Market your contractors services in three steps
While more and more new businesses are popping everyday, new media is invented by the minutes. Marketing is becoming a struggle for new businesses. Directories will short live and branding will become essential. You will much rather your customer remember you and search by name instead of continuing to spend money on advertisements. Memorable names or telephone numbers could save your customer from having to find you in search engines or directories. Listings where your competition nest.
Like most business start-ups, I found myself sitting and looking at my phone for hours, waiting for it to ring. It actually took twenty eight days to get my first call for a work order. During the twenty eight days I faced numerous ups and downs. I also had second thoughts about my startup. I thought about quitting. Little did I know then that this thought would be surfacing in my mind frequently, for the next fifteen years facing the unknown almost in every day of business adventures.
My first two years in business went through a trial and error method. It was filled with expeditions to the unknown and I was constantly faced with hard decisions to make. There was very little time to make choices. I soon realized that having business cards and a van with the company name wasn’t enough to get business or make profit. The harsh truth was that not many have heard of me or my service. My business image didn’t stand out nor did it have a clear message. My business model faded with the rest of the competition and thought the only way to get business was to offer the lowest prices. It wasn’t long before I found myself working for the business rather than the business working for me. The fact was that I had only owned a job hardly paying the bills.
Knowledge and willpower is key, As an immigrant, I came to this country with little knowledge but I was packing a lot of will and had a dream, or so called vision. I landed in the middle of a nation that packs a lot of knowledge but only few had motivation to do something with it. You can have results with willpower alone but knowledge without power often results in wasted thoughts. You can take almost any idea to the top with knowledge and willpower.
The few who succeed often have a combination of any two of the following three, Will, knowledge or money. Having money and knowledge can make someone even richer. Having money and will you can buy knowledge. Having all three you will have Elon musk or steve job.
The same principle applies to how someone loses all once they get to the top. Money can kill someone. Living without motivation or a vision in mind can be very difficult and destructive. I’m only writing this to remind you and myself to never give up any of all three. Always seek knowledge, Always find new causes to support your will. And constantly make the right decision with money.
Everything starts with an idea. The idea will remain a thought until someone implement it to produce it and make it into a product or service. Product or service remain secret if no one knows about it. No matter how good the product is, it will not sell if no one knows of it. Even Apple has to market the iPhone and tell about it in order to be able to sell such volumes. I’m a big advocate that almost anything sells if you marketed correctly. Even you if are crazy enough to bottle water and advertised it!
With marketing Knowledge and will power, you can almost sell anything. My first step towards marketing education was from reading trade magazines. The magazine featured an article that discussed the solutions to common challenges and how the experts dealt with it. Marketing surveys that help minimize advertising mistakes. Hiring tips and how to keep employees motivated. I then later started taking branding courses and attended seminars on marketing. I made several tweaks and adjustments in my business approach but it took me fifteen years to define a niche in my service and to create a powerful brand for my business.
Yes, you read that right; it took me fifteen years to grasp the concept of branding and marketing. I took fifteen years time to define my brand after research and learn mainly about 3 things :
- What the customer needed?
- What the business should offer them?
- How to profit from it?
Can you answer these three things? You may already know the answer to these questions, but when I started my company I felt something was missing. Warren Buffett said –“In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” If I knew then, what I know now, I would have had a thriving business within a year’s time.
Advertising and marketing are getting out of control. Study estimates that a person 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day, compared with up to 5,000 or more exposures today. Ad messages recently are taking up a large memory space of our daily life. A huge amount of messages added to the audience’s daily thoughts. Experts estimate that the mind thinks an average of 70,000 thoughts each day. Over 7% of that is ad messages.
In order for your business to be noticed and for your ad to stand out from the crowd, you will need to take another look at your brand and see if it needs to be re-tweaked. Not everything in this book should apply to your business; however going over the list may give ideas that are unique to your niche.
My experience in starting half a dozen businesses and operating multiple for decades plays only a small part of the experience. The clear view didn’t happen until we owned commercial real estate and dealt with small businesses. The view was much clearer from the angle of a landlord. From the landlord’s position we witnessed over twenty five businesses take off. Some made it, some struggling and a few have left. I have seen a well prepared tenant with good working capital fail after one year in business. I have also witnessed great self-made entrepreneurs’ make it to the top having nothing other than dedication and a defined message. This book is to share these views and hopefully save many new entrepreneurs from failing.
Chapter 1: Get Ready
While the market is getting congested with ad impressions, only a few ad messages will get registered. Marketers are getting smarter. Media avenues are branching and planning strategies to become critical for getting results. Developing a brand with a clear message along with a visual identity is going to be crucial in the upcoming years.
Whether you are starting a business or have an existing one, take a second to look at your brand materials. Your vision, mission statements, slogans, logo ect. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself to evaluate your brand’s readiness.
What is your mission statement?
Once you know you’re inspired and know your calling, you’ll soon find yourself in an assignment; the quest to deliver your service and product to your customers. Only you understand your mission. No one else understands your objective like you do. Most business owners actually seek professional help to craft their mission statements. They look like the villains who retain a complex set of secret transactions that can’t be simply explained in words.
Without a mission statement, your business will always struggle with its identity. It will be very difficult for your customer to know what your company has in store for its customers and what you stand for. Mission statements connect employees with each other. Your entire team will be working towards one goal. It’s important for developed businesses to post mission statements in the place of work, fleets, work orders, website, business card etc.
Mission statements are meant for the company staff and the stakeholders. Mission statements keep your employees motivated and form the base for day-to-day decision making. Every new change that a company makes should be in alignment with the company’s mission statement.
Mission statements communicate your fundamental business purpose. Well crafted statements should be expressed in a few sentences. Short and to the point paragraph that helps people understand what your business is all about.
There are many opinions on how to craft a statement; however I find the following steps more helpful in many cases.
Define your business objectives: ask yourself these questions:
- What is your business and why have you chosen it?
- What do you want for yourself and your customers?
- What are the characteristics or features of your business?
A good mission statement should summarize the company’s objectives for its employees and its customers. It should be the guiding light to manoeuvre the company towards its goals and objectives. Put forward your company’s objectives and determine how it will be achieved. Also don’t forget to speak about the ways to implement your company’s desires and objectives.
Include the key elements: A good mission statement should include the following elements – Motivation, value, credibility and identity. The mission statement should motivate the employees and keep them inspired, it should guarantee value to the customers and it should sound reasonable and relevant.
Mission statements should focus on the present: The objectives mentioned in the mission statement should focus on the present instead of being a manifesto for the future. It should say what your company intends to do today instead of the distant future.
Pitch in your entire team: Mission statements should be developed with the help of your entire workforce; this makes them feel important and produces a better and fulfilling mission statement. Your mission statement will precisely reflect your business and will gain your employees trust.
Mission statements need to be updated: This is because as the company develops and grows there will be a need to revise it. This ensures to maintain and communicate the company’s identity with others. As the company makes new strides and changes make sure that you tweak and update the mission statement.
Here is an example from the one I have developed for a heating and air conditioning business “To Thrill Every Customer with on Time Response and Comfort Results at a Fair Price”
Other examples from popular brands include –
Google: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Harley Davidson: “We fulfill dreams through the experiences of motorcycling”
Coca Cola: “To refresh the world, to inspire moments of optimism and happiness, and to create value and make a difference.”
Good Clients are usually knowledgeable and can recognize business practices. If you want to retain these types of customers, think like they do. Step outside and look at your business from their view. Mission statement is what the business promises to deliver. Start crafting your mission statement or hire someone to do it for you. Once completed, post it where everyone can see it; at your office for your employee, your website, letterhead and in front of all your customers.
How to start an elevator speech “pitch”?
It is a Brief message about you or your product. It originated from the studio days of Hollywood, when a screenwriter tried to catch producers on an elevator ride. There, the screenwriter would ‘pitch’ an idea in a short summary to the decision-maker, Elevators speech is usually quick and lasts for about thirty seconds to two minutes and it simply defines a business or product. It would be easier on you to craft and memorize your elevator speech than for you to have a sharp well defined answer every time someone asks what you do. Better yet, you should have an elevator speech for every product you offer.
There is more than one way you can develop a smart pitch. But the most basic features of an elevator speech include:
- Identifying the problem your customers are having in a particular target market
- Offer the value that you provide and how do you provide it
- State what is unique about your offer
How to develop and deliver the perfect Elevator Pitch to win over your investors? Since you have only about 30 seconds to present your elevator pitch, you need to create a crisp pitch that is attractive, engaging, and impactful and produces a positive outcome.
To help you develop an interesting Elevator pitch here are a few tips:
Be familiar with your audience: Elevator pitches vary depending on the person or the company you are delivering it to. Prioritize the information in the pitch depending on the listener’s interest and priority. If the elevator pitch is for a customer you might want to emphasize on how the product or service is going to benefit them, but if it is for an investor, you will have to emphasize on the return on investment.
