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Markerting Your Small Business

Successful Marketing Tactics on Small Business Budget

If you think you can’t have successful marketing tactics on a small business budget, think again. We’d like to share a story about our client, Molly, who was able to have a successful, cost-effective, marketing campaign by being creative. It’s a tale of expanding and marketing while on a dime.

Your business is doing well. But what’s next? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Molly’s Story

Molly ran a success yoga practice, which she wanted to expand. She was concerned about how she was going to attract new clients to her new location. Molly had a successful formula, but most of her current client base came from her personal network and built over time. She wanted to grow her business, but she had outgrown her space. She knew her new location was perfect, since the demographics of new location were nearly identical to her current. But what she didn’t know was how to reach them. Sound familiar?

Importance of Marketing

Every small business owner knows the importance of marketing. However, when they hear the word, most think only of dollar signs. It’s tough as marketing involves risk. You don’t know if it’s going to work until after you spend the money. It scares us all. The good news is that there are some costeffective in-bound marketing tactics you can use that increase your chances of being successful.

Cost-Effective Marketing Tactics

The first step in any effective marketing campaign is knowing your target audience’s need. In marketing jargon, it’s called the insight. It’s knowing what your target needs on both a rational and emotional level. While that might sound scary, it usually not. Ask your clients why they come. Listen to what they say and watch their body language. What motived them is likely to motivate others. Having a solid grasp on this motivation will only make these tactics more effective.  

Video marketing

With technology today, video marketing is cheap, easy, and effective. Nothing conveys emotion more than video. Happy clients will attract other happy clients. In Molly’s case, she gave a free class to anyone who was willing to participate in her video. People could see how she taught, how she interacted with clients, and how her clients loved her. It was shot on her iPhone, edited in several short clips with Adobe, and uploaded to YouTube. It cost her next to nothing to create it. 

Social selling

So how did we distribute that great video content? By social media, of course. She added the video to the company pages. But, that wasn’t all. She offered her clients a discount on their next class if the tagged her and included the video in the social media feeds. For a minor cost, she had the content distributed to thousands. The great thing about social media is that friends of the current clients were more likely to become new ones. She also did a little paid advertising to boost the video, but we’re talking hundreds of dollar vs. thousands in order to save money. 

Social media is marketing asset for all small businesses. A strong social presence can help raise brand awareness, trial, and offer promotions. The targeting capabilities are very powerful as well. 

Email

Since she used online booking for classes, Molly had all of the current and lapsed clients’ emails. She was doing a monthly newsletter, but she wasn’t using it to promote her business. A simple refer a friend promotion was a very effective way to gain trial. Like social media, friends are more likely to try than those without a referral. Again, it cost nearly nothing, and it had a big impact. 

Make information easy to consume

While Molly didn’t need this tactic, it is useful in other cases and worth mentioning for marketing purposes. Infographics are a creative and useful way to convey complex ideas. Even something as simple as this can be effective. It’s a lot more interesting to read than this full page of text

A map of effective marketing tactics on a budget

Molly’s Results

Molly’s marketing was extremely effective. After 3 months of effort, she was at about 50% of where she wanted to be. After 6 months, she was ahead of goal. Her second location was a success, and after year and a half, she’s considering expanding again.These marketing tactics aren’t all of the tactics available at your disposal, but they are a few that can be cheaply and effectively executed with little to no investment. This is why they are great starting points for marketing on a small business budget.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

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Markerting Your Small Business Webinars

Marketing Content That Sells: A Webinar

We wanted to start posting the first of our Small Business Bootcamp webinars with you, so let’s begin with our first webinar, about how to develop, create, market, and manage content that sells. From advertising to communicating, content marketing is something every business does on some level.

The Small Business Bootcamp is a LinkedIn group and weekly newsletter that provides information on how to provide for your small business. We discuss everything from marketing to employment to getting loans and more. Once a month we provide a webinar that outlines a content stream that we then talk about for the rest of the month.

