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How to Validate Your New Business Idea in 2019

Strategy State’s guide to testing your business idea

What is business idea validation?

Well, it’s a fancy word for “testing your new business idea”. The concept is quite simple, you want to figure out whether an idea is worth pursuing, before driving in. In this article, when we refer to “product” this also includes “services” based businesses.

The rate of business failures is pretty high.

According to the Small Business Association (SBA). The SBA states that 30% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 50% during the first five years and 66% during the first 10 years (source).

So, it goes without saying that most of us would like to know if our New Idea is worth the ink on the paper!

No one wants to spend years of hard work, thousands of dollars, and the frustration and stress that comes with being a business owner, only to discover that the idea you had, didn’t have legs to start with. Problems identified are problems avoided.

The below guide is an outline of how we test our business ideas. Validating your business idea is different for everyone, and it differs from industry to industry.

Apply what works best for you.


A few points before we begin!

100 / 10 / 3 / 1 Rule!

When evaluating your business ideas, GO BIG!

What does going big mean? Well (unless you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist or otherwise) throw out as many ideas as you can.

As a rule, when I want to come up with an idea for a new business to start, I’ll make a massive list. 100 ideas are not too many. Then, I’ll narrow it down to the 10 best ideas from my original list. And from that list of 10, I’ll decide on three ideas that I’m going to test/validate. And finally, from that list of three, I’ll start the idea I feel the most pumped about.

How to get great business ideas

All too often, I see people running with the first idea that pops into their head.

When narrowing down your list of ideas for a new business, you may want to create some criteria that will help you. Here are a few examples of criteria you might use to cut your list down to 10 prospects.

  1. Can I, will I make: $50k, $100k, $500k or $1m per year in profit?
  2. Is this idea scalable?
  3. Does it offer a Recurring Revenue Model?
  4. Is the business based off my time? (hourly work/effort)
  5. Is the idea in a Growing Market (CAGR)
  6. Does this idea/industry provide Strong Margins ($)
  7. Will I require a world-class team, just to get it off the ground?

Your business idea needs to be a 2.0, not a 1.2

Your idea needs to be a 2.0 not a 1.2

 

What some entrepreneurs fail to understand is that ideas succeed or fail based on “Value”. At the end of the day, customers are buying Value. To provide more value than your competitor, you need to offer something different, better or ideally both.

I’ve often seen people come up with ideas that are the same as existing ideas, with small, insignificant changes, and they think because of this tiny change, people are going to fall over themselves trying to get your product.

In reality, most people don’t care.

Your idea needs to be a 2.0 not a 1.2

This is something to think about when analyzing your new amazing idea. Will your product be a 1.2 version of an existing product or a 2.0 version game changer? How are you going to drive value?

400 Hour Rule

Most businesses fail because of a lack of research and planning!

We can all agree that there are many reasons why businesses fail (planning, cash flow, leadership, marketing, executing etc). But if you don’t do some thorough research up front, you’re not exactly off to a great start!

If you’re thinking about starting a business and prepared to sacrifice years of hard work, significant amounts of capital, then you should be prepared to do a little research before you pull the trigger.

It’s okay to spend 400 hours gathering information and researching your idea. I know of entrepreneurs who spend significant amounts of time gathering intel on certain industries before deciding what they will do.

If at the end of your research you decide that your idea is not worth perusing, then that might be the best decision you have ever made.

Walking away from an idea is okay.

Business Idea Validation Checklist

 

Download your free Business Idea Validation Checklist:

Download Your Free Business Tool


Let’s get Started!

Research your business idea:

Google it!  YouTube it! Amazon it! eBay it! Aliexpress/Alibaba it! Google Play it! Apple Store it! Business Directories it!

The first thing you need to do is conduct some basic online research, this may seem oversimplified for most, but you would be surprised how many people neglect such a simple task.

Depending on your idea, you’re going to search from the list provided above.

The focus here is to:

  1. See if someone is already doing what your idea is?
  2. Are they established and doing it really well?
  3. Is the current offering the same as your idea? Or do you have a different angle?
  4. Does it look like they are making a success of it? (good opportunity/money – Yes/No)?
  5. Identify ways in which you can do things better or different.

This first step is basic, and it’s designed to immediately quality or more importantly disqualify any ideas you may have.

Read the reviews of actual customers

Read the reviews of actual customers

What are the customer reviews telling you? Where are the opportunities to improve or create a better product/service?

If your idea is a physical product, you may want to identify similar products that already exist. Then read the feedback and reviews. You can find an enormous amount of information about products from the reviews section.

Competitor Analysis

Competitor Analysis

Competitor Analysis Tool

 

Who are the top 10 competitors in your space/area?  

This is important as these are the companies you’re going to be potentially competing with. Create a list of the 10 or so direct competitors that you’ll be going up against. Use a competitor analysis template – click here to download.

This will help you get a feel for the market and what’s going on.

Sign up to all their newsletters and find out what’s happening. This will keep you in the loop with what products they are offering, and how they are marketing them.

Talk to actual customers

Talk to actual customers

People who have already brought a similar product or are “in-market” for your product idea. Rather than pitching them your idea, ask them WHY they brought this product? What is the value they receive when they make a purchase?

Get to the core root of what the value proposition is.

Buy one of your competitor’s Products / Services

Buy one of your competitors Products

Try out what your (potential) competitors are already offering?

You’ll gain great insight into their practices.

  • Do they have a good selection of products?
  • What was the service like when you emailed them inquiries?
  • Was the payment process easy?
  • What was the delivery/scheduling time like?
  • What was the packaging like?
  • What was the quality/finished product like?
  • Are they amazing at what they do? Can you do better? If so how?
  • Is the industry “Soft” or “Super Competitive”?

Keyword and Web Research

The idea of keyword research is to analyze the top keywords for your product. This helps you gain a better understanding of the key phrases used to search your product, along with the search volumes and difficulty to rank on Google.

  1. Start by identifying the top 10 keywords for your business idea.
  2. Use the following tools to estimate the monthly search volume and competition level.
  3. Search for related/similar keywords.
  4. Generic terms vs long-tail keywords.

What’s the difference between generic terms and long-tail keywords: Generic terms are keywords and phrases that are shorter and more general. Long-tail keywords are longer keyword phrases, usually containing three or more words and more specific.

It’s important to research for both generic terms and long-tail keywords because it’ll give you a better idea of how many people searched for your potential product, this is because generic terms are generally searched more frequently, making them often much more competitive and harder to rank for than long-tail terms. However, long-tail keywords, may show lower search volumes, but can be more effective and provide “easy wins”.

Example:

Generic Term: Arborist

Long-tail Keyword 1: Price to trim a palm tree.

Long-tail Keyword 2: Tree trimming services near me.

Google Keyword Planner

A free tool by Google that helps you estimate the search volumes. You can filter by language and location. It also offers you keyword ideas related to the keywords you have inserted.

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner

Google Trends

Is another free tool by Google. This helps you look at the trends of the search volumes for specific words and industries over a period of time.

Google Trends

Google Trends

Ubersuggest

A free tool that enables you to explore and analyze keywords by search volumes. It also tells you how difficult it will be to rank and provide suggestions for similar keywords.

Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest

Keywords Everywhere

This tool is similar to Ubersuggest, in that it helps you to analyze a list of keywords and discover keywords ideas. This tool also comes as a Chrome Extension that can work directly with Google search results.

