Tag Archives: small business marketing

Sales Funnel Optimization

Your sales funnel drives sales. Can it get easier than that? Make sure you set it up properly so that it creates as many sales as possible for you.

In this webinar you’ll learn about:

  1. The importance of your sales funnel
  2. The purpose of a sales funnel
  3. The parts of a sales funnel
  4. How to optimize a sales funnel

Let’s get started!

The Importance of Your Sales Funnel

When you understand sales funnels, you’re best equipped to observe your sales process and see what areas need improvement. You can identify bottlenecks, or areas in the funnel through which customers are moving slowly compared to the rest of the funnel.

Once you know what’s wrong, you can fix it. You can examine the bottleneck areas, develop and implement strategies to move customers through them more smoothly and quickly. Optimizing your sales funnel in this way ensures that you can move more customers through, with a shorter sales cycle.

That’s good for business!

Purpose

A sales funnel is a numbers game.

Every potential customer enters your sales funnel unaware that your business exists. Your job is to move them through the funnel, converting them from potential customers to people who have bought from you.

A large number or potential customers start a sales journey with you, and people fall away at each stage, for a variety of reasons. Usually it’s a small percentage that move through all the stages of the funnel to become customers. This is where the funnel shape comes from

Parts

A sales funnel has four basic parts:

  1. Gain their Awareness – Use marketing to let people know you exist
  2. Gain their Interest – Get people interested enough in your offering to want to find out more about you
  3. Make them Ready – Convince people of benefits and address doubts and concerns so that potential customers can become paying customers.
  4. Close – Close the sale

Some sales funnels break these basic parts into many more, but the funnel shape holds across all of them: A lot of potential customers start the first stage, some drop away at each stage, and a few finish as actual customers.

When you know at what part of your sales funnel bottlenecks are happening, you can start to optimize your sales funnel.

How to Optimize Your Sales Funnel

In order to identify bottlenecks in your sales funnel, you need to:

  1. Know the stages in your sales funnel
  2. Know the conversion rates between each stage – the goal is 10% or higher.
  3. Make note of whether each of those rates is 10% or higher.
  4. Know the lowest of the these conversion rates – even if the lowest rate is over 10%, this is a bottleneck.
  5. Figure out why this area is a bottleneck
  6. Develop and implement a plan to resolve the bottleneck.

Small Business Solver has a tool to help you figure out where your bottlenecks are and what you need to do to resolve them, but here are some general strategies, linked to Small Business Solver modules to help you learn more:

  1. Finding Prospects – Make sure that you understand your customer, that your customers are qualified, that you’re using a lead list, and that you’re making use of referrals and seeking channel partners.
  2. Improving AwarenessIntegrate your marketing campaigns so that you’re presenting the same message everywhere. Prioritize this work – it’s important!
  3. Improving InterestControl your message by representing your brand wellhone your presentation skills and always leave a great impression! Learn how to address common objections to doing business with you.
  4. Improving the Close – Learn how to gauge interest so you’re not misreading whether people are ready to close. Reduce risk so that people are more inclined to close. Make sure that your closing tactics actually work for you and not against you!
  5. Improving Follow-UpCreate a follow-up plan for customers, so that you can improve retention and create opportunities for upselling.
  6. Improving Delivery – Continue to get to know your customers and build relationships so that you consistently provide a positive experience for them. Set expectations wisely by underpromising and overdelivering.

Small Business Solver can help you do all these things. Sign up today for a pay-what-you-can account to view any of the modules in the above list.

We hope that the the webinar was useful for you! Visit our YouTube channel to view more of our webinars.

Small Business Marketing Tools to Boost your Likeability

People buy from people they like, so remember to congratulate yourself once you’ve made the sale! You connected with the customer and appealed to them on the emotional level at which people ultimately decide to buy. You now need to make this transactional customer who’s made one purchase a lifetime customer. Using small business marketing tools that boost your likeability can help with that. In this webinar you’ll learn about:

  1. The Value of a Customer
  2. Likeability as one of the 3 Tenets of a Sale
  3. How Brand affects Likeability
  4. Marketing Tools that Boost Likeability

The Value of a Customer

Getting existing customers to spend more money on your products is less expensive than spending money on the marketing and onboarding required to continually bring on new customers. You’ll also generate more revenue over a customer’s lifetime. Build personal relationships with your customers, increasing your likeability, and revenue from a given customer will increase as:

  1. Average size and frequency of a sale increases
  2. Purchases become more routine
  3. You become the business that the customer always shops with
  4. The customer not only does business exclusively with you, but refers you to other people.

The sales cycle for a referral is much shorter than for a customer you bring in fresh off the street!