Step into the listeners shoes: The first question that arises in the listener’s mind is what you have in store for them or how are they going to be benefitted by your idea. So reflect yourself as an empathetic and compassionate person by addressing the existing issue and by offering a solution for that. This includes the benefits that your business would offer. Once you have addressed the problem, present your company as the best solution.
Be authentic: Don’t make false claims about your company. Talk about exactly what you intend to do with your company and how you are going to be valuable to your customers. Tell why you are the right person for the job, again, these need to be real and not made up just to impress the client. All your false claims will come into light one day or the other and if you are not able to stand up to the commitments that you made in the elevation speech, you will go nowhere near success.
Keep it short: Since the pitch is for a short time don’t load it with too much information. Just tell the investor about why your company is the best option for the addressed issue. Another advantage of keeping it short is that it will leave the investor asking for more. So if you have been able to get the person’s attention and interest, he is sure to ask you for more information which is a very positive sign.
Be clear with your intentions: Whether you are looking for an investment or any other sort of assistance, you can communicate to them. Let them know why you approached them and what you are expecting from them. This ensures an effective call-to-action.
Practice to sound natural: Communication needs to sound and look natural for it to be interesting. Once you prepare your speech, practice it to get the right flow. So when you are communicating your pitch to the client it should not sound made-up and unsure. An elevator speech has to be confident and convincing, which can be attained only with practice. It should be more of a conversation rather than a speech. People don’t engage when they feel the other person is trying to make a sale, but when you are keeping it as a normal and natural conversation, people will be more accepting.
Here is my pitch for this book,
“The readers we write for, come to us because they are under pressure with limited time and money, frustrated by the hidden risk, very concerned about succeeding in their business the first time. If you’re dealing with any of these issues, here is your chance to tap in our twenty five years of entrepreneurial leadership. Step by step guide into taking your Niche to Rich the first round.
It’s important in sales that you build momentum before you state your speech. You need to be comfortable and should stay focused before you start selling your product or service.
What is Call to action?
It is, quite literally, a “call” to take an “action”. This can be a line that can lead the customers to take action. Call to action could also be a text or an icon that prompts your website visitors to click and buy. After someone in sales states what they are selling, they must follow with an important part of the sale. Call to action can be a statement, question or even an order. For example, “Buy Now”. We will go deep into this topic when we learn a little about advance selling in chapter 4.
How Slogans important?
Slogans need to be short and memorable. A Good company slogan often leaves a thought on what the company has to offer. My truck got stuck in the mud one afternoon and the first thing that came to my mind was a jingle for a tow truck company that spells out their phone number. There were no smartphone nor did I have a phone book with me. Smart catch phrases could help your business. The towing company motto is how I got the idea to only use easy memorable phone numbers, emails and domain names. I called a phone number in our service area that ended with four zeros and offered to buy their line. I was surprised that pizza places and taxi companies have most of the good numbers. I got lucky in meeting a retired realtor who no longer needed his line and I made the trade.
Things to consider while deciding on a slogan
- Make it stand out: Your slogan should stand out from the rest of the slogans of your competitors. It should be attractive and interesting but at the same time it should be simple enough for the customers to remember. Slogans are the first impression of any business, so the more unique they are the more your business will be recognized.
- Keep it short and simple: Slogans should never be long and complicated. It becomes difficult for the customers to remember it. Even though it is short make sure that you communicate the core values through the slogan. Use simple words to ensure a smooth delivery of the business objective.
- Add in humor: A slogan which has a pinch of humor in it can attract more audience.
- Stay authentic: Convey your true purpose and business values to the public instead of fake build-ups.
Some interesting examples include:
“The ultimate driving machine.” BMW
“The Safer, Easier Way to Pay.” PayPal
“Just do it.” Nike
Make your contact information available.
This is something we are recently dealing with. There are multiple ways to communicate and it’s now becoming very confusing on how to announce your contact information. As a business you should give your buyer multiple methods to contact you. Make your contact available in electronic business cards. Sending as an attachment in a v.Card format will help your client download your contact information right into their contact list. I can’t stress enough how important it is to make v.Card available on websites and email signature.
Why have a video on your website?
Videos help in engaging people to the websites. They help in achieving higher conversion rates and more number of people in the landing pages. You can create your own videos or download them. It is a cheap method.
One of my favorite business to buy from, is Revzilla! They sell wide range of motorcycle gear, you can view HD videos reviews on almost every item they carry, offer free shipping and have great return policy. As you can tell, the name says it all. RevZilla has grown its YouTube channel to over 185,000 subscribers, shooting about 5,000 videos with tens of millions of page views. The three entrepreneur partners started out in 2009 by making review videos on different brand motorcycle gear. The strategy has translated well for RevZilla, which claimed $75 million in revenue in 2014.
Turn your website to a twenty four hour storefront with videos. Having a representative working round the clock selling your product has never been better. In addition to all the traffic you can generate with YouTube searches, Videos come up in search results all the time. You no longer need an agent to be famous. There are over four billion daily video views on YouTube.
With videos you can expand your market and sell your product nationally. We actually landed five digit remediation jobs from a city that’s four hours away because of a video lead. Client was looking for ways to improve the air quality in their facility when they ran into a YouTube video that showed them exactly how it’s done. They called!
Creating a video can be quite easy. The best videos are the ones that have a real person. Preferably an expert and not an actor that can pitch a solution in less than one minute! Video is a much better communication tool that reaches the eyes and ears with real life movement. For an awesome video, start your video with your name, company name, and slogans. Talk about the need then support your elevator speech with pictures and add contact information along with the call to auction.
Is your website dynamic and effective?
Website designing has a vital marketing role, similar to that of advertisements. Your customers get attracted and impressed by the way you present your product and services to them. Developing website designs that display your Brand creatively and beautifully requires a thorough understanding of the medium and a creative attitude. An effective design makes your website visitors venture through the length and breadth of your website. The only way to keep your customers engaged and increase your sale is by developing quality content, user-friendly features and exciting offers. A website is the main door of any business. It is a marketer’s platform to display his brand to his target audience. You can hire an agency to build you a stunning and quality business website at modest and affordable prices. Or if you have designing skills and computer knowledge then you can do the designing on your own. Whether you are hiring someone or designing on your own, you must make sure that you remain the architect of your website design. This is because only you know what you want to reflect through your website. You don’t have to spend too much cash on building a very vibrant and flamboyant website. The idea is to create an online platform which is simple but smart enough to communicate your service to the customers and effective enough to attract online visitors.
When you are employing a designer you need to understand that the designers know nothing about marketing or your particular marketing strategies. So before you even begin designing you need to communicate your marketing needs to the designer and supervise the entire process making all the necessary changes along the way. This will help you save money and time.
To get better ranking there needs to be an individual page for each service that you will be providing to your customers. And every service page should have a call to action in the end with your contact details.
Layout is very important while designing a website. Web visitors don’t show the patience to read through long paragraphs. The content needs to be crisp and in points. Develop engaging and interesting content with attractive headlines. Display the offers including coupons and discounts in such a way that it instantly draws the reader’s attention. Make the navigation in your website simple and easy to use.
Businesses develop websites to either sell the products online or to make the customer contact you to hire your service or purchase your product. And as customers we get inclined to those websites who offer the needed information in the most feasible way. This can be in the form of brilliant images or videos. Adding testimonials is another way of showing your credibility. Find resources to build or buy websites in reference page
Design strong offer
A strong offer is one of the key factors why customers buy. An offer should highlight the quality of your service or product. Designed to fit the right audience. A strong offer should end with a strong call to action. Use your marketing materials to promote your niche whether it is online, offline or in person. Share your video, get involved in blogs and share your website link. Answer with your mission statement if someone asks what you do. Use your elevator speech if someone is interested to learn more. Always end your proposal with a strong offer and call to auction. Most of today’s professionals are accustomed to sales standards and might get offended and won’t make a purchase if they weren’t offered a proper call to action. Winning companies research and plan strategy for their offerings.
You’ve got seconds to convert shoppers into buyers. The add is not where you brand your name, rather it’s a tool to bring in new customers to try your service or product. Customers will later have brand loyalty through all your other brand image that you have created. Remember the five pillars in structuring an ad:
- Get attention with clear headline
- Show people an advantage
- Prove it
- Persuade people to grasp this advantage with a call to action.
Essential offline Marketing Materials
So many ways to market online be that as it may, the most effective marketing is when you combine both digital marketing with print materials. Wait until you’re done reading the next chapter on colors, name and logo before you start designing your print materials. Some of the most marketing materials you will need is business cards, brochures, postcards, and posters. Unless you are an attorney or your business is going to require professional reports. Letterheads is now something in the past.
