Drew McLellan’s a 25+ year marketing agency veteran who lives for creating “a ha” moments for his clients, clients’ customers, peers and audiences across the land. Sadly, for his daughter, he attempts to do the same thing at home.
Over the years, Drew has lent his expertise to clients like Nabisco, IAMS pet foods, Kraft Foods, Meredith Publishing, Make-A-Wish, and others.
Drew is also one of the world’s top marketing and branding bloggers.
Recently he has appeared in the New York Times, Entrepreneur Magazine, Business Week and Fortune’s Small Business. The Wall Street Journal calls him one of 10 bloggers that every entrepreneur should read.
How do you market your business if you don't have a lot of money?
Well, the short answer to that is you'd better find some resources for marketing or you are in a lot of trouble. But, that doesn't mean they all have to cost an arm and a leg.
In the meantime, while you're scraping together the money to spend on marketing - try this budget friendly tactics.
Hang out where your potential customers hang out and be helpful. Do your clients read certain blogs? Then be there and share your expertise. Do they all run in local marathons? Be there, handing out clean, dry socks with your logo on them. Do they go to industry trade shows? Be there and host a free Q&A about their biggest problems. Don't wait for them to come to you. Go out and find their watering hole.
Know your perfect customer and only take work from them. This requires incredible discipline but pays big dividends. Rather than taking clients for cash flow, ONLY take on those clients that you can delight. And who delight you by paying you a fair price.
Create a referral network by delivering the first referral. When you help someone, it is human nature that they want to return the favor. Why not set the example by making an incredible connection. Now of course to do that...you need to know who their perfect customer is. Which means you get to have a very meaningful conversation that's all about them. See how the human nature thing is going to work?
Use handwritten thank you notes to show your appreciation. In today's high tech world, a personal gesture like a handwritten note means a great deal. It doesn't have to be long or fancy. Just from the heart. And if you can't thank a client from the heart, you should fire them before they fire you.
Let them have a taste. Sampling is one of the most effective marketing tactics around. There is no substitute for actually experiencing your product or service. This is your greatest opportunity to earn their trust and their business. So do it right.
I can hear your collective gasp. Give away what you sell? Sampling is a golden oldie in terms of marketing tactics. The biggest buying obstacle any business has is the uncertainty of that first time.
Why not leapfrog over that worry by just giving them a taste? Walk through any grocery store or big box store on a Saturday and watch the marketing tactic at work. This works just as well for service-based businesses even though they don't have a physical "thing" to offer.
Bottom line on how to market without spending a lot of money - know who you can help the most and be relentless in your efforts on their behalf. Be generous and be grateful.
I know...I didn't even mention social media or direct mail or cold calling. Trust me. If you try these 5 ways to market if you don't have a lot of money - the rest will fall into place.
They say that our greatest fear, once you've eliminated death as a choice, is public speaking.
And yet many of us are called to take that plunge on a regular basis. Whether you are speaking to group of two in a sales presentation or you're standing at a podium, with hundreds of eyes on you - the intent is the same.
We want to impart knowledge, persuade, entertain and be remembered. And above all else, we want to get through the presentation without looking like a fool or being paralyzed by our stage fright.
I'm one of those rare individuals who isn't freaked out at the idea of speaking to a group. I like it. But I think I enjoy it because I have a very set routine of prepping for each speech. By the time I step up to the podium or approach the next sales call, I'm confident that I won't embarrass myself or be nervous to step up on that stage.
Here are my secrets to prepping and delivering a presentation that gets them to ask you back.
Know your audience: One of the easiest ways to get off track with a presentation is to either talk over the audience's head or at a level that is insulting because your audience is way ahead of you. Not only do you need to understand where they're coming from, in terms of knowledge, but also in terms of personality. Are they an audience who asks a lot of questions? Are they open to small group activities or sharing information about their work?
Grab them right up front: You need to quickly take charge of your audience. In a large group setting, you might tell them a powerful story. In a sales presentation, you might lead with a stat or fact that is guaranteed to grab their attention. Too many speakers limp into their presentation - either by telling a lame joke or by getting too technical too fast. You want an emotional reaction of some kind to kick you off.
Assume the worst: I've watched many speakers melt into a puddle of goo right in front of an audience because their PowerPoint didn't load right or their video worked but there was no sound or the internet connection was faulty so they couldn't demo something. When it comes to speaking and technology - assume it will fail. Always have a back up (your presentation on multiple jump drives, the YouTube video on-line but also on a DVD, etc.) You need to be ready to deliver your presentation in the pitch black with no power, if need be. If you're that prepared, you'll worry a whole lot less.
Think sound bytes and repeats: In today's "tweet while you are talking" world, you want to give your audience plenty of tidbits to share. Give them key facts, stats and catch phrases. Imagine someone from your audience going back to the office and re-telling a story you told during your presentation. Which one would get retold? If you answered "none of them" then you'd better come up with a story that is so funny, compelling, astounding or illuminating that people won't be able to help but repeat it.
Be ready to improvise: You can do all the prep in the world, but sometimes that nagging stage fright had it right - something could still go wrong. At the end of the day, there are many elements of giving a presentation that are out of your control. So even though I am advocating ample prep time, you also have to realize that sometimes you just have to go with the flow. It might be a tough question during the Q&A or a technology malfunction. If you can keep your sense of humor and your balance - your audience will reward you for it.
