Monday, October 11, 2010

8 Dynamic Marketing Tips

Here are 8 dynamic marketing tips to help you increase your sales and profits fast.

1. Don't Just Sell Benefits

Don't just tell prospects what they gain when they buy your product or service. Tell them what they lose if they do not buy it. Most people fear loss more than they desire gain. Customers want your product or service to enjoy the benefits it provides. They will want it even more when you remind them of what they lose by not buying it.

2. Use Pleasant Surprises to Close Sales

An unpleasant surprise can kill a sale. But a pleasant surprise can help close a sale. For example, adding an unexpected bonus immediately before your prospect takes the last action to complete a sale will eliminate any last minute hesitation.

3. Provide Fast Delivery - Even When You Can't

The faster you can deliver your product or service the more sales you will get. If you cannot deliver all or part of your product immediately, add something to the purchase that you CAN deliver immediately. It could be as simple as a series of helpful tips related to your product posted on your web site ...available only to new customers.

4. Make Buying Easier

Every non-essential action in the buying process is an opportunity for customers to reverse their decision to buy. Look for ways you can make your buying procedure easier and faster. For example, many marketers use a multi-step shopping cart to get online orders when a simple online order form would do the job with just 1 or 2 quick clicks.

5. Improve Your Offers without Lowering Your Price

You don't have to reduce your price to improve your offer. Instead, simply load it up with bonuses. Make sure your bonuses have a high perceived value to your customers ...even if they cost you little or nothing.

6. Keep Your Advertising Up to Date

If you never make any changes in your advertising, your sales will eventually decline. Don't abandon advertising that's working - but do keep trying to improve it. And regularly test new advertising to see how it works for you.

7. Outsmart Your Competitors with Alternative Marketing

Look for some alternative marketing methods your competitors are overlooking. That's how one internet marketer discovered direct mail postcards. They proved to be a highly effective and very low-cost way to generate traffic to her web site ...while concealing her marketing activity from competitors.

8. Neutralize Customer Complaints Quickly

Handle customer complaints quickly and with a positive attitude. Strive to preserve your relationship with the customer instead of your immediate profit from them. They will reward you with repeat sales and referrals instead of punishing you by telling everybody they know about their unhappy experience ...causing you to lose future customers.

Each of these 8 marketing tips reveals a proven low-cost marketing tactic many other small businesses have used to boost their sales and profits. Integrate them into your marketing program now and you'll quickly start enjoying the same results too.

Local Businesses and Web Sites

It seems that most successful businesses these days have web sites, even businesses that service only certain geographic areas. On the web, where the market place is global, localized businesses can be at a great disadvantage.

A Local Business Web Site Example

Lets use the example of a car cleaning businesses. The business only cleans cars in a specific city, yet wants to use their web site to create more business. Time and money is invested in marketing the site in the search engines, paying particular attention to marketing the site for the specific geographic region the service provider covers. Nonetheless, many visitors from around the globe are likely to stumble across the site if it is well marketed.

Offer Non-Geographic Specific Products and Services

If a local business does not offer some sort of product or service that is available to the global market, than these web visits are wasted. The solution is simple. Local businesses that expend effort marketing their web site should also consider offering additional products or services that can be purchased by the global market.

Product Options

Options for our example - a car cleaning service - could include T-shirts, hats, cleaning cloths, wax and/or soap. Even just T-shirts could be an additional source of revenue, whereas the seller benefits not just from the direct sale, but the advertising the wearer of the shirt will provide.

Drop Shipping Makes Offering Products Easy

To the busy business owner, offering additional products for the sake of web sales may seem like an extra burden rather than a hidden source of revenue. Yet adding products to your web site can be very easy. By using a drop-shipper, inventory is not required. Services such as Café Press allow products to be made as they are ordered.

Affiliate Systems

Also, if the site owner does not wish to deal with inventory and stocking products, affiliate systems can be used for revenue. Affiliate systems allow site owners to signup for revenue sharing programs with other companies. An affiliate program allows site owners to offer the products or services of other companies while getting a commission on sales generated from the site owner’s site.

In short, if you run a business that operates on a local basis only, and also maintain a web site, it may be well worth your while to expand to the global market by adding products or services that can be sold around the world.

Follow Up With Your Customer

Follow Up With Your Customer

After you go through a sales session with a customer, weather you sell them a product or not, follow up with them. Otherwise, your time was all but wasted.

Every part of a sales process from the initial contact, to the presentation of the product, to the final step, following up, are all equally important.

The following up process is an important element of the sales process for many key reasons, here are just a few:

1. Following up makes your customers feel important.

When a customer walks into your office, or calls you on the telephone, they do not want to be thought of as a statistic. They want to be treated as though they are the only customer you have.

By following up after your initial contact, it tells the customer that you are serious about doing business with them.

They will appreciate the phone call, and this will be a clear message to them that they weren’t just another sale on your way to meeting your goal.

2. Following up with your customer shows that you care.

Another reason to follow up with your customer is to find out how they are doing, and how their new product is benefiting them.

Ask questions about the product and the experience they have had with you and your company.

It is always good to get feedback, good and bad. This way you can correct anything that your customer was not happy with, learn from your mistake, and be sure not to let it happen again with your next customer.

If their feedback is negative or they just are not happy with the product, find out their reasons, be empathetic, and try to resolve the problem as best you can.

3. Follow up with your customer for more sales opportunities.

After your initial meeting with your customer, one of two things happened. Either you got the sale, or your customer left still undecided.