Likeability as One of the 3 Tenets of a Sale

Need a reminder about the 3 Tenets of a Sale? Here they are:

  1. People Must Know You (Visibility)
  2. People Must Trust You (Credibility)
  3. People Must Like You (Likeability)

We are (obviously) examining Likeability’s role in the 3 Tenets of Sale today, and how boosting it through small business marketing and building personal relationships wih customers increases your sales. We’ve examined previously how boosting credibility boosts your sales and also how boosting visibility boosts your sales, so be sure to check out those webinars as well! Small business marketing works!

How Brand Affects Likeability

Your Brand Promise lets customers know who you are and what they can expect from you. Branding choices give your customers information about your business that they use to evaluate your Brand Promise, and all ties into likeability.

Consider how these aspects of your branding will be perceived by your target market:

  1. Your business’ name
  2. Your business’ voice
  3. Visuals
  4. Values
  5. Personality
  6. Characteristics that make it unique from other companies will be perceived by your target market.

Remember that in small business your personal brand as the business owner is part of the business brand. Be both authentic in both!

Small Business Marketing Tools That Boost Likeability

You can use Small Business Solver’s Marketing Solver Tool to learn about a whole bunch of marketing tools that help with the “Like You” part of the 3 Tenets of a Sale. Here are a few the webinar talks about:

  1. Volunteering –> You and/or a staff team
  2. Sponsorships –> Community events or local sports teams
  3. Rebates and Coupons —> For existing customers, not just new ones
  4. Lunch & Learns –> For potential and existing customers
  5. Online Service Tie-In –> Use an online platform to provide value to your offering (such as access to an information website or web community)
  6. Pick Up the Phone –> Call customers instead of emailing them
  7. Employees –> Stay engaged, let them express their personality
  8. Mentors —> Leverage the power of your champions!
  9. Food –> Face-to-face over food can build powerful relationships
  10. Be Helpful –> Share articles, news, events
  11. Birthday Cards –> Note customer details that are potential touchpoints in your CRM
  12. Online Portfolio –> Showcase your business and your brand promise
  13. Networking –> Really listen to peoples’ stories and offer help without expectation of return
  14. Smile! —> People can tell, even if they can’t see you.

The numbers show that you really only need one hundred loyal customers to flourish, bottom line. They will keep coming back to you, over and over. They will refer new customers to you. One hundred loyal customers changes the nature of your business.

Something to think about, right?

Was this useful? Watch our other webinars on our YouTube Channel!

Credibility: How Can You Get Your Customers To Trust You?

When it comes to sales, vour credibility is critical. Trust is as important in your relationships with your customers as your it is in your personal relationships. As a business owner, you need mustunderstand that:

  1. All sales are emotional. Whether you own a convenience store in a small town or an internationally-known software company worth millions of dollars, you ultimately appeal to emotion, not logic, to make your sale.
  2. Gaining credibility, or a customer’s trust that you know what you’re talking about and that you’ll do what you say what you will, is one of the 3 Tenets of a Sale.

Credibility and Sensitive Trust

The trust that you must develop with customers, who are likely people with whom there isn’t a long and complex personal history, is called sensitive trust. Senstive trust is different than the sensible trust that develops between people in long-term relationships (family, old friends, and significant others), and must develop much more quickly in order to establish the credibility needed to close the sale.

Let’s examine the 3 Tenets of a Sale, or the Sales Funnel, to see how you how you develop that sensitive trust?

The 3 Tenets of a Sale

The 3 Tenets of a Sale, or the Sales Funnel, theory is based on the idea that as people buy from you when they:

  1. Know you
  2. Trust you
  3. Like you.

Marketing is a great way to build sensitive trust and keep people buying from you.

You can use Small Business Solver’s Marketing Solver tool to find a whole list of simple-to-implement marketing strategies that can increase your credibility in a flash:

  1. Get business cards
  2. Record a professional voice mail message
  3. Develop a web presence (not necessarily a web site!)
  4. Ask for referrals/testimonials
  5. Use branded contracts/invoices
  6. Rent a post office box
  7. Get a 1-800 number
  8. Look for media cover opportunities (press releases, articles, etc. – not paid ads)
  9. Encourage customers to leave online ratings on sites like Google and Yelp
  10. Do presentations (keynotes, panels, webinars)
  11. Hire a virtual assistant or use a calling service to look bigger than you are
  12. Make brochures to hand out to clients interested in larger or B2B sales
  13. List your products in established online stores (Etsy, Yahoo, Alibaba) for better SEO rankings and streamlined customer experience
  14. Respond to blogs, letters to the editor, related forums to raise awareness of your company
  15. List awards your company has won – even small ones
  16. Develop an online portfolio
  17. Go to networking events

Which marketing strategies are you currently using? Which ones could you easily start using?

