Tag Archive | "Marketing Strategies"

Leave Juggling To Clowns: Why Focusing On Single Tasks Will Improve Your Business Marketing

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Leave Juggling To Clowns: Why Focusing On Single Tasks Will Improve Your Business Marketing


In today’s day and age, people always have multiple things on the go and even more so for global businesses. We’re answering emails, making calls, writing reports, going to meeting after meeting, and trying to compact it all into an eight hour day. So, we multi-task.

Everyone does it. Whether you’re talking to your co-workers while writing that important report, or writing an email on your smartphone as you walk to that very important business meeting, multi-tasking has become a very important part of our working lives to help us accomplish our lengthy list of To-do.

Well, I’m here to tell you to stop multi-tasking! That’s right, you read that correctly (unless you were too busy doing two things at once). Yes, multi-tasking has “helped” people juggle multiple projects at once (and it is possible to do), but there’s a way to do it properly, and essentially that’s by single-tasking.

In marketing in particular, there are so many tools and resources these days that we are easily distracted and can have our focus taken from one place to another in a matter of seconds. Did I check our Facebook page this morning? Is our marketing collateral back from the printers, and who should I send it to? What should I include on our trade show banners for our next big event?

You can try to do all of these – and likely much much more – at once, drive yourself crazy and take forever to finish each task. Or, you can single-task.

What I mean by single-tasking is focusing on one To-do at a time and giving it your entire focus for a specified amount of time. Instead of juggling five items at a time, bouncing from one to the other, stick to one item, finish it, and move on to the next one. It’s that simple.

Now, how should you start single-tasking? First off, I ask that you put your smartphone down, minimize your email, and focus. Really focus. You’ll be able to engage a lot more with the task at hand and have a new found focus that has probably been missing since that mini QWERTY keyboard of immediacy chained itself to your hand.

Next, stop checking your email every 5 minutes. Try to limit it to once every hour or better yet two to three times daily. Sure, you might get the occasional email that’s extremely important and requires your full and immediate attention, but this often isn’t the case. Guaranteed.

Start allocating your time more effectively by using your To-do lists and scheduling each item accordingly, ordering each task by its level of importance and immediacy. This will help you to cross individual items off your To-do list each day.

Schedule assignments regularly so you can truly focus on each individual task for a set amount of time. Need to check your social media pages? Do it at the same time every day or week. Creating a repeatable schedule will help you stay on task and allow you to keep checking items off your list on a regular basis.

Once you’re able to adjust to single-tasking, I’m certain you’ll be accomplishing more goals, completing more tasks that you’ve been slowly working on for months, and allow you to take on new projects more regularly. It all comes down to how much – and how often – you’re willing to focus on what’s really important today, tomorrow, and next week. Realize your priorities and complete more objectives.

At AKB² Small Business Marketing, we can help your business single-task by using our strategic approach – whether it’s a sensible social media plan, a savvy web strategy or a sound marketing plan – we can  help you accomplish your goals and one task at a time.

For more information contact us at info@akbsmallbusinessmarketing.com or call us at 647 449 6760.

Inspiration for this blog post came from reading James Altucher’s “Multi-tasking Will Kill You”, which can be found here: http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2012/06/multi-tasking-will-kill-you/.

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Small Business Marketing:  15 Simple Do’s and Don’ts

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Small Business Marketing: 15 Simple Do’s and Don’ts


Including marketing in your plans should be obvious to the small business owner but time and time again, I come across many who have overlooked this MUST Do part of the business. The reality is that no matter how great a product or service you have, unless you have a plan to get it and/or keep it front and centre of your customers or prospects, success is not guaranteed.
For starters, here are my top fifteen (15) marketing Do’s and Don’ts for small businesses.
Do:
1. Determine your IDEAL target market
2. Determine the best and most cost effective way to reach your market
3. Know your competitors
4. Develop a marketing plan no matter how simple
5. Develop a marketing budget
6. Find your customers pain point and address it
7. Develop your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
8. Recognize that your business starts and ends with the customer in mind. Period
9. Ask your customers what they want
10. Satisfy your customers – it’s 5 times easier to sell to an existing one than to convert a new one
11. Stay alert and be open to new ways of marketing
12. Set specific marketing goals which can be measured
13. Test and refine different marketing strategies
14. Embrace social media
15. Read industry publications to stay abreast of industry trends and developments

Don’t:

1. Try to be all things to all people – you cannot satisfy everyone so determine your market and laser beam focus
2. Go another month without a marketing budget
3. Ignore your customers
4. Put all your marketing eggs in one basket – try different ways of reaching your customers and see what works best
5. Lose sight of your competition and their marketing strategies
6. Under or over price your products or services. Be competitive
7. Ignore your company’s weakness. Determine how you will market around them
8. Be scared of Social Media. Accept that it’s part and parcel of the new marketing
9. Blindly believe industry gurus and experts – do your own homework.
10. Get complacent when you achieve some success
11. Misrepresent your products or services. Customers can sense FAKE
12. Choose a location that might not provide the necessary traffic or expansion possibilities
13. Package your products or services in a way that conflicts with your company image
14. Market your products or services to the wrong audience
15. Take rejection personally. Keep moving, you’ll strike ‘gold’ eventually

By: Dorothy Vernon-Brown

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Part 4 – Small Business Marketing Ideas You Can Steal Now. A 5 Part Series

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Part 4 – Small Business Marketing Ideas You Can Steal Now. A 5 Part Series


Keep ‘em coming; I am always delighted to get feedback from my clients and prospects on what they find useful and what works for them.