Thinking about making changes to your business? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

In September, we made our first video about marketing content that sells. It is based in part on article Marketing Content That Sells & How to Create It, which gets deeper into some of the details about our webinar. Feel free to watch the video and reach out for more advice! We would love to provide it.

Here are some of the points of advice that we mention in the video:

      1. Begin with a strong attention-getting opener
      2. Focus on the Insight, the thing that hits people in their core
      3. Storytelling is what people remember at the end of the day

All of these details are what will matter most in building content. Marketing content to sell it isn’t always easy. But we want to help you through it. 

If you want to know more, join our LinkedIn group. It might help you learn more. This group includes small business owners across the New York area who are in similar positions. We want to help small business owners, and how better to do that than communicating. 

Join us, won’t you?

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

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Managing Costs Markerting Your Small Business

3 Ways to Market Your Small Business Almost for Free

The advertising market is insane. In 2019, it’s estimated to be a nearly $600 billion industry, and that’s almost over the topIn this crowded marketplace, how can small businesses compete? If you don’t have the same resources, how can you market your small business for free? Well, do you remember when your mom said “kill them with kindness”? We want to encourage you to kill them with creativity. It may help your business grow in the long run.

Unsure of how to take your business from good to great? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Kill Them with Creativity

We know we can’t beat big brands with spending. However, big ideas tend to die at big companies. Creativity dies in committee. I spent 20 years at major companies, and I’ve seen more creative ideas which died on the vine than survived. So, trust me because I know how your small business might need to market itself and free your route to successOn top of that, you might not have the capital to compete with those massive marketing budgets. Luckily, small businesses and entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to be creative and take smart risks. The followinthree breakthrough ways to market your small business are inexpensive and effective, and we encourage you to consider them.

1. If It’s Fun, They Will Come

People are social. They love to come together. You just need to give them a fun reason to do it. According to Eventbritea recent poll of adults aged 18+ revealed that people are attending more live events than ever before. Some businesses lend themselves to this more than others. But, even a consulting group like ourselves, can put together an educational event and make it fun. Reach out to the public and you might find your new customers. 

Holidays give you a built-in platform. Even not-so-fun events, like tax season, can be a hook for education. If there is a business expo and you can’t afford a booth, consider holding an event nearby. If you can provide free help as a small business, you might have found your perfect market. It’s always better to bring the event to you, so if you have a brick and mortar store, think about how you can piggy-back on local festivals and the like. Small Business Saturday is also another great time to work with your neighbors to create and event. The key is to make it fun. Prizes, bragging rights, competitions are all ways to make something that may seem drab more interesting.

2.  It Takes a Village

If you feel like you need to market your small business, your neighbors might be looking for some of the same free help. So get to know your neighbors! You would be surprised how much it helps to talk to your peers. Small businesses can use each other to succeed, creating a real life network. Promote one another and build your own community. If that isn’t possible, use other forms of connections. Talk to your LinkedIn contacts and your friends and more to figure out how you can help one another without too much cost.

Another way is to put your customers to work. Referral programs work very well because people trust their friends. Even big name brands have built their businesses based on referrals. DropBox, when it started, offered 50MB of extra space for every friend you referred. After referring 20 friends, we had a free account with 1 GB of space, which at the time, was enormous. It doesn’t have to be big, a simple thank you gift will usually suffice. Plus, it may help you grow your circles of communication.

3. Earned Media Will Always Beat Paid Media

[Repurpose HARO from 4 tips on a dime]

Overall, Creativity and Elbow Grease Result in Free Social Media Marketing

While marketing on a limited budget can be challenging, creativity and our tactics might help you save yourself. In order to market your small business for free, you may need to think differently. But, don’t forget, some of these tactics can work exceptionally well whether you have a small budget or a big one.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Categories
Markerting Your Small Business

How to Use In-Bound Marketing for Your Small Business

We have already spoken about inbound marketing, but we wanted to show you today an example of how in-bound marketing works. Our client, Dorian, is the owner of an holistic healthcare practice. To most people, holistic healthcare is still somewhat unknown and untrusted. Dorian faced the same challenges many in the Professional Services fields. Why should I trust him? Do I really understand what his practice is all about?  