Building credibility is hard work, and it’s easy to be very hard on yourself if you inadvertently let a customer down. However, if you do, don’t throw up your hands – the situation is salvageable! Plus it is important to know how to rebuild trust in this situation. Remember, nobody’s perfect – you are not the first to do this, you won’t be the last. Handle it gracefully, to the best of your ability, and forgive yourself.

Learn More about Credibility

All the strategies in this 20-minute video are low-cost, can be implemented quickly, and do wonders for your credibility. Watch the webinar for details on how to implement each one, pick one or two to try this month, and let us know your results! We’d love to hear from you!

Was this helpful? Watch more webinars on our YouTube Channel!

Email Tips To Make You an Email Pro!

Take your online communcations from “average” to “awesome” with these email tips from Small Business Solver Marketing Manager Sarah Levis.

Email Tips to Take Today!

A recent article from “Forbes” indicated that a corporate employee sends and receives 105 emails a day and can spend 28% of the day dealing with email. So learn how to use how to use this tool effectively! In this webinar on email tips you’ll learn:

  1. Whether An Email is Necessary –> Is email the best way to deliver your message? The most effective way? The most appropriate way?
  2. Deciding What Kind of Email is Necessary –> What’s the purpose of your email? How can you clearly indicate that to the reader?
  3. The Importance of Tone –> Is your tone appropriate for your purpose? Are you using conventions that don’t come across well in text, like sarcasm or teasing?
  4. The Power of Good Editing –> Have you edited your writing to eliminate jargon, excessive words, and weak words and phrases?
  5. A Clear Call to Action — > Does the reader know exactly what you need them to do in response to your email?
  6. Tools of the Trade –> Have you made effective use of the tools available to you in your email client to make your email as clear and accurate as possible (Spell Check, Grammar Check, signature, pre-written text blocks)
  7. Checking Your Work –> Have you proof-read your email for errors? Has someone else looked over it for errors that you may have missed?
  8. Subjects – Did you send test emails to make sure that your subject doesn’t land your email in SPAM folders?
  9. Before You Send – Writing Your Greeting, Pause Before You CC, Know the Laws –> Is your greeting appropriate and accurate? Is everyone (and no one more) on your CC list that must be? Are you in compliance with your country’s SPAM regulations?

Links to check out to make your writing even better!

  1.  21 of the Best Email Subject Lines We’ve Ever Seen – HubSpot
  2. GDPR Compliance Information – ZDNet.com
  3. Grammarly: Free Writing Assistant
  4. How to Use Gmail (Ultimate Beginner’s Guide) – Envatotuts+ Learning Guide 
  5. How to Write Emails Like a Marketing Pro – Aytekin Tank for Medium
  6. How to Write Email with Military Precision – Kabir Seghel for the Harvard Review
  7. Outlook Help Center
  8. The Ultimate List of Email Spam Triggers – HubSpot

Follow these email tips and keep these resources handy and you’ll be writing exceptional email in no time! Oh – watch the webinar, too! If it’s useful, check out our other webinars on our YouTube channel!

Small Business Marketing on a Small Business Budget

When you’re a small business owner just starting out, keeping costs low is a priority. But you also must let people know that you’re in business, offering products and services that that they want – you have to do marketing, and marketing costs money! What’s the solution? How can you do small business marketing on a small business budget?

Fear not – you have plenty of options for cheap and cheerful marketing, and we’ve made the replay of webinar we did on the subject available for you to study and consider. You’ll learn about easy-to-use small business marketing tools that are free or almost free, including:

  1. Your smile!
  2. 30-Second Pitch (Elevator Pitch)
  3. Your voicemail message
  4. Business cards
  5. Your email signature
  6. Demonstrations and examples
  7. Customer follow-ups
  8. Feedback forms
  9. Testimonials
  10. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool

You’ll also learn about Small Business Solver’s Marketing Solver Tool. This assessment uses your responses to questions about your small business marketing needs (your goals, the sort of impact you’d like to create, the time span in which you want to implement a marketing campaign, your budget) you to make suggestions about which of the 300 marketing tools currently out there will work best for you. Each marketing tool suggestion comes with an information sheet you can view about how to most effectively use the tool.

Small Business Marketing Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank

Some tools do cost money, but you can keep your initial marketing efforts low-cost until you have some cash flowing into your business. You can then increase your marketing budget as your finances allow. Use what’s available to you effectively and re-evaluate your budget as you become able to – and please let us know what the process is like for you! You can reach us on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email us at [email protected].

