Make Sure Your Marketing “Speaks” To Your Clients!

The basis for the successful application of proven marketing strategies is personal relationships. Regardless of the medium you’re using to deliver your marketing message, what your message is or what kind of volume you’re dealing with – you need to keep one thing in mind. You’re speaking to one person and only one person at a time when you send out your message.

In all your marketing, you are always speaking one-on-one with each of your prospective clients.

Think about it. When you read a sales letter, who’s reading it? When you see an advertisement in a magazine, who decides whether it’s relevant to you? When you receive a postcard announcing the newest release of your favorite product, who is it addressed to?

That’s right, the answers are — you, you and you! Unless you have multiple personality disorder, that marketing piece is speaking directly to only one person. You.

Your Goal: Building rapport and creating relationships

The number one focus of any marketing strategy you engage in should be building long-term relationships with your prospects and clients.

Why? Because once these relationships are sufficiently nurtured, you can ethically build on them by providing your clients with many other beneficial products/services that solve their problems and fill a need.

The fact is: if you really are providing your current clients a truly valuable product or service that improves their life in a measurable way – you are actually doing them (and any prospects in the same target audience) a great disservice by not giving them every opportunity possible to enter into a mutually beneficial business relationship with you.

When your marketing is always focused on building long-term relationships (instead of generating immediate sales like many businesses mistakenly do) you’re building what’s called a “Relationship-Marketing Funnel” or an “RMF.” It’s a funnel that will channel an ongoing stream of new and repeat sales into your business along with organically self-replicating profits. But don’t make the mistake that so many small business owners do. Don’t jump into building your RMF without taking care of some prerequisites.

The Prerequisites:

If you want your RMF to work successfully, then there are three prerequisites that you must first fulfill:

1. You must know specifically what your clients’ wants/needs are, and you must have a proven product or service that provides a solution to current challenges that exist for your clients. (There are not really any right or wrong ways to gather this information. But in my coaching with business owners around the country, there are just a dozen or so highly effective methods. However you choose to gather this critical data, be sure it is a maximum leveraging of your time, money and energy.)

2. Once you know exactly what your clients’ needs are, you must focus exclusively on those needs (not your own). That means planning your approach… and then working that plan without any unjustified variance. This is where Strategic Partnerships can come in (more about that soon).

3. You must service your clients way beyond what any of your competitors are currently providing. “Satisfaction” in today’s marketplace is not enough. You and your team must always be seeking to convert every client into a raving fan!

Now these may seem like simple principles to implement, but you would be amazed at how many business owners cannot accurately fulfill these prerequisites. Many business owners may “think” they know what their target market wants, how the people in that market want to be communicated with and what their true needs are. More often than not – their assumptions are way off base. They have never done the research or planning necessary to find and take action on the requirements, and so their marketing efforts fall flat.

Bottom line – most business owners assume they know what their clients want / need.

If you are willing to address these three fundamental prerequisites, and before you begin building your “RMF,” I can assure you that you’ll experience the same growth my coaching clients do. You’ll also be more profitable than you’ve ever dreamed possible.

Advanced principles of effective marketing communication

Once you’ve fulfilled these three prerequisites, you’ll be ready to start building your “RMF” by compiling messages that speak directly to your target audience. Truly effective messages that focus on the specific needs of the people in your niche market or target industry. Messages that speak directly to the diverse behavioral styles, motivational values and learning modalities of each individual in that group.

You see, while it’s true that each of us are as unique as a fingerprint – there are some observable similarities between human beings that you can leverage to accelerate the development of your “RMF” and the resulting growth in your business. Here are fourteen distinctions that should be considered when composing any marketing message. People fall into:

*Four main behavioral styles: Driver, Influencer, Steady and Compliant.
*Six main motivational styles: Utilitarian, Theoretical, Individualistic, Social, Traditional and Aesthetic.
*Four main learning modalities: Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic and Digital.

In an article this brief, its not possible to go into full detail on these distinctions. However, I can tell you this: if your marketing only speaks from your style of communication, it’s like trying to get home with three nearly flat tires on your car.

If you do make it, it’s going to take you a lot longer than it has to. On the other hand, if you take the time to ensure that a part of every message in your marketing speaks in some small part to people of different communication styles – it’ll be just like bolting a supercharger on your marketing engine.

