Marketing to Existing and to New Customers

When we talk about new and old customers we are not referring to their age.

Instead our focus is to point out the reality that there are two distinct populations your small business needs to keep in mind when you create and implement your ongoing marketing plan.

Every business needs new customers to grow and prosper.  But do not forget your existing cutomers. They need to be encouraged to buy more and to buy more often.

Your new customer is the tougher nut to crack. They haven’t had a chance to prove to themselves the quality and efficacy of your products and services. Your job is to find a way to attract their attention and then to persuade them to give you a chance.

For most businesses, it is a basic reality that most of the people in their service area will not be customers. Most probably do not need you product or services and/or find it easier to get the same from someone else. Many are already getting similar goods or services from someone with whom they have an established relationship.

What you need to do is find the handful of souls who are looking for your product or service in your market area. By focusing on your local market area it may be possible to identify a target demographic and reach it with direct mail, or use mass media with a narrowly focused message.

Another approach is to be “Findable,” by making it easy for your prospects to find you when they need your product or service.

This more passive approach has a couple of advantages. One the one hand you are not expending resources marketing to uninterested prospects who happen to live in your market place. More importantly, the people who seek you out have already demonstrated a potential interest in your goods which increases your chances of actually converting them into sales.

A nice display ad in the Yellow Pages used to do wonders in helping people find your business, but far fewer people use these today. In today’s world the role of the yellow pages has been taken over by the computer search.

The second category is your existing customers, your “old” customers. You have already gotten them in the door before and gotten them to buy. Since they have at least some relationship with you, it is much easier to get them to buy again. The stonger the past relationship, the more likely they will repeat the process and buy again.

The bottom line here is that it is important to your long term business success to conciously build a strong positive relationship with each of your customers. Doing so requires a lot more than a smile and thank you for shopping sign on the exit door. Although these are good starts.

You want to help them get to know you. If they start to care about you and your business you are ahead of the game. And it is not that hard to do. This approach is called permission based marketing, because you need to get their permission to begin and continue.

To get this going you need to ask them permission to put them on your list for email, texting or your newsletter. Typically you offer them an ethical bribe in the form of a freebie or a great coupon, useful information, or a membership of some sort. The easiest way to get them to sign up may be to include a message on the bottom of the cash register receipt you give to customers when they buy from you, as well as an opt-in form on your web site.

Reward them for signing up to your list by keeping in touch regularly but not too often. Treat them with respect and make it worth their while to be a member of your list.

You want to contact them often enough so they don’t forget you. That may be once a week or once every two weeks for most businesses.

You want to make sure these messages are relevant to them. If you are a dentist a message about teeth whitening is appropriate, but probably not one about neck ties.

That said, don’t be bashful about sharing personal events, business highlights and similar insider information about your business. Your customers will appreciate local community news and events. This is especially worthwhile if your business is helping in some way, even if it is just promoting them though the email or texts.

Finally, the messages you send should be useful. Make their memberhip on the list worthwhile by giving them occasional specials that only list members recieve. so they can really benefit from being on your list. The cell phone is going to become a larger and larger feature in the future. And texting with it. Imaging if you are a restaurant sending a text on a slow Tuesday offering, $5 off on a favorite entry to your text list if they get there by 7PM or whatever. Everyone likes special deals, and if you can offer them at least occasionally, you will have a happy list and in the process build a positive realtionship that will result in many more sales.

Marketing a business is a dual process. You need to address two different audiences. Your existing customers and those who have never bought before. Both are critical to the long term health of your business.

[tags]permission based marketing, permission marketing, email marketing, text marketing,  small business marketing[/tags]

Getting Mobile Ready

Change is coming every more rapidly to internet marketing. At first we rushed out to put up web sites, thinking customers would be rushing to find us. We quickly learned that a web site by itself was not the end all and be all.

We leaned to redesign it so that it was optimized. After that we discovered why we needed to pay attention to what our customers thought our business was and focus on the keywords they used to find us.