Trust, credibility, awareness are all areas where inbound marketing can be very powerful. Dorian opted for inbound marketing because it was the best tool for his challenges and to help him expand his business potential. 

Your business is doing well. But what’s next? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Using In-Bound Marketing Smartly – Dorian’s Story

Dorian was unknown, and the practice of holistic medicine is considered by some to be pseudo-science instead of healthcare. Therefore, he needed to showcase himself as an authority, as well as, build the case for where a holistic approach is right and, importantly, when it wasn’t. To do this, he utilized a mix of social media, promoted content with infographics, and blogs. SEO was important and woven into his blogs and content calendar.

Inbound Marketing, written on a binder
Inbound Marketing is a means of getting audiences into your site

Measure twice, cut once

Metrics were key to understand what was performing and what needed to be optimized to perform better. Dorian had a whole set of KPIs. First, we built several content funnels to track users on the website. We could see what content drove the most people to specific conversion points. It was important to track several so we could see where any bottlenecks were created and to build some hypotheses as to why people stayed or left.  

We tested a number of different infographics to see which were the most impactful and drove the most interaction and traffic. We also kept a list of our posts to look for patterns that might predict with which content people would interact the most. The tactics we used were very similar to what most other businesses use. However, since we were in the start up phase, we relied less on e-mail since we didn’t have a large list and less on revenue. We focused more on them once we built our list and had a better understand of which content was the most effective.

Dorian's results

The use of in-bound marketing
Image: Visual Objects

Inbound marketing takes time. It’s the first thing you need to accept. It’s hard when that’s typically when revenues are the lowest, and you need the sales. However, it can be an investment worth making. After daily blogging, social posting, and several tries at infographic tests, it took Dorian about 3 months to start to hit his stride. After 3 months, we finally had enough data to start to make some clear choices on optimization of our message, website, and tactical mix and on growing his business. 

When we started, Dorian had bounce rates around 40%, CTRs of 1.5%, and a dribble of leads. At six months and after more testing and optimization, Dorian cut his bounce rate significantly to < 15%, increased our CTR to 2.5%, and had enough leads to build a predictable funnel for demand.

What Can You Do?

Start a blog

First and foremost, start a blog. It’s the foundation of any inbound marketing campaign. To prove yourself and showcase your capabilities, you need to provide proof and show your expertise. Importantly, people are not going to spend money with you if they don’t firmly believe you can help them solve their problems. A blog is a great way to showcase what you know. It also serves as the engine for SEO. The higher you show up in an organic search the more credibility you will have. 

Get in the press

Another way to help bolster your reputation is earned media. If the press is siting you as an expert or a source, it adds credibility to your message. It can help new customers take notice of you in the a non-sponsor piece, which will then make it easier for them to believe you later if they see similar things on your blog, social media, etc.

HARO (in-bound marketing platform) Logo
HARO is a service we use for in-bound marketing

In-bound marketing only works with a great website

Your website is the where the magic happens. With all due respect to the DIY website builders out there, a poorly constructed site can kill you. Image that you are doing all this work to drive people to your site, but when they get there, they leave, get lost, or give up because it takes to long to load. There are a thousand ways things could go wrong. Even a professionally built site won’t get it right on the first try. We don’t subscribe to the believe that every effective site needs to be professionally built, but we do believe that they should be managed professionally. That means have the right tags, funnels, testing, tracking, and the like. Without it, you lose the ability to optimize, which greatly diminishes your effectiveness. No amount of press or reviews can help if people don’t know how to find you.

