5 Marketing Questions All Business Owners Should Ask Themselves

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There’s your baby – your small business website. You put out brilliant posts on Facebook and Google+ while hoping to connect with others through comments on their posts; you try to SEO your website enough to raise its Google score; you make promotional offers on a couple days of the week [‘Monday Madness Specials’ ‘TGIF Twofers’] but somehow your site still isn’t gaining the traction you’d hoped for or that you were expecting.
Time for a new site redesign or name? Fill the site with more ads to attract? Hire the Goodyear blimp to spread the word? Nah, none of those should be your first consideration. It might be there are some things you haven’t thought of or dismissed. Let’s do a quick review of the top 5 questions you need to ask yourself and review what you can do better.

1. Who should you market to?

Everyone you meet.
Teachers – Parents – Bosses – Mates – Prospective Mates – All of Your Friends – Real Estate Agents – Landlords – Neighbors – Professionals – Homeowners Association Members – Plumbers – Electricians – Cable Installers – Police – Firefighters –Doctors – Nurses – Everyone in the Family – Bankers – Tellers -Grocery Clerks – Security Guards – Car Dealers – Mechanics.
Really? Yes, really! Stop being shy and promote yourself and your business by letting others know what you do through the website. Stop asking yourself why they would buy from you, why they would look at your website and start thinking exponentially. Even if they’re ‘not in the market’ for your business right now, how about the people they know? Their families, friends, acquaintances, professional contacts? Any one of these can be a good lead. Someone may know someone who needs what you can offer.

2. What do you market with?

Your business card. Never leave home or work without it. Carry plenty. It’s your mobile billboard, magazine, newspaper, TV, Radio, Internet ad. Keep the front clean of distracting info. Make certain it carries your website URL, business name and your name prominently. Add an email address and phone number, but nothing more. Don’t stick the URL in a corner of the card, but put it front and center along with your business name. As an option, you can add a QR code on one corner to provide your email and phone number and other vital information about your business. Use the back of the card to say something short and meaningful about what you offer. “Give Us 2 hours and We’ll Give You the Cleanest Palace In Your Neighborhood.” [Housecleaning Services] “Our Specially Designed Jewelry Will Make You Sparkle” [Home Designed Jewelry] “We Know The Ins and Outs Of Pipes, So You Don’t Have To.” [Plumbing Repair]

3. How do you deliver yourself?

Wallflowers sit down. Carnival barkers step right up! This is the time to show what you’re made of. Don’t overpower your delivery, but let people know quickly and with a smile of confidence what you can provide. This is not the time for overselling, but giving a sample taste. “In case you or someone you know can use Magic X Product {or} Service, here’s my contact info {your business card}. Thank you.” That’s it. Less than 7 seconds in delivery. Being concise and assertive, with a friendly face, will leave a better impression with a potential customer which adds to your value. If you have the chance, offer a handshake while looking straight at them. If you happen to be taller than them, don’t lean forward or hover over them. Give some breathing room. Practice your delivery again and again so that it becomes second nature. But don’t run away after the handoff [giving your business card] in case they have a question to ask. It may offer a chance to give them something extra about your offerings.

4. What are you providing?

You need to know what you can offer with that product or service that no one else can. Better hours of operation? Extra services that are free? Guarantees? Know what you’ve already accomplished, your strengths and limitations, your values and aspirations. Get input from others close to you if you need help figuring any of these out. When you are talking to a customer or potential one, you have to know what you can do for them without hesitation. Maybe they will ask you about delivery options, product exchanges or who they contact for customer service issues. Don’t tell them to ‘check the website.’ You are the entire business standing in front of them. They expect you to know it inside and out. Have a name and number they can call. What differentiating factors – unique characteristics, experiences – do you possess that can be parlayed into a strength that sets you apart? Make certain not only the people you meet know this but make it known on your website homepage. “We speak your language in order to serve you better. (Spanish, Portuguese, French, Mandarin, German, Italian, Arabic, Swahili)” “I ran the marathon in 2 1/2 hours. I can fix your plumbing much quicker.” “95% of our customers have been repeat customers over the past 5 years.”

5. What is your goal?

Your goal isn’t immediately reaching ‘x’ number of customers nor is it financial, though you do want to bring in revenue. Your goal is to get people thinking of your product or service first before anyone else’s. Don’t worry yet about people abusing your brand name as a generic name (e.g. Kleenex, Nylon, Linoleum). You’re not that big yet. How will you know when you’ve reached your goal? When people start recognizing you and your business on sight. When they mention it every time you talk. When you start getting more connections and comments on social media. When those same people you’ve given your card to start asking you questions on the product or service you offer. When you start getting calls, email and website responses from those you’ve contacted and the people they know.

Quick Review

If your small business website is not getting the eyeballs you expect, review your marketing strategies.
• Your potential customers
• Your business advertising
• Your personal presentation
• Your business offerings
• Your business goals

Even if business is good and you’ve been in operation for more than 5 years, it’s always good to revisit just to make certain your customers and potential customers will be coming to you for the next 5 years and the next 5 after that.

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Author: Brad Apling

I've dirtied my hands in archeology digs, writing, computers, gardening, writing, my own small businesses, non-profits, blogging, researching, volunteering, and writing. Still going...and loving it!

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