Keywords everywhere

Keywords Everywhere

Ahrefs

A paid tool that offers a wide range of SEO features. Ahrefs allows you to research a list of keywords and analyze it by using a verity of keyword metrics such as search volume, click rate, organic and paid difficulty. This tool also helps you to explore competitors and understand how challenging it will be to outrank them.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs

SEMrush

SEMrush is a great tool that offers a wide range of keyword research functions, as well as competitor analysis features.

SEMRush

SEMrush

SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb is a tool that allows you to analyze a certain website and shows you data such as traffic volumes, traffic source, main keywords while providing graphs that show trends over time.

SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb

Regarding the above Keyword and Web Research tools, you don’t have to use all of them, just use the tools that will be the most useful to you and you’re comfortable using.

Online Analysis

Online analysis is focused on your target audience and market size based on demographic metrics such as locations, age, gender, interests, etc.

Facebook Manager

Use Facebook Manager to get a better understanding of your target demographic. You can drill down to specific segments such as: marital status, family size, life events, etc.

Facebook Audience Definition

Facebook Manager

LinkedIn Business

Use LinkedIn Business to research professional related segments, such as job title, company size, industry, etc.

LinkedIn Business

LinkedIn Business

Based on the information you have gathered from the tools above; this should give you more detailed information on your potential audiences size and demographics.

Industry Benchmarking

What is industry benchmarking?

Industry benchmarking is the process of comparing what the industry averages are for a particular industry.

They look at things like cost of sales, expenses, average rent, labor costs, etc.

The idea here is to see how the industry is performing, and what you might need to do, or not do, in order to achieve certain targets.

By looking at the charts/images below, you can see that the Hairdressing benchmarking has been broken up into three turnover categories. ($50k – $150K, $150k – $300k, and $300k +).

Industry Benchmarking

Use this as a guide to see where your sales might fall.

The next axes are the key benchmark matrices.

After deciding on a particular sales range, you can then see what the industry average performance is for each matric.

Industry Benchmarking

Benchmarking from an idea validation perspective is a great way to eyeball the industry, and decide what the lay of the land looks like before you jump in.

If you want to do better than the industry average (in any particular area), you’ll need to have a clear understanding of how you’re going to do this.

Benchmarking is another tool we use to help us analyze our business ideas.

Industry Benchmarking

Industry Benchmarking

Industry Associations

Industry Associations

Industry associations can be a great place to find information on a particular industry. They often have resources, tools and useful articles that can provide tons of great data.

Because industry associations are passionate about their particular industry, they’ll know when all the conferences and workshops will be held.

Be sure to sign up for their newsletters and notifications.

Google Alerts

When researching an idea you may want to keep an eye on what is happening within the industry, and what your potential competitors are doing.

Google Alerts is a tool that helps you keep your finger on the pulse by sending you notifications when new results are found (based off your key search terms). It automatically finds and sends you an email when new articles, webpages, blogs or research that matches your search terms.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts

Financial Analysis

This is one of the more important aspects to look at when validating an idea.

At the end of the day, however amazing an idea may sound, and no matter how passionate you are about something, it has to make sense financially.

Here are a few basic things you should consider from a financial aspect.

  • What are the Start-up/Set up costs? How long will it take to get set up to an operational level?
  • Are you charging by the hour? Or a fixed price?
  • What is the Average Sale Price per unit? Job? Project?
  • What will your Fixed, Variable or Unit Costs be?
  • What is your Unit Contribution Margin?
  • How long will it take you to Break Even? (free Break Even Calculator)
  • How much Working Capital will this business require?
  • Have you set up a working budget for the first 12 months?

Another financial factor you could consider is, is your business idea suitable for crowdfunding? Could you utilize platforms such as Kickstarter?

Learning Curve

 

  • With this new fancy idea you have for a business, what does the learning curve look like?
  • Does this idea require special skills, experience or network and connections?
  • If so, do you possess them?
  • If not, can you acquire them in a short period of time? Or hire talent to fill these gaps?
  • What will it cost to hire talent to fill these skill gaps?

If it’s going to take you a long period of time to learn all the ins and outs of an industry, then this will play a factor as to whether or not you will pursue this idea.

Learning Curve

An example could be an Antique Dealer. Although the idea of running an antique business may sound romantic and exciting to some, in reality. Many people who are antique dealers have decades of experience within the industry and have deep relationships with estate agents and alike that keep the stock coming.

If someone was to start an antique business from scratch, they would have to have a solid plan as to how they would solve this challenge.

If your business idea is one where information is more freely available, then you need to ask yourself, how can I gain 20+ years worth of experience in the shortest time possible? What resources, programs, courses, books, and mentors can I utilize to shorten the learning curve?

What are the 25 best books on this subject that will help me?

If the learning curve is too high, then you may decide to move on from your idea. If not, you’ll have a better understanding of what you may need to do in order to shorten your learning curve and become successful in your new venture.

Established Industries

Established Industries

Who has been in this industry for 20+ years?

If your idea in an industry that is well established, why not talk to someone who is already operating in that industry. There is a good chance you won’t be directly competing with them (the world is a big place).

Example

If you’re looking to get into a retail store, why not reach out to someone who has been in the industry for 30+years and pick their brain?

These people have seen the highs and lows of the industry. They have been through thick and thin. They have pushed through recessions, high-interest rates, booms and busts. You name it.

You’ll discover all kinds of things you never thought about, and most of the time this information will cost you nothing.

Who was in this industry, but has now left?

Who can you talk to that WAS in your chosen industry, but has now left?

What was their experience like? What did they learn? What mistakes did they make? What would they do differently? What advice can they give you to make your business a raging success?

What will you need to do to make $100k, $500k or $1m in profit each year?

And also ask them,

Who else do you need to talk to that would be useful to you?

Legal

Depending on the product, service, industry or sector you’re looking to target. There will be specific legalities, licenses, permits or certifications that will need to be met. Before even thinking about contemplating a new venture, you should always fully understand the legal requirements.

What might seem like a straight forward business from the outside, may be a legal minefield in reality. This step is something that cannot be overlooked.

Usually, basic information from trade and industry associations can easily be found, but it is recommended that you consult with a commercial lawyer before making a final decision.

Another important factor that is related to risk mitigation is Insurance. Does your proposed venture require insurance coverage that falls outside the norm? Are there any other forms of risk that need to be identified?

For Sale?

Business for sale

If you’re looking at an idea for a business that is in a well-established industry, then ask yourself, are these businesses for sale?

You can often obtain a bunch of information on an industry you’re interested in by searching for those businesses that are listed for sale.

Start by creating a list of businesses within your chosen industry, then break them up into size, location, years in operation, etc (whatever criteria works for you).

Then analyze the multiples (prices) based off that. You’ll get a feeling for what businesses in this industry are being offered for, and how some of the businesses are being run.

Example:

Often Cafés when being sold will tell you how many lbs of coffee they sell each week. They will also tell you what the turnover is.

You’ll easily be able to find out what they are paying for the coffee per lbs, and how many customers they serve each week. This will give you a gauge as to what the profitability is.

You can then compare this information to every café you look at. This is a basic first step, from here you can drill down on more specific details.

Example:

How many tables and chairs do they have, size of the café, foot traffic, parking, public transport, competition near by, google reviews, selection of food, etc.