A picture says 1000 words

We can stress enough the power of a great infographic. People are visual creatures, and a great image can convey more information more quickly that paragraphs of words. You don’t need to be a professional designer to be effective, but you need to design your images professionally, meaning the image must have the same meaning as the words. It must be simple, aesthetically pleasing, and easily read.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Categories
Markerting Your Small Business

Using the Power of Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is one of the major forms of getting people to your site and product. But what exactly is it? And how can we turn that form of marketing into something? Marketing is something we have spoken about often, but how can we make that into something we can direct at our audiences? Today we wanted to share with you the meaning of Inbound Marketing, along with our client Dorian’s own story about in-bound marketing. Hopefully you can turn it into results for yourself!

Your business is doing well. But what’s next? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a technique for drawing customers to products and services via content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization and branding. It tries to build trust by offering potential customers information they value via company sponsored newsletters, blogs and entries on social media platforms. In contrast, outbound marketing is what we would most likely define as marketing, such as, paid advertising, promotions, samples, etc. Smaller businesses can accelerate their potential, but inbound marketing might be the easiest way to lead to growth.

Content on a laptop, a form of in-bound marketing
In-bound marketing is a very smart means of getting people into your business, as our example discusses

Why Is Inbound Marketing Effective?

The theory goes that inbound marketing is designed to help customers learn and gain valuable information and insight. When customers see that value that a service provides, it builds trust, credibility, and relevant awareness. Outbound marketing, in contrast is, by definition, intrusive. It interrupts content and doesn’t enhance. Outbound marketing can be very effective, too. Each has its place. If you already know and trust a brand, outbound marketing can be useful to bring it top-of-mind. Inbound marketing works better when something is new, or where education is key. It also can often be cheaper when done correctly.

Inbound marketing statistics

According to a survey of businesses, who use inbound marketing, they claimed it increased their leads by 72% and their conversion by 55% in the past six months. Both are key aspects of inbound marketing – identifying leads & converting them.  

Our Favorite Tactics

There are 5 major tactics that are used most often for inbound marketing: social media, content promotion, visual content (a.k.a. infographics), blog content, and SEO. Combining them can add to growing your business remarkably.

Social media is the king of inbound marketing

You can use social media marketing campaigns to boost sales

A surprising 90% of businesses leverage social media for inbound marketing. It is no wonder. They are easy to use. The platforms have large audiences, and they utilize sophisticated algorithms to make targeting a breeze. While almost everyone uses it, not all agree regarding its effectiveness. Only about 4 out 10 businesses say that social media produces the best results. In fact, 2 in 10 say it’s the worst. Why? Many don’t use it effectively. Social media is like gardening. It only works when it’s well tended. Forget to water it, and things wither and die. It may be cheap and easy, but it is a significant time commitment, for both new businesses and older ones

Content promotion is a more expensive but less time-consuming tactic

Content promotion is when you pay to have content served to a target audience. It’s where you take your best posts and promote them so more people see them than would have seen them organically. It’s less time consuming. You create the content once and let them promote it vs. gaining likes and shares. If you have powerful contact, with which a large audience interacts, then content promotion is less effective. If you are new, have a smaller following, or the topic is impactful but only to smaller audience, content promotion can help.

Infographics – content promotion on steroids

Infographics are a great way to promote content. If done right, they are simple, straight-forward, and easy to understand. They don’t require a heavy investment in time or a bunch of clicks to get to where you need to be. Having something visual can be a core aspect of any small business marketing plan, both to show 

Inbound Marketing Chart
Image via Visual Objects

Blogs & SEO

Blogs are a more time consuming form of inbound marketing, but possibly more fruitful. However, they offer a great way to provide more complex information. They can be very useful in credibility building – this guy or gal knows what he or she is talking about. They can showcase knowledge, but if not done well, they can under perform. There’s only so much time a person can spend. Blogs are also the food for SEO. We all can remember the days of key word loaded, useless blogs used as link bait. While SEO has become much more sophisticated, blogs are still one of the best tools to ensure good rankings.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

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Business Issues Markerting Your Small Business

Branding: How to Stand Out Against Competition

Human beings are pattern seekers.  We conserve our mental energy by creating little files in our minds about people, places, and businesses. In a sense, everything is branded. It is both about marketing content to others, and about making a sale. It’s the sum of the experiences someone has packed in a box.  Once that box is formed, it’s very hard to change what your branding is to the public.

