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Posts Tagged ‘How to market a small business’

“So, what do you do then?”

If someone asks you to describe what your new business does, what do you say?

For many, this is not as easy as it sounds. Whether it’s for your business plan, on your website or in person, you need a clear, compelling description. You need to get your idea across in a way that will really get the attention of potential clients.

Here are 5 crucial questions to help you communicate what you do in a way that people understand, and act on:

  1. Talk about your CUSTOMERS: who do you work for? What kind of people benefit from your services? Where are they based?
  2. Talk about the PROBLEMS YOU SOLVE: what kind of issues, opportunities or challenges do you help with? Why are these so important to your target customers? When should a potential client pick up the phone to your company?
  3. Briefly describe your SERVICES: how do you help? What kind of services or products do you offer? What’s your process?
  4. BENEFITS: what kind of results or outcome can they expect from working with you? Prove this with case studies and testimonials.
  5. Explain your MISSION: What’s the story? Why are you in business? What difference have you set out to make to your customers?

Whether you’re writing your business plan, web content or describing what you do in person, remember to answer these five questions. Don’t just talk about your products and services. Tell your customers how you solve problems for people just like them

When they ask you what you do, this is what they really want to hear.

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Direct mail is still a useful tool for getting your message out. Not everyone is online (yet) and many people still prefer to see and touch parchment rather than pixels on a monitor.

But email is free, ‘snail mail’ isn’t! A mail shot of 5,000 is going to cost you (at least) £1,750! YIKES!!

So here’s 5 TIPS to make sure your Direct Mail campaign isn’t the equivalent to posting money into a big, red bin.

Five tips to make sure they actually open the envelope!

1. No flashy envelopes. Nothing shouts JUNK MAIL louder than lots of pretty colours!
2. Either address it to them in person, or just put the address on.  ‘Dear Homeowner’ is another phase for ‘Hello, I’m Junk!’.
3. No pre-paid envelopes.  Yes, it’s lots of hassle to put on individual stamps, but you want your audience to feel like you’ve spent a bit of time thinking of them as an individual (don’t you?).
4. If possible, hand-write the envelopes.  Your children will see this as an excellent opportunity to practice their handwriting and will thank you by helping out with tip #3!
5. Put a return to address on the back.  Make sure it’s not a P.O. Box!

What some more tips on how to make sure they actually read your letter?  Then stay tuned – this post is coming real soon – why not subscribe so you don’t forget?

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Most people starting up a business, or running a new one, quickly realise that cashflow is perhaps the most critical factor to survival. Getting and keeping cash becomes an obsession. It is worrying about where the next lot of cash is coming from that keeps them awake.

That said, most new entrepreneurs say that marketing is the thing they want to get right. I have seen this time and again at start-up workshops, seminars and exhibitions. Recently, when I asked the readers of localbusinessadviser which business advice topics were most important to them, marketing was the most popular, with 44% saying it was first choice. That’s more than twice the number that chose the next closest topic, planning. Register and read the full report here.

But how many of us have ever had any Marketing training? Well, actually, I have. Many years ago I studied marketing at my local Business School. I enjoyed the course and met people who have remained friends. But the odd thing was that almost all the case studies and working exercises (which were academic and theoretical) tended to be about big business: multinationals and corporates. Even at my relatively tender age (!) I knew my career was not going to be in BigCo, and it annoyed me that there was no proper coverage of how to market a small business.

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