This is all useful information when validating your new idea.

When looking for bricks and mortar type businesses, you can google search to find local listings.

But if your idea is website related, you can use sites such as Flippa.

Flippa

Flippa

Seek feedback

Seeking feedback is another crucial step in the validation process. The feedback stage can give us unique and detailed insight into our product or service.

It’s much more important what others think about our idea than ourselves, after all, they are going to be the customer.

Surveys  

SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey

Surveys are a great way to collect quick feedback on an idea. They are easy and fast to set up.

You can use tools such as SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to collect the data.

Keep your surveys short, specific and easy to understand. Use pictures where appropriate.

Surveys work best with a little motivation like running a competition for those who fill out the survey.

Reddit

Reddit

Reddit, which is known as the front page of the internet, is another great tool to help you gain feedback. You can create a post whereby you seek feedback on your idea.

Popular subreddits that can help you do this include:

Before posting on a subreddit, do some hunting around to see if you’re in the right subreddit, there may be some useful information that has already been posted.

Redditors are notorious for being brutally honest. Be prepared to receive feedback that is more honest than what you may be used to. Remember, the feedback is based on your idea, not you personally.

Social Media (Facebook and LinkedIn Groups)

Social Media Groups

Depending on your business idea, social media could be a great place to seek feedback.

The major social platforms for business include Facebook and LinkedIn.

Within each of these social platforms, there are a large number of groups that can be specific to your niche. Target your niche for the most relevant feedback.

Be sure to also search for groups on social media that are dedicated to entrepreneurs and business owners.

Facebook Groups LinkedIn Groups

Helpful links to seek feedback:

Facebook Business Groups

LinkedIn Business Groups

Create an early feedback group

Feedback Group

Create a list of people who can give you some quality early feedback.

These could be friends, family, people you have worked with, customers, suppliers, employees etc. It really depends on the idea you’re researching.

Go through your phone and emails and create a list in Excel of those who will be suitable.

This is where you can get creative.

You can write an email, or create a video, use images, your options are endless.

All you’re trying to do is get some early constructive feedback on your idea.

Tell people you’re looking for feedback on your idea and that you’re not emotionally invested in it. This will ensure you get the most honest feedback possible.

The Lean Canvas

Lean Canvas Template

The Lean Canvas is another tool that you can use in your idea validation process.

The Lean Canvas is a tool that is specifically designed for entrepreneurs, especially those who are looking to test the potential of an idea. It helps people focus on problems, solutions, key metrics, suppliers, must-wins and competitive advantage.

If you have never used the Lean Canvas business model before, then you should definitely check it out.

It is simple, easy and straight forward to use. Click here to download the Lean Canvas Template.

Government Stats

Government Stats

When researching your business idea, there is a multitude of information that can be gathered from government statistics sites.

Governments regularly collect information on industries and business-related data.

This information can include areas such as:

Key Economic Indicators, Business Indicators, Industry Overviews, Price Indexes, etc.

With this data, you can better analyze the landscape in which you plan to operate in.

Helpful sites:

US:

https://www.data.gov

https://www.census.gov

UK:

https://www.gov.uk

https://www.ons.gov.uk

CAD:

https://www.ic.gc.ca

AUS:

https://www.abs.gov.au

Competitive Advantage

Competitive Advantage

When thinking about your business idea, ask yourself, how will you create a competitive advantage? I.e. What advantage will you have over your competitors?

Note: Even if you don’t have competitors straight away, you will in the future.

Will you compete on quality/differentiation? Or will you compete on price and be a low-cost provider?

Examples of competitive advantage could be something like:

Compete on Price: Selling a standard Gym membership

Compete on Differentiation: Specialized unique new fitness training system

 

Compete on Price: Selling generic canvas prints

Compete on Differentiation: Creating one-off unique art for sale

So when thinking about your new business idea, and you have an understanding of what your competitor’s pricing points are, ask yourself, how will you gain a competitive advantage?

Will you offer an amazing product with world-class service? Or will you come in at a lower price point to go for volume?

Barriers to Entry

Barriers to Entry

Barriers to entry is something that is often overlooked. Barriers to entry is, how hard or difficult is it to enter the market.

Example:

Setting up a dog walking business is easy, there are no licenses, certifications or permits that are required. You don’t need degrees or special education to start this business.

Whereas, starting a company that builds bridges is hard. The barriers to entry are high. To start a company like this you would need tens of millions of dollars, a team of highly experienced and skilled engineers, strong networks and a proven track record.

The idea behind barriers to entry is, (generally speaking). The higher the barrier to entry, the less competition there will be.

If the barriers are too low, then competitors will be fierce, thus, it could put pressure on your profit margins.

I.e. (often), the lower the barriers to get into a business, the lower the profit margins.

Google Ads/Facebook Ads (+Others)

Google Ads

Google Ads

Facebook Ads 

Facebook Ads

If you have gotten this far through the validation process, and your idea looks like it might have some potential, then it may be the right time to spend a little money on testing your idea.

A great way of testing your idea is to run a mini online ad campaign.

You can set up an advertising campaign (with a small budget) and see how it performs. This will tell you if there is any interest at all in your idea. It’s an effective way to test your idea, before jumping all-in.

An example:

Say your idea is to sell workshops (classes) to self-employed retirees, who are in your area.

You could either set up a Google Ad campaign based on your keywords. Or create a Facebook Ad campaign based on your demographics.

Ideally, you want to set up a landing page to redirect traffic from this campaign. This page should include an email capture form for people to register their interest.

Another great tool you can use to gain insights is Google Analytics. This will enable you to see the source and behavior of traffic.

Note:

In order to succeed with paid online campaigns, its best to try different titles, headings, keywords, and creatives to make sure it is as effective as possible.

Passion

Validating and testing your business idea is one thing, actually starting it, setting it up and operating it is another thing entirely.

Ask yourself, do you have Passion for this idea? Be 100% honest.

Passion is really important and can’t be underrated. It’s one of the single biggest factors that will determine your business’s success.

When starting a business (especially in the early stages), you’re more than likely going to have to do a large amount of work that you will not get paid for. You may have to give up evenings, weekends and family time.

  • Are you prepared to go without holidays? No more takeout dinners, no online shopping, no cable tv?
  • Are you prepared to use your savings to build this business?
  • What are you prepared to sacrifice in order to make your business idea a reality?

If you’re not 100% in love with your idea, it might not be the right time to kick things off.

Ranging from 1 through to 10, how passionate are you about this idea?

If your idea gets this far, then you may look to build an MVP (Minimum viable product) or prototype

When thinking about building your MVP, think Speed!

You want to build a cut-down version of your product. The key thing here is to go through the iterations (variations of your product) as quickly as possible and gain early feedback while keeping the budget low.

You want your MVP to be just good enough so that people can have an understanding of what the offering is, without you having to go overboard on product development.

The idea that you have, may change drastically after you have received feedback from others. The goal is to use this feedback to make the necessary adjustments to your product.

Some ideas that could help you with your MVP development:

  • 3D Printer/Paper prototypes to create mockups
  • Have people test/use the product
  • Demonstrate the product to people
  • Creating content and seeking feedback – Explainer videos
  • Create molds for prototypes
  • Digital prototypes/Virtual Reality
  • Ordering sample products
  • Set up A/B Tests

Did your MVP pass the test?


