Posts

Marketing in Tough Times: Part 3

marketing3 We wrap up our conversation with John Jantsch on today’s Bigg Success Show. John is the author of the fantastic book, Duct Tape Marketing – The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide. So far, we’ve discussed:

Part I: getting closer to customers and building your business with strategic partnerships

Part II: how to add value to improve customer loyalty

Let’s continue …

___

___

___

marylynnJohn, what if you’re a business that’s been around since … 1942. You’ve gained trust, you’ve been reliable, but you notice customers trying out your new competitor. What do you need to do?

___

___

johnOne thing that’s happening, just like you described, is that the way in which people are finding companies and the way they are getting information has forever changed because of this little thing called the Internet. I have found that companies may be doing a great job, but they have not embraced the new ways in which people want to get information – the Internet, blogs, search engines, e-mail marketing, and mobile marketing. If you’re not at least trying to understand how your market is changing, you probably are going to get left behind. So when people ask me what they should be doing in 2009, I typically say to embrace the web and create web presence as opposed to thinking that the web site you put up five years ago is good enough.

___

___

georgeIt’s interesting … I was talking with a business owner not long ago whose customer base is 45 and older, very well-to-do and educated. His perception is that his customers aren’t on the Internet because they’re older. But that’s no longer true.

___

___

johnNo, and another misperception, of course, is that “I’m just selling stuff here in town. I don’t need to sell stuff on the World Wide Web.” I read a statistic out of Forrester the other day that said that 83 percent of adults are now going online to search locally for products and services. That’s shoes, legal services, and the plumber across town … as opposed to buying a sweater at some online store across the world.

___

___

georgeIn times like these, advertisers are hungry for that revenue too. With your competition cutting back, isn’t this an opportunity to really stand out in a way you can’t in good times?

___

___

johnWell, I think there are a couple of opportunities. One is that there are deals to be had in print and broadcast advertising. I’m not saying that we want to prey on bad times necessarily. But there are opportunities to buy some lower cost advertising right now, to the tune of ten cents on the dollar. But the thing that I would focus on, in addition to getting closer to your customer, is building a systematic approach to converting leads. In some cases, this doesn’t cost anything. But in most cases it pays the greatest dividend. One thing that happens in good times is that the phone is ringing a lot. You get a little bit lazy. Sometimes you say, “Hey, I could be there on Tuesday … maybe” or “Call me back again. We’re a little bit busy right now.” We get some bad selling habits, bad lead conversion habits. When the number of leads starts drying up, then it becomes really, really important – when you do get those opportunities – that you turn them into customers. I’ve found that, by creating a systematic approach that really focuses the entire brand on making every sales and marketing touch a positive one, it can dramatically impact the percentage of leads that you’re closing.

___

___

marylynnAnd you have all sorts of systems that small business owners might be interested in – from how to get more referrals to creating a marketing system.

___

___

johnYeah, in essence that’s what Duct Tape Marketing is. Duct Tape Marketing is a brand that is meant to represent very simple, effective and affordable marketing tips, tactics and tools. Essentially it is a system that says, “If you follow these principles and go from Point A to Point Z – then decide that you’re going to do it again next year, but you’ll do it bigger and better – small business owners start to realize that marketing is a system. It’s not an event or the idea of the week, which is how most people treat it. We also have a network of coaches that use our system and actually install our system into small businesses. With a foundation and a set of principles, marketing doesn’t have to be that creative or expensive. It just has to make sense. It has to work and you have to work the system consistently. Once small business owners understand that, then marketing doesn’t seem so hard.

___

___

george
And marketing is everything … all the time. That’s what you’re saying.

___

johnI tell people … it doesn’t matter what your business makes, ships or sells … that you are essentially in the marketing business.

___

We thank John so much for sharing his time and wisdom with all of us. Learn more at his site, Duct Tape Marketing.

___

Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

___

And we thank you for spending time with us today. According to some people, Monday is the unhappiest day of the year. Join us next time when we discuss how to escape the Monday blues. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00310-011609.mp3

Related posts

Marketing in Tough Times: Part 1

Marketing in Tough Times: Part 2

Get Free Publicity for Your Business as a Radio Expert

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part I

(Image in today's post by duchessa)

Pages

5 Marketing Strategies to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck During a Recession

By Bigg Success Staff
05-30-08

Bigg Success in Business

bullseye 

When times get tough, businesses often cut their marketing budgets. This may not be the best move you can make, but it may be necessary. If you need to cut back, there are ways to do it without destroying your future prospects.

Here are five ways to get the biggest bang for your buck during a recession.