Odds are you were invited to make the presentation. So remember that your audience is anxious for you to be successful as well. Do the prep work, have faith that you know what you're talking about and try to enjoy the conversation.
Even if something does go wrong - remember at the end of the day - your audience doesn't expect you to be perfect. They just want you to be real and share something of value.
You've heard it before - the top 20% of your customers, your very best customers, account for 80% of your profitability and referrals. We intellectually know that and yet our behavior sure doesn't show it.
We spend all kinds of dollars, time, energy and worry chasing after new customers and after someone starts to buy, the typical business sort of forgets all about them. Much like people's dating patterns - there's a lot of wooing that goes on before the wedding but after the "I do's" get said, the florist goes broke.
Our poor best customers get the same treatment from us and that needs to stop. We need to shift a portion of our marketing focus away from prospects and invest even more in our best customers - the ones who have already proven that they'll sing our praises, buy more and more and bring their friends along for the ride.
Fortunately, my friend Stan Phelps has written a book to help us all do just that. This book, What's Your Golden Goldfish, is the third book in a trilogy of marketing books that are all built around over 2,200 crowdsourced examples of real life marketing smarts.
This particular book shares over 100 examples of what leading brands like Starbucks, Doubletree, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Virgin Atlantic are doing differently to cater to their best customers and earn even more of their business and loyalty.
The book showcases nine different ways to let your best customers (and employees) know how much you value them. By doing those little extras, you will make your company even stronger. You will differentiate yourself even more from your competitors, you'll keep both your best customers and employees longer so they contribute to your success and with every little extra, you will create more word of mouth buzz.
The entire series of books is all built around the idea of lagniappe which is a creole word for "a little something extra." In this edition - Stan helps his readers explore how organizations large and small can do a little something extra for their most loyal customers and employees.
You'll love the storytelling but make sure you have a pen and paper handy because this book is going to spark so many ideas that you'll never remember them all. And as you implement them - your best customers will reward you with even more buzz, money and referrals.
Sounds like it is going to work out well for everyone, doesn't it?
If you're interested in Stan's entire series, here's how you can get them from Amazon. If your an Amazon Unlimited customer, you can read the electronic version for free. If you want the paperbacks, click on the links below:
Note: If you click on one of the Amazon links, I get a few cents.
In that case - you really do make your potential customers feel like they're just a number to you and that you treat everyone the same, with little regard to their specific needs.
But when you build the system with your customer in mind - it can be a wonderful experience for them and for you.
It all depends on if you build it once and put it on auto pilot or if you use it as a tool to serve up exactly what each visitor is looking for.
Automation allows you to create a user experience that puts the user in the driver's seat. They can access the exact information they want, when they want it - and how they want it. The key is to realize that different people are going to have different needs and you need to anticipate that as you build out the options. Even more important - once you start getting visitors, you need to learn from where they go and don't want to go.
It's a given that every potential customer probably isn't going to want exactly the same information. As you watch and learn - you can create new paths and test the results. At the end of the day, thanks to automation, you can create multiple paths, so each person can have a different experience, based on their own needs and interests.
That doesn't sound so bad, does it?
Recently, the folks at Marketo asked me to comment on the question "can big data lead to big love?" Check out the article and my comments.
If you're using marketing automation to make it easy for you and only you, then it probably isn't going to work so well. But if you use it as a tool to serve your customers better - it can indeed lead to big love.
But remember, not that long ago, many businesses were wondering whether or not they even needed a website.
It seemed so far-fetched that any of their customers would ever do anything but show up at their store or pick up the phone to place an order.
How quickly times change. Now, a business isn't considered legitimate until they have a web presence. No matter what it is you sell, odds are your prospects are going to visit your website to decide if you're even in the running.
I'm hard pressed to think of an industry or business category that doesn't rely on their website as the main workhorse in their marketing arsenal.
It used to be that you had an opportunity to make the sale when someone walked into your retail location, your salesperson called on the buyer or you answered your phone. But today, a good portion of the sales process has nothing to do with you actively engaging with the potential buyer. They're doing a great deal of their due diligence tire kicking without you being in the room at all.
It's happening on your website, within social networks and with the help of a Google search.
Which makes what you put out on the web absolutely vital to your business' success. You must build a website your users will love.
All of that being said - most websites stink. They're badly designed, built for the business' ego rather than the customer's utility and they're out of date.
Why? I think most businesses think of their website like an ever expanding junk drawer. They just keep tossing more stuff in there and hope that when someone rummages through it - they can find what they need.
If you'd like your website to be the effective workhorse you need it to be, consider these best practices:
It should be an experience: Keep in mind that many people will decide whether or not to do business with you based on their web visit. So you want them to have a memorable and enjoyable experience. Get them interacting with you - give them a quiz, help them find answers to their specific questions or offer them something they might want to share with others.
Don't talk about yourself: Talk about their world and how you can improve it. Everything should be presented from their perspective, not yours. You might need an outside perspective to help you identify what truly matters to your audience.
Make it easy, no matter the device: Don't assume everyone is using a 15-inch screen. Within the next couple years, the majority of web searches will be conducted on a mobile phone. Check your site on desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones because if there's one thing your users will love is being able to access your content no matter where they are.
Don't let a mediocre website discourage prospects from becoming customers before they even shake your hand. If you haven't already done it - start tomorrow. Build a website your users will love and share and best of all - buy from.