Whenever you send out your direct marketing next time, send a copy to people you know well, friends, relatives, networking groups, chamber members you work with, committee members, trade association members you know personally, but with a little twist. Send a copy to anyone who knows you well.
If you send them the direct marketing piece it will appear that you are marketing to those that are close to you and, sometimes, that just isn’t taken well, they feel imposed on. But this time, when you send it, attach a post-it note over it, or paper clip a note and wrap it around the top. Either hand write on the post-it, or, as I do, I set up my printer to print 4 on an 8 1/2×11 sheet of paper, cut them out, and attach them to the direct marketing piece. My signature was scanned in so it looks hand signed.
The note looks a little like this:
Hi John I’m doing a seminar that frequently doubles small businesses. If you know of someone who might benefit from attending I’d really appreciate you passing this along. Thanks Alan
The marketing brochure stands on its own. I’m just asking if he can pass it on if he knows of someone.
The typical result is
I get a lot of referrals, the response rate is much higher for this batch, than the others that go out cold.
I am building a reputation, and brand awareness among my friends, co-workers, and miscellaneous committees I work with. They know what I am doing and are referring business even at other times. And they didn’t feel imposed on by my marketing.
Many times my friends and co-workers come for their own benefit. They come freely instead of feeling that I imposed on them with my marketing.
Alan Boyer, President/CEO of The Leader’s Perspective, LLC is one of the world’s leading breakthrough specialists. He has worked with some of the worlds largest companies, on projects in the multi-billion dollar area, and with single proprietor companies. He has worked on many hundreds of projects with companies that have resulted in multi-$100 million savings or gains.
With over 35 years of business, quality, and process experience, he has catapulted businesses lightyears ahead in weeks. Some have doubled and some have jumped 10 times. He claims the key to that is:
Helping the business owners/employees develop the business skills
Helping them overcome the limitations and attitudes that they built between their ears (the self imposed limitations, I can’t, this won’t work for me, I’m different)
By helping them find the breakthroughs in their business and thinking
Helping Companies Worldwide Reach Further Than They EVER Thought possible….FASTER
If you’re a business owner who is ready to lift your ideas to the next level yet you’re not sure whether you need a business plan, proposal or marketing strategy, there is a way to determine which should come first.
While some believe that a business plan is the most appropriate document in taking their company to the next level, others actually would do better with a proposal or marketing strategy. The choice is based on what your intention is and what you actually need for your particular project. The following defines the differences between the proposal, marketing strategy and business plan and which steps to take in realizing your goals.
A proposal in essence is an overview of what it is you are planning to present or offer. It basically defines what you will do for your client and how you plan on helping them achieve their goals. It does not need to be lengthy nor does it have to contain as many details as a business plan, although in some instances it should include a lot of particulars.
A proposal can stir the interest of the potential client by seeing in black and white what you will do for them. Perhaps you’re promoting your business to some new clients who have already expressed interest in your company but want to learn more. The proposal is meant to whet the appetite of those reading it as it demonstrates your capabilities and expertise. It is the perfect way of presenting your ideas. For example: I recently wrote a book proposal for a popular self-published book. Although the book had reached a high level of success, the author was ready to take her book to a higher level and wanted to find a publisher who would publish her next edition. As a result of a great proposal, she now has three different publishers who are bidding on her project.
A MARKETING STRATEGY
When you construct a marketing strategy bear in mind that you are presenting ways in which you will promote either your own business or that of someone who has hired you. It is precisely what it says; a strategy.
As an example, I recently worked with a Real Estate Broker whose company was being considered to handle the selling of a huge new condominium complex. The individuals who were thinking of commissioning him were already confident in his ability but wanted to be sure of his direction and requested details of his methodologies. They weren’t interested in anything more than the strategies he would use in attracting the clientele they were after so a marketing strategy was the perfect document for his needs.
To assist my client, I compiled a detailed marketing strategy, which defined every conceivable way he would fulfill his responsibilities. As a result, the gentleman that was thinking of commissioning him was impressed with the marketing strategy and the job was given to the Broker. A well-put together strategy can be the precise tool you need when convincing someone of your expertise.
THE BUSINESS PLAN
A Business Plan can have several intentions. The first and most obvious is for the purpose of gaining the attention of investors, financiers or loan companies. It is a detailed plan that will show your potential investors exactly where you’re heading. In it you will include an objective, company overview, product or service, competition, target market, demographics, marketing strategies, bios and financial projections. A business plan is an entire blueprint of your business from the initial concept all the way to the completion of your projected goals.
A business plan can also serve another purpose. As you move forward in the direction of your endeavor, having a good business plan in place, keeps you from veering off in fruitless directions. Even if you aren’t looking for investors, the plan will keep you on track and prevent you from wasting valuable time and effort regarding your business efforts.
When making a decision as to which you require for the next stage in your business enterprise, the preceding should help in clarifying your needs. But whichever you choose, make sure your proposal, marketing strategy or business plan is well constructed and carefully put together. If your goal is to have an investor, company, business or agency take you seriously, you have to demonstrate your ability through a professionally prepared business presentation.
Have you ever attended a seminar expecting that it will either eliminate or reduce doubt, confusion, ignorance or fear? Most everything taught in seminars is designed to do one or more of those things. If you’re like most of us, you’ve returned more than once from an event without the solutions you sought.
