The end of the year is fast approaching. Don’t wait until after January 1 to plan for 2010, you’re already in it then. Why not get started now and really get going for 2010? Here are 10 ways:
Resolution 1: Know what business you’re really in:
you’re not a service business or a retail business; you’re a marketer of services or products. You’re not a community, per se. You are a “marketer” of “the best (insert your business type) for the money”. Marketing is what you do if you’re a business owner; the product or service is what you deliver. This is the attitude you MUST have.
Resolution 2: Know your customers.
Make sure your database is correctly segmented:
“A” customers – those who’ve bought one or more products or services within the last year.
“B” customers – those who’ve bought within two years.
C Customers – those in the past (over 2 years with no recent purchase history).
D Customers – longer than 3 years. Immediately drop your “D’s”.
Resolution 3: Do a sequential series of direct mailings to your A and B customers.
They’ll receive 3 letters, 14 days apart.
Create a special report that explains something they can use to help them.
A board & care might send a free report on “How to Pick the Best Place for Mom or Dad”.
Letter 1: they call or email you and ask for the Special Report; you send it out with a follow up special letter with a discounted offer.
Letter 2 goes out 14 days later; it alludes to letter 1 and asks them where they’d like you to send that special report.
Letter 3 goes out 14 days after that, so you’ve touched them 3 times in less than 30 days.
Letter 3 tells them you’ll bring it by or mail it right away, they’ve probably been busy. By doing this sequence, you’ll get more than the normal response.
Resolution 4: Target Your Market.
If you’re looking for new prospects and customers, don’t do a shotgun approach—target your market.
Rent a list of people who are prone to buy from you. (When you write your ideal client profile, find a list that mirrors that.
Example: You have clients that regularly pay $500 per service or product—find more of those) You might check with a local or national industry magazine to rent their mailing list in your zip codes.
Resolution 5: Know Your Company.
Before you write that special report, you’d better know what makes you special, so you can put that in the report and sell it to your ideal customers and prospects.
- Make a list of all your products or services.
- Then take 3 x 5 cards, and for each separate product or service, right down one feature of that particular product or service on a card.
- On the back, put the benefit to the customer. (Features are what you do; benefits are what you do for the customers.)
Resolution 6: Find Your USP.
Often called the Unique Selling Proposition, by using the cards in Resolution 5, you should be able to find out what you do that is unique, that your competitors don’t.
It might be you pick up and deliver something unusual. Or it might be you are the only facility with 24-hour van drivers. Now that’s unique.
Resolution 7: Know your competition.
There are two types of competition: direct and indirect.
Direct competitors are those that “do what you do, to the market you do it to.” You own a 6 bed board and care, they do also. Your market niche is small businesses less than 10 employees, they target the same. Those are your direct competitors. And you probably know who they are already.
The indirect competitors: those that don’t necessarily target your buyers directly, but can also offer your services if asked. (Anyone that says “oh, we do that also”. Watch out for these cats!)
Resolution 8: Create a competitor analysis grid.
Using the competitions’ Yellow Pages ads, brochures, sales letters, print ads, and other media, check to see what the competition is offering. Then make an analysis grid like this:
Competitor [Hours Open [Days Open [Guarantees [USP
Make a column for every thing in their ads that they say they offer. You want to find what you can do or offer that they won’t or can’t.
Resolution 9: Create a real powerful Yellow Page and coupon ad
you can use over and over; one that doesn’t look like you copied it from the competition. Have you ever look at the YP ads? They all look the same.
Why not create an ad that truly educates the potential customer? This article is an example.
For a retail store, headline the ad “10 Things you need to know about ….” With the blanks being what it is that will educate the prospect about your business.
Then the ad expanded becomes your special report. For example: 7 things you MUST know before you hire your next termite control company. And you tell them in the ad.
That is so totally different from what you see in the YP, that they’ll beat a path (the customers, not the termites) to your door.
Resolution 10: Really work the room at the Chamber meetings and other networking groups.
For every meeting, target three new companies you currently don’t do business with, then strike up a conversation about what they do. After the meeting, send a thank you card to them, mentioning something you talked about. Then follow up with a call later in the week. You’ll stand out.
Reece Franklin, President of Market Smarts Communications, is the author of 8 books on small business marketing. For a free copy of his special report “73 Ways to Market Your Business”, email him at email@example.com. PO Box 2920, Chino Hills, CA 91709.