Do you like treasure hunts? How about one in which you can be assured of a successful hunt and find a treasure that you will cherish? You can enter this treasure hunt by taking your computer to www.score.org and clicking on Templates & Tools. There you will find a choice of seven paths to take and you will probably find a treasure at the end of each path. The seven categories are: Startup, Run & Grow a Business, Business Advice, Marketing, Management, Technology, and Finance & Money. For this article, I chose to go down the Marketing path and took the fork, “Five Marketing Must Haves for Small Business”.
The five paths are:
- Brand Identity
- Elevator Pitch
- Promotional Tools
- Social Network
- Experienced Mentor
The key to great marketing is asking the right questions, both of yourself and your customers. Establishing your brand identity starts with asking yourself, what exactly are you offering, who will you offer it to, and how will they benefit. What will you be known for–something not otherwise available, great value, great service, convenient, high quality, etc. Questions to ask yourself are:
- How do you define yourself
- Who is your target audience
- What are their needs
- What problems do you solve
- What makes you different
- How do your customers benefit from doing business with you.
Now take all your answers to these questions and condense them into a clear, concise, and understandable format.
The term “elevator speech” comes from the scenario in which you find yourself alone on an elevator with the key individual you wish to convince of your value and you have about a minute to make your persuasive argument of why he/she should buy from you (or recommend you to a friend or colleague). In that minute, you have to introduce who you are and what you do. Describe why you and your product/service are unique, how others benefit from it, and how that person would also benefit from it. And don’t forget that old piece of advice, “ask for the order”. Describe specifically what action you would like that person to take and in what timeframe. Now rehearse, refine, and rehearse some more until you can deliver your message naturally and smoothly in the time it takes that elevator to go from one floor to another. Remember what I said in a previous article, “The best extemporaneous talk is well rehearsed.”
Promotion is a key part of marketing and many tools are available which are inexpensive and carry your message long after your contact with a prospect or even in your absence. A good logo, which is unique to your business, memorable, and maybe tells your story, is a good place to start. Repetition is key so use your logo everywhere-business cards, brochures, web site, stationery, and throughout your company. They should be clean and neat, containing your name, organization name, telephone number, email address, web site address (social media profiles), and physical address. The rear of the card could contain the key points of your elevator speech.
A professional web site is a must today. People will check your web site to confirm that you are real and here to stay. Branded marketing materials such as flyers, mailers, and handouts are easy ways to keep your name and benefits in front of people. One should ask the question of what handout would people tend to keep or what would they toss without paying much attention.
We have all learned in our experience that word-of-mouth is the most effective form of marketing. Today social media is the new form of word-of-mouth. Through Facebook and other social media programs, photos, designs, tips, video clips, breakthroughs, and other news about your organization can be shared. If informative or interesting, viewers can share with friends, their friends share with their friends, and your message gets widespread exposure.
Business today is very complex and it is useful to take advantage of the brains of others. No matter how experienced and knowledgeable you may be, there are always challenges that emerge and you can benefit from the wisdom and experience of others. Mentors are available from SCORE, Small Business Development Corporation, friends, and other business owners, who bring a fresh perspective and can act as a sounding board for you. People like to be asked for advice; why not take advantage of it.
This is only an example of the treasures that await you at www.score.org. It is free and easily available so good luck to you. It could be useful and practical for you to use in your organization.