Download our Checklist to validate your business idea:

Download Your Free Business Tool

Read more about how to use our Free Business Idea Validation Checklist, including a short instructional video on how to validate your business idea using our simple checklist.

Recap

The below infographic covers key areas of the validation process:

Testing your idea infographic

How you validate and test your business idea will be largely determined by the idea, criteria and what you’re looking to achieve.

What some may view as an opportunity, will be overlooked by others. Timing too plays a big factor. What looks like an opportunity at one point in time, can be eroded over time due to any number of factors.

The main thing is to collect and analyze the required information for your specific idea, so you can make a better-informed decision moving forward. Gaining information about an idea, sector or industry is vital for success.

 

What do you do when validating a business idea? Share your knowledge.

Strategy State’s Power 9 Growth Hacking Tactic

We know that marketing activities can sometimes be a drag. It can often be hit and miss, all over the place and you occasionally don’t know what you’re doing.

It’s really important that you have a “Marketing Process” that is simple, effective and most importantly streamlined for efficiency.

This is even more important if you have a small business that doesn’t have its own marketing department or dedicated marketing person.

In a previous article, we’ve put together a guide to the best marketing tactics for 2019 – click to read.

To shed more light on how to improve your marketing efforts, let us tell you one of the marketing tactics we recommend at Strategy State.

Today we’re going to show you a VERY effective growth hacking marketing tactic.

It’s called the Power 9 Growth Hacking Tactic.

The goal of this marketing tactic is to spread your message as far and wide as possible and to squeeze as much value as possible from your marketing efforts.

Strategy State’s Power 9:

The power 9 growth hacking tactic

1. Create a Resource / Free Tool

This could be a chart, template, white paper, checklist, eBook, how to video, etc.

2. Create a “Free Download” landing page of the Resource/tool you have created

Insert an email opt-in to collect email addresses.

3. Write an article about it

In that article, you need to add a link to the free tool or resource.

4. Email Marketing – Add the links to your article and free resource

This helps drive traffic to your website.

5. Create a short video (up to 5mins) about your free resource

Show people the benefits and how to use it. Add this to your YouTube channel and other platforms.

6. Post your free Tool / Resource in Social Media

Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest & other social platforms you’re on.

7. Repost your content 4 – 6 times per year.

This will give your content the maximum amount of exposure.

8. Post it on other people’s sites/platforms

Identify as many other sites and platforms where you can share your content

9. Continue to create multiple free resources and repeat

I.e. 1 X Free tool + 1 X Free Download + 1 X article + 1 X Email Marketing + 1 X Video + Post on Social Accounts + Post 4 – 6 times per year+ Post on other platforms + Create additional resources

This is how it works:

1. Create a Free Resource / Free Tool

Your free tool can be a chart, template, white paper, checklist, eBook, how to video, etc.

Time Analysis Exercise

Free Tool example: Time Efficiency Tracking Tool

Now, what is the point in giving away free resources? Isn’t that what you are meant to be selling?

Well yes and no. Firstly, it’s important to know that you need to give away A LOT of value in order to receive value in return.

One of the goals of creating free content is that it helps brands you as an authority within the industry. If prospects go to your website or social page and see you have dozens of posts, content, articles, freebies, etc. They’re typically going to view you as someone who knows what they’re talking about. Especially if the content is good.

Additionally,

Many people think that if they give “free stuff” away, then prospects won’t buy their products or services. This is not true.

The people that just use your free tools and don’t convert, will most likely never be your customers. They may be time rich and cash poor. While those who are cash rich and time poor will consume your products.

What free resources should I create?

Well, that really depends on the type of business you have.

The best way to find out what free tools to use would be by conducting keyword research. You can do this by using software such as Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, and Keywords Everywhere.

This will tell you how popular certain keywords are.

You’ll then know what free tools and resources people are searching for within your industry.

Here are a few examples of free resources that have worked well for others.

  • Lighting and ceiling fan shop = How to switch your fan to winter mode.
  • Marketing Agency = Free website audit tool.
  • Beauty Salon = 10 x DIY hairstyles you can do at home.
  • Car mechanic = How to maintain your care video/checklist.

 2. Create a “Free Download” of the Resource

As discussed earlier in step 1 this tactic involves creating a free downloadable resource for prospects.

For this to work, we need to Insert an email opt-in to collect email addresses.

Time Analysis Opt-in Form

Email opt-in form example: Free download the Time Efficiency Tracking Tool

Once you have created your free downloadable resource and uploaded it to your website.

You can add a simple feature to your website that enables prospects to download the resource once they have entered their email and contact details.

The goal of this step in the process is to increase your email subscribers list. The reason being is that the backbone of many marketing initiatives revolves around email marketing, as email marketing can get the highest return on investment compared to other marketing initiatives.

3. Write an article about your resource

When writing an article, you want to describe the issue and the solution you are offering with your free tool.

In that article, you’ll add a link to the free tool or resource.

Blog articleBlog article example: The 5 Deadly Sins of Business

The benefits of writing an article are multifold.

Firstly, an article supports your SEO efforts. This helps you rank higher and makes it easier for prospects to find your products and services.

Secondly, an article will help educate your prospects on the benefits of your free tool and push them further down the sales funnel. It also helps build trust and your relationship.

For best results articles should be around 2,000 words in length, contain your main keywords and 3-5 high-quality images. Make sure you keep your paragraphs short and add subtitles and lists to make it more readable. Be sure to add a clear call to action.

For more details on how to write amazing articles, check out Neil Patel’s guide here.

4. Email Marketing – Add the free tool to your email marketing campaign

We have now completed steps 1 through 3:

Step 1. You have created a free resource.

Step 2. You have added the free resource to your website.

Step 3. You have written an article that supports the resource.

Now we can move on to combining it with email marketing.

Email marketing

Email Marketing example

If you don’t use email marketing, it’s a good idea to consider it. As discussed, earlier, email marketing can be really effective and have a high return on investment. It’s a great way to keep prospects informed and help business owners and consumers stay connected.

There is a wide range of email marketing platforms available. Many of them are free up to a set number of subscribers. These free accounts will be more than enough to get you going if you’re starting out.

Some of the most popular include: MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, ConvertKit and GetResponse to name a few.

Keep your email marketing clean simple and to the point.

People are constantly bombarded with emails and are reluctant to read long-winded newsletters. To increase your open rates, use a title that will entice people to open the email. Like: “Free Tool”.

For this tactic to work, we suggest you make the email about the free tool.

Here is an example of one we have created.

Always ensure that it is super easy for your subscribers to share the free resource and or articles.

5. Create a short video (up to 5mins) about your free resource.

The next step is to create a video that will help you reach potential customers and drive traffic to your website. A video is a highly-engaged form of media that works well with your social initiatives.

Short Video example: Time Analysis Exercise Instructional Video 

According to Animoto Video was consumers’ #1 favorite type of content to see from brands on social media in 2018.

Animoto

To read the full article click on the link below: https://animoto.com

The video you create can be in a format of a “How to” video. It can showcase the article you’ve written about and introduce the benefits of your free tool.

Add your video to YouTube or any other video platform you use. You can also add the video to your website, as additional content to your landing page or article.

The goal of creating the short video is to use another form of media to help drive awareness and leads for your business.