Make a list
You will need to identify who are the best buyers for your niche and focus your marketing effort only on them. You can prosper by selecting clients that you want to respond to your offer. Marketing to the wrong zip code can not only waste your money, but could create more inconveniences to your operation. We were able to thrive by selecting our service area. We marketed only to three zip codes each month to minimize our travel distance between jobs. Focusing on certain areas helped us optimize our routes and synergize our daily production. There was less wear and tear on our truck and equipment as well as it resulted in a better life quality for our employees.
Research is the key when it comes to who the audiences are and where to target. There are many free online tools that can help you search demographics and buy the data. It is the same case same with online marketing. Adword by google can help you find important keywords that will help you with marketing your online contents. Every business owner should have a list of who they are targeting. List of businesses, Residential demographics, also a list of keywords that’s related to possible phrase searches are a must have for every new business.
Designate a calendar
Seasons normally fall into four basic categories – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Every season the customer’s point of view and purchase behaviours change. In marketing the different seasons are an opportunity to find new customers, refresh the existing ones and to discover new markets. The seasons determine when a product is best available for example in the case of fruits and vegetables. And the seasons also create the opportunity for certain events like ice-skating in winter or surfing in summer.
Seasons play an important part in marketing because once we have established to whom we are going to cater, the next step is to determine WHEN we need to market the product or service. So to make the most out of your business and to gain the maximum profit it is very crucial to find out the season when your product or service will be used the most. This also helps you to stay prepared for the seasons when your business is going to be in its worst condition. For example if you sell ice-cream, you will have every poor business in the winter, isn’t it? So in winter you can be prepared by reducing the production volume and concentrating on some other product which is relevant to winter like a hot chocolate drink or something similar. The holiday season is the peak season for making purchases, so you need to increase your production to meet the customer demands during such occasions.
This holds the same for marketing campaigns. For example: Identify the times of year when the products you sell are most appealing to your potential buyers. Create a plan around it. Some campaigns can take months to reach and it’s crucial to plan ahead. To plan effectively, study the seasonal trends and anticipate on how it relates to your products. Designate a calendar with season reminders. Set ahead of time so you will never miss a season again.
Consider all the above tools as your gear to tackle your market and rest assured that most of your competitions have no idea on how to express their product. You will start noticing the ones who developed their business well and those who are still trying by wasting advertising money with unfocused messages. It’s important that once you have defined your niche you need to develop a mission statement, vision statement, elevator speech and a slogan if you want to stay on top of the game. You don’t have to rush and make these changes overnight. You will get the best ideas while performing in your niche. Make sure you always have a pen and paper handy to make some quick notes.
Chapter 2: Get Set
Just like a speed racers mind set. Businessmen need to develop mental skills to improve focus, confidence, composure, concentration and determination to consistently make the right decisions and win the race. Focusing on the track and not the competition to zing in the zone. Recognizing and learning from mistakes, manage distractions and refocus on your vision for the future of your business.
Vision the future
Your vision for the business is a broad view of what your company is going to deliver to the society as a result of your product in the long run. Some larger and reputed companies use their vision statements as their mission statements. However they probably have multiple mission statements for multiple categories of products. Check out these vision statements below
“PepsiCo’s responsibility is to continually improve all aspects of the world in which we operate – environment, social, economic – creating a better tomorrow than today. Our vision is put into action through programs and a focus on environmental stewardship, activities to benefit society, and a commitment to build shareholder value by making PepsiCo a truly sustainable company.” (Quoted from Pepsi Co.com.)
“Our [Amazon’s] vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” (Quoted from Amazon.com)
Why is branding important?
Study estimates that a person 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day, compared to the 5,000 or more exposures today. That’s 5,000 of you seeing billboards signs, hearing radio ads, touching junk mail… etc. Millions of dollars are spent every day on advertising. The Marketer’s goal is to help you to retrieve their brand image from your subconscious when you are ready to buy.
Let us try this test and see if you can think of a mattress brand, how about translucent tape, tissue papers? I didn’t want to turn this into a big deal and ask you to get pen and paper to write the answers down. When you think of mattress brands, did you think of Serta? How about the translucent tape, was it scotch tape! Was the tissue paper named Kleenex? You got the idea. It costs a lot of bucks to brand your niche. Some of the most famous singers and actors in Hollywood are branding themselves with a certain look. Wrestling champions’ and even doctors do it. Well branded looks and names are effective and require less money to maintain the brand than to advertise them.
Branding doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are many creative ways to create a buzz for yourself, but first you will need to craft a well defined Image, for you or logo for your business or product. Logos are a graphic mark, emblem, or symbol that relates to your niche. Well crafted logos promote instant public recognition to the benefit you are offering. Commercial enterprises and organizations use logos as the main pillar for their branding effort. However branding individuals requires building followers, and this calls for leveraging the social media
The right name can make you the talk of the town. Two of the most famous restaurants in my town are flourishing only because of their names. None of them advertise nor do they have the best food in town. I wouldn’t rate any over seven out of ten. But surprisingly, both restaurants have a five star rating and their parking lot is always full. People who judge often judge the book by its cover. In this case, both restaurants have knockout names and no one dares to disagree. I hate to say it, but it’s all in the name. You can have the best pizza but unless your name helps, your niche might remain hidden. Some of the real ten out of ten restaurants remain the town’s best kept secrets. That’s not necessarily the strategy you want to take for your career.
Over the years of leasing to commercial tenants I learned that not all tenants want to be found. They pay rent every month and have the right to a sign on the building and the marquee by the road. Yet they fill it with hard to read gibberish words. I go there every week and spend at least an hour or two. I still have no idea what the sign says. Imagine driving by traffic that has only a split of a second to take a glimpse and read what’s there. Chances are that if they read it, they will forget it within seconds after knowing the fact they have already seen 5,000 other similar impressions that day. You got the picture, right?
But before you start with designing the logo and creating the name for your business, you need to define your brand.
Steps to defining your brand
A brand needs to be defined with as much clarity as possible. When your brand and business has a very clear image, it is easier for you to build a suitable brand experience for your customers. Here are a few steps that will help you define your brand:
List out your skills: What is unique about your company and what are its talents, what image should the audience get when they see your product; these are the criteria that helps you to build the right brand for your target audience. Your company’s talents form the foundation of a brand definition.
Define your target audience: We know that as individuals it is impossible for us to impress and interest everyone, this holds true for your product also. When a brand decides to step into the market in order to win all the people, it suffers a huge fall. To do good business you need to mark your target audience. When you are catering to a specific target group your brand is focussing all its energy on the specific group which eventually leads to building a strong bond customer loyalty.
For example Apple advertised its MAC computers with a sharp-clean person. Their target audiences were the young and tech-savvy generation who were open and eager to embrace new technology.
Toy companies like Mattel have two types of target audience – the children and parents. In such cases businesses need to follow different approaches for different target audiences.
List out the needs of your customers or target audience: Once you have identified your target audience and know what you and your company are good at, you can use these skills to solve the customer’s needs. Once you know your customer’s needs it will be simple for you to connect your brand with the target audience.
Define your brand actions: This refers to the character of your company, its employees, the way you deal with the customers etc. The brand actions can be related to the brand’s principles, values, beliefs etc.
Determine your visual presentation: The way customers see your brand is very important in ensuring a proper brand recall. Since the market is filled with competitors you need to devise a unique visual presentation of your brand. This can be through the logo, fonts, color combination etc.
Is your business name memorable?
The name is the most important part of your business since it gives the first impression. Your name is your identity in terms of business prospective. It needs to be ‘clear and crisp’ and targeted towards the common masses. You only have seconds to express your business and have it stuck to your prospect’s mind. You need a name that describes your business the best and very short. You only have one shot at catching the customers’ attention and if you succeed, you will ride in their subconscious mind for years. This is a very important matter to consider. Names after the operation mean nothing to the client. Dealing with many business owners, I realized ego plays a big role in them choosing their business name. Naming business after your method or your personal desire will always end up with short term recognition.
Decide what you want your name to communicate. Give a clue, the more key elements your name has, the less you will have to explain your business to your customers. Choose a short unforgettable name that is comforting to your audience.
To create a name for your business, start by stating the results your customer can expect from your service or product. It’s ok to use your mission statement or even your elevator speech.
Here is an example statement for one of our other books “niche happens”: “We help you find your niche, start a business, build a brand and get rich”
The second step is to start removing the unnecessary words and to shrink the statement down to a few words.
“Find your niche and get rich” and so on
“Find your niche and get rich”
Until I came up with this “From Niche to Rich”, I would have shortened it even more and would have called it “niche” if it weren’t for trademarks issues and legalities.
Don’t rush. It’s worth taking your time while naming your business. It’s not like you are having a child and you must name her/him today. Many successful entrepreneurs started selling their niches before they were inspired with an awesome name. You also should be open for the idea to rebrand the name you have already chosen. KFC was short for Kentucky Fried Chicken! CVS. Belk berry is now just Belk. However new century businesses are planning ahead and naming right from the get go.
