioning or including a positive trend in your marketing message, you may have a unique opportunity to lead a customer right to your product or service. For example, if you have a product that is environmentally friendly in some way, and you want to attract more environmentally-conscious customers, consider mentioning some environmentally-friendly features/benefits of your product in your online messaging or your current marketing materials.

(Excerpt from Chapter 12, How Current Trends Can Impact Your Business, Market This!: An Effective 90-Day Marketing Tool)

Day 26: Where to look for positive trends that can impact your business

May 30, 2011

So do you know what a positive trend is and how it can help to make your product or service look even better? A positive trend is one trend that encourages customers to purchase your product or service because of something good that is happening in the market or the news. These positive trends evolve and change over time, so being aware of these trends can really help you to anticipate what your customers will do when they decide to purchase your product or service.

So where can you find these positive trends? Look at the media for starters! Newspapers, online publications, radio and TV commercials can all help to provide information for you. Many current research reports appear in online newsletter resources. Analysts are also good at writing up white-paper reports on trends on specific industries.

Helpful Tip: Do a google search today — with key words around your business, your product or service — researching your industry or specific area of interest and look for articles, reports or anything written related to what you may be marketing and selling. Chances are, you’ll get some interesting information about what’s happening positively in your industry!

(excerpt from Chapter 12, Market This!: An Effective 90-Day Marketing Tool, How Current Trends can impact your business)

Day 25: What hot and current trends are affecting your product or service?

May 24, 2011

Think about all the trends out there right now — there are positive trends, negative trends, and then there are even economic trends. There are trends with technology like the iPad, iPhone, teeth whitening trends, business outsourcing trends, and trends with going “Green.” Pick your trend, there are many! Trends are everywhere and they can impact your business every day. Be aware of the trends that could influence your business and the ways your customer may be viewing your product or service. Trends can play an important part in your business and its success.

(excerpt from Chapter 12, How Current Trends Can Impact Your Business, Market This!: An Effective 90-Day Marketing Tool)

Day 24: Leveraging your existing customers

May 23, 2011

If you’ve done my fun customer segmentation exercise below, you have a fairly good idea of how your customers line up in their respective buckets. So, let’s think about your greatest growth opportunity within your existing customer segments. Are there opportunities to grow a customer segment that has a smaller percentage with a bit more attention and focus on that customer segment group? What types of marketing and/or sales activities can you commit to today to help you create increased revenues with your existing customers? If you’re like most businesses, you may be looking to grow an entirely new segment one that you may not have experience with, and that’s okay. But, consider this–when you did your exercise below, which customer segment has the potential to grow the most, and bring you in more revenues? This is your low-hanging fruit opportunity customer and this customer deserves some more marketing and sales attention. This may be a small customer segment, but may have the opportunity to grow the most.

(excerpt from Chapter Ten, Market This!: An Effective 90-Day Marketing Tool)

Day 23: Fun Segmentation: Customer Bucket Wish List

May 20, 2011

Segmenting your customers can actually be a fun task when you think about what you’d like to see in terms of customer growth and revenues. Think for a moment about your ideal customer list, your “wish list” for how you’d like to see your customers segmented. For example, if 70% of your customers are in the biotech segment and 10% non-profit, and 10% Greentech, think about what percentage of your business you’d like to grown in an existing or another segment. Here’s a quick exercise you can do to get started with your own Customer Bucket “Wish List”:

1. I have X customer buying my product or service now.
2. From a segmentation perspective, my customers fall into the following industries/categories in terms of percentages. (your answers should add up to 100%)
__% Industry or category here
__% Industry or category here
__% Industry or category here

You get the idea! Now do the same exercise but use the exercise above to instead document your ideal “wish list” of what you’d like to see in terms of segmentation for your customers. If there’s a new market you’d like to enter, be sure to include in this “Wish list.”

___%Industry or category here – Wish List
___%Industry or category here – Wish List
___%Industry or category here – Wish List

I’ve seen a lot of people use this exercise to really define where their existing customer sit in terms of segmentation. A funny thing happens when you start to document what’s happening and really define where you’d like to go–it can really help you to set a path for success! This customer bucket “Wish List” is really handy for planning purposes and allowing you to see where you have the greatest opportunity in your business today with low-hanging fruit customers.

(Excerpt from Chapter 10, Segmenting your customers, Market This!: An Effective 90-Day Marketing Tool)