Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘word of mouth’

1 Plan your marketing
Far too often, new businesses take a scattergun approach to marketing. They spend a huge amount of time and focus on marketing – which is correct – but there is no cohesive strategy, plan or thinking. So what happens is, 80 per cent of their marketing efforts results in little or no return.

If you have done your homework, you will be clear about how you help your target market with their ‘pain’, know where your target market hang out and how best to get your message to them. Use this knowledge to plan your marketing, so you focus your marketing on your target market, in a place where they will see it – and in a way that will encourage them to take action.

If you believe that word-of-mouth is going to be all the marketing you need, think again. Word-of-mouth works very well when you are an established business with a good name. Until you are an established business, word-of-mouth, in isolation, will not be an efficient marketing strategy.
Think very carefully about taking an enhanced listing in a physical or internet directory. When was the last time you looked in one of these for a tradesperson or supplier?

2 Know your costs
I’m going to be blunt. If you don’t know the cost of running your business, it normally means you are running your business as a hobby. Poor financial management of a new business is one of the main reasons for a new business to fail in its first year. Poor cashflow is a major factor in this. If you sell to businesses, see how short you can make your payment terms. For example, can you ask for some cash up front?

3 Look for recurring business opportunities
At the start of your business life, most of your business will have to be won from new clients. Winning business from existing clients is estimated to be between seven and 14 times easier than winning business from a new client. Aim to target new business from clients or customers that are likely to result in recurring business.

4 Be flexible
No one can predict exactly how your new business is going to perform. In the first 12 months of trading, you will probably need to tweak part of your business and marketing strategy. If you keep yourself open to opportunities and possibilities, you are more likely to be able to change strategy before it costs you time and money.

5 Work to your personal talents and strengths
In the early days as a one-man-band, you are going to have to be all things to all people. There are always going to be tasks that don’t fit your personal preferences. For me, this was bookkeeping. Be honest with yourself and outsource or delegate any tasks that can be done by someone else, without materially affecting the running of the business.

6 Set and write down business goals
Only about 3 per cent of adults have clear, written goals. These people accomplish five to ten times as much as people of equal ability and standing, but who, have never taken the time to write out exactly what they want to achieve. It’s the same with new businesses. Those businesses that remain focused on their goals are more likely to achieve greater things. In the early days, you are on a steep learning curve, so you will need to revisit these business goals every three months.

startupdonutbannerbutton728x90

Bookmark and Share
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Penny Power, founder of Ecademy.com, explains why anyone starting up a new business should be active on social networks.

Are you already using social networks to get your business off the ground?  Please share your story.

startupdonutbannerbutton728x90

Bookmark and Share

Read Full Post »

Our clients, and most people we’ve met and talks and events recently, have asked the same question: Is social media appropriate for business-to-business marketing? Unequivocally, the answer is YES.

In the last year, 40% of Clear Thought’s revenue can be tracked back to a social media source, and 100% has been enhanced or aided by it in some way. In the last six weeks alone, here are some things that Clear Thinkers have achieved through social media:

  • Hooked up two people met through Twitter with paying B2B clients.
  • Received two good quality new business enquiries, both of which are now at proposal stage.
  • Sourced experts willing to talk to us about their business as part of market research projects.
  • Enhanced relationships with prospective businesses using online nurturing techniques.
In B2B decision-making or considered purchases, social media has most impact in the top half of the sales funnel
In B2B decision-making or considered purchases, social media has most impact in the top half of the sales funnel

From a new business perspective, social media has critical impact in the first three stages of the sales funnel. That is, Awareness, Interest and Evaluation. From a social media perspective, you need to do the following:

To generate awareness: ‘Be There’ find out where your prospects hang out online and have a presence there.

To convert awareness in the interest: ‘Be Relevant ‘ provide information that is useful or controversial to pull people into your content.

To make it through evaluation: ‘Be Proven’ provide case study and testimonials at every turn online, ideally with other people talking on your behalf.

To really make the most of the channel, it makes sense to get some expert support – particularly in measuring and enhancing your activity. But, here are some really simple things to get you started.

