Entrepreneurs and small business owners usually start with a great idea and a passion for their product. They open their doors, ready for new business and suddenly realize that they’re not only the product creator or service provider, but now they are also their own Chief Marketing Officer and publicity director. These are all too frequently role most new business owners are schooled to skillfully fill. Most new business owners say they wish they’d had a Beginner’s Guide to Marketing tutorial.
The responsibilities of the CMO are simple. Create both a short term strategy to promote the service or product you offer to the ideal customer and a long term strategy to retain that customer and sell them additional products or services.
Attraction and retention are two different strategies. And retention depends on attracting the ideal client in the first place, delivering a product that is a good fit with the client needs and a third element that is a little more ethereal, emotional experience.
Today, let’s talk about easy, low-cost attraction techniques that entrepreneurs can put into practice right away.
What words are your ideal customer typing into Google, right now, to find what you offer? Those are your keywords.
Your digital footprint is the new equivalent to listing your business in the yellow pages. Right now there are more than enough people typing “where can I find your product or service” into Google to keep your company afloat. Your job is to help search engines serve up your links to that motivated customer. How do you do that? By thinking like the customer. What words are your ideal customer typing into Google, right now, to find what you offer? Those are your keywords and you need to be using them in every consumer facing piece of promotion your create including blog posts, videos, press releases, social media bios, advertising and listings in professional business organizations. Write that list of 10-25 keywords or phrases on a piece of paper and tack it to your wall. Use those words strategically and logically in your messaging to help new customers find you.
Your best, and least expensive, promotional resource is a happy customer. A happy customer is usually delighted to give you a referral or testimonial if you ask. Make asking a routine part of your sales and delivery cycle. At the end of a sale, service or contract, ask your client or customer if the product or service you provided helped them and if there was anything, at all, that would keep them from recommending you to others. If they have a concern or any unfinished business, this will be your opportunity to resolve that and turn a somewhat satisfied customer into a delighted customer. Once you are sure your customer is happy, ask them if they would be willing to give you an endorsement either in the form of a quote, a survey or a short video testimonial. Ask their permission to use their name, likeness, quote or experience on your website to help other people learn about your business. Then, strategically and methodically, use those customer generated endorsements to demonstrate the value of your product or service.
Helping people find you is the first step to convincing people to do business with you. Endorsements by past satisfied customers demonstrate authority in your field, and bonus offers are samples of your work. Letting people try before they buy is one of the lowest cost marketing strategies available to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Some try before you buy bonus offers might be:
- A free 15-minute consultation to help customers determine if your services are right for them
- A free sample of your work in the form of a white paper, a case study, a sample of a physical product
- A group offering such as a free webinar or teleseminar that demonstrates your authority and offering
- An e-book with information of value to your ideal customer
By creating a large digital footprint, using your keyword strategy in every consumer facing marketing message, asking for testimonials, demonstrating your value through sampling and consistently delivering high quality products or services, you’ve developed a marketing strategy that becomes a part of your business DNA and helps attract and retain customers and clients.