Current customers

It’s much less expensive to market to your current customers than to find new ones. So share the savings with your customers! Find a way to save them money and they’ll be more likely to buy from you, even in tough times.

Contacts

Step up your networking efforts. The more people you meet, the more likely it is that you’ll find someone who needs what you sell. You may spend less money on marketing during a recession. Make up for that by investing more time in your marketing endeavors.

Referrals

The best way to get referrals is to ask for them! Ask your current customers for people they know who would benefit from what you offer. You may even offer an incentive to them for doing it. And don’t forget to work your contacts for referrals as well.

Customers like your customers

If you can identify people who share the characteristics of your current customers, you can target them efficiently. Check with your mailing service. They should be able to compare your customer base to their databases to find these prospects. This will also help you later with all your marketing efforts.

Counter-cyclical segments
Some products or services do better in a recession. Identify the areas of your business that are likely to gain more attention during tough times. Use those areas as a way to keep people buying from you and to gain new customers. Invest in what’s going to bring in dollars now.

Find out when we post new articles. Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show.

Related posts 

Relationship Building Blocks

There’s Gold In Them There … Customers!

The Two Most Powerful Words You Can Use

Increase Your Sales by Knowing the Answer to this Question

If You Want to Increase Your Profit, Don’t Put Your Customers First

Are You Good, Fast, or Cheap?

5 Laws of Stratospheric Success

Do Your Customers Trust You? 

(Image by jaylopez)

7 Tips to Sell Your Business for Top Dollar

By Bigg Success Staff
03-12-08

Bigg Success in Business

You’ve reached the point where you’re considering selling your business at some point. How do you get the maximum value from this asset into which you’ve poured your heart and soul?

Ideally, you have about three years to get your business ready. If you’re thinking sooner than that, don’t despair! You may be fine. Rate your business against these tips to know if you’re ready. If not, get to work quickly to align your business with these seven tips.

#1 – Think turn-key operation
Could you hand the “keys” to your business over to someone without the business skipping a beat? Look critically at your operation. If the business practically runs itself, you’re ready to sell. If not, identify what needs to be done to get there.

#2 – Develop a succession plan
This is closely related to Tip #1, but at the highest level. Who is in charge when you’re not there? Do they have the skills to do your job permanently? If not, identify what it will take to get them to that point or find someone, inside or outside the company, who can be trained to take over.

#3 – Refine your customer base
Is your customer base growing? That assures your buyer that revenues are likely to keep increasing.  

What portion of your business is from repeat customers? If you have a lot of repeat customers, your buyer knows that revenue is stable.

Finally, what portion of sales comes from your top customer? The more diverse your customer base is the less risk your buyer will see in your business.

#4 – Maximize your operating profit

Operating profit is what’s left over after you subtract all your costs, except interest expense and income taxes on your business, from your sales. This is sometimes referred to as EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) or EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization).

Ultimately, your buyer is likely to base his or her price on your operating profit. Take a note from public company executives and think shorter-term. Your horizon is whenever you plan to bring the business to market. Your decisions should maximize your operating profit by that time.

#5 – Clean up your Balance Sheet
Ideally, when you bring your business to market, there is no long-term debt. This assures buyers that your business has sufficient cash flow to pay off debt and/or fund projects without it. It also gives you more flexibility in structuring a deal with your buyer.

#6 – Invest in good financials

Most buyers, especially sophisticated ones, will prefer to see financials that have been prepared by a CPA. There are three levels of financials:

  • Compilation – a CPA prepares your financials with information you provide.
  • Review – a CPA prepares your financials after investigating your internal procedures.
  • Audit – a CPA prepares your financials after significant internal and external checks.  

An audit will provide your buyer with the highest level of assurance. It is also the most expensive. So it may not be worth your investment, depending on the size of your business. Talk with your CPA to determine what’s best for you.

#7 – Invest in taxes

This goes against the grain for a lot of business owners. For years, you’ve done everything you legally could to minimize your taxes. Now you’re supposed to “invest” in them?

The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” You may be taking out some perks that you know aren’t necessary for your business. But do you expect a buyer to believe that? Would you? Show a higher income and pay more taxes. It’s highly likely you’ll make it up in what a buyer will pay for your business.

Getting your business ready to sell is as important as building your business in the first place. If you do it right, you’ll get the most for it because you’ve positioned it as a good investment for your buyer.

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

Related posts 

4 Retirement Questions For Business Owners

Don’t Make This Costly Mistake

There’s Gold In Them There … Customers!

Find Your Fortune Through Promiscuity

(Image by Chrispitality,CC 2.0)