6. Post your free Tool / Resource on Social Media platforms

Now it’s time to post your free tool or article on social accounts. The most popular platforms are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest.

instagram

Social Media example: Instagram

Again,

The goal here is to spread your content as far and wide as possible and to engage with as many people across different platforms. You may not know which platforms your ideal customers are on, so you’ll need to test and measure to see which platforms work best.

When posting on social platforms, take into consideration: When you post, what day of the week and how you can create content that people want to engage with.

When posting on social platforms, quality and consistency is the key.

7. Post your content 4 – 6 times per year.

To maximize the effectiveness of this strategy, we recommend that you post your content 4 to 6 times per year.

This will give you the best chance for all your potential prospects to consume your content. Often people may need to see your content a number of times before they engage with you. Always ensure you’re adding value with your content. Don’t post for the sake of it. Quality is king!

For more information on this specific tactic check out your Neil Patel’s video here.

This should run in conjunction with your content marketing plan.

If you would like a free social content plan template – Click here.

Ideally, you should automate your content marketing by using tools such as Hootsuite. This will enable you to preschedule and organize your social media in advance.

8. Post your content on other people’s social accounts/sites/blogs.

In this step, we will talk about two ways to create leverage using other people’s social accounts, sites, blogs.

The first way is to leverage your contents exposure is to use guest blogging. As the name suggests, you publish your content on other websites. It’s a common practice in digital marketing and is very helpful for SEO.

This involves identifying relevant sites and blogs where you can share your content. You need to find other sites that have a similar target audience to your own. Your content will need to compliment what that website is focused on.

Another way to leverage your content is to use social influencers. Influencers have a dedicated niche of followers who are passionate about a particular interest.

Influencers have built up trust and authority with their follows. If your product or service aligns with the influencer’s audience, it can be a great way to start a conversation and build a relationship with your brand.

To find influencers that might be useful to your business, try using tools like:

Social Blade.com. This tool enables you to search for popular influencers across many different platforms.

9. Create multiple Free tools and repeat

I.e. 1 X Free tool + 1 X article + 1 X Free Download + 1 X Email Marketing + 1 X Video + Post on Social Accounts + Post 4 – 6 times per year.

Now that you’ve gotten to the stage, you’re starting to become a real marketing Pro.

thumbs up

To make this marketing strategy fly you need to consistently create additional free tools, articles, email marketing, videos, etc. Then post them across all your different platforms, while leveraging off other platforms that get lots of traffic.

As time goes on, you’ll get much quicker at creating an organizing content.

This strategy does take effort but is designed to squeeze every last drop out of your marketing efforts. Over time you’ll see great results as your influence and brand grows.

Your ranking will improve, your inquiries will increase, and you’ll gain authority which will lead to additional sales.

The 5 Deadly Sins of Business

Part of being in business means that we’re always testing new ideas, experimenting and yes – making mistakes.

As entrepreneurs and business owners, we all strive to buy a high learning curve position and to reduce the number of mistakes we make.

There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes; the only issue is if we don’t learn from them.

Critical Business Sins

Mistakes will be made, and that’s ok, but there are a few critical sins in business that can and should be avoided if possible.

Below is a list of the five key sins that can be deadly for your business.

Recognizing and avoiding these sins will help you grow and develop your company, it will help you reduce your risk, increase your chances of success and most importantly enable you to have more fun while operating a business.

The 5 deadly sins of business

1. We commit the sin of the inaccurate assumption

We all make assumptions on a day-to-day basis, and that’s human nature.

The issue arises when we make assumptions within a business context that can have disastrous results.

It’s essential that we continuously test our assumptions on a regular basis. What may have been true in the past may not be true in the future, and with technology moving at such a rapid rate, we need to be constantly adapting.

By not seeking feedback or validating our concepts, we can head down the path of mediocrity.

Case in point, I was working with a client one day, and we were identifying the top and bottom 20% of his customers.

I asked as I always do, how much does it cost to service each client? The response was “$400 per month”.

I said “fine, and how much do the smaller clients pay you each month?”

The response was “$250 per month”. I looked at the person puzzled and said, “Wait, you charge them $250 per month, but it costs you $400 to service them, is that right?”

He looked at me begrudgingly and said: “Yes, but the smaller clients turn into bigger clients!”

My response was “Okay,

Let’s check all the big clients and see how many of those started off as small clients.”

By this stage, the client was reeling and becoming very defensive.

Sure enough, when we checked, all of the big clients had started out as big clients, and none of the small clients had turned into big clients.

This means it would have been cheaper for the company just to write out a cheque for $150 per month to the smaller clients and have done none of the work!

This assumption had cost the company over 1 million dollars over a 10-year period.

No one had thought to check the assumption of whether or not small clients turn into large clients, or if in fact, it was worthwhile engaging with small clients in the first place.

2. We fail to see our business as a series of processes and systems that must be in writing

As it turns out only 4% of companies have systems and in place.

Funnily enough, only 4% of businesses do over a million dollars a year and turn over.

This strong correlation indicates that business that have systems and processes in place do far better than those they don’t.

More evidence can be seen if we look at franchises and chain stores. These companies all have strong systems and processes in place. When someone buys a franchise, what they’re buying is a proven set of systems and processes that will ensure their business succeeds.

As a business owner, do you have systems and processes in place? Especially for the ten most common tasks in your company?

The reason why systems are so important for companies is that they provide accuracy and consistent outcomes.

This is great for managing customers’ expectations and experience, but it’s also valuable for your employees.

Employees need to know what the process is for each task, if they don’t have these systems and processes, then they’ll make it up themselves. A lack of systems and processes all result in low productivity, confusion, mistakes, errors, and generally low levels of workplace happiness.


Click below to download a free flowchart maker to help with your systems and processes:

Download Your Free Business Tool


3. We spend too much time on low-value tasks

As mentioned in an earlier article, many business owners spend more time than they should on tasks that will have little or no impact on growing their business.

Click here to read more about the Essential vs. Growth Activities in Business article.

In business, there are often only a few core tasks that will help drive growth. If you’re not focused on those tasks, you can end up been busy all day every day running around putting out fires and solving small issues.

As business owners, there are an endless array of distractions that can suck time from us. Controlling how we use our time is really important.

Business owners often like to engage themselves in tasks that are emotionally safe. These are frequent tasks that we are very familiar with or enjoy doing. Now there’s nothing wrong with doing things that you enjoy doing, but often the significant gains are made from doing things outside our comfort zone or tasks that are going to have a considerable impact to your business’s growth.

To outline this concept further, below is a table that illustrates the above example.

How effectively do you use your time

What you can do about it?

If you would like to improve how you use your time, follow this easy exercise.

Before you start:

Download the free Time Analysis Exercise.


Click below to download your free Time Analysis Exercise:

Download Your Free Business Tool


Step 1:

Record the tasks that you are completing every 15 minutes.

For an 8-hour day, this will require you to fill in 32 slots, where you record what you have done.

This needs to be continued over one week.

In total, you should have 160 x 15-minute slots where you have recorded the tasks you were working on.

Step 2:

Break your tasks up into three sections.

  • Tasks that can be done, but offer little or low value.
  • Tasks that are essential business to your business
  • Tasks that directly impact the growth and development of your business.