How does it feel when the speaker’s material has no relevance to your concerns? How does it feel when the speaker is unable to make the material relevant to current events that have derailed you? For me, if the lecture, sermon or presentation has no relevance to the challenges (personal or professional) I experience, the speaker hasn’t done his/her job.
I count on the meeting planner and event organizers to attract speakers who can solve problems relevant to the organization. It’s your job as the speaker to match your expertise with organizations that can benefit from your expertise.
In selecting your target market, determine exactly how your talent, skill and expertise is relevant to the specific needs of each audience to whom you would have the privilege of speaking. As an expert who speaks, you’re in the privileged position of influencing the lives, practices and attitudes of others.
Most of us read the newspaper and are a little more informed of conflict, corruption and crime, less secure and a little more disturbed by man’s inhumanity to man. We don’t actually do much with that information, except possibly become a little more suspicious of the behavior of others.
Convert the time you spend reading newspapers and magazines into a more productive practice. When you read current events in newspapers and magazines or on the Internet, begin to analyze whether or not the subject of the article – a trend, an industry in crisis, the restructuring of an organization, a merger or acquisition, a cultural concern – is one from which your expertise can benefit.
For instance, when organizations downsize or merge, imagine what issues the leaders are facing with employees and managers. There could be anger, fear, insecurity or a rise in stress-related illnesses. All of these reactions cost the organization money in the long and short run.
Put yourself in the position of the people in the story. How could your expertise help them? Can you create order where there is little to none? Can you inform them of some historical significance that can put things in perspective to redirect negative behavior to a more proactive and productive pattern? Can you teach coping mechanisms such as anger management or communication skills or techniques which improve performance and lower health costs for companies?
Will telling your personal experience, your rags to riches story or your philosophy move them past limited thinking?
How can your expertise improve production and decrease turnover?
It’s a fun exercise to pick up a copy of the corporate meeting planners directory or a national association directory and scroll down the list. Ask yourself if and how each organization can benefit from your presentation.
You may decide that your target market is made up of independent contractors, entrepreneurs and commissioned sales people. You may find your target market is direct selling companies, multi level marketing companies, insurance and real estate companies.
You may be fortunate enough that your expertise satisfies management, sales and administrative audiences. Where can you find organizations which represent the interests of each of those groups?
Identifying your target markets will direct how you write your sales copy and what you put in your promotional package. The more precise you are in targeting your market and defining your niche, the easier it will be for you to secure engagements and properly direct those who represent you.
Many people think that the Internet offers a tremendous
marketplace, while others will question the extra effort and money to purchase and design a website. Some of the money-making values of having a website are summarized in the following paragraphs for your consideration.
1. If you have a local group of customers and want to
expand to the neighboring areas, states or even, countries, without spending massive amounts of costly advertising money or even leasing more company space, then the Internet can work very well for you. Niche markets (small groups of customers scattered about that are interested in a very specific item or service) also work very well on the Internet.
2. As a business owner, you need to provide a map and
directions to your store for your customers and enable them to look up specials, discounts, limited merchandise, or varieties and prices of each item you market. For instance, let’s say you sell cheesecakes and you would like to spend less time on the phone explaining the different varieties, how many people the different varieties will serve, prices, and availability. Here’s how this could work online for you. You would provide a secure, encrypted order form thereby collecting the person’s credit information as well as their address, phone, and email information. They would list their preferences as to varieties and sizes of cheesecakes. This form would be sent directly to your email or to your fax so that you would have the items ready for the customer to pick up that day or the day they designate.
You would have the cheesecakes shipped for those that cannot make it to your store. When a customer returns to order another product from your website, they would not have to fill out most of the form as it would already be in your database.
3. You build their confidence when you show customers that you have their best interest and shopping convenience in mind when you open a website and properly maintain that website with new and updated information. Customers will appreciate being able to read about the owners, the store’s policies, the service after the sale, and any other items you think would develop a rapport to allow them to do more business with you. Having a website allows your company to develop its style and branding and develops a sense of security for the customers in doing business with your firm.
4. A small operation can look just as important as a large
corporation. A website builds confidence and value into
your products and services and allows you to receive orders you may have missed without being on the Internet.
5. If you do advertising on the radio or TV, newspapers or direct mail, having a website gives the customer a place to review what you tell them in the ads in much more detail. Every ad should reference your website so customers can view the details at a time and place that is convenient 24 hours a day seven days a week. You can quickly change and update information on a website without the expense of printed materials.
6. You can do any promotion online that you can do offline and much cheaper. Coupons, money-off sales, discounts, employee recognition, limited merchandise you want to move, all these can be marketed on your website. Keeping the website up-to-date can be provided by your webmaster at a very nominal fee.
I hope that you can see from some of the above points that having your own website is necessary in today’s marketplace for any small or medium-sized business as well as any at-home business. Customers are out there looking for you and you need to take advantage of where they are looking and, right now, that is the INTERNET! Since your competitors have a website, they are perceived as being more up-to-date. The ease, convenience, special online savings, information about your company’s mission, your services, your ability to communicate with customers are all important reasons for having a dynamic online website. Online marketing will only continue to grow…WILL YOUR CUSTOMERS FIND YOU ONLINE?