Was this useful? View more of our webinars on our YouTube channel!

Build a Local Small Business Marketing Plan

Small businesses have a competitive advantage versus the larger businesses in the local market. So why wouldn’t you take advantage of this?

Walk through the best practices of a marketing plan and then have it fine tuned in order to reach out to the local, regional market. Then learn to use and implement the local marketing tools.

The overview of the video is:

Step 1: Marketing Goal
Step 2: Marketing Budget
Step 3: Target Market
Step 4: Your Message
Step 5: Your Local Marketing Tools

Contact Your Expert

Carla Langhorst
[email protected]

Like the slides? Download slides

Latest & Greatest Social Media 2014

Social media is always changing!! It is important as a small business owner to stay social mediaon top of these changes and how this will impact your business online.

This 30 minute video talks about how social media is changing and where it is headed. Specific new tools are reviewed and any way that you can use them in small business is discussed.

After the webinar, a few questions were asked.

1. What other goals can you have for your social media?
– you can do market research, marketing testing, and find out how your customers actually feel about your business.

2. How do you decide where to spend your time?
– start with the basic ones, LinkedIn and Twitter are more stable to invest time into. Explore the new social media platforms when you have ‘free time’.

3. How can you think out of the box and become viral in your social media marketing?
– social media isn’t as viral as we all think it is. It is all about reaching a certain threshold where your video or post is highly ranked in its search. To get there, promote to your network and friends. Once you hit the threshold this becomes easier and easier.

Contact The Expert
Allan Pollett
[email protected]

 

Resources

http://www.snapchat.com/
https://vine.co/
http://www.houzz.com/
http://www.impossible.com/
http://www.mobli.com/
http://www.yioop.com/
http://www.linkedin.com
http://www.twitter.com
http://www.facebook.com

Marketing Automation for Small Business

When we think marketing we often think advertising. But with business becoming more of a science, there are now marketing software out there that can help grow your business.
 
Obviously technology is more than just social media and your computer, and this is your opportunity to understand what some of those tools are that could help your business.
 
Marketing automation is one of the newest techniques out there. And it is becoming increasingly important as by 2020 it is estimated that 85% of a company’s customer interactions will be automated and through technology. This means that these marketing automation best practices are only going to become more important.
 
The 10 Commandments of Marketing Automation
 
1. Be 100% customer focused. What are your customers pain points?
2. Be pressure free. Gone are the days of the pushy sales person.
3. Support the internal sale. Remember that you are working with more than the decider when you are selling. There are influencers and other stakeholders you need to communicate with.
4. Marketing automation is part of your integrated inbound marketing strategy.
5. Drive repeat purchases. Keep them engaged!
6. Content driven. Have relevant new content to keep them interested.
7. It must be multi channel. Not everyone uses one communication channels. There are many and they are growing!
8. Reflect interest, not just action. Interest is important too!
9. Accessible no matter how someone is accessing the information.
10. Cross platform. The new normal is using different devices.
 
Find out more and what software is available through the video!
 

 
Contact the Expert
 
Andrea Orozco
[email protected]
 

Public Relations for Small Business

 
Public relations (PR) is one of the most effective forms of marketing. Why? It is instantly credible and it often gets your business into mediums that you might not be able to access otherwise.
 
Think about when you read a newspaper, instantly any business that is mentioned or quoted is considered more credible or a leader in the field. The same applies if you hear someone presenting, on the radio, or even mentioned on a blog. Taking advantage of this low cost and effective marketing tool becomes critical.
 
Some of the top things to remember about PR is this;
1. Know your public.
2. Target communication.
3. Be consistent.
4. Know the tools and resources available to you.
5. Plan ahead.
 
To learn all of the details and tricks from a PR consultant, check out the video.
 

 
Contact the Expert
 
Sandra Gabriel
[email protected]
 
Like the PowerPoint presentation? PR 101
 

Additional Resources

 
Press News Release Outlets
Briefing Wire http://www.briefingwire.com/
PR Log http://www.prlog.org/
News Box http://newsbox.com/
Press Release Point http://pressreleasepoint.com/
My PR Genie http://www.myprgenie.com/
Pamper Me Network http://www.youdeservetobepampered.com
PR Link (Toronto) http://prlink.insidetoronto.com/
 
News & Articles
68 Articles http://68articles.com/
Article Alley http://www.articlealley.com
Article Base http://www.articlesbase.com/
Article Click http://www.articleclick.com/
E-Zine Articles http://ezinearticles.com/
Ezine Mark http://ezinemark.com/
Go Articles http://goarticles.com/
Scribd http://www.scribd.com
gabrielpr.ca http://www.gabrielpr.ca/wp-admin
Women’s Post http://www.womenspost.ca
Biz Sugar http://www.bizsugar.com
 