10 FREE things you can do to generate awareness online:

  1. Ensure your company & all employees have a LinkedIn profile.
  2. Join or set-up an interest group on LinkedIn.
  3. Set-up a SlideShare space, link it to your LinkedIn profile.
  4. Set-up a YouTube Channel or Facebook page (if appropriate).
  5. Set-up a company Twitter Feed.
  6. Bookmark your content (StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, etc).
  7. Set up a BT Tradespace profile.
  8. Set-up Google, BlogSpot and WordPress identities.
  9. Comment on, or become a contributor to, blogs and forums.
  10. Regularly update email signatures with new content.

10 FREE things you can do to generate interest online:

  1. Post snappy links to content via Twitter, Status, Email footer, etc.
  2. Post regular interesting short blogs (10 mins).
  3. Prepare deeper content like pressos, papers and articles (20 mins).
  4. Give each of your team an area of expertise to track and comment.
  5. Post details of other people’s content relevant to your audience.
  6. Comment on industry news and happenings… in real time.
  7. Make sure all employees regularly update online statuses.
  8. Follow-up traditional touch-points with online contact.
  9. Gather permissions to send email updates.
  10. Ask intelligent questions in online forums.

10 (nearly) FREE ways to prove your credentials online:

  1. Provide written case studies on your site, blog, etc.
  2. 140 character lines to link back to your case studies, articles, etc.
  3. Post case study videos on your site, YouTube channel, etc.
  4. Post webcasts and presentations on your site, SlideShare, etc.
  5. Post product demos on YouTube, SlideShare, etc.
  6. Re-use the words of others about your products and services.
  7. Provide intelligent answers to questions posted in Forums, Groups
  8. Run live Q&A sessions via Twitter.
  9. Add a customer feedback / rating system (like Kampyle) to your site, blog, etc and re-use the positive feedback.
  10. Ask LinkedIn contacts for endorsements.

Note: In this blog, we’re focusing specifically on lead generation. It is worth noting (and blogging in the future) that social media can be powerfully used in market research, recruitment, lead nurturing and much more.

You might also be interested in:

startupdonutbannerbutton728x90

Bookmark and Share

Read Full Post »

Some time ago I blogged about how a failing local Fitness Club had been taken over and turned around by a new, enthusiastic management team.

18 months down the line and I am happy to report that the club is still going from strength to strength. Indeed, it is so popular that it’s restricting new memberships.

The secret? Customer service and attention to detail. It is honestly that simple.

It is not the best appointed fitness club in the world, there’s no pool or sauna. Perhaps that’s why it doesn’t attract poseurs.

The staff all know you by name, offer sensible advice and tips, and help you get the most out of a short trip to the gym.

I know some people use their gym as a social activity. But for me, I just want to concentrate on the fitness while I’m there, so it suits me. I get enough socialising down the pub, thanks!

I wish I could link you to their website… but they don’t have one. Which, if you think about it, only strengthens the case for good old-fashioned word of mouth. They have built the business on referrals. Power to them.

Bookmark and Share

Read Full Post »

I’m part of the team developing a new website for small business managers. We are thinking about how to generate interest in the run-up to launching the site. In the old days, a new product launch relied heavily on favourable reviews from respected journalists with big readerships. But times have changed.

Some time ago I worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company and each new show in the programme was launched to the media on Press night. Boy, we launched a lot of new shows/products!

In those days, it really was only well-known newspaper theatre critics that mattered, and a lot of energy and expense was put into nurturing those relationships. If the show got panned, well, that really did have an impact on bookings.

For BHP’s new website, we’ll certainly be sending press releases to certain influential journalists. This can work extremely well with the local press if your story has a local angle.

But big name critics do not have the power they once did. Yes, we still look to critics for opinion, sometimes, but they are not the only place to look. The web is alive with citizen journalists blogging away. People and opinions connect online without the need for intermediaries like journalists and newspapers. 

So, if your new product is online (sold, talked about, or marketed in any way) then you have to try and harness the power of online networking and communities in order to generate coverage. In short you are looking to build favourable online word of mouth. Crucially, this should link to your site.

So, that is what we will be doing when our new website goes live in the New Year. Mark Sinclair of Hubbub talks of “lighting fires” of interest across relevant blogs, bookmarking sites and website. I love that idea. I wonder how big the blaze will be?

Read Full Post »