Feb 12 2014

Why You Don’t Need A Website To Grow Your Business

email marketingIf you know nothing about building a website for your business, be prepared to spend up to several thousand dollars to have it professionally designed for you.  Then, once in place, your business will explode with new customers… NOT.  Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.  Yet many business owners think a website is the magic bullet that will bring in tons of new business.

If no one knows the website exists, it’s a waste of time.  It will cost you another several thousand dollars for a professional to drive visitors to your site.  There’s nothing wrong with doing it that way, but there are easier, more cost effective ways to attract new customers without a website, especially if your business is new.  One solution is email marketing.

I know a very successful magician who keeps in regular contact with his fans via email.  He connects with over 3,500 fans once or twice a week.  What’s really interesting is he does not have a website.  He does not use Twitter.  He uses Facebook, but rarely talks about his business.  Yet, somehow, he has 3,500+ people on his email list.  That may not seem like a lot, but for his entertainment business, that’s huge.  About 90% of his gigs comes from people on that list.  You’ve heard it before, the money is in the list!

His secret:

Anyone who knows you exist should be invited to hang out with you and your friends.

This is quite different from marketers who spend most of their time trying to let people know they exist.  They spend too much time trying to get new customers and end up neglecting the customers they already have.

Your existing relationships should always be your top priority.  If you’re new in business you may protest “But no one knows I have a business!”   WRONG!  That’s just an excuse.  Someone, even if it’s one person, knows what you have to offer.  That’s all it takes to get the ball rolling.

Here are some examples from different types of business.  See if you can translate the ideas to your specific business.

  • A small cafe invites everyone who comes in to sign up for “customer only” specials.  The waitress enters the customer’s email into the email list program for them.  When the customer gets home, they see a welcome email with coupons.
  • A chiropractor asks every client if they would like to receive a free booklet of back strengthening exercises to reduce pain.  The client gives them an email address to receive the booklet.
  • A hair salon offers each customer a free haircut with their upcoming “Bring a friend” promotion.  They send an email with details.  The customer is surprised to find several additional coupons for free services just for signing up.
  • An  electronic game store invites everyone who walks in the door a chance to win a  $50 gift certificate each month.  Winners are notified by email.  Just for signing up, they receive a 50% off coupon on their next single item purchase.
  • A magician invites everyone to meet him after the show to ask questions and find out how they can learn magic.  They sign up to receive a free “trick of the month” by email.  They receive a buy one, get one free coupon for upcoming shows just for signing up.
  • An online marketer hears one of his friends talk about how he hates his job and wants to find a way to escape the rat race.  He has his friend sign up to receive a “how to make money online” mini course via email.

In each example, the business owner is now in a position to keep in regular contact with their customers.  The key now is to provide valuable content on a regular basis.  This does NOT mean you bombard them with a sales pitch in each email!  In future articles, we’ll discuss what to put in the emails to ensure you’re providing value.

Are you using email to build your business?  What ongoing value are you providing your customers?  If you have a unique way to keep in touch with your customers, please let us know.

Feb 02 2014

Do Your Customers Believe You?

I can still remember the first time I saw a magic trick.  I must have been about 5 years old.  I remember it like it happened yesterday.  My dad’s friend vanished a coin right in front of my eyes.  Impossible!  To a 5 year old, it was not a trick, it was magic… real magic!  Nothing could have felt more real.  That’s probably why I still remember today, over 4 decades later.

What I experienced that day was a moment of pure conviction.  I absolutely believed that magic was real.  I even knew the exact moment the magic happened.  The ‘magician’  wiggled his fingers over the hand holding the coin…paused… then snapped his fingers.  I knew it was at that moment that something special had happened.  I believed anything was possible.

I hope you’re not thinking yeah, yeah, yeah, you were just a kid.  Anyone can fool a kid with a silly magic trick.  I didn’t understand why that moment was so important back then, but I thought about it for many years.

One day I realized why I was affected in such a profound way.  Since that day I have seen a lot of magicians perform amazing things.  Every time I saw someone perform, I wanted to believe it was real.  I wanted to believe magicians have extraordinary abilities.

It’s the same with personal and business relationships.  When you meet someone for the first time, you want to believe they are a good person.  When you purchase something, you want to believe it will solve your problem.

As a business owner, when you sell something, your customer wants to know you will stand behind it and provide support.  They want to know they made the right decision.  It’s your job to fulfill that belief.

Magicians do this by creating a magic moment.  They do it with a simple gesture like waving a wand, wiggling their fingers, or snapping their fingers.  Does this really do anything?  No, but it creates a moment when people are convinced something just happened.  It works because in the context of the performance, the magician believes that he really has magical powers.  That belief creates conviction.

Does this mean you have to run out and buy a magic wand to create conviction for your customers?  No.  It simply means you have to believe in yourself first, before your customer will trust you.  Remember, they want to believe you can help them.  They look to you for guidance.  If you believe you have something of value, so will they.  Conviction is contagious.

The first step to getting people to believe in you is to understand What You Do Is Important.  Your work is not trivial.  It means something to your customer.  There’s an old story about two brick layers.  When asked what they do, the first says “I’m laying bricks”.  The other said, “I’m building the city’s finest monument!”  The second worker understood the importance of what he does.