Even then we learned as time went on that we had to do more. We needed to create back links from other web sites to help build the authority of our sites. And recently we can’t help but notice that video is playing a larger and larger role online. And today, all of that remains the case.
The dirty secret is that while we may do all of the above, so too does our competitors. To stay ahead we need to be constantly on the look-out for the next big change that is coming down the pike. A lot is going to change as a result of the dramatic new change in the coming months.

For most businesses, just keeping up with the day to day business of running a business is time consuming enough. Most of us are hard put to stay on top of this constant wash of online changes. Too many of us have already been left behind or on page 22 of Google results where no one can find us. Planning for the future is problematic when you haven’t caught up with the current state of affairs. This is why the SEO or Search Engine Optimization consulting industry emerged in the past decade.

These constant changes are not just hard on small businesses. Many of the majors, like microsoft, AOL, Netscape, Yahoo and many others have stubbed their toes. New players are emerging and new trends. The cell phone is making some significant inroads. Cell phones? I thought we were talking the internet and computers.

The trend has been underway for some time already, but increasingly in the next few years there will be a massive turnover in how people access and use the internet and that change is the smart phone in its many and future guises.

Today over half of all log ins to Facebook are done from cell phones. And this trend will continue. Now there are three things most people make sure they have with them when they leave home: Their cell phones, their wallets and their car keys. Soon their phone will do all three and more.

Within a couple of years, for many people, their cell phone will do all three. The desk top computer will be playing a smaller and smaller role. Instead of it, your customers will be using their phones to find barbers, restaurants and hardware stores.

Among other things, this change will require businesses and other web site owners to rethink how our sites look. The canvas is about to shrink. What once filled a wide screen monitor will now need to be squeezed into a diminuative phone screen.

We don’t want to have to reintroduce scroll bars to see our sites. It means we need to create mobile ready web sites in addition to those we already have.

The coming 18 months to three years will mark a significant transformation. Those who are early adaptors will gain a significant temporary advantage. Whether we like it or not, this change is coming. Either we will lead the way, or our competitors will.

[tags]internet marketing,internet marketing consultant,cell phones,marketing,small business marketing[/tags]

Small Business Marketing: Why Market Maker?

Why Market Maker? Podcast

Home Staging Marketing: Why Market Maker?

The Market Maker program is now live and available for Home Stagers interested in getting more business from their existing web pages.

I did a survey of home stagers last year. One of the things many expressed disappointment in was how little new business they got from their web pages.  This is true of almost all small business people.  For most, their web sites are little more than electronic yellow page ads, showing address, hours and contact info, with maybe a fancier display ad.

Since I did my survey, I have held a tele-seminar, and written dozens of articles on how to turn that around. Yet relatively few home stagers have applied the secrets well known and taught in professional internet marketing circles.

I recognize the problem in myself. I often know what to do, but doing it is often another story.

Properly setting up your web page to get customers isn’t about nicer and fancier before and after pictures. It’s about attracting people potentially interested in home staging from YOUR market place, and getting them to identify themselves, so you can directly market your services to them.

The steps required include: changing some techie things about your web site; adding an opt-in box, which used to mean you needed to redo the front page of your web site; writing a special report; and then a long series of email marketing pieces.

Now none of these are too difficult, if you know how to do them, and seemingly impossible if you don’t.

And so, most people didn’t.

That’s why I developed Market Maker. Market maker will do all this for you. Develop new Meta Tags for your web site that will help more people from your town find your web site. Create an opt in form that doesn’t require you to redo your existing web site. It provides a great “ethical bribe” that will encourage people that visit your site to let you know they were there. Let you know they are interested in home staging and most importantly giving you permission to tell them more about you and your services.

Market Maker will dramatically boost your business.

Market Maker improves your marketing in two ways.

First it helps your home staging company stand out among your competitors. You will be the one that catches and keeps your prospects attention. This will get you a larger percentage of the existing business in your community.

