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9 tips for small businesses when it comes to marketing and sales
Whenever you start your journey as a new business owner, you will quickly realize you need to learn quickly about things that were never taught to you. Plenty of people start a business and have no prior experience, which isn't a bad thing, but it means you could be in for a world of hurt, and your startup could come crashing down.
Well, I'm writing this discussion to help out as many of you newbie business owners, so you don't make any mistakes that the millions of business owners have before you. Learn from all the mistakes that have been made, avoid downfalls, and become a successful business person
Fail fast and fix it quick
One of the big things you will need to do is learn from your mistakes. You need to fail in the beginning and fix the problems early on. This would be similar to a ship being set out to sea and fixing small leaks while at the dock and not when they're 1,000 miles offshore. Don't let a small problem sink your business because you didn't think it needed any attention. Small things can spiral out of control, and that's never a good thing when you're trying to run a business.
Sell the reason you're helping, not a comparison
Not many people are coming to your website to hear how you're better than your competitors. They will do their own assessments, so talk about how you're amazing, and you will notice more signups. Think about it, how often do you go to a website and see they're comparing themselves to ten other companies in the niche? It happens pretty often, but what you don't see is the other companies not caring about comparisons while making more money, and they're only focused on providing you with quality content that highlights why they're great.
Remember to listen to your customers
It doesn't matter where you talk to customers, you need to listen to them, and if you don't, you might see your business failing. You could be on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, in your emails, on your live chat, etc. You need to listen to all of your customers and visitors to get a general consensus on what needs to change and what they're liking. If you don't listen to the masses, you could be making changes that everyone hates, and they will leave you quicker than you can finish coding lol.
Always think outside the box a little bit
I understand that you have a specific business model, and you want to stick with it, but that doesn't mean you can't think outside the box a little bit! If you stick with the same plan as every other company in your niche, you'll become bland and unnoticeable, which isn't something you want. Start by standing out a little, offering crazy discounts for first time members, and being super responsive. The more eyes you can get on your business, the better your sales will become, and the more you can advance. Don't venture too far outside the box because that's never a good thing, unless you run a crazy business, then go for it lol.
Do some marketing before you're ready to launch
Many people start a business because they think their idea is amazing. What they forget to do is see if anyone else had the same idea and 9/10 times someone usually does. Don't get scared of competition, embrace it, and figure out what your competitors are doing right and wrong. Know their strengths and weaknesses, so you can build a company that can stand the test of time and not fail within the first 5 years, like 75% of your competitors.
PR should always be a thing with your business
When you're running a business, you will always need someone doing PR. This could be you, your wife, your husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, or anyone else willing to help you. You could do this as well if you have time, but it could become a full-time job, so I hope you're making enough to hire someone to do this type of work. When running PR campaigns, you need to think of how you can brand your business and how to do damage control. Yes, you will need to put out flames in every niche and industry, we all do it, and you need to be ready for it when it does happen.
Never rely on one advertising stream
One big problem with startups is that they think their Adwords or Facebook campaigns can pull in every single sale possible. Well, that might be true, but what happens if you get banned from those platforms and can't access their advertising anymore? Well, you'd be out of luck, and your sales will start to drop drastically. This is why you need to have ads running on various platforms simultaneously and have email campaigns running from day one. If you're pulling in customers from every stream possible, you don't have to worry as much if you get banned on Adwords, and this is something I messed up early on back in 2003. I hope you learn from my mistakes, diversify your traffic streams, and continue on to be a billionaire
Have some sort of loyalty program
People today love loyalty programs that pay them back or give them credit after a certain amount of purchases. Look at Starbucks, they have a decent loyalty program, but people flock to it because it's easy to use. Set something up so a customer can get a free product, service, some free consulting, etc. when they've hit certain milestones. If you can do this, you will see people sticking around for a much longer time, and that's never a bad thing
Give your customers and visitors a place to talk to you
If a customer has an outlet to talk to other customers, you will notice they become happier and help each other with problems before coming to you. It's like they turn into their own support team and help each other out until something actually needs your attention. You can do this by setting up a sort of forum on your website where people can talk to each other. You'll want to make sure they have the same login, so they don't have to create a second account.
Small businesses and startups have it rough in the early years because it's difficult to brand yourself and stand out from the pack. If you've read through all nine of my points above I hope you've learned something new and apply it to your current business model. You'd be surprised how one little change can help your business!
Thanks for reading
- Tommy Carey