Factors to consider while naming your Brand
Consider your target audience: Brand names can be funny, creative or just functional. You will have to determine which kind of name will have the desired impact on your target audience. It should be easy for the target audience to understand and remember. Choosing a name which is appealing to your specific target audience will give the edge over your customers.
Don’t use restrictive names: By restrictive names, I mean names that are restricted to a particular area or community. This may hamper the future growth of your business. Also avoid giving your business your name. This kind of name takes a lot of time to become popular and accepted. Some examples of restrictive names include Western Hotels, Smith and Jones etc.
Check for legal issues: Certain terms can get you into legal troubles. The laws are different for different countries. And make sure that the name you have decided on is not owned by anyone else. Once you have finalized on a name, immediately get it registered to avoid copyright issues.
When I rebranded, my customers not only loved the new fresh look of my logo, but the name also got scanned into the back of their minds. The name is shorter and said my entire business in one word “Sano”, Which also means pure, healthy, clean. Originally from latin “mens sana in corpore sano” it means sound mind in a sound body adopted by us Sano Steam in the 90s to describe a pure healthy cleaning job. The word Sano is rarely used now, which, oddly enough, probably makes Sano Steam cool again.
The logo should say it all
A great logo should be Simple, memorable and it has to have a meaning that relates to the work you are doing. Sometimes it is good to leave it to the professionals. However it’s not going to hurt to learn a few things about logos. After all, it’s you who knows your business best. You are inspired and understand your niche more, you have a vision, you have developed a tagline, mission statement, and practiced on your elevator pitch. Have a knockout name for your business.
Nowadays you can learn logo and photo editing on your own through the various online tutorials that are available on the Internet. It’s pretty easy and exciting and will serve as an important helpline to you in all your endeavours in the future as well. If you are still not sure, you can take up the help of online resources like ’99 Designs’ where freelancers design and help in logo making according to your given choice.
You now understand name recognition and how the mind registers impressions. Have an idea of what your logo is going to look like but not sure where to start?
Color is important
Different colours are associated with different feelings.
Red: is considered a high-arousal color, often stimulating people to take risks, according to color think tank, Pantone.
Yellow: stimulate feelings of optimism and hope or cowardice and betrayal.
Orange: It may stimulate feelings of energy, balance, and warmth.
Green: People often associate it with nature, health, good luck, and jealousy.
Purple: Generally considered a low-arousal color. It may stimulate feelings of spirituality, mystery, royalty, or arrogance.
Blue: It has been shown to calm the senses and lower blood pressure. It may stimulate feelings of trust, security, order, and cleanliness.
Color isn’t the only logo element that influences your product. Proper font, spacing, alignment, highlights and so on are an important factor to attract the target audience.
Keep it simple.
Effective logos feature something simple and unique. A simple logo allows for easy recognition and allows the logo to be versatile and memorable. Just because you can draw doesn’t mean you’re an awesome illustrator or logo designer. Use proportion and symmetry to create a well balanced logo.
Signs of the perfect logo for your Business
It should communicate the brand message to the target audience. This means the logo should be simple and smart enough to be deciphered by your target audience. The logo design should be in alignment with the target audience demographic for better brand registration.
Flexible logo: The logo should be flexible enough to be altered in the future. As the years go by, the market and the audience preference changes which would require you to redesign the logo. Some logos are designed to stay in trend for a very long time.
Develop a Positioning Statement
Official advertising strategies are related to a “positioning statement,” a technical term the meaning of which, simply, is what the company’s product or service is, how it is different from the competitor’s products and services, and by which channel it will reach the customer. The positioning statement summarises the first two steps in the above listing.
Hidden in a good positioning statement is what the industry calls the product impression, which is a bunch of values that the product or service stands for, and the related agenda in which it fits in.
For example a sharp kitchen knife will therefore have a very diverse product concept than a box dark chocolate. This product notion will later direct and influence the preference of the written content, images, and other forms of content to be used in the advertising through different channels. The positioning statement must also unreservedly contain the summary of the targeted customer and the reasons why he or she would purchase this particular product or service. And eventually in the future stages a more detailed and deep data of the target audience will be used to develop an even more penetrating advertising strategy.
The Target Audience
The target audience is a more sophisticated combination of numerous individuals. Most importantly, it comprises the person who eventually purchases the product. Next group includes those who, in certain conditions, decide on which product will be bought in the future but not now. Then, it includes people who influence the buyers purchase decisions; this includes the children, spouse or parents. So business owners need to devise advertising strategies which are appealing to almost all the types of individuals in the group.
The Communication Media
Once the product and its settings are clear and the target audience has been specified, the channels of reaching the consumer must be examined—the media of communication.
Every channel has its own pattern, costing, pros and cons. The right advertising mix can be made only after assessing the available budget and resources. This way you can make the best use of your available budget to reach maximum customers.
Build a marketing system that ties in together and works in a full circle. The system must be coached to every team member. Good strategies eliminate marketing pressure. The system promotes your product at the right time during and in sequins with the sale order. Systemized offering is lately becoming the backbone of many winning companies. Informing the customer could be done with modern ways and pleasant to your sales team as well. The system works by applying this technique to your daily procedure:
The Implementation Process
The advertising campaign itself is discrete and separate from the strategy, but the strategy is intended to steer the implementation. An advertising campaign calls for a proper consistency; be it the copy, images, artwork, music, video etc, all of it should be a reflection of the advertising strategy. This is very important particularly when the advertising is done through several media channels such as television, radio, print etc, for it to be effective.
Chapter 3: Go
Making the first sale will take a little more than faith. You will have to be true to yourself and make a bold move. With all your marketing materials in place, now is the time to implement and make your business first sale. When taking off a business, you will need to hit the gas and without any hesitation put the pedal to the metal. You planned your work and it’s time you work your plans. For the past few years, social media has grown to take a large stack in making the first sale. Networking and making friends has allowed many to easily promote their service or products. I’m only going to list what’s most important so it’s within your implementation plan.
Showcase your business with door to door marketing.
Not long ago, the only free marketing was door to door marketing. Called calling is one of the most overlooked startup marketing techniques out there.
Create a listing on Craigslist
More and more mainstream businesses are going to Craigslist. This is the fastest way to be in the marketplace. It’s a no brainer for someone starting out a business to advertise here.
Get on Google Places (My Business)
Many thanks to Google, We no longer need the Yellow Pages for our business to exist. Over 70% of business searches are being found on Google Places. There are many factors on how to rank your business on Google Places but one of the key factors is for you to claim your listing and to complete your profile with your current information like your address, contact information and link to your website. Choosing an accurate business category is important. Also your information has to match everywhere else to gain trust from Google. You can do the same with Bing, Yahoo and Yelp. Yelp is becoming more important since Apple is using their directory to search businesses with Siri.
Start a youtube channel.
I didn’t understand the importance of Youtube when it was bought by Google in 2006. Since then, Youtube has become a trusted source for product reviews. More millionaires are being born by building their product review each year. With videos, You can build rapport with your audience and have a clone promoting your product round the clock.
You will be surprised by the results generated from a Yard sign. Make it memorable with branded color and a very short message. The fewer words you use, the better. Leave enough negative space around your content. A strong headline name and contact is about all someone can read. Pick your location carefully. The same rules apply with banners and flags.
Print out flyers and pass them door-to-door one of the quickest way to get your first call. The return might not be over 5 calls for every 100 flyers, however the return could be residual for a half day of campusing.
Get listed in local directories and review sites
The internet local directories are helpful in more than one way. It displays your business in areas where your prospects are most likely looking for the particular product or service. You will also provide traffic and link back to your website which not only brings visitors, but it would properly increase search engine trust and improve the overall ranking.
Many directories provide a free listing and some offer paid listings. Each directory has a unique concept on how they’re going to help your business and are worth investing a little time in learning how it will help your business. Directories such as Angie’s list and home adviser can actually land service jobs and offer more benefits than just listing. There are some models like Gen-book that offer booking appointments online. I suggest you make it a habit to get your business listed everywhere. There are many directories where you can list for free.
Find other new directories by searching your product. You may discover that you are already listed. So you make sure that you claim your page and complete the missing information. It’s important for you to list your link along with the (http://). Google gets the most traffic and your Google page listing may end up being one of your most valuable Internet marketing tools. Google is dead set on making itself the new online Yellow Pages.
PS. The web is constantly changing. What works today might not work tomorrow. Trusted directory that used to help in ranking could lose their trust with search engines or get flagged as bad links. So be careful on who you exchange links with and make sure you don’t fall for cheap link exchange services. Find a list of local directories in the last references chapter.