Step 3 (Complete step 3 at the end f each day):

Score each tasks using the key below:

  • Can be done tasks = 1 Point
  • Essential tasks = 3 Points
  • Growth tasks = 6 Points

Use the dropdown menu to add a score next to each of the 160 x 15-minute slots.

Step 4:

Once you have done that, you can now analyze how you use your time.

The template will automatically calculate your total score.

Check your results:

  • 160 – 360 = Poor
  • 361 – 560 = Moderate
  • 561 – 760 = Good
  • 761 – 960 = Amazing

On completion of this, you’ll now have a much better understanding of how you use your time throughout the week, and how you can better use your time to grow and develop your company.

4. We don’t hire superstars, then delegate everything so we can plan and think

Many business owners and especially those that have started businesses from scratch, often have ideas that nobody can do the job as well as they can.

This is entirely not true and is a limiting belief. Often this belief becomes apparent when business owners micromanage their employees.

The role of the business owner is to think, plan and develop the company; it’s not to get involved and every minute aspect of the business.

Avoid low-value tasks

As discussed earlier there are three types of tasks 1 Low Value, 2 Essential and 3 Growth.

All low level and essential tasks should ideally be done by employees or outsourced.

This gives you the best opportunity to work on high-value tasks that are going to have the greatest impact on your business.

Tasks that require specific skill sets

Another issue that some business owners have is they like to do everything themselves.

If there are tasks that need to be actioned in the business, which require specific skill sets, rather than trying to break your head on it yourself, why not get someone in who is an expert in that area and has done it 100 times before.

Many times, I’ve seen business owners work on projects that have taken up months of their time when they could have gotten someone else to do the job and had it completed within a week, and with a much better result.

In business, speed is the key!

Empty your plate

As discussed previously, the role of the business owner is to think, grow and develop the company. To do this, you need time to think and plan.

Whenever a new task comes into the business, the first question you need to ask yourself is ” who is going to do this task.”

I support the approach of bottom-up delegation. This means that all tasks and duties within the business are given to the lowest level of employees within the business. They do what they can within their responsibility level, from there anything they can’t do is pushed up to the person above them.

This means by the time tasks come across the owner’s desk, they are of the highest importance and value.

Bottom up delegation

To make this easier, it begins with recruiting right, great employee inductions, and continuous staff training. This should be supported by KPI’s for each role.

5. We don’t seek advice from those who will tell us the truth

Business owners sometimes fail to seek advice from those who will be honest with them. This is understandable as some entrepreneurs link their identity to the business, and by default critiquing their business is the same thing as criticizing them personally.

In order to grow, business owners must seek the truth; they must be open and honest about the business and themselves.

Becoming comfortable and surrounding yourself with people that will agree with you is the road to mediocrity. Business owners need to be continually challenging their ideas, thoughts, and assumptions.

Often, it’s front line staff and employees who have some of the best insight to give, but in order to give higherups advice, you usually have to ask them. Create an environment that promotes constant feedback in an honest and authentic way. Ensure employees at all levels can provide input that will help develop your company.

In conclusion,

Developing a business is hard work. But by recognizing some of the five deadly sins of business, you can improve your company and avoid issues before they arise.

Business is about driving results. Park the ego at the door. Focus on what the goal is.

What are some mistakes you’ve made in business? Comment below.

175+ Best Free Tools for Business (2019)

The team at Strategy State have compiled a list of the Best Free Tools for Entrepreneurs.

We understand that growing a business can be tough at the best of times and managing cash flow is always a challenge.

That’s why we have compiled a list of free tools to help you keep growing. We’ve tried to find tools that are 100% free.

Read through the list, we hope you find some useful tools that you can use.

We’ve broken them up into sections for easier navigation.

Strategy State Free Business Tools

The team at Strategy State have a great set of free business tools to help grow and develop your company. These tools cover business planning, marketing strategy, 100-day plans, KPI’s and much more.


Team & Project Management

These tools will help you manage projects more effectively while working across teams. They’re great for keeping everyone on the same page.


Time Management

Tools to help you manage your time more effectively. Some of these tools block specific website for defined periods of time.


Password Management Tools

If you’re like most people and have dozens of different accounts across different platforms, then keeping track of usernames and passwords can be a challenge. These tools can help with that.


Communication & Meetings

Tools to help you communicate via video. Enabling you to work with people out in the field and from around the world.


Networking

These networking sites are great for meeting like-minded people.

You can find your target audience, create events or your own club to help support your endeavors.


CRM

Having a Client Relationship Management system is essential for all modern-day business.

Here is a list of some free CRM’s to get you started.


Customer Service

These tools are great for collecting feedback from customers, testing and validating new ideas for products and services.


Email Marketing

Email marketing is the backbone for many small businesses.

It also boasts one of the highest ROI’s of any marketing initiative. Use these tools to maximize your email marketing.


Google Products

Google is always coming out with new products. Most of them are free, it’s just that many people don’t know about them.

Review what products google offers and see what is useful to your business.


Website Platforms

Here are a few platforms to help you build a free website, landing page or blog.


eCommerce and Lead Generation:

The free tools listed below will help you generate leads and convert more sales on your website.


Website Audit

Every website needs to be regularly audited to keep it healthy and up to date.

These tools will help you analyze your website and provide recommendations to help optimize it.


Website Speed Test

Ensuring your website speed is as fast as possible is vital to reducing your bounce rate.

Use these tools to test your website speed, then find out what needs to happen to improve it.


SEO Tools

Here is a list of tools to help you with your Search Engine Optimization, including keyword research, competitor analysis, and many other useful tools.


FTP Application

The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is used to transfer files between two computers over a network and Internet.


Code Editor

Code editor tools will help you edit text and source code easily. These tools support plain text and several programming languages.


Content Tools and Plagiarism Checker

Below are tools that help with your content creation. These tools analyze your content for plagiarism along with other quality measures.


Competitor Research and Market Intelligence

Analyzing your competitors and gaining market insight is vital to remaining competitive.

Use these free tools to help you improve your performance and stay ahead of the pack.


SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Tools

Below are tools that will help you with your Search Engine Marketing and PPC Ad management.


Social Media Channels

Here are the leading social media channels.

Target your relevant audience using the channels what work best for you.


Forums

Forums can be a great way to interact with your target market.

The below forums receive thousands of visitors each month.


Social Media Management and Tools

These tools will help you manage and track your social media more efficiently and extract as much value from your social initiatives as possible.


Copyright Free Images / Royalty Free Images

Before you spend your hard-earned money on stock images, check to see if there is something you can use that is royalty free.

These free sites offer thousands of royalty free images you can use.


Photo Editor and Drawings Tools

If you require photo editing tools, here are a few free options to get you started.


Royalty Free Music

Every marketer and business owner needs music for their promotional videos.

Try these free options before you open your wallet.


File Sharing & Storage

Here is a list of some free file sharing and storage platforms.


Security

Maintaining computers free of malware and virus is important for all business owners.

These free tools will help you protect your computers and allow for a safer browsing experience.


Print and Stationary

These tools will allow you to obtain free business cards, and provide an improved printing experience.


PDF Converter

Convert your PDF files into word files with these free converters.


Infographics Tools

Below are some useful tools to help you build and design infographics for your business.


Video Editing Software

If you need to edit video, then these free tools are a great place to start.

Some of the tools are basic and easy to use, while others like Davinci Resolve is incredibly advanced.