Extended Distribution List
www.betanews.com
www.highwire.stanford.edu
www.newslink.org
www.marketwire.com
www.editorandpublisher.com
www.prnewswire.com
www.internetworldstats.com
www.newswire.ca
www.prweb.com
www.businesswire.com
www.programmersheaven.com
www.emediawire.com
www.MYPRGENIE.com
www.threadwatch.org
www.pr-inside.com
www.24-7pressrelease.com
www.pr.com
www.mediapost.com
www.tmcnet.com
www.newswiretoday.com
www.our-hometown.com
www.prlog.org
www.pressreleasenetwork.com
www.betanews.com
www.earthvision.net
www.promotionworld.com
www.downloadjunction.com
www.press-world.com
www.majon.com
www.clickpress.com
www.bookcatcher.com
www.businessportal24.com
www.webnewswire.com
www.przoom.com
www.urlwire.com
www.billhartzer.com
www.groupweb.com
www.newspad.com
www.1888pressrelease.com
www.expertclick.com
www.gebbieinc.com
www.newsforce.com
www.imediafax.com
www.eworldwire.com
www.ereleases.com
www.press-release-writing.com
www.searchwarp.com
www.dbusiness.com
www.eceurope.com
www.devarchive.com
www.emailwire.com
www.softwaremarketingresource.com
www.seo-pr.com
www.powerhomebiz.com
www.readmedia.com
www.send2press.com
www.openpr.com
www.store.1choice4ystore.com
www.prleap.com
www.pressbox.co.uk
www.usprwire.com
www.free-press-release.com
www.ukprwire.com
www.theopenpress.com
www.prurgent.com
www.upload.it
www.storebuilder.co.uk
www.free-press-release-center.info
www.malebits.com
www.softpressrelease.com
www.promaxum.com
www.epressreleases.org
www.dime-co.com
www.softwarewire.com
www.ecommwire.com
www.lunareclipse.net
www.sbwire.com
www.pressflash.com
www.pressrelease365.com
www.ukprwire.com
www.pressreleasepivot.com
www.pressexposure.com
www.prfree.com
www.ideasiteforbusiness.com
www.thepublish.com
www.press-base.com
www.targetwire.com
www.express-press-release.com
www.profnet.org
www.thehostingnews.com
www.newsblaster.com
www.myfreepr.com
www.ideamarketers.com
www.afreego.com
www.addpr.com
www.symbcity.com
www.mediasyndicate.com
www.news.baou.com
www.eboomwebsolutions.com
www.internetwriters.com
www.webwire.com
www.mediapeak.com
www.epicinnovations.com
www.prwindow.com
www.exchangenet.com
www.onlinepressreleases.com
www.prudentpressagency.com
www.freepressrelease.org
www.pressabout.com
www.afly.com
www.pressreleasecirculation.com
www.opportunityupdate.com
www.prbuzz.com
www.africanewswire.net
www.publicrelations.uk.com
www.fastprnews.com
www.hungarynewswire.com
www.prnuke.com
www.press.xtvworld.com
www.e-syndicate.net
www.emeapr.com
www.hotmicrocap.com
www.learn-more.org
www.sanepr.com
www.baygo.com
www.XpressPress.com
www.internetnewsbureau.com
www.businessopportunity.biz
www.exactrelease.com
www.bizeurope.com
www.devpress.com
www.i-newswire.com
www.bignews.biz/
http://pressexposure.com/
http://newsreleaser.com/
www.healthprspider.com/
www.freepressrelease.com
http://freepressindex.com/
www.ideamarketers.com
www.yourfreepressrelease.net
www.pressreleasepublic.com
www.release-news.com
www.booshplr.com
www.press-release-articles.com
www.imnewswatch.com
www.prfriend.com
www.pressreleasepad.com
www.postafreepressrelease.com/
www.pressreleasehome.com/
www.pressreleaseroom.com
www.fastpressreleaser.com
www.pressreleasestudio.com
www.qualitypressreleaser.com
www.anyrelease.com

 

 

Top Free & Close To Free Marketing Tools That Work!

One of the most difficult parts of starting a business is ramping up the sales & marketing in the first few months.  The reality is, that marketing is necessary to grow & increase visibility.  Visibility is critical as people only buy from businesses they know about.

Once marketing starts working, you have money for more marketing.  So the challenge is always at the beginning, when a marketing budget is hard to come by.

This video highlights the top 20 (and then a few more) ways to having a low cost marketing budget.