Your business is doing well. But what’s next? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Alice's Story

Alice owned a trendy pop-up storefront and e-commerce business that sold unique, hand-crafted jewelry, clothing, and accessories. She worked with an artist collective, so she had access to a trove of unique and original designs, which she sold on consignment.  She grew so quickly that she was finding it difficult to vet the artists and curate the collection as much as she had in the past.  

Alice's Problem

What made her unique was the carefully curated assortment of one-of-kind designs.  She did realize that by being so busy growing that she was at risk of damaging her brand.

social listening

Branding by Default 

The fact is that most small businesses have a brand by default rather than by design.  It’s human nature to create brands – no matter what. We do it all the time.  It’s sometimes hard to recognize that fact. If you do nothing, people will create a story about you. It’s better to direct the narrative than to have the narrative directed for you.  

Alice‘s Brand 

Having a brand by default isn’t always a bad thing.  As in Alice’s case, it was good thing. She lucked out. However, not understanding that you have a brand is terrible thing. Why? Because if you don’t know what it is, how can you stay true to what it is that makes you unique and special.  Alice fell in the latter case. She didn’t realize what her brand was when she started to grow beyond it. If she did, she may have been a bit more careful. 

An example of how Social Media branding can create a complete reinvention of your brand
An example of how Social Media branding can create a complete reinvention of your brand

Luckily for Alice, She Caught It Before It Was Too Late 

Alice had a strong and loyal Instagram following. She started notice more negative and less positive postings about her latest collections. Alice was smart and she started asking why.  She had responses like: “…becoming more generic…”, “it’s just not you anymore”, “…been there, seen that…”.  In effect, she was drifting from her brand, but she didn’t really know it. There were expectation that she didn’t even know about. 

How Did We Help Alice Find Her Brand? 

Alice reached out because she wasn’t sure what to do. She wasn’t sure why her fans weren’t happy. She didn’t realize it at the time, but her Instagram was her early warning system, and it worked beautifully. This is something Alice didn’t even think about at first, but it eventually became important for a young business

Step 1 – What Should the Brand Be? 

When developing a brand, you need to start with the target. The target is the ideal customer. This is person you most want to reach.  Alice had a strong base, but she didn’t have a clear understanding of what made them tick.

Our first task was to talk to these customers and understand why the loved Alice’s products so much. In Alice’s case, it was so they could feel unique and distinctive. Wearing Alice’s line made them feel trendy. No one else had something quite like what they bought from Alice.  Alice’s point of difference was the uniqueness and her eye for creative, functional items.  People weren’t buying Alice’s artists, but they were buying Alice’s sense of style and curation.  That was her value. That was her brand. And that helped her grow.

Step 2 – Stay Consistent 

This is where Alice made her mistake. She got so busy running the day-to-day operations that time she used to dedicate in researching and curating her collections suffered.  As that suffered, the brand suffered.  To get her back on track, we needed to figure out how to free her up. For the brand to keep growing, she needed to curate more, not less.

Social Branding hits every aspect of how you reach your audience and how they reach you

Step 3 – Built the Right Scale 

It was clear Alice needed help.  We took her through our delegation exercise to identify the tasks she needed to do, and those she didn’t need to do.  We were able to create job descriptions based on this work, and she was able to hire the right people to free up her time. 

