Category Archives: Blog

Target Marketing and Creating Events

The first step in effective marketing is simply knowing who your target market is and understanding as much about them as you can. Are they male or female? What is their age range? What income bracket are they in? Where do they live? What work do they do? What do they have in common? What are their hobbies? What keeps them awake at night? The more you know about your target market the better result your marketing campaign will achieve. What you’re aiming for here is a general picture; of course, no two people will be the same.

One of the best ways to sell to your target market is through targeted events. The type of event will be determined by what you sell and what will interest your potential buyers. For example, seminars work well for the financial industry; showcase events for vehicle sales etc. You may be able to offer a double-whammy, for example adding a special opportunity to a networking event.

Once you have decided on the type of event, you need to get as many people along as possible to make it worthwhile. Your invitation needs to be interesting and engaging. If you’re inviting people by email, you’ll need to send repeat invitations and reminders. Automate this and link it up to a RSVP system so your manual work is kept to a minimum.

If you’re holding the event at an outside venue, make sure it’s easy to get to, include a map on the invitation and explain where to park.

Have a clear plan about how to welcome your prospects with a smile, a name tag and refreshments. At the end, give them a goodie bag to take home or, at the very least, professionally produced marketing material.

The event itself needs some pace. Don’t leave people sitting or standing around without something happening. Keep to time. Stick to the agenda. Avoid boring PowerPoint presentations. Offer prizes for mini competitions. Invite audience participation. Do everything you can think of to keep people entertained but send them away more informed about your business than when they arrived.

Next day, follow up. This is the most important aspect of the entire event. Send a warmly worded email thanking them for coming and offering your assistance should they need it. Repeat your offer, if you made one. Press your advantage – they made the effort to come to your event, so try taking the relationship to the next level. If they’re not yet buyers, offer something else – a regular update perhaps. You want their permission to stay in contact because while they may not be buyers yet, they may be in the future. As well, you don’t know who they may refer to you if you’ve done a good job.

The key to great events is detail. Write checklists, tick off every aspect and you’ll have a successful and memorable event.

From Chaos to Profits – Introducing the One-page Business Plan

Too many business plans are multi-page affairs taking weeks to complete, then very quickly relegated to the bottom right drawer.

To be successful, a business plan should motivate and inspire you. It should keep you focused and on course throughout the year with monthly and weekly key achievements identified and recorded. This will help you remain on track and feel you are achieving.

Also, another key focus in your business plan is developing real relationships with your customers. I really like helping businesses develop this culture because it can make such a massive change to the top line of your profit and loss statement.

The right business plan for many self-employed owners is limited to a double page that can be completed in under an hour. Use it monthly to remind yourself of your goals and to check that key tasks have you actively moving you toward your key goals.

Once you have all these components tested and written down clearly, you will be able to see what you need to do to achieve your goals. Listing your key activities and prioritising these will be a great next step.

Download our A4 double-page business plan template (PDF file) and try it for yourself.

How to Successfully Thank Your Clients

Christmas, as we all know, is a time of giving so it’s time to show your clients and suppliers how much you appreciate them.

You won’t want to thank them all in the same way. After all, you will have done more business with some than others, while there will be a few who deserve something a little bit special.

Here are our favourite ways to say, “thank you” to our clients and suppliers:

  • A small gift basket filled with gourmet treats and a special message that refeclects their relationship with you.
  • A bottle of wine that has a story or message.
  • A gift voucher to a special experience (wine tasting, Bridge Club.)
  • A good quality A4 writing book with a message to develop and grow ideas for their business and personal life.
  • A subscription to an online service such as Spotify or Netflix.
  •  A monthly magazine subscription that will remind them of you every time they receive it.

No matter what you decide, make sure your accompanying card contains a handwritten, personalised note. Nothing screams “we don’t really care” more than a card filled with staff signatures and nothing more.

 

Celebrate Your Achievements of 2016!

2016 has been a full-on year. Many industries have been pushed and pulled in faster and stronger ways, which has resulted in some top performances. Those teams will be looking forward to a well-deserved break!