Secondly, not everyone who thinks about using a home stager ends up doing so. With Market Maker, a larger percentage of them will, and when they do decide to use a home stager, it’s highly likely they will pick you.

To get more information go to Market Maker

And if you think that market maker will work for home stagers, let me suggest I can make it work most local businesses, even yours. Drop me an email.

Article Writing is the Key to Building Google Ranking

If you are in a competitive field, and are unable to use my geographical long tail keyword approach to gain top ranking on Google, you need to bring out the big guns. And the best way to do that is with Article marketing.

There is an art to article marketing. You need to focus on your keywords in your article title and in the body of your article. But as important, you need to write a worthwhile article that a blog or ezine editor will want to share with their readership.

You also need to pay attention to your resource box. This is particularly important to you, for this is where your payoff rests.

Finally, you need to get your article launched on as many article directories as you can with a special effort to get it to targeted directories that serve your niche.

I have just acquired rights to a new eBook called Winning the Article Marketing Game. In addition to the eBook, I have acquired master resale rights, which means that not only can I sell you a copy of the eBook, I can transfer to you the rights to sell it yourself.

If you decide to buy it, you will not only get the download, but also a sales page you can use to market the book as well.

This is a great way to get good information that you can profit from and the ability to profit from reselling the book.

To See the Sales Page, Click on the Image of the Book Below!

Which is Worse no Meta Tag Keywords or the Wrong Ones?

This afternoon I am giving my short version of my “trade show as web pages” talk to the board of a local business group. My goal is to find additional speaking opportunities where I can present to larger audiences of business people. Because as my report says, I think most small business web pages stink!

In preparation for the meeting, I checked the web site of the host location as well as the associations meta tags. I offer businesses a free worthwhile tip just for listening to my pitches and felt I should offer the same to these good people as well.

It turns out the association had no keywords or site description in their meta tags at all.

But perhaps even worse was the host locations web site. It is a private housing facility offering student housing. Its meta tag keywords were totally irrelevant to its web site and mission. It included keywords of voting, survey, course evaluations, census, segmentation, and others that clearly were intended for a totally different site.

Presumably someone copied a desirable format as a template and plunked the residence halls content on someone else’s framework.

I’m not sure which is worse to have no keywords or bad ones. What do you think. I’d appreciate any comments you might have as I will probably use it as a bad example in future presentations. I will of course keep the people involved secret so as not to embarrass anyone.

As I spend more and more time looking at local business web sites, I find such omissions and or errors are not uncommon. Usually, people just plain have ineffective keywords.

Some will argue that meta tags don’t matter, but they would be wrong. While Google may spend less attention to them than in the past, a good 40% of all computer searches still use other search engines that do.

Outside the internet marketing niche’s internal wars, most main street businesses are too busy getting product out the door and struggling to meet payroll to worry about meta tags. Their web pages are built by their son’s or nephews of techies who may know how to put a page together but are clueless about how to market.

No wonder most small businesses are disappointed with their web pages. They don’t get the traffic they should, and then when they do get traffic, most people don’t seem to do anything.

In the resources section of this blog, I offer a report for sale called HTML in Simple Terms. It’s only $9.97 and well worth the price if only to get the information on pages 16-18 on Using Meta Tags.

My guess is that over 80% of all small business web sites need work in this area alone.

Most Business Web Pages StinK! Free Download Now

I just completed my newest report, called “Most Business Web Pages StinK!” subtitled, Web Sites are like Trade Shows.  Readers of this blog will soon realize this is a recompilation of five previous blog posts on the Trade Show theme. The current version is number 1.2, I am working on 1.3 which will be revisions after my wife gets done proof reading it, and a resources section at the end.

I intend to use this as an eye opener for hopefully thousands of small business people. In these tough economic times it only makes sense to better utilize all of our existing resources such as our web sites.

And since upgrading them is not difficult or expensive, it makes even more sense.

Let me know if you need my help.