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

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Markerting Your Small Business

How to Build the Ideal Marketing Budget

In budgeting your company, marketing requires a leap of faith. There’s just no other way to say it. You usually have to spend money upfront, without really knowing if you will get an ROI until later. Look, it makes everyone nervous, even us. But, there are some guidelines that can increase your chances of success. We want to share a story about a client Elena.

Feeling like your business isn’t going the right way? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Elena's Story

Elena haa successful salon. In her first few years, she grew rapidly and expanded to a new area. She was concerned about her second location as it was having the same growth as her first. He first salon was maxed out. She really didn’t have the ability to add more clients. Her second salon was growing, but her overall growth had slowed down. She was concerned. The second location was doing slightly better than breaking even, which meant her profit growth had stalled. 

A budget is needed for marketing to reach the audience you need.

The good news was this wasn’t a flaw in her business plan, she was fine from a financial standpoint. Instead, her issue was with marketing planning and budget, and specifically the marketing her 2nd location.

How Did We Help Elena?

For starters, it’s good to have a rule of thumb for how much you should invest in marketing. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBArecommends spending 7 – 8% of gross sales on marketing if you’re sales are < $5M a year. Our rule of thumb is 10% because it’s simpler.

Step 1 – Goal Setting

So, back to Elena. Elena’s goal was simple. Drive more appointments at her 2nd location. That’s clear. But not SMART. For goals to be as effective as possible the should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Elena’s goal was specific but was it specific enough? Would 1 appointment more be sufficient? 10? 100? It’s hard to know what you should do unless you are crystal clear on what you need to attain. That was the first step. We decided on aadditional 10 appointments/week within the next six months as our SMART goal. 

A marketing funnel is a good example of how a budget can pay off with marketing

Step 2 – The Marketing Budget

We can’t share Elena’s exact financials, but we agreed to use our 10% of gross sales as our rule of thumb. This gave us plenty of money with which to budget a solid marketing plan. This is a salon business, so visual media were key. In deciding on our marketing mix, we focused on social media, website enhancements, e-mail, Google My Businessand yes, old-school, direct mail. More on that in a minute.

Step 3 – Putting a Plan Together

Elena is an Instagram genius. She built her brand predominately from Instagram. It’s the perfect medium for her work. It not only build her following, but it also helped her in local search. However, this became a problem because, since both locations had the same name & account, all the Instagram work was being attributed to her primary location. This was what we had to fix.

The new plan was to: 

      • Keep the old Instagram account our maintain our efforts on it
      • Start a separate Instagram account for the new location (with a content calendar) 
      • Rebuild the website so it was clear on the home page that there were 2 locations
      • Start a Google My Business for the 2nd location (with a content calendar) 
      • E-mail & direct mail

You’re probably thinking, what? Mail? Really? Well, the truth waabout 10-15% of Elena’s clients actually lived closer to her 2nd location, but only came to her first. They just didn’t know or were afraid to try a new stylist. So, we did a combo of e-mail and direct mail to let them and their neighbors know that there waa more convenient option for them. In those mailers, we provide discounts at the new location. We also held events at the new location where the top stylists would there as ‘guests’.

What a Marketing Budget Can Do

This worked beautifully for Elena. We hit the 10 appointments/week goal within 4 months instead of 6. This waan inexpensive plan, which was easy to implement and measure. Now, Elena’s business is able to grow and she is doing better than before at both of her locations, all thanks to an improved marketing budget.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Categories
Markerting Your Small Business Running a Small Business

Generate Leads for Your Small Business with These 3 Tips

Generating leads is one of the hardest things for a new small business to do. To get a client base, you first need to get clients. We have trouble with it sometimes, and many of our clients have talked with us about their issues with it as well. When you start, no one knows who you are or what you do, and why they should work with you. We live in an over-sold world. Skepticism is aaall-time high. Plus, competition is now global. It’s tough to breakthrough. To help you, though, we wanted to give you our three steps to sell aa new small business. 