Start thinking about the value you really provide.  Your belief will transfer to your customers.

What do you do to get people to believe in you?  Leave a comment below.  I would love to hear what’s working for you.

May 01 2011

What Exactly Is Marketing?

Why is marketing important for an entrepreneur’s success? What exactly is marketing, anyway? Business owners tend to over complicate it’s simplicity. Marketing includes everything you do that places your product or service in front of your prospects. It includes sales, advertising, pricing, packaging and delivery. All these activities are coordinated into a strategy that allows you to receive fair compensation for supplying a good product or service.

So what’s the problem? The focus many times starts in the wrong place. S.H. Simmons, a writer and humorist explains with a funny story about relationships. I’ll paraphrase what he said…

  • Marketing – A man praises a woman by showering her with compliments. He says all the right things to the right person.
  • Advertising – A man tells a woman everything about himself and how successful he is.
  • Public Relations – The man’s friend tells the woman all about the man and how smart and successful he is.

The point Simmons makes is that marketing should focus on whatever the customer needs, wants, or requires. To do that successfully, you have to constantly look at what those needs are. They change all the time. What is true today may not be valid tomorrow.

You can have the most brilliant strategy to get your products into the right hands, but it will not earn you a penny unless it is built around your customer needs. Bottom line, marketing does not begin with a great product. It begins with customers. It begins with people who want or need your product and are willing to actually buy it!

I remember spending months and months putting an educational program together for elementary schools kids. It was a program to help kids identify their special talents and the importance of education. It was very proud of what I created. It was going to change the world! I was disappointed when I found out no one wanted it!!

I think that happens to many entrepreneurs. They get so wrapped up in their ideas, they naturally assume everyone else will too. I know I did. The bad news – It just doesn’t work that way.

Marlon Sanders, a modern day marketing wizard, illustrates this perfectly in one of his videos. A struggling marketer who couldn’t seem to come up with a successful product asks Marlon “No one is buying my stuff. Why are you so successful?  What are you selling?” Marlon answers, “I’m selling whatever they’re buying.” Bingo!

The hard lesson a marketer needs to learn is that the most creative ideas, the greatest product features ever imagined, or the most superior service only succeed when you market within the context of what people want. People really don’t buy your “product”, they buy what it’s going to do for them. Before you invest your life savings into a new venture, take the time to find out who your potential customers are. That is being a smart marketer.

Are you marketing, or are you only using advertising and PR?

Mar 22 2010

Email Marketing Works – Here’s Proof

Email marketing has become an integral part of small business marketing success.  Today’s small business owner understands the importance of using email in their business.

I talked recently about what type of information to include in emails to your customers and why you don’t need a website to launch an email campaign.

Today I want to stress WHY you should be using email.  With email you can:

  1. Direct customers to your website
  2. Announce your latest projects
  3. Target your audience
  4. Track who opens your email and what they’re interested in
  5. Get feedback from customers
  6. Crate a much larger impact on immediate sales and long-term relationship strength than traditional advertising
  7. Provide training
  8. Save money – no paper, printing, postage
  9. Increase sales – It’s easier to sell to existing customers than it is to find new customers
  10. Provide product support
  11. Build trust with customers
  12. Educate customers on consumer trends
  13. Put your business on autopilot with autoresponders
  14. Notify customers of current events
  15. Offer free or discounted products/services
  16. Measure results with tracking

Need Proof? Look At These Statistics.

The Ad Effectiveness Survey commissioned by Forbes Media in Feb/March 2009 revealed that email and e-newsletter marketing are considered the second-most effective tool for generating conversions, just behind SEO.

79% of consumers have signed up to receive e-mail at least from one company, according to Forrester Research, and two out of three people surveyed said they read e-mail every day of the week. (E-commerce Times)

E-mail marketing delivers a US$51.45 return on investment (ROI) for every marketing dollar spent, according to the Direct Marketing Association.

A survey of 55,000 consumers by Decision Direct Research revealed that the number of respondents that visited a Web site when they received an e-mail promotion increased to 62 percent in 2007. (E-commerce Times)

66% of those surveyed said they had made a purchase because of a marketing message received through email. – ExactTarget, “2008 Channel Preference Survey” (2008)

2/3rd of US Internet users surveyed said email was their preferred channel for written communications between friends. – ExactTarget, “2008 Channel Preference Survey” (2008)

Consumers who receive both email and direct mail on average contribute about $17 in revenue and $4 in margin per household.- Merkle “Driving Successful Email and Direct Mail Integration” (2010)

‘Social media ROI’ was an important buzzword for 36% of executives. – Anderson Analytics and Marketing Executives Networking Group “Marketing Trends Report 2010” (2010)

58% of US Marketing Executives feel ‘Marketing ROI’ is currently the most important buzzword/trend to pay attention to. – Anderson Analytics and Marketing Executives Networking Group “Marketing Trends Report 2010” (2010)

Email presently generates 21.6% of total revenue from campaigns. – Direct Marketing Association “The Integrated Marketing Media Mix” (2008)

Discussion

What would you add to the list of reasons you should use email?  Have you seen any interesting statistics that reinforce the importance of using email?  Please share your comments below.