My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is an actionable, motivating guide to small business marketing. It instantly became one of my favorite marketing books. I agree with Newman’s approach; it fits the way I like to market services. He recommends content marketing (what he calls “trusted advisor marketing”) over cold-calling and aimless networking. He advises not wasting much time following up with prospects who aren’t ready to buy. He recommends a combination of company branding and personal branding.
I’m always seeking to improve OptimWise’s marketing , and to help clients with their marketing. I liked Newman’s ingredients for a credible website (see Part 13 below). The book is full of other marketing advice that you can use in marketing your small business.
I read this because it was recommended by Jim Schoettle, Executive Director of Development at the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce.
Part 1: Marketing Rocks
Ask yourself, “What value have I added to my prospect’s world to earn the right to invite them to the conversation and offer my solutions to their problems and challenges?”
Do you want to make more sales to strangers? Or do you really want more people to recognize, respect, and request you by name when they have a need? If that’s your goal, then trusted advisor marketing (content marketing) is for you.
Part 2: It’s About Them, Really
- How does your product/service compare to competitors based on the criteria that your customers use to make decisions?
- Ask prospects, “What are your priorities when looking at products/services like mine?”
- Don’t talk about your “how” (methods, Inputs, approaches); talk about their “why” (meets, outcomes, desires).
- Good marketing is not about your business. It’s about how your business is different, valuable, and meaningful to customers. It’s about why people should do business with you, and only you, because you’re the expert in your field.
Developing Your Thought Leadership Platform
- Go with what you know: your education, background, experience, passions, skills.
- Tie into a common problem, evergreen challenge, or growing trend. Examples: improving sales, improving performance and productivity.
- Figure out what your prospects are already buying, and position your solutions in the same category.
- Market-test your new messages, principles, and angles informally with business partners.
- Call or meet with actual buyers (industry contacts, clients, prospects) to get their reactions. Don’t sell, just run ideas by them.
Why People Buy from Me Worksheet, with example answers from a marketer
Why should I buy your product/service?
- Because you’re terrible at marketing.
- Because you don’t make time for marketing.
- Because without proactive marketing, you’re the best kept secret at what you do.
Why should I buy from you?
- Because of powerful testimonials.
- Because we’re selective in who we work with.
Why should I buy at your price?
- If you’re not comfortable spending big money with me, why would you expect your prospects to spend big money with you?
- You shouldn’t work with me if marketing and growing your business is not a serious priority for you.
- You can spend less, and you’ll get less. And you can spend more, and you’ll still get less, because I overdeliver (read the testimonials).
Why should I buy now?
- Because it’s rare that I have openings in my client roster. You can get in now or typically wait 3 to 6 months.
- Because the longer you delay getting your marketing house in order, the longer you’ll stay in a state of confusion, inaction, and being overwhelmed.
- What would be like if your next year’s revenues were much like your last year’s? If you’re okay with that, there’s probably no reason for us to work together.
- Because the money you’re not making week after week, month after month, is a larger number than the money you’d be investing to bring your revenues to where you’d like them to be.
- Because you want to stop the feast or famine revenue cycle and get a proactive handling your marketing process before you hit your next dip.
- Because someone you know and respect recommended we chat.
Part 3: Learn to Speak Prospect
- Read your marketing copy. If you wouldn’t say it out loud, replace it with what you would say.
- Prove to them you understand what they’re up against. Take your positive features and benefits, flip them around to become negative conditions they’re suffering with right now. Then you flip back again with specific pain relief statements that make each of those negatives go away.
- Talk to clients and prospects and record their complaints.
- Position your offering not in terms of saved money or earned money, not in terms of less wasted time or more free time, but simply in terms of more control and less chaos. More time: great; more money: exciting; more control: priceless.
Identifying Your Best Buyers
- Think about your best clients and customers. What makes them your best?
- What are their job titles? Industries? Affiliations? Traits? Values?
- What problems do they have? What solutions do they seek? (State this in their own words)
- Where else have they looked to solve this problem?
- Why hasn’t that worked for them?
- What do they hate about your category of product/service or your industry?
- How can you position yourself as the “Ahh, at last!” solution?
Part 4: Expert Positioning
Top 3 sources of new business
- Warm calls to existing clients.
- Speaking at conferences and trade shows.
- Running seminars and events.
Part 8: Get Better Prospects
- Network with people who already know you, like you, or have done business with you.
- Networking isn’t about telling more people what you do; it’s about getting people who already know you to share opportunities where you can be helpful to each other.
- Create list of advocates (5 to 25 people who can make positive connections for you) and communicate or connect with them in a simple way every 30 days (ideally; but 60 to 90 days works too).
- To maximize sales, follow up on leads within 15 minutes. These leads are much more likely to stop looking at competitors.
- Have one-to-one coffee or lunch, aiming to befriend. They may become a business connection, but that’s not the focus.
- If you network with strangers, make 2-3 coffee or lunch dates with interesting people.
- Ask every happy client for just one referral, then contact that person and use the client’s name.
- Create a list of the exact types of target prospects. Focus networking only on those people (or those who can refer you to them).
Part 9: Eliminate Roadblocks
- Address the question, “aren’t we already doing this?” Show that they aren’t, or aren’t doing it enough, with credible research, stats, quotes.
- To filter quickly on cold calls, ask if they plan to shop for the service you offer within the next year. If no, it’s not worth talking to them this year since you won’t convince them. Check back in a year.
- Every marketing piece you send out should be too good to delete/throwaway, even if prospects don’t do business with you. Make each piece educational, shareable, referenceable.
Four arrows diagram
- With your prospect’s products, services, and process in one color, and your service in third position in contrasting color. This shows that you’re offering closes a gap and is the perfect fit.
- Their 1st process > Their 2nd process > Your product/service > Their final process
Stop Wasting Your Time Following Up
- If you’re focused on prospects were actively seeking to solve their problem, you’ll get their attention the first or second attempt.
- “Checking in” gets annoying fast, and can hurt chances at future sales.
Part 13: Your 21-Day Marketing Launch Plan
To search for places to speak, use a query with these keywords: [profession] [annual] [convention] [conference] [state] [conference] [city] [state] [year].
Here’s the ingredient list for a credible website for any business owner, entrepreneur, or independent professional:
- About: information about your credentials and experience.
- Contact: email, phone, physical street address.
- Services/Products: list of your services, products, types of projects.
- Resources/Articles: articles, tips, tools, downloads, videos, audio, etc.
- Service/Product: Individual page for each service, or single service/product page with descriptions of each.
- Clients/Customers/Sample Projects: List of past and present clients/projects to lend credibility.
- In your email signature, put call to action focused on value to them. Example: free ideas on your blog or Twitter.
- 69% of commercial customers leave suppliers because of lack of contact or poor quality contact.
- For small business, “old media” (non-Internet) isn’t worth using, with possible exception of laser-targeted industry-specific publications.
- Diversify while still specializing. Develop parallel offerings or brands that tap into your expertise but that appeal to different populations, industries, needs, or audiences.
- Use the “Money Pass” on email: reply only to messages that will make you money. Leave all others for non-peak time.
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