The bottom line is, the more directly you can speak to the needs of your target market, and the more accurately you can communicate with each person within that niche in their own individual communication style — the more effective your marketing will be.

Remember with the RMF model, you’re always building relationships with individuals, not with a group. Get started by taking action on the prerequisites I mentioned above. Then, when you’re ready to make some serious improvements in the results your RMF generates, learn how to integrate the advanced distinctions into your marketing messages.

There are advanced courses you can take for this, or you can try it on your own. But either way you’ll find effective communication can be more profitable than you’ve ever imagined.

Direct Mail Marketing VS Big Banner Advertising

For a small-business owner they know that a big banner in front of their store with advertising will help them sell more products or sign up more people for service. Some cities and towns have ordinances that do not allow small-business owners to put up the banner ads all year round. Instead they are only allowed to do it so many times per month.

This is why sometimes it pays to look at multiple ways to advertise to promote one’s small-business. Which works better; Direct-mail marketing in those little coupon advertising books or a gigantic big banner in front of the store?

They both work very well is specially if the store is on a Main Street and well known in the community. If the direct-mail marketing piece is sent out to all the customers within a 10 mile radius of the store then those customers are more apt to come in shop if there is a discount worthy of mention.

Okay then, how often should direct-mail marketing pieces be sent out in the coupon booklets? Well, perhaps once per month if each month the small-business owner picks a different type of discount.

This will generate new traffic and new customers and perhaps those customers will become regular customers. That should be the goal of direct-mail marketing advertising. I hope you will please consider this in 2006.

Small Business Marketing Strategy – Create a Great Package

Package is the most overlooked of the three key small business marketing elements of Brand, Package and People. If Brand is who you are to the customer, then Package is where and how you present your company to the customer.

Brand is the gift, and Package is the wrapping paper. And–whether they’ll admit it or not–every one of your customers was once a kid who was overjoyed with the anticipation of opening a birthday present. This anticipation, rooted in all humans, is almost as delightful as the present itself. As Wordsworth wrote: “The child is father of the man”, and that’s true for your clients whether they are fifteen or fifty. (OK, just amend the wording a bit for your female clients…)

But most small businesses don’t realize the vital importance of this simple concept. Most small businesses–including many of your competitors–don’t understand that delivering the superior product to the customer is just one among many steps in truly satisfying that customer.

But your small business can be different. You can learn to look at your business through your customer’s eyes. It’s not easy, and it takes some practice, but with a few simple exercises it’s possible to step into those shoes on the other side of the counter and view just what your customer sees when she looks at your business.

Oh, and did we say it takes courage, too?

Businesses meet and sell to their customers via three different arenas:

On Our Turf. This is the Retail Arena many small businesses operate in. When thinking of Package here, you’ll want to evaluate your signage, parking, entryway, aisles, ceilings, shopping carts, restrooms (massively overlooked), and sidewalk. Basically you are looking at everything the customer sees during the shopping experience. All of this, the total presentation to your customer, is the essence of Package for a retailer.

On Their Turf. From the Girl Scout selling cookies door-to-door to the suited-up salesman selling IBM mainframes, there are a thousand variations of people out peddling on their customer’s home field and loving it. This includes companies selling B-B as well as B-C. Part of a lawn service company’s Package would be a consideration of how clean and presentable their pickup trucks are. From you and your salespeople’s clothing to presentation materials to your business cards, Package in the field demands that the owner pay attention.

Distance. This is selling without the face-to-face interaction of a person, either in a store or at the customer’s home or business. Think of companies like Dell or Lands’ End or Amazon.com that have successfully created strong customer relationships without retail stores or in-home visits. Yet this channel, sometime called direct selling or remote selling, has proven to be extremely profitable for many small businesses. Here Package is paramount–and whether it’s a website, a direct mail piece or a thirty second direct response TV ad, the marketer behind distance selling has thoroughly examined and tested each component of the package.

Most businesses stay firmly planted within one of the above three areas. However, you can realize some valuable business intelligence from studying the methods outside your own area of customer contact. But a necessary first step is to view your business through your customer’s eyes.