Have all your artwork in order. Choose a color for your brand and be consistent with all your advertising ads. Einstein theory does not apply when it comes to building name recognition. Sending a different message or offer each time might be forgotten among all other media clutter. When a brand keeps sending the same message over and over again, the audience will register the message and the brand in their minds.
I remember we rented parking spots for our vans on the busiest corridor in town. The shopping center owner allowed us to park there for a hundred dollars a month. Our logo was simple and the name said all that we do in one word. We kept the vans clean and always parked in a straight line. People started noticing after a few months. We started getting results after one year not only from the name recognition, but the strategy also synergized all our ads. People knew who we were as soon as they received our postcard.
This consistent advertising paid off huge later in the years. Customers, who were looking for our service for the first time, began searching for our brand instead of the service category. We showed up on the entire first page results which eventually improved our general ranking. The rule of consistency should be taken very seriously when planning your ads, videos, website, signage, uniform etc.
Marketing includes Public relations, media planning, product pricing and distribution, sales strategy, customer support, market research and community involvement. Advertising is just one of the many components of marketing. In order to succeed in marketing a product, business owners should budget for advertising expenses. The amount of advertising is usually the result of the business volume it generates. Successful business owners usually treat the expense just like their merchandise or supplies. Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in, Outbound marketing is when marketers have to go out to get prospects’ attention.
Inbound marketing is a whole different game in today’s media. If you were to ask me ten years ago, on which media to advertise in, I would’ve said put all your money in the yellow pages. This sounds crazy now but back in 2006, you can take-off your business from the ground and dominate your market as soon as the new copies hit the houses. Before the internet, the phone book was very much the only directory in everyone’s home. It wasn’t much of a branding tool since it was kept shut most of the time. We spent money to nest right next to our competition. The most successful ad is the one which usually got the most number of calls. Worse, in times of need we asked our customers to look for us in the yellow pages.
A disadvantage in such cases is that the customer would call our clients if they saw them first on the yellow pages. Phone books didn’t hold great opportunities for businesses, especially for the small businesses. Most media advertising campaigns are a fad and have a life span. Therefore we should always be creative and think differently. We found the best result in targeted marketing. Here is where research and data analytics come into play. You will find most of the tools you need free on the web. Target marketing deserves a whole other book.
Follow proven marketing tactics, document and always update results. Create a marketing manual by constantly tweaking your strategy for maximum efficiency. Measure the return on every dollar and effort spent. Getting creative in marketing could cost you time and money.
The safest approach to marketing is to do something that has already been tested in your market and worked. Ads and offers are designed with your branding for an immediate call to action. Marketing and media effectiveness is constantly changing. Staying tuned for demographics updates, and implementing changes could help in maximizing profit.
Disadvantages of Social media
In my opinion social media is a double-edged sword. Sometimes social media has unfavourable consequences. It can be good or bad, helpful or a hindrance, depending on the specific situation. I personally believe social media has been oversold for the amount of time it can take to stay on top of it all. Some huge companies have departments of more than just a few bloggers who are actively involved in engaging with the customers via social media.
I’m very clueless when it comes to social media. But it’s hard to ignore that Facebook has over a billion users and communities that may give you visibility and brand awareness in your market area. Yet, being social in nature, it can be hard to control the message and even harder to measure results. It’s content driven, and who has the time to constantly create content.
You should definitely create a Twitter and Facebook fan page. It should be filled with your business information and decorated with your brand theme. However, I suggest you plan all your traffic strategies by driving traffic into your website rather than driving traffic out. There is nothing more ridiculous than having a Facebook icon on websites to drive traffic out the page. All social media, videos and blogs should exist to drive traffic into your website. Then you make them stay and start selling them your product. The only call to action you should have on your page is to buy from you. Deferring them to a social media link where the competition is housed is a stupid idea in my opinion. Getting likes shouldn’t be more important than closing the deal at this point.
For a start-up with small funding, it is not easy to go for the traditional marketing methods. For them, it is better to go for the digital marketing methods such as inbound marketing. It helps you to draw the attention of the customers faster and generate leads faster. You can also convert customers and retain them and easily beat your competitors. For this you need to do the following:
Appoint Brilliant Marketers:- There are people who can bring you a huge fan base and good traffic and have their expertise in doing the same. You should hire them without trying to do it on your own.
Tightly Targeted Markets:- Don’t treat your customer base as a unit. It is actually divided into many segments consisting of people of different tastes. Divide the customers into small groups depending on that and develop different strategies for each group. What works out for one group might not work out for the other. So, do accordingly. Identification of the target audience and identifying their needs is very important. Try to develop strategies which will serve their purpose.
Focus on multiple channels:- You should execute your inbound marketing through various channels –
Blog Writing:- Writing blogs is an effective method of inbound marketing. The blogs should be written in the right way, keeping the proper context in mind and in a SEO-friendly manner.
Comment Marketing:- The comments on blogs act as an important tool for marketing. One should employ people to interact with the subscribers and encourage them to write comments. Sometimes, people are paid to write comments for the sake of the business.
Guest Blog Writing:- Guest authors may enhance the quality and popularity of the blog. If you can have celebrities or good authors to write blogs for you, nothing can be better than that.
Use the “getting viral” strategy:- When you post something on the web, it soon gets viral. If a customer of yours “likes it”, it is soon notified to hundreds of his or her friends. In this chain reaction, thousands of people get notified on the clicks of the mouse. Digital marketing is the most efficient method of informing maximum numbers of people in the shortest time.
Participate in newsgroups and discussion forums. This is an effective method which does not require you to invest any extra money but provides you with ample opportunities to interact with potential customers. It is very important to identify the target customer group and understand what they need. You can develop your products accordingly. However, most of these platforms do not allow one to market directly. You need to do it wisely enough by starting to interact with the customers and then gradually stepping into the publicity process.
The Referral Method:- You can ask your customers to refer your service to the others. When people are referred by their friends and relatives, they consider it as an important option. There should be “share” and “refer” buttons on the website to help your customers to refer easily. You can get free referring tools at the sites like Hit.com, HitBox, RefDev.com. You just need to pay a nominal amount to the referrer and the referee and this will interest a huge number of people.
Contests and lucky draws may be arranged since these things attract many customers but you only need to pay the winner.
The advantages of the digital method of marketing are-
Targeting a large number of people is a major benefit of using digital methods of marketing.
It is a cost-effective method since you don’t have to invest a lot of money like you have to do in the traditional method for advertisement in the Yellow Pages, radio, newspaper and TV. You can ensure proper publicity of your products at a much economical way.
It is very easy to find out the results and measure the success of your campaign through google analytics and other methods unlike the traditional methods where it is difficult and time-consuming to know the outcomes.
Real-time results:- Marketing Is done with the clicks of a mouse and within no time you are able to promote your brand. In old methods, a lot of time was consumed in publishing the ads and waiting for people to view those ads and approach you. It helps in the refining strategy and further refinement. Your business “gets viral” easily with the online tools.
You are not disturbing people in any way. People might get disturbed if they are called up for marketing. But here they are just viewing the posts at their convenient time.
Any one or many of these methods can be followed for marketing. It ensures more publicity, more popularity and more profits. If are not having enough funds you can successfully market using these methods. All the best!
Keep a score
That which is measured improves. Just the act of measuring an activity makes you pay attention to it. As you make your marketing plan for next year, determine to measure everything.
Here are some examples:
a) Count and record the number of business cards you hand out each day.
b) Track the number of referrals you and your technicians get each day.
c) Track the number of cold sales calls you make each week.
d) Track your advertising results. You should know the source of every job; repeat customer, response to ad, referral etc.
Talk to everyone possible about your business. You should print your business cards in large quantities and hand them out freely. To whom do you give a business card? Give it to sales clerks, customers, gas station attendants, business associates and most importantly, to your customers.
Before you implement any marketing strategy which is new, you first need to test it with the customers. Develop and strategize your strategies over a small area at first and then scale it later on, so that you can understand how to approach your ideas later on. This serves as a perfect form of “Test Marketing” and helps in analyzing your product in the future.
It is easier to get business from your existing clients than to find new ones. So many businesses spend a fortune searching for new customers while ignoring those that already know and trust them. Your marketing must include an organized plan to contact your existing customers; whether you use newsletters or postcards, it’s important to stay in touch with your previous customers.
Ask every customer for referrals. If you have provided your customer with a great experience they will normally be happy to provide you with referrals to their friends and family. You can sweeten the deal for them by having a special offer such as a way to earn free future services from you by giving referrals.
Market to the type of customer you would like to serve. Not identifying your target market is one of the most common and serious marketing mistakes a company can make. Your target market is the type of customer that you want to attract with your marketing. You need to match your marketing to the kind of customer who normally responds to that type of marketing.