Your business is doing well. But what’s next? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

1. Have a Clear, Crisp Pitch

People’s attention spans are shrinking. You need to be ready for that. You need a concise pitch that explains what you do. Pitching is important for a number of reasons, from getting loans to getting customers.  

Here are two good pitch templates that we’ve used in the past. They’re simple. They’re direct. Each shows how to make the most of the differentiation you have. Importantly, they work.

If you have a unique benefit only you can provide: 

[Enter Company Name] is the ONLY [Enter Industry or Competitive Set] that provides [Unique Point of Difference]. That’s because [Support Claim #1] and [Support Claim #2].

If you provide service in a way that might not be “unique”: 

[Enter Company Name] is a [Enter Industry or Competitive Set] that provides [Point of Difference] [better, faster, cheaper, etc] than [competitive set]. That’s because [Support Claim #1] and [Support Claim #2].

Generating Leads is a key aspect of marketing yourself to others

See, it’s basically like a business-oriented MadLibs! And the best part is, it will help you with generating leads in the future. These are two templates for you to start with, but there are a lot of options for your new business

2. Be Seen as an Expert

One of the things that we aProStrategix do is to post articles almost every day, like this! And trust me, I know it’s hard to deliver quality content on a daily basis. You won’t always get it right, but after a while, you will see which content your target finds the most useful. Armed with those insights, you can create an editorial calendar that focuses more on what people are interested inand you can showcase your skills to a larger, more engaged audience.

3. Be Smart with Your SEO and Landing Pages

An example of the importance and work of lead generation, and the payoff of it

SEO is often touted as the holy grail. It’s not quite that, but it is important. SEO is like micro-targeting. You have to find that patch to own. Then, build from there. It’s tough when you want to serve a bigger marketplace, but micro-targeting your content to specific narrow audiences does help to generate leads. The same is true for your landing pages. The tighter and more relevant the content is to person, who lands on your site, the better. They are likely to stay longer, bounce less, and provide you with insights on what’s working or not. 

What Happens After You Generate a Lead?

Ultimately, it’s the conversion that counts, and that goes up the more they interact with your content. Hopefully, you can generate the leads you need to grow from a new business to larger and better things.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Categories
Markerting Your Small Business

3 PR Hacks for Your Small Business

PR is one of the best tools a small business has in its toolkit. It’s knowing how to earn it that’s the key. We wanted to share three hacks in PR that have worked for us, and how marketing and PR has helped our business to sell. 

Unsure of how to take your business from good to great? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

PR Hack 1 – Write About What’s Hot

Let’s face it. Small business doesn’t have the newsworthiness of larger organizations. Neither can we afford a large PR budget or firm to track trends and pitch stories to reporters. So, we have to find what’s hot in the media and build a bridge to what we do.

A small business example

Let’s say we are looking for topics about small business about which to write. We could head to Google Trends and search “Small Business” as a topic. 

First, we see that interest in relatively high right now: The first PR Hack Infographic

Second, we would see that interest is high in our market, so local New York State media outlets might be looking for stories 

Lastly, we see that healthcare is a breakout topic. Also, other hot topics might be the Reorganization Act of 2019 or marketing Apps. All three of which are relevant to our area of expertise. 

Your business could do the same thing. Find the topic about which you are expert. Figure out how to link that to what is trending. There are several other social platforms you can use.

PR Hack 2 – Know What Your Outlet Wants

social media customer service

You can write the best pitch in the world, but if the outlet or journalist doesn’t cover that topic, you’re out of luck. So, what can you do? 

First, set-up a Google Alert for your main area of expertise. For us, it’s Small Business. Not a ton of reporters and outlets cover small business, so it’s easy to make a list of journalists and outlets that specialize in our segment. Read your daily alerts. See what writers cover. 