Along with this five part series blog, I also created an easy to read 50 Small Business Marketing Ideas desk card. Many of you told me you found the information very useful and have even implemented a tip or two. Thank you for the positive feedback.

So, in the spirit of usefulness and relevance let me offer you some more marketing insights.

16. Join credible networking
I’m sure we’ve heard the old saying “It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know’. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to know what you’re doing and talking about that’s not the entire equation. In today’s business world, the opportunity to do business with someone is directly connected with who you know. Think about it for a minute.
To fast track the quality and quantity of business you do, it might be worth the time and money to become part of a credible networking group. Offline groups like Business Networking International (BNI), the largest networking group in the world, your local chamber of commerce or an industry professional group might just be the place to start. Ensure the fit is right and you feel comfortable within the group. A word of caution – go with a ‘Givers Gain’ mindset and not a ‘Take More Than I Give’, for in doing so you’ll win and build lasting relationships.

Bob Burg in his book Endless Referrals, suggests that forty (40) per cent of new business comes from referrals or word of mouth. It’s who you know and who they know. He refers to it as the sphere of influence.

In the online world, social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Diggs and so on are great places to start. LinkedIn is the leading and most credible social network for professionals; it has over thirty five (35) million business professionals in two hundred (200) countries across one hundred and seventy five (175) industries. Best of all it’s free and easy to set up.

17. Network your business by volunteering
Doing good is good for your small business and that’s why performing community service can be a great way to enhance your business profile. In so doing you can establish important professional relationships, build brand identity, gain new customers while at the same time strengthening your community.

Don’t ever believe you’re too small to make a worthwhile contribution or support a cause that’s near and dear to you and/or your business mission. When considering volunteer opportunities be sure to ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is this cause closely aligned with or related to my company, industry, product segment or business goals?
2. Will the volunteer effort deliver high impact results?
3. Is the volunteer schedule flexible and convenient to facilitate my participation?

Being recognized by your peers, community leaders and the media as a good corporate citizen is good for you and your business. There are many local non-profit and charitable organizations that recognize outstanding community volunteers and small businesses. In Canada, one such leading organization is Imagine Canada (www.imaginecanada.ca).

18. Create an email signature for every email you send out
How many email messages do you send daily, monthly or yearly? Do a check. You’d be surprised how many messages you send out and perhaps how many missed opportunities to inform your ‘community’ about any special news or happenings.
Without question, your email signature line is a low cost, highly visible, high-return and powerful marketing tool. It is your online business card or classified ad. It might also be considered the most missed marketing tool.

As a rule of thumb, your signature line should be four to six lines and never more than eight. Here are some ways you can creatively use your signature line:

• A quote that represents your business or your values
• An invitation to a special event, conference, or to subscribe to your organization’s email newsletter.
• An announcement of a new program, award, service, company specials, blog or website
• A call to support a cause or contribute to a campaign or fundraiser
Keep your signature line updated and never miss another opportunity to use it as your classified ad.

19. Use your voicemail to promote an event, special offer etc.
Your telephone voice mail is another great, low cost, high impact marketing tool; often overlook; often underused. If you want to pull more customers in or announce something special, your business and cell phone voice mail are two good places to start.
Use your voice mail to describe what you do and how you can help your customers and prospect. Instead of saying ‘ Hello, you’ve reached Ann’s voice mail, sorry I missed you, please leave a message’ etc etc. Consider tweaking it to say something like this:
“Hello, you’ve reached Ann with AKB² Small Business Marketing. We help small businesses attract new customers and increase sales revenues. For more information on how we can help you , visit us at www.akbsmallbusinessmarketing.com.” etc. etc.
Ensure there is some call to action, whether is to visit your website, sign-up for your newsletter, announce an upcoming event or any other call to action.

Be creative, there are many ways you can use your voice mail as a marketing tool. Be sure to keep it reasonably short so customers and prospects do not become impatient or frustrated.

20. Ask your customers, colleagues, friends and family for referrals. Put a system in place
Referrals are one of the best ways to grow your small business. Earlier, we established that forty (40) per cent of new business comes from referrals. The key to building a steady stream of referral business is to build it into your sales system. Here are a couple of ways to get started.