Click on the button below to download this list as PDF:


If you found this article useful, sign up to our blog list for more awesome content.

What have we missed?

What free tools do you think we should add to the list? Let us know?

The web moves at a tremendous pace if any of the above links have stopped working or are no longer free tools. Please contact us at [email protected] and let us know.

Motivational Quotes to Inspire Success in Your Business

We know that life as a business owner can be very demanding. It’s filled with continuous challenges, most of which you have to battle alone, but knowing you’re on a path that has been walked before by others who have been successful can be motivating.

We’ve put together our favorite quotes from business gurus, leaders and people who have inspired us with their amazing life stories.

We hope this helps you on your own personal journey to becoming the best entrepreneur you can be.

Click here to see: Over 1,200 motivtional quotes for business owners and entrepreneurs.

I don't look to jump over 7-foot bars; I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over

“I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars; I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.”

 – Warren Buffett

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”

 – Mark Twain

I don't believe the most successful people are the ones who got the best grades, got into the best schools, or made the most money

“I don’t believe the most successful people are the ones who got the best grades, got into the best schools, or made the most money.”

 – Ben Stein

Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

 – Will Rogers

Don't worry about failure; you only have to be right once

“Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.”

 – Drew Houston

Business is like poker. You have to be able to read people. You have to understand the odds of a particular endeavor. You need to make calculated bets. And you have to get lucky

“Business is like poker. You have to be able to read people. You have to understand the odds of a particular endeavor. You need to make calculated bets. And you have to get lucky.”

 – Richard Harroch

There are no traffic jams along the extra mile

“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”

 – Roger Staubach

Yesterday I dared to struggle. Today I dare to win

“Yesterday I dared to struggle. Today I dare to win.”

 – Bernadette Devlin

I hate how many people think, glass half- empty when their glass is really four-fifths full. I'm grateful when I have one drop in the glass because I know exactly what to do with it

“I hate how many people think “glass half- empty” when their glass is really four-fifths full. I’m grateful when I have one drop in the glass because I know exactly what to do with it.”

 – Gary Vaynerchuk

Always deliver more than expected

“Always deliver more than expected.”

 – Larry Page

Rich people buy luxuries last, while poor and middle class tend to buy luxuries first

“Rich people buy luxuries last, while poor and middle class tend to buy luxuries first.”

 – Robert Kiyosaki

The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”

 – Ayn Rand

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.

“I have not failed.

I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

 – Tomas Edison

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

 – Eleanor Roosevelt

Try not to become a person of success, but a person of value.

“Try not to become a person of success, but a person of value.”

 – Albert Einstein

Fall seven times and stand up eight

“Fall seven times and stand up eight.”

 – Japanese proverb

Actually, your past successes are your biggest obstacle- every battle, every war, is different, and you cannot assume that what worked before will work today

“Actually, your past successes are your biggest obstacle- every battle, every war, is different, and you cannot assume that what worked before will work today.”

 – Robert Greene

Don't be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin

“Don’t be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin.”

 – Grace Hansen

 knew that if I failed I wouldn't regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying

“I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”

 – Jeff Bezos

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

 – Winston Churchill

My first job was washing dishes in the basement of a nursing home for $2.10 an hour, and I learned as much about the value of hard work there as I ever did later

“My first job was washing dishes in the basement of a nursing home for $2.10 an hour, and I learned as much about the value of hard work there as I ever did later.”

– Douglas Preston

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

– Abraham Lincoln

“The wisest mind has something yet to learn.”

– George Santanaya

“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”

– African proverb

“Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.”

– Oscar Wilde

“Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem.”

– Henry A. Kissinger

Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.

“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.”

– Napoleon Bonaparte

Essential Vs. Growth Activities In Business

For many business owners and entrepreneurs, the challenge of growth is a big one.

Most business owners struggle with the actual tactics of how to grow business. But for those who have identified how they need to grow and develop, there never seems to be enough time or resources to make these things happen.

At the end of the day, you are measured by your results and what you actually do, rather than what you could do.

This is something that plagues many business owners as they strive to grow their business.

How to grow your business?

William S. Burroughs is credited with the quote, “When you stop growing, you start dying.

But I hear you say…… I don’t have time for any of that!

In my business, I’m the butcher the baker and the candlestick maker.

As it turns out, we’re all busy and it just so happens that everyone has the same number of hours each day.

So why is it that some people achieve more each day than others?

Well in simple terms it comes down to focus and priorities. But that’s not really the issue; the issue is What you focus on and What you prioritize.

In business, if you don’t focus on the core activities that are going to drive growth, you can end up being busy being busy. We all know the saying “if you don’t control your day your day will control you.”

An example of this could be a business owner who runs around all day putting out fires within their business, i.e., he/she runs around correcting staff, yelling at people and making a general nuisance of themselves. Obviously, all of these things could be avoided if they had better recruitment policies, induction processes, training programs, staff monitoring, and KPI’s in place.

What I’ve found over the years working with clients is that they tend to focus on tasks that fall under the category of “emotionally safe.” These tasks tend to be activities that they have a high level of skill of experience in, enjoy doing or activities that offer low emotional vulnerability. The end result is that they tend to work long hours and generate little or no value for the entire day.

An example of this could be a business operator that has a technical background and spends his time “playing” with the technical aspects rather than making sales and chasing up new work.

Essential vs. Growth Tasks

As discussed earlier a lot of business owners, and in particular small business owners view all tasks as essential. This is because if they don’t do it, then no one else will. Thus everything becomes essential.

That’s not a problem per se, but one needs to understand the difference between Essential Tasks and Growth Tasks.

All essential tasks need to be done in order to keep the business running. However, growth tasks do not, and this is the reason why they happen to fall by the wayside.

The following chart below shows the difference between the three levels of tasks. One being tasks that somewhat helps the business, the next are essential tasks that need to be completed in order to keep a business running. The last is growth tasks that actually help grow and develop a company.

How effectively do you use your time

To grow any business, you have to really think about how you use your time.

Think about it this way, how do I produce a 10,000% return on my time?

What tasks can I do that continually produce value over time, i.e., the completed task has a reoccurring or residual value.

This graph shows the difference in growth between a company can experience when engaging in Essential tasks vs. Growth tasks.

Essential Vs. Growth Graph

One of the biggest lessons small business owners can take from corporates like venture capital and private equity firms is, they focus on the things that drive sales and growth.

There are a number of ways they do this, and it really depends on the business and the industry. But to keep things simple, they create KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and track and measure the MOST IMPORTANT tasks that will produce success.

All small and medium businesses can apply this growth principle. Find out what drives your industry, then apply some matrices to those tasks.

1% Growth Every Day!

The 1% growth principle is just that. Strive to grow your business by 1% each and every day.

Let’s put some numbers behind the 1% growth rule.

Let’s assume you can grow your business by 1% each day (you can look at this on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis) which I might add isn’t very hard if you haven’t maximized all your potential growth channels.

On a 5-day working week, working 48-weeks per year, it’s possible to grow your business by 240% for the year.

Now some of you might be thinking that this example is not realistic, so let’s look at it from a more conservative approach.

What if you grew your business by 2% each week, on a 48-week working year, this would mean that your business would grow by 96% for the year.

Now, this is not entirely accurate because there would be a compounding effect that would take place.