 

Second, if they write something about your topic, send them a comment. Share something useful. When we found a journalist, who wrote a great piece about gig-workers, we sent a comment to her. We praised her work, and we offered her a different lens from which to see it. That was the small business perspective. She liked so much that she added our comment in a blog post, and now, we are connected on LinkedIn. 

PR Hack 3 – Make an Editorial Calendar

We just told you to follow what’s hot and comment on current events. If we are constantly trend scouting, you might ask should you bother with an editorial calendar? The answer is yes. While not as powerful as it once was, most media outlets have a planned calendar. If you have a shortlist of media outlets, you can always reach out to them to ask for their editorial calendar. This way, you at least have a heads-up on what they will be covering, so you can content ready.

Unfortunately,  you need to be prepared for both guerilla tactics and pre-planned content if you want to be heard. But hopefully these three PR Hacks will be enough for you

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Categories
Markerting Your Small Business

How to Use Marketing to Boost Slipping Sales

Today, we want to tell you a story about of client of ours named, George. George runs a decent-sized small business and has for a few years, but his sales have started to slip. So we showed him how used marketing to boost his slipping sales.

George’s business might not be the same as yours, but his challenge was one that we all face. How do we understand our customers enough that we can communicate with them effectively? By communicating effectively, how do we get their attention, keep it, and motive them to do something different? If you’re facing marketing challenges, then read on to see what tips we shared with George. If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky… and remember to come back to us if you do face problems.

Unsure of how to take your business from good to great? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

George’s Story: A Classic Marketing Challenge

George’s business model was a bit old school. George produced products that he sold through distributors, and then those distributors sold the products to brick and mortar stores. Yes, this still is the dominant way people buy products. While e-commerce is growing fast, it still only accounts for around 10% of total retail sales. It also varies widely from category to category.

You can use social media marketing campaigns to boost sales

Jason is in health and beauty. This is one of e-commerce’s weak spots. In health & beauty, e-commerce sales account for less than 5% of total retail sales. Nevertheless, Jason was starting to see some negative impact from that shift. His volume was starting to drop off and his marketing needed a booster shot to help the sales. His e-commerce sales were tiny. He’s tried to sell through Amazon’s marketplace but he’s had a hard time breaking through. He has his own e-commerce platform but has struggled to gain traffic and conversions.

How do we understand our customers enough so that we can communicate with them effectively?

So, what exactly did we change in George’s marketing to help boost the sales of his company? And how could we achieve that without wasting everyone’s time and money?

Spend some time walking in their shoes

George was in a tough spot. He didn’t sell much directly to his customers, so how could he reach them? Luckily, he did have some sales through his e-commerce portal. We re-contacted those former customers and offered a nominal fee to participate in a moderated Zoom call. We spent that call discussing their challenges and how Jason’s products helped them meet them. Then, we spent time to understand their motivations. We asked them to take us through their day. We uncovered a lot about how they wanted to feel after using Jason’s products.

After spending time in the customer's shoes, craft a message relevant to what’s motivating them

marketing can help boost sales for a small business

After conducting a few Zoom focus groups, we had a clearer picture of what was motivating George’s customers. They wanted to look naturally beautiful. They were motivated by wanting to look their best, but not looking like they tried. We are own worst critics. We see all the flaws because we know they are there. As long as we know they are there, we are self-conscious. When your self-conscious, it’s hard to project confidence. And, that’s what this was all about, finding the marketing plan that worked

Communicating our message consistently and effectively

Armed with this new information, George was able to upgrade his website, Amazon page, paid digital ads, landing pages, ran social media posts, and more marketing platforms to boost his sales. It was no longer about shades and colors and the like. It was about how to use a combination of his products to look natural, letting the real you shine through. And it was a major hit, helping Geroge in the long run of his career.

How Can You Boost Your Business's Sales with Marketing?

The steps that we took can be used by anyone. It takes time and effort and a little bit of money. However, it is time well spent. Understanding your customer is key to unlocking sales. We hope this case study helps clarify how that might work.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.