Chapter 4: Boost
After getting your business established, it is now time for adjustments and tweaking, this is the time to boost your sales while on the right track. Aim far, gun it and hope for the best. Take your business to the next level with a second grand opening. There are no rules on how many grand openings you can have. There is nothing wrong with getting attention. Infact, the whole grand opening idea is to get attention and if you didn’t get noticed the first time, you might get better attention the second time. Announce your product or service with a sharp brand and clear message.
Shut the back door.
Your product and service is key to a successful take off. Always remember that what you sell is the foundation of the business. Offering quality and value will not only make boosting the sales easier, but it will also help retain the clients relation lifespan. It’s like shutting the back door while bringing new customers in.
I sometimes wonder why some restaurants have 40 sandwich types or more on their menu. Do they really sell more sandwiches this way? When I go to business lunches, we sometimes get confused with a large menu and end up ordering something very conservative. In fact, we much rather prefer the restaurants that make a knockout sandwich even if they only have a few to choose from. The market is filled with generalists who can sell to anyone with all their needs. If you are wanting to build a successful brand you need to consider narrowing your business niche and focus.
Niche in what’s Hot and have the most profit
Leave passion aside. Your bread and butter revenue might be coming from an item that has a small profit margin, however your most profitable items are poorly marketed. Focusing on a service or product that has high profit margins can make a drastic change to your bottom line. Specialize in items that’s hard to find locally.
Niche in Consumable or Disposable Product
Having a repeat business is essential to the business owner. Finding a niche in consumable product or repeat service is another direction to focus on.
Sell a Unique Product
I have mentioned earlier in my other book “Niche Happens” the importance of niche in something new, better and different. You can set your own price on something so unique and different. Marketing becomes a snap when people naturally tell others about it.
Measure the demand
Thanks to google again, the keyword tool is sharing compelling information on what the people are searching for. You can obtain data on how many people are searching for a specific term.
Boost with budget driven marketing
If you have already taken advantage of all the free methods of advertising we mentioned in the previous chapter, you can now boost your sales with budget driven marketing. Most of all successful businesses designate an advertisement budget to maintain a relationship with their client. In order to continue your growth to next level, you must budget for advertising and spent the money wisely.
There are many media avenues out there looking for your hard earned money. Make sure you don’t buy out of emotion and constantly update the value with the results you are getting.
Word on Direct Mailing
Mail your existing customer something like a Thank You postcard within one week of the sale. Or send a strong offer for your other product in three months, reminders after 6 and 9 months. Send a comeback offer after 18 months. Depending on your type of business, companies usually benefit from the 9 month reminders.
Small black and white postcard is all you need for straightforward reminders. However, to promote your product to a new audience, the size matters; the bigger the better. Window envelopes, personalized addresses and colored mailing pieces stand out from the crowd. The offer is critical. An unconditional, money-back guarantee, and giving something away for free, get the best results. Narrow your marketing efforts down to certain groups, and then use database marketing to analyze statistics such as sales history.
Premium Postcards 5.5″x 8.5″ – 2 sided, full color postcards is best value. Printed on a high quality 14 pt. Cardstock. We also have gotten great results with small 4”x6” black and white Thank You postcards. If you are offering home service, target females ages 25-65 with kids as an example. Pet related products, target pet owners and mail them every other month. Stay close and get personal with your clients by sending them a gift offer on their birthday. You will only have to mail one hundred postcards a month assuming you have twelve hundred clients in your database.
The power of pay-per-click
Pay-per-click, is fast. With it, you can be on the first page of search results in hours. You can set campaigns to target geographically for hundreds and even thousands of relevant keywords. You can also set your own monthly budget based on how much exposure you want. Pay-per-click works almost immediately and should be considered an important part of the grand opening. Organic ranking on search engines is slow and can take months before a website shows improvements. Search engine optimization (SEO) helps, however it sometimes takes years to get results or to even build visibility.
Paid advertising like pay-per-click on Google Ad-words or yahoo search is a budget-driven marketing medium. Try not to do it cheap if you don’t have the needed budget. Advertisers tend to spend $2,000 or $3,000 per month in print Yellow Pages and only spend $300 per month in pay-per-click and wonder why they aren’t getting better results.
Setting up your account and campaign shouldn’t take long. Be that as it may, your work doesn’t stop here. Marketers can find the most effective ad type by testing results such as by trying new combinations and tracking results. We have found out that using the exact keyword matches has helped us maximize our advertising budget so far. We also monitor and find out the best time to run the ads. Running ads, at the right time can more than double your savings. You can fine tune a campaign by eliminating negative keywords. You can actually specify in your campaign setting to not show your ad when someone searches with the negative keywords.
Last and most important element is to take your time in choosing the landing page. You don’t have to stick with your homepage on all your (PPC) Ads. Designing a landing page for every campaign is how I would do it. Quality campaigns should match ads with the right offers. Having keywords in the Ad copy and the landing page can actually help you rank better in the pay-per-click column.
The ratio between how often the ad and how often consumers convert after clicking the ad is called Quality Score (ROI). High quality scores result in better placement. Constantly testing on ads that works the best for your audience will improve the quality scores of the ad.
Intrusive marketing involves invading your customers time and to bring your offer in front of them. Intrusive marketing is a very aggressive way to promote your products or services. Direct mail, Billboard signs, a pop-up ad on the Internet are few examples of intrusive marketing. Your customer did not ask for the offer nor they were looking to buy. However, your advertising is being thrust upon the customer regardless. The customer then is being reminded to take an action to save with the offer.
Use Print Ads
Valpak, Penny savers, Our town, Classified ad…They still work.
Now that the Internet has taken such a huge step in the advent of marketing, one needs to find constant new techniques to cope with the trend. For example, Coca-Cola has created vending machines, which can be hugged whenever one wants to “Open Happiness”. Such techniques are an amazing shot to promote and engage the customers as well. Enabling and engaging your customer to love your products and have an interaction with them forms an important part in the growing trend of marketing.
Word-of-mouth marketing is the oldest technique in the book, and trust me, it’s one of the best out there. Customers buy their maximum products on recommendations from friends and family. It makes a good impression and if your product is a great one, then the customers will love to pass on the information to their friends and so on. This creates a huge impact and news about your product spreads like wildfire.
Selling of a particular product at the beginning for a low cost or giving it away for free, as a free sampling, is another great way to boost your product’s campaign.
Set your Marketing Standards
Winning business deals with honest practice and ethical awareness tactics. Telemarketing and inappropriate cold-calling approaches will short live.
In order to get your website displayed naturally (without paying per click), when prospects search online for your services, you need to learn the science of search engine optimization. Search engines constantly change the methods they use to promote or to demote website ranking. That’s why SEO is continuously learning and applying changes.
The two most important components of SEO that you need to know are: internal optimization and external optimization.
Optimizing your website internally means that you need relevant keywords in your content. You need to have your important keywords somewhere on your product page. If those words, and other relevant keywords, aren’t there, the search engines would not find your page when someone searches. That’s one reason you need to have a specific page for each one of your services.
No one teaches SEO better than Google. Look up Google SEO starter guide. You can also write better content by learning from Yoast SEO. Joost de Valk offers over thirty plug-ins in WordPress and has helped many website owners with optimizing their page contents.
External optimization is constantly changing. Links from top trusted sites will increase the “link popularity” of a site with Web search engines. Remember to link using the http:// before your domain when blogging or listing in directories.
External optimization mainly means getting other websites to link back to yours. After search engines discover that your page has the right keywords in it, they check it to see how popular your page is by tracking down which other sites are linking to it. The more relevant these links are, and the better the linking sites’ own reputation, the more the link will benefit you. Search engine robots have become very smart in the recent years. When posting on online forums, always be considerate of how a smart web crawler works! Only link from the quality sites back to your website.
There are many knowledgeable website designers that can help you with SEO. Or you can learn and implement yourself. I have to warn you, this can be addictive. You’ll probably spend a few months figuring out keywords for each particular page. Then build contents that are tweaked with the right amount of keywords. These are very simple, but if you’re handling this yourself, it’s going to require a little bit of homework.
Chapter 5: Making Your First Sale
While you announce your items with advertisements, position your product in front of your audience with marketing. Selling in person however is to understand the customer’s needs and to match a product to develop a solution for their problem. Sales persons should be able to overcome objections, negotiate prices, terms and often work internally to be sure their customer’s orders are filled.
Advance Sale Strategies:
- Learn Your Product
- Uncover the Problem
- Present the Solution
- Not making the upsell is costing you and your client a lot of money.
- Selling will prevent Callbacks
- Have the end result in mind and make sure you’re working towards it!
- Have a positive start and positive ending for positive results.
- Image count, uniform, posture, voice, positive, clear statements, act fast.
- Ask open ended questions
- Leave ego at the door and keep topics of conversation on service we offer at all times. Avoid other subjects; Solicitation (other than service) is strictly prohibited.
- When dealing with customers, always maintain an impartial attitude.
- Lighten up, enjoy the day and enjoy your customers, and your positive first impressions, along with your cheerleader ,customers will increase dramatically!
