Top Ten Tips for Magic Marketing
By Philip Chandler, Business Development Consultant
Whether you already run a business or are thinking of starting one, effective marketing is one of the keys to your success. Conversely, failure to pay sufficient attention to the way you present yourself to actual and potential customers is one of the shortest routes to obscurity.
So, culled from the advice given over many years to my clients, here are my top 10 tips for putting magic into your marketing, with special regard to the needs of people starting with limited resources.
Tip #1: Identify your prospects
Who exactly are your potential customers? Without being able to clearly and concisely answer that question, your marketing campaign will be a hit-and-miss affair with little hope of real success. Too many people new to business think they can sell to everyone. Craftsman-made, high-quality goods sell to people who appreciate and can afford them, not to bargain-hunters or people with good taste and no money. Cheap-and-cheerful, mass-produced products sell mainly to people with less discrimination and lower incomes.
Tip #2: Understand why people buy
People buy in order to feel good, or to satisfy a pressing need or desire. They buy with emotion and justify with logic. Give them good emotional reasons to buy, then show them why their purchase was a really sensible move.
Tip #3: Sell Benefits, not Features
People buy solutions – otherwise known as benefits – not features. They only care about what your product or service can do for them. They want to know that it will do something to improve their lives in some way – not that it is packed with technology they neither understand nor appreciate. Look at your product from a customer’s point of view – would you buy it? What advantages does it have over the competition?
Tip #4: Use simple language
Keep jargon for shop-talk with your colleagues – keep it out of your sales literature, unless you are selling to the trade or a highly technical market. People hate unexplained acronyms in body text. Use plain language and keep sentences reasonably short.
Tip #5: Create a coordinated corporate image
You don’t have to be a multi-national to have a corporate image. Look at how you or your company appears to your customers from their point of view. What do they see when opening your envelope? What effect do the colours, typeface, layout, paper, etc have on people? Have you ever asked them? If you have a high quality product or service, you need to position yourself appropriately in the marketplace using well-designed, high class print and promotional material to project a consistent, congruent image.
Tip #6: Use free and low-cost advertising
Before spending a fortune on media advertising, consider the possibilities for self-publicity offered by story-hungry local newspapers and radio stations. Study them carefully and angle your copy to match their house style. Get yourself interviewed. Consider using leaflets delivered door-to-door to sell domestic products – one way to accurately target your market. Use cards or posters in shop windows or notice boards if appropriate. For mail order products, test classified ads followed up with sales letters before venturing into display space. Always create coded ads so you can track results, otherwise you will never know what works and what does not.
Tip #7: Concatenate your products
Concatenation is the process of forming logical links between your products such that one purchase will lead to others. For example, having read this article you may want to know more about my company’s services and publications. I may consult for you one day, which may lead on to writing your sales literature or training your sales team. Using this technique, you can approach prospects with low-cost – or even free – offers, knowing that a percentage of them will go on to buy your more profitable lines later on. Had you hit them with the big-ticket item first, you would probably have had a tougher time making the sale. Each product should be complete in itself and have logical links to others: don’t cheat by leaving something out of product #1 which forces them to buy #2.
Tip #8: Ask for Referrals
When you have done a good job for someone, ask them if they can suggest two or three other people who might also benefit from your service. Even if they don’t buy, you can still ask for referrals, as in: “I understand that this does not suit your needs right now, and can you suggest someone who may be interested?” Give people an incentive to recommend others, such as a coupon redeemable against future purchases.
Tip#9: Exceed people’s expectations
Go the extra mile. Do something extra without expecting payment. Time and time again it has been proved that people will pay over the odds for exceptional service. A friend of mine actually traveled two or three times a year from Devon to York (about 600 miles round trip) by train to visit her favorite hairdresser! Extreme, perhaps, but this is just one example of the lengths people will go to for that little bit extra. Do more than you promise, and your name will be etched on your customers’ memories in gold lettering. Do less, and you may never see them again.
Tip #10: Learn from feedback
The most accurate and valuable market research you will ever do is face-to-face with your customers. If you want to know what they think of you, ask them! Ask them what they want and they will tell you in plain, jargon-free language. Talk to people – they love to tell you what you are doing right and what you could do better. And it will save you a fortune in fees from market research companies.
Copyright © 1997 P J Chandler. All Rights Reserved.