Telling the truth about SME life today

Ten small things to make a profit (now)

We’ve spent a lot of time working with entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses – and these ten points are all tried-and-tested strategies for success.

So, here goes:

1. Find a way of encouraging visitors to your website to leave their details. Give away something of value to them, make it free and offer it in return for their contact details (name and email address is fine). You’re building your database/your list.

2. Many people say that the most valuable asset in your business is your database. Actually, it’s not. It’s the value of the relationship that you have with that list. You must keep in touch regularly – weekly.

3. Once you have the list, segment it. If you segment your list by product/service/membership category, then you will be able to craft your messages to “hit the spot” whenever you communicate with your list. And NEVER let anyone off, even if they stop buying.

4. Don’t be dependent on one or two marketing methods. The best companies use between six and ten. How many are you using” And whenever you do use a new one, do what David Ogilvy says: “test, test, test”.

5. Become an expert and build your personality. Get used to the fact that you are an expert in your own business. Promote that: let your clients and customers know, and do everything you can to position yourself as an expert. People pay more to work with experts.

  • Write articles for trade magazines and internet article sites
  • Start a blog
  • Contribute to industry forums
  • Speak at conferences
  • Go to networking events

6. Send all your existing customers a sales letter with an offer to buy something from you that is extra to what they would normally buy. The letter should have the following:

  • An attention-grabbing headline which gets them to read on
  • The offer and the reason why the offer exists in the form of a story
  • A deadline by which they need to respond
  • Instructions on what they need to do next

7. Offer a premium product or service at a premium price. In most businesses, 20 per cent of customers will pay for a premium product or service.

8. Collect as many great testimonials as you can and use them ruthlessly in your marketing efforts. What others say about you is many, many times more powerful than what you say about yourself.

9. Ask yourself two questions that few businesses ask at all. First, what’s the next thing you can offer your customer after their first purchase If you’re in a single-purchase market, this still works. You just have to be innovative. Second, what else could your customer want (that you cannot supply) that you could help them get?

10. Forget your marketing budget. Instead of trying to allocate funds to a marketing budget based on historical and traditional thinking and data, think about it this way. How much are you willing to spend to get a customer” Work out the lifetime value of a customer to your business and if you don’t know, guess their value over three years. Then decide how much you would be willing to pay to get them. That’s your marketing budget.

My final tip is to take action. The biggest difference between the least and most successful business people and businesses is implementation.

Tim Fearon is co-founder of The Extraordinary Coaching Company.


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