Top 10 Marketing Best Practices from GrowSmart Part II

FEBRUARY FEATURED ARTICLE
Top 10 Marketing Best Practices from GrowSmart

Last month I gave you the first five Marketing Best Practices from the GrowSmart program. See below as a reminder. Did you implement at least one practice this past month?

I have also provided the next five best practices for you below. I urge you to commit to implementing at least one new practice in the next month.

#1. Event Marketing.
#2. Free Demo.
#3. Offer a Guarantee.
#4. Customer Advisory Group.
#5. Become the Expert.
#6. Cause Marketing

Aligning your business with a cause or a local charity can be very effective marketing. Choose one that is important to you, your team, and your customers. You are looking for synergy here. You are also building your brand as it relates to the cause of this non-profit organization. This is more than just writing a check to the non-profit. This is about becoming involved with their work.

If you are in construction, how about Habitat For Humanity? Healthcare? Maybe sponsoring a 5k run for a local charity. Retail? Possibly getting involved with your local school. The possibilities are endless.

Be careful here though. As well as Cause Marketing can work for your business, it can also work against you. Examples might include Lance Armstrong, Susan G. Komen, and others.

#7. Rule of 3
Every marketing campaign should include at least three unique marketing tactics. This comes from marketing guru Jay Conrad Levinson in his best selling book “Guerilla Marketing”. As a result, your target market in a limited time frame will get “hit” from at least three different directions creating a heightened level of awareness around your product/service offering.

As an example, if I am planning a one day event (sound familiar? 🙂 ) I would do the following all in a one week time period: 1) send an email invitation 2) announce the event in my newsletter 3) send out postcards to that same group. Hence in a period of approximately 48 hours, my target audience has been notified three times about the same event and it will seem to them as if they have heard it at least six times. It’s the multiplier effect at work.

#8. Testing.
If you are doing any amount of marketing, you are bound to make mistakes. That’s okay. Hall of Fame college basketball coach John Wooden used to encourage his players to “make more mistakes” They key is to learn from our mistakes.

In order to avoid big mistakes I think it is a good idea to “test” our marketing strategies whenever possible. Jim Collins in his best-selling book “Great By Choice” suggests we should “shoot bullets and not cannon balls” in this regard.

Several examples. In an email marketing campaign, try out several subject lines on small groups to test open rates before settling on a more permanent subject line for your larger audience. If you are considering a price change, either up or down, try out the change on a limited number of customers or prospects and test their response before implementing the permanent price change. Are you considering a new product or service? Consider forming a focus group and gauge their first impressions of the new offering.

#9. Cross Marketing
What other business do you know that markets to the same target market as you do? Is it possible that they would allow you to promote your product to their clients as you would do the same? The advantage of this practice is that there is already a certain level of trust established by your marketing partner with their “tribe”. You now have an opportunity to leverage that trust with your own offering.

My favorite dry cleaners is located in a strip shopping center. Right next door is a LA Fitness. As I walk into the dry cleaners I see flyers for the LA Fitness. What do you suppose I will see when I walk into the LA Fitness? Very simple and cost effective marketing.

#10. Co-opitition
Early in my entrepreneurial career I wanted nothing to do with my competitors. They were my rivals. My opponents. Good vs. bad. Over time I softened and became interested in learning more about my competitors. We had coffee. Met for lunch. I was surprised how much I learned from them about their businesses. From time to time those competitors began referring prospective customers, employees, and vendors to me.

I learned an important lesson that instead of distancing myself from my competitors, I need to get as close as possible to them.

Lately a new term, “co-opetition” has been coined for this marketing best practice. What opportunities are there for you with one of your competitors? Sharing market data? Co-sponsoring an event? Partnering on a big sales opportunity?

USEFUL WEB TOOLS
Huffington Post Small Business America

This very popular website includes blogs, news, and community conversations about small business in America. A great example of the quality content on this site is the article 12 Online Marketing Blogs Every Small Business Owner Needs to Read.

BOOK OF THE MONTH
Entrepreneurial StrengthFinder

Have you ever wondered if you actually have the right DNA to be an entrepreneur? The right talents to grow a small business?

Gallop Chairman Jim Clifton’s newest book, Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder, will help you answer these questions and more about your entrepreneurial makeup. Clifton is the author of the best-selling book StrengthsFinder that helped many individuals discover what they do best and how to leverage those strengths in and outside of work.

In this book, Clifton and his team have researched and identified the ten (10) talents of successful entrepreneurs. There is a great online assessment that each reader can take that measures the individual’s entrepreneurial potential. The majority of the book is concentrated on describing in rich detail each talent and how it can work for the entrepreneur. In some cases, these same talents can also work against that person if not applied appropriately.

The ten talents are Determination, Relationship-Builder, Confidence, Knowledge-Seeker, Creative Thinker, Independent, Risk-Taker, Promoter, Delegator, and Business Focus. My top two talents are Determination and Relationship-Builder. My bottom two? Delegator and Business Focus. What about you?

I enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to all small business owner and operators. 

A LITTLE HUMOR…
Bad NFL Lip Reading