- “Fall seven times; stand up eight” -“Japanese Proverb”
- Ask customers about their concerns, match it with the solution you have and offer it. They might not know you offer the solution they need, or they might expect you already know their problematic issue. It’s important to learn the details of your product or inventory. Selling is the best way to protect yourself from giving free service and from having their problem become your problem. Protect Yourself — Always. Remember if you mention the damage before you start the job, the problem is theirs. If you mention it after you get done with the job, the problem becomes yours.
Five Principles on Phone Sales:
- Feel Good About YourSelf
- Practice Habits of Courtesy
- Use Positive Communication
- Listen and Ask Questions
- Perform Professionally
Learn and coach these five tactics to your team. Having quality communication is the key to a positive first impression. Your muscles relax when you smile and will change your voice tone. Use a warm and friendly tone of voice to sell with enthusiasm. Refer to callers by their names. Remember to speak clearly and to listen carefully. You need to apply the golden rule to every caller. Most important , you must be sold on your product before you attempt to sell it to the caller. It’s key in sales to learn about your product and how your company operates.
Phone Sales always require problem solvers and positive persons. Not all callers know exactly what they want. Asking the right questions and fitting solutions with problems is what phone sales tactics are. New customers will have, New issues. Be patient and protect yourself by keeping it as their problem. Turn the table around by offering your product. Be helpful and make the sale. Always promise less and deliver more.
How do you handle price shoppers?
Price shoppers are not bad customers and nor are they cheap and don’t want to pay your price. Price shoppers know what they need to buy but they are not sure of how much it will cost them. The biggest mistake untrained phone representatives make is shout out their rates and all they hear is “Ok Thanks, I will call back”.
The right answer should have been “Thank you for your call. Just so I can help you best, would it be ok if I asked you a few questions?”
Have you used us before?
Were you happy with the product?
That’s interesting, have you heard about our “new product” (by now you have learned enough about the problem and start taking steps toward finding a solution-Elevator speech & Call to action).
I suggest every business make their own conversation sample and drive it with few possibilities for training. My favorite sales approach was from the show “nip tuck”. During the initial interview, the doctors always asked “Tell me what you don’t like about yourself”. The client then starts selling and upselling themselves.
Always give your clients the “illusion of control”. Understand their needs, explain the solution thoroughly and offer the right product. Keep the problem theirs and don’t make it become yours. If you mention the problem before the sale, the problem is theirs. If you mention the problem after, the problem becomes yours. Start your call positive, end positive and maintain a good vibe. Another factor that affects your vibe is your image. Uniform posture, voice and fast action are some of the factors that play a crucial role in how the customer judges you. Customers determine whether or not you’re going to do a good job in the first five minutes. First impressions matter. If you make a mistake in the first 5 minutes. It will take ten rights to offset the experience and to recolor that one bad first impression.
Three yes rule.
Some say if you can get the customer to say yes three times, they find it easier to say yes on the forth questions. This is a tactic that I don’t like to use and neither do I coach it to my team.. I simply would like to bring it up so you recognize it when a used car salesman uses it on you. The conversation starts in a very positive way by saying whether the weather is nice today? YES. Did you watch the game yesterday? YES. Is this watch G Shock? YES. Can I make a copy of your driver license? YES. He then takes your driver license and starts a credit app and starts drawing your offer!! This type of sale is the kind that ends in a disaster.
The best way to sell is to educate yourself and share all your knowledge with full honesty. More knowledge usually wins the sale. Smart buyers usually buy after their due diligence is complete. Experienced consultants can narrow down the search; bring hidden issues and benefits to the surface. Becoming a consultant instead of a sales rep will set you apart from the rest.
Become a consultant
Don’t get trapped into something if your services are viewed as the same as everyone else’s, how can you differentiate yourself? One way is by taking charge of the job specifications. Tactfully resist requests such as, “We’ve got 6,000 square feet of flooring in the store”. So how low can you go per square foot? May the best (lowest-priced) man win!” This is a loser deal from the get go. But don’t delude yourself into thinking that this business manager is cheap. He or she just may not know better. It is up to you to educate them.
When a business just wants a price per foot quote over the phone;, start asking detailed questions about layout, condition and construction along with wear patterns, traffic and soiling type. Very quickly it will become obvious that you need to see and “investigate” the need. After doing so, confer with your client on setting up “zones” with different flooring types and frequencies indicated “in your professional opinion.” Remember, he who sets the specifications controls the job.
Type of customers
There are two types of customers – the kind that knows what they want and the kind that doesn’t know what they want. We often find ourselves shopping for something we had no idea what to get. The salesperson “if trained” starts asking and proposing solutions. Customers that know what they want on the other hand, most likely know about the product more than the sales rep. I, for example, like to walk to a BMW showroom and sell myself the car I have been studying and waiting for it’s release over a year. We don’t like it for someone who starts selling other cars with less knowledge to drive the conversation. We’re simply sold on the car and want to jump to the negotiation stage.
Set Your Price
In order to set the price, you will need to find the value first. Their cost had to equal your value. Here are the questions that you need to ask yourself to find value for your product or service.
- What is it worth to the other guy?
- What is it going to cost you?
- What do you want in return?
Negotiation Guru Alan McCarthy shares top 10 tips that Fortune 100 companies such as SAP, Oracle and Microsoft use. McCarthy sums the ten rules of negotiation as the following:
- Don’t negotiate, Find the value, Set the price and stick with it.
- Don’t negotiate with yourself. Stop doubting your asking price.
- Never accept the first offer. (speeding the deal means something is hidden or an advantage that the other hasn’t yet valued)
- Listen more & Talk less. While listening you have less chances of breaking all the other rules.
- No Free Gift. Make sure they work for it. Today’s free gift is tomorrow’s starting point.
- Never give anyone a free gift. Today’s free gift is tomorrow’s starting point to become a habit.
- Watch the salami (do not itemize the scoop)
- Avoid the rookie’s regrets. By setting the value right on the first step.
- Never make a quick deal
- Never discuss your bottom line not even after the sale.
Remember not to let quick money from a single sale go to your head. Your long-term goal is not just to make this month’s rent payment. ; instead an endless series of repeated sales. Why not build a network of regular contracts ,for decision makers, where one sale could result in month after month orders. You have already built your company system, and you are going to provide great experience, so why not go for the gold and outbound to chains?
We’ve all felt the exhilaration of hearing “yes” from that new client. After days of dilly-dallying, you finally find yourself out of the office to make commercial sales calls, where you encounter one depressing business rejection after another. But then at last a business manager says, “Let’s do it.” Wow, all of a sudden this is fun!
Contracts gain respect both for your company and the agreement. Clients expect to sign something when they enter into a regular arrangement and are both surprised and vaguely worried if you say, “I don’t bother with paperwork. Your word is good enough for me.” Here are three reasons for you to implement written contracts with all new regular commercial accounts.
Clearly defined expectations are the key to any successful relationship. A contract and its related schedules will force you to clearly state what is expected from both parties.
Contracts offer some legal protection. Of course, the very best protection is to avoid mistakes and provide superb customer service. Remember that no contract will force the customer to keep you if they don’t want you on the job.
Contracts add great value and curb appeal to your company. The biggest reason most companies never sell for anywhere near their true value is buyers are afraid the rosy income projections will falter if their sales were not supported with signed contracts.
Of course, to get these benefits your regular commercial contracts need to be structured properly. Carefully consider these contract guidelines:
From the Start: Introduce the regular contract option from the very start. At your first visit you will be giving the client a menu of options to choose from, ranging from a one-time event to quantity rates that will save them money in the long run and provide a much superior appearance level.
Short and to the point: Lawyers love to justify their existence by being adversarial in trying to protect your interests at all costs and in every conceivable situation. If you haul out a complex multi-page legal document it will be very intimidating to your client, and either slow down or stop the sales process dead in its tracks. So force your attorney up front to keep the document simple by limiting it to one page.
Be transparent: Make sure to include in your presentation folder a copy of the general liability coverage information and a completed W9 Tax form. An individual/company who does business with you uses the W-9 form as a basis for accessing your personal information, the most significant of which is the taxpayer Identification Number. You won’t believe how many times we passed on hiring qualified contractors simply because they were shady with sharing their tax form. Property owners like to be protected and it’s in their blood to pass on the liability to whoever decided to make the job theirs.
Give Them Options: Be creative with custom specifications. One way to set yourself apart from the pack of other companies is to do much more than quote a set price and walk away. Instead, why not become a consultant for your customer? There is no business out there that needs your entire product exactly the same way. Instead, interview the prospect and determine what will give them the most bang for their buck. Then use “assumptive closing” by not giving the prospect a “yes or no” choice, but instead either a one-time sale at a higher price or contract Plan A, Plan B or Plan C.