But while you are kicking back on the beach or lazing beside the pool, have a think about your year and whether it lived up to expectations. Doing this is important for getting a good head start on 2017.

Here are 10 things to consider:

  1.  Are you happy and satisfied with 2016?
  2. Did your business grow its market share and volume of sales compared with market volume?
  3. What were the successes you and your team achieved in 2016? Write a list.
  4. How did your staff perform? Consider each person individually, and compare the goals you had for them with their actual achievement.
  5. Have you created the right structure to allow your team to flourish?
  6. Where can you find new clients in 2017?
  7. At this same time next year, what would you like to have seen changed or improved?
  8. Would a regular training or coaching plan help your sales team in 2017?
  9. Would having a mentor help your business grow faster next year?
  10. What resources might your business require for growth in 2017?

Developing Your Database

Here are the top 5 things you can do to help develop your database.

  1. Update all the contact information you currently hold for everyone on your database. Of these, their email address and phone number (now most commonly their mobile) are the most important as this is most likely how you will stay in touch with them.
  2. Grow your list. Add new prospects, people who may be interested in what you have to offer. The more people you communicate with, the more you will be able to turn prospects into customers.
  3. Learn how to make the most of your existing systems so they can do tasks which would take you hours manually. Many simple tasks can be automated nowadays through the existing software on our computers, so find out what yours can do to save you time and money.
  4. Uncover the gaps in your systems. What do you want or need to do (or your competitors are already doing) that your current system can’t? Use the upcoming holiday downtime to research new systems or software that you can install and have up and running by the time the new year kicks in.
  5. Spend some time looking at what other people in your industry are doing. Are they using Adwords, Facebook adverts or other forms of online advertising to bring in new business? Are they using their Facebook business pages or their LinkedIn profiles to improve their credibility and get noticed? There are many more online opportunities than most of us realise so take some time to look at what’s available so you can make use of them in 2017!

Creating a Communications Plan

One of the main benefits of a CRM system is that it can help you maintain contact with your customers and prospects.

We all know we need to be in touch with our customers on a regular basis but it is often a task that gets put on the back-burner, especially when we are busy. But it is very important if you want to uncover the goldmine hiding in your database, and turn your prospects into customers.

One way to ensure that you actually achieve your communications objectives is to put together a plan for 12-months ahead. It can be as simple as detailing the communication to be sent out and the contacts to be made, such as personal phone calling. Decide how you are going to communicate with your clients – phone, email, newsletter etc – and determine how often. (Read our guest blog below for more on this.)

When planning your communications, think about the resources you have at your disposal and what you will need to buy in. For example, do you believe you can competently write, design and deliver a newsletter using MailChimp? If not, you will need help. Factor the time and the cost of what you are doing into your planning.

Creating a plan is a key task at the beginning of each year so you have a clear outline of what you will be doing to contact and keep in touch with your network of clients and potential clients.

I Know Where a Goldmine is in Your Business

You may not realise it but within your business lies an untapped goldmine. This goldmine is your database. Are you exploiting it to its full potential?

Most businesses do not and that means they are leaving money on the table. Money that is likely going to their competitors.

Don’t let that be you!

While your database may be one of your biggest assets, in order to turn the static information it contains into a goldmine, you need a customer relationship management system or CRM.

Think of it is like this: your database is a record of your past transactions while a customer relationship management system is a tool to develop your future business.

A CRM will help you grow your business by building in-depth relationships with your customers. It is a system of tools, technologies and procedures – available as a software program – for managing, improving or facilitating sales and other interactions with customers, prospects and business partners.

Many businesses have a database of their past transactions but do not look toward the future by putting in place a customer relationship or contact management system.

So, a good plan for this month, especially this time of year, is to spend time developing a CRM.

There are many software systems available but before you sign up for one it is very important to first identify what you need your system to do. Only then should you research the different options to find the right one that meets your highest number of needs.

To find the right one, ask your business contacts what they use and do some online research. Check out the negative reviews as well as the positive ones so you can find out what the pitfalls are before you commit.