In any business whether you’re a real estate agent, in the business of insurance, autos, health, computers, beauty, food or the countless many, you will always need to make a connection with your customer whether it be online or offline and one thing for sure is, people buy from people who they know, like and trust. If they like you, you’re off to a good start. It’s basic human know-how that one must be a likable person in order for them to even talk to you. Great, you’re good on the 1st step. Depending on how many steps before they buy from you, you had better be good all the way until they open their wallets up to you.
It’ll be a good idea to build up relationships with your customers no matter if it’s a small or big ticket item. Word gets around pretty fast, good or bad word advertising and you want to keep it an everlasting relationship for a lifetime to come. Marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships. Marketing is used to create, keep and satisfy the customer. With the customer as the focus of its activities, it can be concluded that Marketing is one of the premier components of Business Management – the other being innovation.
One of the best ways to market yourself is self social marketing. It’s where you meet with your customer and interact with them. You give them your business card, describe you’re your products and services and leave them a brochure. You make a connection by being a cordial and informative and problem solving salesperson until they feel satisfied. You’ve got to build rapport until you make them like you so they can open up to you and then some.
Marketing is very important because chances are people either don’t know you exist or you have tons of competition. It’s all about persistency and consistency and developing that image and reputation. Build trust and credibility so you create an audience of buyers and followers because a good majority will buy from you and refer you. If you give them something of value or a need they’ve had, they will remember you when you leave your mark.
Marketing planning helps you develop products and services in your business that meet the needs of your target market. Good marketing helps your customers understand why your product or service is better than, or different from, the competition. The product or service fits. A guiding purpose of marketing is to identify the specific goals and needs of customers and to guide the creation of products or services to fulfill them. And sells itself.
If you plan on doing a major push on an important product and service, a marketing plan should always have a situation analysis, marketing strategy, sales forecast, and expense budget. Situation Analysis: Normally this will include a market analysis, a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), and a competitive analysis. We can get more detailed on these matters but this is the thorough approach.
Here are 10 ways to market yourself that are very effective yet on a shoe string budget:
- Craft an elevator pitch
You should be marketing all the time — wherever you are. Therefore, you need a compelling elevator pitch.
Research shows the average attention span of an adult is about six to eight seconds. That’s all the time you have to grab someone’s attention.
If you successfully engage them, then you only have a little over a minute to really sell them on your product or service. Invest the time to craft a killer elevator pitch. The return on your investment will pay huge dividends in terms of creating business opportunities.
- Leverage your community
You don’t have to think big when it comes to your marketing efforts. Think locally. What’s going on in your community?
Sponsor a Little League team or a 5k charity walk/run. Print bookmarks and leave them at the local library. Get to know your ideal customer and think about how and where they spend their time.
Then search for opportunities to get in front of your customer with your marketing message.
Put together a group of synergistic, non-competitive businesses in your area and agree to cross-promote.
You can use coupons, fliers, reciprocal website links, bundled promotions or social media platforms. By collaborating with each other, you can expand your customer base because you’ll be reaching new people.
I’m a huge fan of networking. I don’t think there is any better way to build a business than to get out there, shake some hands, and get to know people.
Networking requires a time commitment and it doesn’t provide instant gratification, but a strong network is one of the greatest assets any business person can have.
- Give a speech
A lot of people hate public speaking. However, there are many organizations looking for qualified, subject-matter experts who can present to their groups.
Take a deep breath and volunteer. You don’t have to be a pro as long as the information you share is helpful to the audience. And the upside — the more you do it the easier it gets. Plus, it positions you as a credible authority in your field.
- Create buzz
I started my corporate career in the field of public relations and the business has changed significantly because of technology.
Today, a small business owner can accomplish a lot without hiring a professional firm. Subscribe to Help a Reporter Out. You can respond to reporters’ queries that are looking for story ideas and resources. Some are small media opportunities, but others are major media outlets that use this service too.
- Ask for referrals
Don’t be shy about asking for customer referrals. The majority of people say they are willing to provide a referral if asked, but very few take the initiative to do it on their own.
Referrals make it easier to get in the door with new customers. If you aren’t asking for them, you are missing opportunities.
- Build relationships
It is a lot less expensive to keep a customer than it is to get a new one. That’s why establishing strong relationships with your customer base is crucial. One of the ways you can do that is by keeping in touch with people through email marketing.
Ask customers for their email address when they visit your store or website. Then, make your communications informative, helpful and professional — something your customers will look forward to receiving.
- Offer coupons
Coupons are a good way for many businesses to attract new customers. Research shows that people will go out of their way to use a coupon, proving that this method is successful in expanding your customer base.
Coupons can also generate return visits. For example, if you give a customer a coupon for a discount to use on future business, there’s a high probability they’ll be back.
- Give it away
If someone has the opportunity to experience your product or service, chances are they will want to purchase more.
Don’t be afraid to give someone a free trial or a sample. In today’s economy, people are more comfortable purchasing something they have been able to experience first.
These ten, inexpensive marketing strategies will help you engage customers, build relationships, and ultimately keep your brand top-of-mind. It’s not always about the money you have to spend on marketing, it’s about the time and effort you put into it and above all, the relevance it has for your customers.