Sometimes just simply getting the message out there is the most important part. Media works so fast, and peoples attention spans are so limited. Here are a few tips for getting the perfect message out in a crunch.
Yes, spelling and grammar are important, but… Just don’t be wordy. Keep it concise, don’t use big words when simple ones will do. Don’t spend too much time writing it, then you won’t have to spend a lot of time editing it.
Stop the writers block. Get into the habit of writing down ideas as they come to you. Keep a small journal with you at all times.
Newsletters are overwhelming. Send a monthly newsletter if you like, just make sure it isn’t turning off your audience. Most businesses do better with a quarterly all inclusive newsletter that can be printed and emailed, and weekly single message emails to targeted groups.
Consider your audiences time and attention span. Grouping your audience into categories based on profession, family structure or any other metric relevant to your business is crucial. Timing and message can then be customized to be completely relevant to the recipient.
A unique value proposition has to be hardest and most essential piece of a marketing plan. It’s the expanded version of your elevator pitch. What is the difference between you and your competitors? Why does that matter to your customers? What real value to do your offer?
This, I find, is the hardest thing for many small business owners to put their finger on.
Sometimes it has less to do with your business and more about the person behind it. Think about what your business is – are customers buying a product, or are they buying you? It may be a combination of both.
The purpose of the elevator pitch is to get someone to tell you more. A unique value proposition is a section in your marketing plan that expands on that.
My favorite tag line ever is “Our roots are local”. That perfectly comes from one of the New England Food Co-ops, I’m not sure which.
I just got back from a potluck in the park for the Manchester Food Co-op. It is always so exciting to meet other people as jazzed up about the co-op as I am!
With the announcement of the Labor Day 500 goal the board is more committed than ever to get this store opened. Our biggest challenge is still the need for more members. Events like potlucks in the park, member owner house parties, farm CSA pickups, trade shows like the Made in NH Expo and the up coming Food Day on October 24th are how we have had great luck in the past. We are also exploring business partnership opportunities where companies can subsidize shares as a benefits for their employees. That has been very successful as well, bringing in over 40 shares alone from just one company!
But we still need you! Have you joined yet? Every member brings us closer to a great gathering place in downtown Manchester.
I’ve always have a hard time with networking events. I was never the popular girl at high school, I am not witty or quick with a joke, and I often just plain forget what I wanted to say by the time I get a chance to talk. That’s why I like on-line networking through Linked-In and other forums, I can gather my thoughts and research things and Google the fancy word that escaped my mind!
I do force myself to attend some face to face events however. I find the best ones are Expos – I’ve made some great connections at those with various levels of corporate leadership. I also find it easier to work with charity or non-profit events, where the conversations are much more relaxed and natural. Sometimes I even “network” when I’m just at the park with the kids.
Here are a few things that get me through networking events.
- Remember that most people there are just as uncomfortable as you are. If you see someone alone go talk to them.
- If you see someone you know ask for introductions, but don’t spend the entire time attached to their side.
- Have several things to talk about. I always have several projects that would appeal to people in different industries. Writing a few things down before hand is a great way to get focused.
- Don’t ignore the other sales reps, lead sharing works, and you never know who they might know. But, don’t spend too much time on them either. You will find that many Chamber of Commerce and so called “networking events” are mostly sales reps, not your target market.
- Bring a pen and make notes on the back of business cards if there was a spark.
- Attend a variety of events – think outside the box. Benefit dinners, co-op potlucks, monthly member meetings, town and neighborhood meetings all have potential. Join some clubs and organizations that you have a personal interest in – have fun and make some connections.
- Follow up with an e-mail or letter. A phone call ius only appreciated if there is a mutually beneficial opportunity.
- Make it a habit. Try to attend at least one thing a month. Networking is about exposure – repetition will make it not only easier for you but will get you in front of the right people more often.
- Don’t discount the online networking sites. Having your name known on those boards and noting the names of others will help strike up conversations.
Have you tried working with a marketing company or doing some of this stuff yourself? You ask for a web site design and get something that you might be able to use in five years or so. You ask for email marketing and there are so many options it makes your head spin. You try to implement SEO and spend so much time registering your web site you can’t even get to your core competencies. You try to purchase a leads list but the minimum purchase is too high or you are just flooded with too many leads to process before they are no longer accurate.
There are an endless supply of free and low cost tools on the internet, but using them takes a lot of time. Wouldn’t you rather be making money and leaving the drudgery of marketing to someone else?
I am a B2B marketing professional with 10 years experience in several core industries. My plans specialize in micro-local marketing and take an integrated media approach. The plans I create are different because we look at the entire picture, your goals, your unique value proposition and your core audience and we build a plan around that.
After working for small businesses I’ve found that most marketing firms don’t “get” the small start up business – they aim too high and don’t take the very limited budgets seriously. My approach is to first create a budget and then find and implement solutions that will produce results in that range.
Particularly when it comes to lead generation, a large company will have their sales representative talk to the small business and then have a cold-call team calling leads by a script. This approach nearly always lends to incomplete lead details and miss-matched lead to business priorities.
I don’t change my own car oil, I don’t cut my own hair, and when I have the option I don’t even like to clean my own house. There are just some things that I know I can’t do effectively and other things that I just despise doing.
Any successful person will tell you that their secret to success is succinct focus. What should you focus on? What you do best, and that is usually also what your small business makes its money from. Taking the time to write copy for brochures and web pages, screen through lists of leads and organize events is time consuming and probably not the most exciting task of your day.
So weather you make pizzas, provide household services, offer managed IT services, or are consultant yourself you can benefit from a marketing service.