Sales are down, and I need more customers now! Sound familiar? Maybe you are the one who said it. I know what you’re thinking, there’s no magic pill for delivering immediate results and no spontaneous marketing effort that will skyrocket sales. You’re right, there isn’t. Sure, you could launch some catchy TV or radio ad that would spike sales. Of course the initial investment is risky when unpredictable results could leave you breaking even or worse, losing money. Some businesses feel that throwing more sales people at the problem will equate to increased sales. Although more sales people may be necessary to grow your business, this is not the right answer either.
If you want immediate results, you need to have a strategy to create sales consistently. Thus, you avoid the need all together to market for immediacy. I would rather have immediate results happening all the time, wouldn’t you? So how do I continually grow sales? Here are my Top 5 Ways to Market for Immediate Results:
1. Network – Be involved in industry organizations, referral-generating organizations, and show up at networking events where your clients are. There are many good organizations that may be a fit for your business. Test them out before joining, and then make a commitment to participate at a level that positions you as the expert in the group for your field. Referral groups are much more valuable than groups that meet just to pass leads. Referrals have a much higher rate of converting to customers than leads do. Networking has to be a key part of your marketing plan as it is possible to get immediate results by attending the functions.
2. Thank New Business – New business is hard to get. Once you get it, you have to thank them for it. Many businesses have no mechanism in place to thank their new customers. Depending on your type of business, you can show appreciation to someone in a variety of ways. The key is to make it as personal and genuine as possible and still be able to systemize the process. If you don’t set up a system, thanking your customers will always fall to the back burner. Taking the time to say “thanks" will leave an impact resulting in more business referrals and more loyal customers.
3. Reward Referrals – Every referral you get should be rewarded in some way. The reward should leave the impression that you really appreciate the referral. Again, this must be systemized, or it won’t get done. The better you do at thanking the source of the referral, the more you will stay at the top of their mind. They’ll look for more ways to refer you business. This is an opportunity to be very creative. One of the companies we work with mails a real coconut, cut in half and equipped with a zipper for opening. Each coconut contains a thank you card and invitation to attend an appreciation party with a chance to win a trip to Cancun, Mexico. Imagine getting that in the mail!
4. Go Online – Use your website and email as tools to market and grow your business. This is important for almost any business regardless of size. A good website with the essentials about your company and how you have differentiated yourself is a must. Key word search marketing and search engine optimization can open up the floodgates for new business fairly quickly. Investments in online marketing are very cost effective with most key words at around ten cents per click thru to your website. We have clients spending less than $50 a month in key word marketing and getting huge results.
5. Talk To Your Database – A database of customers and prospects is the most important asset any company can build. This will allow you to integrate marketing campaigns that will have great returns. We work with a specialty retailer who has focused on growing a customer and prospect database. We helped them put together a plan including direct mail, email, and a supporting flight of radio ads concentrated in what was typically a slower month for them. The result was a doubling of same-store sales from a year ago.
These 5 activities will help you avoid the panic of, “WE NEED MORE SALES!" An ongoing strategy is much more important than a short-term fix to market for immediate business. The little planning required by these activities will deliver great ongoing results.
Doug Edge has served several companies as a CEO, VP, Director of Business Development and Sales Manager providing him with years of experience in operations, sales and marketing. Doug has done three start-ups of his own and worked for a large radio station group growing revenues over 600% in three years. He also worked for a large Marketing Agency in Indianapolis prior to starting Edge Marketing.
Doug serves as the Ringmaster for Edge Marketing overseeing the business operations. His passion is for helping small businesses and start up companies achieve their revenue growth goals. Doug serves as Executive Director of Entrepreneurs Alliance of Indiana and sits on the board of the Business Marketing Association of Indianapolis, Rainmakers Marketing Group and Crossroads Communications (Radio Station Cluster). More information about the author is available online at http://www.goedgemarketing.com.