Archive for October, 2008

Marketing Tips to Keep Your Key Customers

 It is well known that it is far less expensive to retain your key customers than continually chase new ones. Whilst it takes time to build loyalty and trust here are some simple tips that you could build into your small business marketing kit and start implementing today.

Be Proactive
If you have a good understanding of your customers’ problems and needs then see what you can do to assist them or their business. For example if you hear about a seminar or podcast that is relevant, invite them to attend perhaps as your guest where you get the chance to know them better.

Keep Track of all Customer Enquiries
If you use a database, it is really helpful to make a note of every conversation and communication with your customers. Over time you will be able to see if there is a pattern which you can use to offer additional service, support or products at the right time.

Provide a referral
If your customer has products or services that will appeal to other customers, business partners, friends or family, then consider referring their business. You might also consider highlighting their business on your website with a link to their website.

Become a customer
Why not try your customer’s products or services if they are appropriate and you could also consider providing a recommendation or testimonial.

Surprise Them
When they purchase your product or service the next time why not send them a Thank You card with a simple message of appreciation. A simple word of thanks that is handwritten can go a long way especially these days when a lot of communication is by email etc.

There is not doubt many other marketing tips so why don’t you share your marketing tips on how you keep your key customers.

Post by Susan Oakes

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October 22, 2008 at 6:35 am Leave a comment

Marketing Objectives to Drive Your Business

If you think about any of the important achievements you have accomplished it is a fair bet that you probably set a goal or objective before you took any action. One reason is that it keeps you focused and ensures all your efforts are aligned to achieving the goal. In small business the same premise applies and setting marketing objectives actually makes the journey you take easier and less expensive.

What are Marketing Objectives?
They are simply what is required of your key customers (target market) to achieve your sales objectives. To put it simply, what action do you want your current and potential key customers to take? To ensure you can achieve your marketing objectives, limit them to a maximum of three or four, in fact if you only want to set two objectives for the year that is fine. A key point is always to set marketing objectives that are realistic and achievable.

Let’s take a look at some marketing objectives you could set for your business:

Awareness
Before a customer buys your product or service they must become aware of it. Awareness is particularly important if you have a new product or service, if your product or service is only bought occasionally or if your market has many competitors. For example, if you have 1,000 potential customers, the marketing objective could be to have 200 (20%) aware of your business by December 2009.

Purchase
This relates to the initial purchase and the purchase of specific products or services in your range. If we follow on from the example above; of the 200 potential customers above, you want 80 (40%) to make an initial purchase by December 2009.

Purchase Frequency
This relates to how often your customers buy your product or service. Getting your customers to buy more often is an easier way to increase your sales and profit than chasing new customers all the time.

Usage
This is different to purchase as the person who buys your product or service may not be the one who actually uses or consumes it. For example, mothers may buy the breakfast cereal but it is the children who are the ones who eat it.

Usage Frequency
This relates to how often your customers use/consume your product or service. By getting your customers to use a little more of your product or service can actually translate into more sales over the year. Big business marketers often do this by introducing larger pack sizes. The marketing objective could be: Increase the usage frequency of Tumi Satay Noodles from 2 times a week to 3 times a week by December 2009.

Customers
For your small business to grow you may decide to focus on gaining new customers for your business or to retain your most profitable ones. A marketing objective for customers is –  gain 10 more clients by December 2009.

As distribution channels available to customers wanting to purchase products or services grow, then it is important that you ensure your products or services are available in the most important distribution channels. If your product or service is not available in a distribution channel that is important to your customers they may decide to try a competitor’s product or service.

The key with setting marketing objectives is to make them simple and ones that you can track and measure your success against. It may take a little time at first to decide which ones to focus on but each year as you see your progress, you will know the time spent setting the marketing objectives is worth it.

Post by Susan Oakes 

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October 21, 2008 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Marketing Lessons From the Current Crisis

From reading the newspapers and watching the news there are marketing lessons we can learn from the current world credit crisis. The lessons are pretty simple and I think are applicable to all of us you own a small business

Lesson 1 – Do not offer a flawed product or service
All products and services offered should be of quality and targeted to those who can afford and benefit from your product or service. This is also important when you involve business partners to refer or resell your product or service as they need to be reassured that your products or services are worth referring or reselling to their customer base.

Lesson 2 – Be careful how you promote your product or service
If you spend a lot of money or in the case of many small businesses time promoting a new product or service make sure you track the results. Also it is never a good idea to falsely promote benefits that are not true. If you track the performance then you can easily see if you need to make changes or in fact stop the promotion before it costs you more money or time that could be better spent elsewhere.

Lesson 3 – Have a well thought out marketing plan in place
This means do some analysis, work through what you want to achieve and really spend time analysing your customers, competitors and the market you operate in before you go and implement tactics that sound good but actually do not measure up. If you develop a marketing plan for your business, then the marketing objectives, strategies and tactics will make running your business easier and lead to greater results.

Lesson 4 – Take action quickly
If you find your marketing tactics are not producing the results then do not continue for months with evidence of sales declining. It is no good hoping that sales will just appear, because they will not and in the end it will only add more costs to your business not profit.

What marketing lessons have you learnt form this current world problem?

Post by Susan Oakes

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October 16, 2008 at 4:23 am Leave a comment


Susan

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