The single most important activity you can do in your small business is create a unique marketing strategy and plan. When was the last time you saw a company marketing themselves in an outrageous way? In this day and age it looks like everyone has read the same book on marketing - and sorry to say - that book doesn't work!
What does work - is a little creativity, a little personality and a lot of effort to make yourself so different from your competition - that there is no real competition.
1. What crazy stunts could you do to get free media publicity? What type of outrageous challenge could you post to the public (ie give me 30 days and we will change your life, your business, your appearance etc…) Alternatively, go get a Guinness Book Of Records… find something that is remotely related to your business… and design a new record you are going to create - the media will love you.
2. What's your stadium pitch? Imagine this...you have been given the chance to do a 60 second presentation to 50,000 people in a stadium. Just as you walk out to start the presentation… they announce that people don't have to stay if they don't want. What could you say in 15 seconds to get them to stay? What could you say in 60 seconds to convince them that your company is the only alternative and they'd be crazy not to build a relationship with you?
3. Think about the lifetime value of your clients. When they are first introduced to you they are buying into a relationship with you… they are NOT buying a product. It is up to you to nurture that relationship. Are you? If you treat them right and make them feel like family… your clients will come back… buy more… and buy more often. In today's cold impersonal business world, be the one that treats them like family.
4. Find a way to build a recurring payment plan around your business. If you have a one-time purchase of your product… what could you offer to your clients to have them come back more often? Could you do a tune-up or clean up or re-design once a year? Rather than waiting for them to come in… offer them a reminder service and a monthly enticement to come back in. Bill them monthly, quarterly or yearly. Up to 50% (sometimes more) of your clients will take this option… what would that add to your bottom line?
5. Create joint ventures with other related businesses… anyone that deals with the same target market that you do. Explain to them that you will send them extra business if they give your clients an incentive to buy (coupons, discounts, bonuses etc). Create a booklet that you will give out to your clients with all these discounts. For every discount coupon they use - that supplier is to pay you $xx dollars for the new client you brought them
6. Send out a weekly (even bi-weekly) email newsletter with some tips, some humor, some specials of the week. On the days when it is going to rain - send out an urgent bulletin - rainy day special! Offer them a deal to come down, brave the rain and get a deal on lunch
7. Make doing business with you more exclusive. Make it on a referral-only basis. There is a dentist I know of that locks his door. You are not allowed in unless one of his present clients has recommended you… even then you need to pass the approval process. And he has 3 times more profit (and much happier clients) than any other dentist in his city.
8. Test all of your crazy ideas. No matter how crazy they sound - try it out. Find out which ones work. Then optimize how effective they are. Test all variations of that idea. Find out which variation works best.
9. Use risk reversal in your offer. Make it so your clients come out so far ahead by dealing with you they would be silly not to. Even if they decide that your product is not for them and they return it - they still come out of the deal with the refund and many bonuses that they never had before dealing with you. The stronger the risk reversal and the longer the guarantee… the fewer number of returns and complaints - it's a fact.
Think differently, be different, make sure people notice you are different - and you will be very profitable. To your success!