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Marketing your Business during these Difficult Economic Times

As you know, today’s economic climate is tough – for everyone! The pipe line of new leads and clients has been significantly curtailed or even dried-up.

This article will cover a few areas intended to do just that – boost your sales into a higher gear.

The challenge: find new ways to market your business and not spend a fortune doing it.

Three of the most important ways to help you grow your business includes:

1. Creating a Unique Selling Proposition and Guarantee,
2. Developing a Tactical Marketing Plan, and
3. Getting you WEB site working for you.

Unique Selling Proposition and Guarantee: (USP) This is what makes your ideal clients/customers feel compelled to do business with YOU instead of your competitors because you are better than all the rest.

A USP is one of the fundamental pieces of any solid marketing campaign. Simply stated, it’s a summary of what makes your business unique and valuable to your target market. It answers the question: How do your business services benefit your clients better than anyone else can?

Successful USPs can be used as a company slogan and should be incorporated into all of your marketing activities.

6 Steps to Creating a USP

Step 1: Describe Your Target Audience

Before you can even start marketing your services, you need to know who you are targeting. In this step, you want to be as specific as possible.

Step 2: Explain the Problem You Solve

From your prospective clients’ perspective, what is the individual need or challenge they face that your business can solve for them?

Step 3: List the Biggest Distinctive Benefits

In this step, list 3-5 of the biggest benefits a client gets from choosing to work with you that they could not get from someone else (i.e., what sets you apart from your competition). Again, thinking from the clients’ perspective, these benefits should explain why your services are important to them and why they would choose you over another provider.

Step 4: Define Your Promise

A big part of a successful USP is making a pledge to your clients. While this can be implied instead of spelled out in your USP, write down this promise you make to your clients in this step.

Step 5: Combine and Rework

Once you’ve completed steps 1-4, take all of the information you listed and combine it into one paragraph. There should be some recurring ideas and thoughts, so you’ll want to start merging statements and rewriting in a way that flows and makes sense.

Step 6: Cut it Down

In this step, take your paragraph from step 5 and condense it even more into just a sentence. You want your final USP to be as specific and simple as possible.
Take your time while doing this exercise and do several drafts over the course of a week until you arrive at your final USP. A fresh mind and perspective is essential, so I would recommend doing this at the beginning of your day versus at the end when you are tired. You also may want to come back and do this exercise again, once you try out your USP for a while, or if anything changes with your business.

Tactical Marketing Plan: an Aggressive and Measureable marketing plan to increase your leads, improve your sales closing ratio, increase the average spend per transaction, and increase the number of transactions you get per customer every year so your profits increase.

1) Developing a plan with many activities for generating leads. You should consider implementing and utilizing at least 3. Marketing activities include: Networking; Telemarketing; Strategic Partners; Direct Mail; Email-Marketing; Referrals; Site Visits, Advertising, Trade Shows, etc.

2) Your marketing material and branding are very important components of your marketing success. These materials should be consistent and based on your USP.

3) Your USP is critical to the success of your campaigns because it separates you from your competition.

4) You must be able to measure the outcomes of each and every marketing activity.Asking every new customer “How did you hear about us? How did you know to call us? What interested you in doing business with us? Listen and record the answers.

5) Get ready and comfortable with social networking: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. They are here to stay, use them to your advantage or risk being left behind.

6) E-mail marketing. Do you have e-mail addresses of all your customers? Are you mailing information to your customers on a regular basis.

7) Find time to do the marketing and business development activities or outsource as much as possible. Create a default calendar for yourself that allocates or budgets the appropriate amount of time to conduct the marketing activities.

8) Estimate the rate of return on each new marketing tactic and campaign. Compare the estimated cost of the marketing campaign to the expected number of new leads (cost per lead), the number of expected new customer (cost per new customer) and the total revenue from these customers. What is your expected ROI? (Revenuer / Cost). Does the cost outweigh the benefits?

9) The marketing plan should be scheduled a year in advance and should definitely coincide with the annual budget for sales/marketing expense. Remember, the day you stop marketing is the day you start going out-of-business!

Getting your WEB site working for you.

Today, many customers of goods and services are researching their purchase on the Internet before talking to vendors. Does your business have a web site? Is it out-of-date!

1) Your WEB site it the front door to your business on the internet. It is open for business 24 x 7. Does it look inviting or boring? Is it helping you or helping your competition?

2) The WEB site must capture attention in 3 seconds or less. You must have a site that is interesting, holds the customers attention and is easy for the customer to find the information that they are looking for.

3) Your WEB site sets the tone for doing business with you. Does it have a professional look and appearance, and is it easy to navigate and locate information.

4) The WEB site, just like the front door to a retail shop, must be designed and well thought out – leave this up to a professional with a flair for creativity. A professional designer brings tons to technology to the table and the knowledge of what to use and where – by design rather than by experiment!

5) The site looks and appearance is only part of the equation – the site must also perform while under fire. It must be able to bring your site up under many different search criteria. Called Search Engine Optimization, the designers can keep your sites performing well – month after month after month. Put this task in the hands of the professionals, and for a modest fee they will keep your site updated – and give you proof through statistics.

These three marketing suggestions are what most business’ need today to get their phone ringing or their front door being opened. These also represent a fraction of the many tools AdviCoach Business Coaches have for helping business owners grow profits.

AdviCoach is a franchise of business coaching. We have over 350 coaches across the US, have been in business for 25 years and have acquired 30% of the coaching market. We are experienced and have a proven track record for growing profitable businesses.

If you are interested in how I can help you take your marketing up a notch, or help you find hidden profits in your business, I offer a complimentary coaching session for us to talk together about your business. We will discuss the tools I have that can be put to work on your business and prepare a financial model about what results you should expect. If at the conclusion you see real value, then we can start immediately to grow your business, if not we shake hands and depart ways.

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About the Author

Jay Freed, AdviCoach of Montgomery County
PO Box 572
Lafayette Hill, PA 19444

If you would like to re-print this article, please contact the author.
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