If you got the sale, following up with your customer is important  for reasons stated in number two, and also, you now have an opportunity to up-sell. While they are on the phone, ask for permission to go over some of your other products you believe they may be interested in.

If your customer left you still undecided, than this is the perfect opportunity to see if they have come to a decision. If they haven’t, ask if there is anything they would like you to go over again, or, if they thought of any more questions they would like to ask.

A final note . . .

Before a customer leaves your desk or hangs up the phone, make your customer aware of your intentions to follow up with them. If your sales session went well, this should not be a problem.

Following up with your customers is a great opportunity to keep in contact with them, and there is no law that says you can’t follow up more than once.

The more you stay in contact with your customers, the stronger your relationship with them becomes. The stronger the relationship, the more business and referrals you can expect from them. So follow up, Always.

This article may be reproduced by anyone at any time, as long as the authors name and reference links are kept in tact and active.

Creating Unique Business Alliances: Six Insights To Help Transform Your Company’s Value

Recent news concerning IT industry strategic alliances increasingly trumpet the word “unique” as in ‘unique alliance’ or ‘unique partnership’. Usually these unique arrangements bring together a marketer (either a system integrator or a service provider) with a solid footprint in a niche market and a technology developer or manufacturer with an innovative or proprietary capability.

This type of alliance transfers to the marketer a unique technological edge. The marketer's objective in many such cases is to keep competitors at bay, grow market share or create enough performance value to justify a higher price. For the developer partner, aligning with the marketer provides a significantly extended market reach that simply translates into the sale of an increased number of units as well as a branding leap into greater market visibility.

This deal constitutes an excellent exchange of value for both partners. But as business alliances are not forever, the true assessment of the deal's value must be evaluated over time. In its early days Microsoft supplied DOS in a partnership with IBM's original desktop PC. In time Microsoft’s OS took over the PC market supplying all manufacturers. IBM was forced to back up out of the PC driveway, but it learned the power of partnering brilliantly transforming its business model into the world’s most prolific and successful IT services partnership network builder.

Acquiring a Unique Value Proposition

Of the many reasons for initiating a strategic alliance, the most highly-sought after type is one that creates a “unique value proposition” (UVP) — the three golden words so enticing to venture investors throughout the world.

How do you get UVP if you don't produce it?

A strategic alliance can transform nearly any traditional sales and distribution enterprise into a uniquely positioned provider -- all you need are customers! Have your considered this? Transform your company instantly into an unstoppable juggernaut simply by formulating a strategic alliance with one or more suppliers who may add a unique piece to your package, program or end-to-end offerings. Suddenly, your company acquires a UVP. More orders, greater equity value...before you know it, investors come sniffing around.

What are they looking for?

They want to know what you'll do for your next act.

Sure. That first alliance you just made was a successful move. It got attention. And it’s working. But, don't get too busy with that. Save some time for developing additional alliance ideas. You need to look at your company’s future in terms of a total, long-term strategic alliances plan.

Six key questions to formulating a long-term alliance road map

Use these six Partner M questions to develop your own alliance road map:

- What are my core competencies?
- What are my customer assets?
- How bad are the performance gaps as experienced by my customer/user?
- What are the innovative upgrades desired by my customer/user?
- How well are my competitors performing in areas where we are weak?
- Where do we perform better than our competitors?

Now answer this:
Can you locate and negotiate a deal with potential suppliers who can deliver to you
a unique product or service that:
(a) your company cannot duplicate more profitably with its core competence;
(b) will be highly valued by your customers;
(c) will fix a problem or enable you to offer customers an optional upgrade;
(d) will strengthen an area where you had been weak; or,
(e) will help insure that you can continue to outperform our competitors?

If your answer is yes to any one or more of these options, then you have the basis for a strategy that would result in higher order volume, as well as a path to added value and increased brand equity.

How do you validate that assumption?

Project the pros and cons of executing your alliance plan

Calculate a scenario assuming the amount of revenue you could generate and profits you would achieve after you’ve found one such partner and have successfully negotiated an alliance.

Be sure you have identified and adjusted your projection for any possible downside and cost of implementing the partnership. Next, forecast where you’ll be in three years without this alliance or a comparable strategy.

In addition you should assess the impact of your alliance on the competition with a sober determination of how they may react. Here is where the value of establishing a 'unique alliance' becomes so important. Paradoxically, your alliance's UVP shelf life must be viewed as both temporary and continuous. Any one alliance you enter is temporary. Your strategy must be continuous.

How temporary is your alliance? If any of your competitors can match your partnership with another and duplicate the contribution of your unique ally in fairly short order, your UVP will not last long. You may need to move faster to extend the your UVP shelf life and begin to plan your next UVP partnership. Within this scenario you would need to move faster on the alliance front or find yourself having to play deep catch up if your competitor takes the initiative before you do.

Design an ongoing alliance strategy

To develop a continuous UVP plan extend your alliance road map by duplicating your forecast calculations to include all potential alliances you foresee into the future. How far can you go using this strategy? If possible, don’t stop until you're able to imagine this process reaching a global scale or an exit strategy. Finally, your alliance plan must weigh alliance costs and risks against the benefits/costs/risks of alternative strategies.

Whether your enterprise takes the role of a marketer or a supplier, you should consider formulating a phased-in partnership plan containing a list of target partner prospects, financial validations, a timeline and undertake a marketing initiative aimed at shaping a receptive and synergistic relationship with partner executives and operational teams. Executing the plan is your next challenge. Don't hesitate to seek help in developing your plan and making it happen.