Renewal Options: Never let the contract expire. The beauty of regular product supply or service is that you become “part of the woodwork,” and your existence (and your invoice) is usually not questioned. But if your contract forces you to return hat-in-hand for a renewal each year, you are setting yourself up to have the contract put out to bid again. Never force your client to make the decision anew each year on retaining your services. If you think you may want to raise your prices down the road, just include a clause allowing you to do this with 30 days written notice and approval from the customer.
Plan ahead: Make the contract “transferable.” You don’t need to make a big deal out of this one. But even if you have no plans to sell your company now, just include a small clause stating that in event of an ownership transfer of either party, the contract transfers automatically.
Make it easy to sign. No amount of legal mumbo-jumbo will force the customer to keep using your services. You will guarantee your longevity with the client by providing superb customer service at a reasonable price. Then call their attention to this point at the time you ask for their signature on the dotted line.
Chains, large users, wholesale accounts, are easy to systemize and take less effort to maintain when compared with individual customers. Thinking wholesale will bring you more income on a regular basis and add infinitely more value to your company in the future.
What to Do After Getting the “Yes”
Clients expect results once they say “Yes” and result is all you should focus on. Remember the value the customer is expecting. Aim for what it’s worth to the other guy. You are hired to fix it not to create other damages during the repair. This is the opportunity you were asking for in your elevator speech. It’s an opportunity to thrill not only to retain one customer, but it’s an opportunity to germicide your seeds by performing a show and an act that speaks for your mission. This is a way of wowing the client with your great customer service skills. Logistics is defined as “the handling of the details of an operation and the reliability to achieve high production and delivery of service”.
Marketing is a way of life for the successful entrepreneur. Many become a walking billboard spreading the message in every conversation or alley life might take them.
Case study One, an experience I had in our annual homeowners meeting, there was not enough members showing up to the meeting for the board to have the quorum. Placing a reminder sign at the day of the meeting helped but wasn’t good enough. Finally After twelve years of the association failing to get the minimum number of members of homeowners to be present at its meetings. A new board member with a marketing background join and implements a simple marketing technique to make the proceedings of that meeting valid. The marketer simply requested all homeowners to print a sign and post on their window as a reminder to the other neighbor.
Case study two, Over the years of leasing to business, I thought I have seen it all. Tenants that goes into business with little to no plans. Some of which are still living paycheck to paycheck not banking on the opportunities that’s under their nose. Large corporate owned tenants mostly all have their docks in the row. The moms and bobs especially the ones who operate under a franchise are the one that I wonder how they pay their bills. One tenant has broken all the rolls. To be honest, I underestimated his business sense when I met him just because he is a cardiologist. Doctors known for their lack of business mindset. Not this one. Dr. Brezinski have bend all the roles. His vision of treating patients one-on-one and eliminating the middleman was almost impossible in today’s health care system. The doctor background in rock in music fueled his spirit and give him patient to do more for others. This guy knows exactly how it’s done. He needed no help taking off his business and cash flow the next month. He planned his work and worked his plan like no other. Much of the marketing he did was not in this book. His grand opening was from the back door. Announces a grand opening event and we had over twelve hundred people show up to our parking lot. Free blood pressure along with some of his personal contact filled in his schedule on the first week. He followed up his grand opening with another event under a different headline. Invited friend, clients and of course vip’s. Dr. Bresinski had no problem going into a business for himself. From what I heard from other, that he is a good doctor, But even good doctors wouldn’t have made it without good marketing Plans.
Tie it all in together.
- Be Found: There are typically 6 major channels that are available to the business owners for advertising purposes, it includes:
- Print—primarily newspapers (both weekly and daily) and magazines.
- Audio—FM and AM radio.
- Video—Promotional videos, infomercials.
- World Wide Web.
- Direct mail.
- Outdoor advertising—Billboards, advertisements on public transportation (cabs, buses).
- Ask Questions: Ask your client what they don’t like about their purchase and listen. This is the most important part of this whole thing. The customers don’t like to be sold but they love to buy, so let them shop.
- Offer Solutions: Over the phone and Only offer the needed treatment. This will establish trust and inform the customers about your ethics. Education by knowledgeable technicians is always the main reason customers love buying. Remember that customers hate to be sold but they love to buy.
- Educate and hand out brochures. This allows them to glance at the images on the brochure while you getting ready. Answer questions by offering treatment or services.
- Rewards: Most important in decision making are the reviews, or customer referrals. Offer 10% credit toward their next purchase.
- Recommendation: More and more users are scrolling down to find a local service provider with higher review scores. These reviews are carefully read to identify the false ones. So don’t attempt to make one yourself. Instead, make it a part of your daily habit to ask for a recommendation or suggestions.
- Signature: How many emails are you sending every month? Add your v.Card, logo, mission statement and links to your homepage or link to your recommended page in your email signatures.
- Reviews: Install review widgets in your website and social media pages. Monitor all reviews. Reply with thank you or address if needed.
- Tested strategy:“No Tips”. We reward each technician $10 for every Five Star Rating they get. Reward for their commitment, performance and hard work. Customers loved it. This strategy motivated our techs and put the customer in control.
- Leave something: Can your customers find you next time? Always leave something with your contact. Better yet if you leave them with a $15 coupon to give to their friends.
- Send Reminder: Email thank you within one week. Offer other services after 3 months. Mail them reminders after 6 and 9 months. Send a comeback offer for 18 months.
- Website order: Offer quantity discounts, show related items or apply rewards towards their purchase. There are all sorts of widgets that can be installed on the website to do that for you. Widgets are like the apps on your phone. Most are straightforward plug and play.
- Prints: Why not promote your new product in all your prints such as work orders, receipts, invoices and statements.
- Store front: It shouldn’t stop with a sign. Your brand should be felt inside the store decor as well.
- Voicemail: Record upcoming promotions, useful information or special offers to play to the customers while they wait. I’m a big advocate that calls should be answered immediately. Live person on the line add tremendous value and avoid hang ups. The second line of defence should be a well written voicemail that encourages the caller to leave a message. Perfect voicemail greeting can engage with your callers, show value and a reason to leave their message. When it comes to voice mail, we leave it to the professionals. You can actually hire a gig on “Fiverr.com” and get quality recoding for less the $10.
Underpromise, overdeliver and build a trust. With a promise kept your company will appear and act trustworthy. No one sells for you like your raving fans. Happy customers are like a walking billboard, they will brag about their experience and sell for you. Follow Up to make sure everything is going well. Don’t over promise in your marketing ads to leave room to thrill them with every sale.
When I say the Grand opening, it should not be the image of ribbon cutting and balloons. Businesses need to utilize the Grand opening to develop a great marketing campaign and to introduce their brand to a huge mass. One niche at a time. This opportunity should be used to communicate the brand’s message to the target audience. It’s about how you interpret yourself to your customers – your promises, your ideas and your determination. Always remember that your first impression at the opening will be their last and only impression of your company. So hammer at the first chance possible and make yourself presentable and create an impact of your products on the consumers. This will be your stepping stone towards success.
Hope this book was helpful and informative. Most important if you came up with new ideas yourself along the way of reading this, that’s great. Every business is unique, so should be your marketing plan. Remember to enjoy what you do and have a smile doing it.
Chapter 6: References
|Media channels Print—primarily newspapers and magazines.Audio—FM and AM radio.Video—TV, Promotional videos, infomercials.World Wide Web.Direct mail.Outdoor advertising—Billboards, advertisementsYard signs LocationNetworkNewsEventsFlags, banners, yard signs|
|Name, logo, icon symbol, Mission statement, Slogan, Vision statement, memorable phone number, Domain, Video|
|Brochure, Magnet, flyers, Business Cards Work orders, Uniform, Storefront, Marquee sign, flags, Van, shirts, decals and promotional materials like Hats, Mugs, Pens etc.|
|WordPressWebsitebuilder.ComSitebuilder.ComBoldgrid.ComXprs Site BuilderSquarespace Weebly.comWix|
|Facebook with your custom CoverWeb with your custom BannerTwitter with your custom BannerInstagram with your custom BannerLinked in with your custom BannerPinterest with your custom BannerYouTube with your custom Banner|
Materials you will need for your website:
|Business NameDomain NameLogoSloganMission StatementElevator SpeechVideoArticle about your service or product (300-500 words) About usFAQContact us or Book online widgetReview widget|
I would like to express my gratitude to all my teachers and mentors who I have learned from throughout the years; to all those who provided support, talked things over, read, wrote, offered comments, allowed me to quote their remarks and assisted in the editing, proofreading and design.
I would like to thank my wife and kids with their help in spelling and grammar. Enabling me to publish this book in english. Above all I want to thank my Mother, Lulu and the rest of my family, who supported and encouraged me along the way.
Thanks to the publishers – without them this book would never have found its way to the Web.
Omar M. Kharbat!