Ask regularly and make this a habit. Do it ALL the time and not just sometimes. If you do this infrequently your results will be less than stellar. Ask frequently and you’re more likely to get many valuable leads. Dedicate a day or even a couple hours a week for the purpose of seeking referrals only.

After the close of every sale or delivery of great service ask for referrals then. It’s a good time, having just established yourself as a good service provider, your customer will be more likely willing and ready to pass on a good referral.

Think creatively and look beyond your usual customers. Consider complementary businesses which might have some of your ideal customers. Form a power team and watch your referral list grow.

Until Part 5…keep going; keep growing your small business.

By: Dorothy Vernon-Brown

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Part 2. Small Business Marketing Ideas You Can Steal Now. A 5 Part Series

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Part 2. Small Business Marketing Ideas You Can Steal Now. A 5 Part Series


I hope Part 1 got your creative juice flowing. As the holiday season barrels along fiercely, let me introduce you to some more simple and cost effective small marketing strategies you can implement right away. Of course, the Christmas season is the Holy Grail for marketers, and as I suspect as a small business owner, the marketing responsibility falls squarely in your lap.

If you have not yet planned your marketing initiatives, I urge you to consider doing so now. If you find yourself too busy, it might be worth your while to farm this out to a small business marketing consultant whom you trust. It would be a shame to miss out on the upcoming opportunities. Remember, you cannot not market.
Here goes. No excuses.

6. Create your own holiday. A Whacky Hair Day or some other holiday relevant to your industry
Who said that holidays and special occasions were reserved for religious or civic observances only? Where did the idea of Valentines Day or Family Day or Get Out of the Doghouse Day originate? Outside of the religious holidays, many of the other special occasions were created by some government body or opportunistic entrepreneur. Many companies these days have created their own special day as a marketing tool.
What would stop you from becoming another creative entrepreneur creating a holiday just for your business purposes? As you consider doing this, it’s important that you ensure your holiday has something to do with your product or service then proceed to build a buzz around it. Alert the media, your current customers and prospects. Make it fun and interesting, and you will have more business than you know what to do with.

7. Handout Referral Cards
Do you ask your current customers for referrals? If this is not a consistent practice of yours, you are losing out; leaving half your lunch in the plate. By now, you must realize that referrals are one of the top ways to grow your business. If you assume every satisfied customer will automatically refer you, you are wrong. Your customers have their own concerns and growing your business is not a top priority for them.

So if you want to grow your small business, it’s time to get over your fear and develop the habit of asking for a referral from every satisfied customer. Here’s one way you can do it – hand out referral cards. A referral card is simply a card that entails various discounts and promotions when the customer adds a new name to it. You may also combine your referral cards with a referral contest if you want to.
Distribute a supply of your referral cards to your loyal customers, family and friends. Your referral cards can be your business cards with a pre-printed message or rubber stamp on the back that could say:
“Refer a prospect, family or friend and you will get a 20% discount voucher for each new customer who brings this card in.” Who doesn’t like incentives?
You may also include a grand prize for those customers who send in the most referrals. There are lots more creative ways to use referral cards – it’s only limited by your imagination. Think creatively.

8. Make a custom t-shirt with your website and tagline and wear it to the gym or mall

If you’ve been putting off a gym membership or simply hate walking the malls – here’s an excuse to do either or both with an ulterior motive. A good quality custom t-shirt with your website and other company coordinates is a really cost effective way to promote your company and services. It’s also a real ice-breaker and might just be your ticket to strike up that conversation you’ve been thinking about.

Many converts swear by it and says it really works. So now that you’ve found yourself another great advertising opportunity jump on board and get the most out of the upcoming holiday season.

9. Organize a Happy Hour (not pay for) and invite complementary businesses, customers, connectors, referrers etc.
Who doesn’t like to get together for drinks, munchies and chat? Take the initiative and organize a Friday evening happy hour. Not only is it a great way to unwind after a long week but it’s an opportunity to get to know your ‘community’ in a more intimate way. The more you know them, the more you can serve them. Think strategically and invite complementary businesses, customers, prospects and other people within your ‘community’. You’re sure to be seen as a leader.

10.Trade advertising with local businesses (complementary) – offer an online ad on your website in exchange for a link on theirs

In these challenging economic times when marketing dollars are scarce, it’s time to think creatively. It’s the era of swaps and barters and it’s time small businesses cash in on the trend.

Expand your reach by tapping into the connections of other local (complementary) businesses and offer an online ad on your website for a link on their or co-promote in some other way. You’d be surprised how you could tap into their network and vice-versa.

The former US Senator Bill Bradley and 2000 US Presidential hopeful once said:

‘When you’re not practicing, someone somewhere is, and when you meet they will win’.

As a small business, I encourage you to take some of these ideas and put into practice; if you don’t your competitors will…. and they will win.

Until next post. Just do it. Do something.

By: Dorothy Vernon-Brown

Posted in Small Business MarketingComments (1)

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