An example as follows:

So, let’s say in January you revamped your website and added a few freebies (free downloads) for people to download. The goal of this was to collect email addresses.

Midway through January, you built an email sales funnel.

Now comes along February and you decided to give free initial consultations.

You also started using some software that cut down your administration time by 1 hour each day.

Now the obvious growth from this example is that your website has been improved, you’ve created a freebie, and now you’re collecting email addresses.

You’ve set up a CRM system and a sales funnel to engage with prospects.

You’re offering a free initial consultation, and you’ve increased your productivity by 12.5% each day.  These are the obvious gains that you’ve made.

But it’s important to note that there’s been a compounding effect that is starting to take effect.

Because you have improved your website and are now offering freebies, your database of prospects has increased and continued to grow each month.

Because of that, you are now able to offer free consultations which has intern increased your conversion rate.

Additionally, because you have an extra hour each day, this gives you time to chase more sales.

With all things being equal this should continue throughout the rest of the year.

What can be done to improve your business performance?

Create “Growth Time” or a “Growth Day”

One tactic that can be used to garnish growth is to create a growth time each day.  By creating space for growth, you’re giving yourself the best chance to engage in activities that are going to drive your business forward.

Set some time for growth each day/week, make it a priority, stick to it. Be disciplined.

Only “count” growth tasks

When reflecting on what you have achieved each day or week.

Only count activities that are growth related. Never consider essential tasks as achievements for the day.

Set yourself up for success

Identify and set up KPI’s that will drive success. This will create discipline and focus you on tasks that drive growth.

If you don’t achieve the KPI, ask yourself “how” or “what” needs to happen in order to achieve it.

Outsource all minimum wage activities!

One of the best ways to grow your business is to delegate, outsource, automate or eliminate tasks that are minimum wage or low value.

Many small business owners spend a disproportionate amount of their time on tasks that don’t directly drive value.

Again, these tasks are important, and they need to be done, but they add little in the way of value generation and prevent businesses from achieving growth.

Conversely,
If there are growth tasks that need to happen, and you don’t have the skills or expertise to do them, then outsource them to someone who can help you. The important thing is that they get done.

If you are committed to growing your business, the first step should be an in-depth business analysis to better understand your business’ potential.

Strategy States business evaluation tool is a great place to start. It provides the most comprehensive analysis of your business and creates a roadmap for growth.

Click here to start your business evaluation today.

70 Ways to Increase Your Conversion Rate

This is Strategy State’s guide to the best tactics to increase your conversion rate and drive sales for 2019.

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1-800 #

1-800 numbers are a great way to increase conversions, as they can make your company look much bigger than it is.

With 1-800 numbers, there are many advanced call services that can be added to them, such as answer services, call forwarding etc.


Accept Trade-ins

Accepting trade-ins is an important aspect in solving problems customers may have.

An example could be a customer that is looking to buy a new lounge suite, you can not only offer to deliver the new lounge suite but also remove/trade-in the old one.

Thus, solving a problem for the customer.

Many companies are using this tactic from an “eco-friendly” point of view — either recycling or donating your old products.


Account Applications

Setting up accounts for your customers can aid in helping conversions.

It will allow you to send them marketing material on a regular basis, as well as keep them informed of special promotions and new products.

This tactic helps in establishing long term relationships are recurring purchases.

Customers will love it when they receive “special” discounts and earn loyalty points.


Allow Prepayment

Allowing customers to prepay for goods and services before they receive them can be a great way to increase sales.

This tactic works well for highly anticipated products like Pre-launched computer games, Tesla Cars, iPhone, etc.

Another example is going to the movies, if customers pre-book their tickets, they can avoid a line and get the seats you want.


Always have stock available

Businesses can increase their conversion rates by simply having products and services on hand and ready to go.

This is an inventory management solution. Just remember, every time a customer asks for a product, and you reply with “were currently out at the moment,” it’s a lost sale.

If you can’t provide the product on hand straight away, try to provide a (JIT) Just In Time Delivery Service where they can get the product in the shortest time possible.


Ask for the Sale, Confirm the Sale

When speaking to someone on the phone, it’s a great sales habit to “Confirm the sale.”

An example of this could be while talking to a customer;

“So, I have you down to five units, is that current?”.

This simple tactic conditions the customers towards the sale.


Ask Questions & Listen

Asking questions and listening to customers is a tactic that should go without saying.

Besides the fact that it makes the customer feel valued and respected, it also makes the conversation feel more natural and less salesy.

It’s important that you understand the customers’ needs and what they are looking for. Be sure to focus on the value the customer is after, not what you want to sell them.


Before & After Photo’s

Showing the results of what your product or service will do is really important for some customers.

Take for instance a weight loss product, or makeup.

Customers want to see photos of other customers who have used this product, and the results and benefits they can expect.


Collect All Prospects Details

A simple but sometimes overlooked tactic.

Ensure you, and everyone within your organization is collecting the contact details of all prospects.

Either phone, email or other.

It’s also a good idea to find out how they found out about your business and what product or service they are interested in.


Company Brochure & Business Cards

Company brochure and business cards are essential marketing materials that all businesses should have.

It’s important to remember that ALL members of your team are salespeople.

Ensure you have a constant supply of business cards and brochures for all team members to hand out at all times.

Brochures should contain your key offering, and how your product or service creates value.


Company Vehicle & Appearance

There are a lot of psychological selling aspects going on during the sales process. Your first impression and appearance are one of them.

If you have a service business or provide delivery, having an eye-catching vehicle can set you apart.

First impressions matter, so a branded vehicle can be a great extension to your brand.

Your company vehicle is mobile signage, and it will grab people’s attention, you’ll stand out and be much more memorable.


Competitions, with Follow-up

If your company runs a competition or raffle, it’s a good idea to follow up with everyone who entered into it.

It’s an easy way to create another ‘touch point’ and gives you the ability to ask vital questions that can help prospects move further down the sales funnel.


Create More Payment Options

A simple marketing tactic that requires you to take payment from customers in any payment form.

These include:

  • Cash
  • Cheque
  • Online Banking
  • Credit Card
  • PayPay (or other online payments)
  • Gift Cards
  • Bitcoin

The greater the payment options for the customer, the higher the conversion rates.


Define Your USP

Sales conversions can be increased when you can clearly define your uniqueness.

For this to happen, you need to understand (in great detail) why your products and services are unique when compared to those of your competitors.

To do this, you need to have a really good understanding of what your competitors are doing.

Examples could be: You offer free delivery, free installation, backup service etc.


Develop Your Own Product Line (White label)

Many manufacturing companies now allow companies to white label their own product lines.

This means businesses can now have products with their own logo and branding on it.

The advantage of this is it helps with your branding and allows you to differentiate yourself.

Creating exclusive lines enables to compete on quality and not on price.


Display Awards/Certificates

Displaying Awards and Certifications help you gain trust from customers as it builds your reputation and separates you from the crowd.

This is an effective way to pre-qualify you as an industry leader and expert. In some cases, people will only choose to work with professionals that have a certificate to prove his/her knowledge and skills.

Examples can be award-winning architects, builders or products like award-winning wines.

You can also use your awards and certification

As part of your marketing message, letting people know that you’ve won your industry “Best of the Year” or “Best in Service” award.


Educate How to Buy, What’s the Process

If you have a product or service that is either complicated or takes an extended period of time to deliver, it can be a great idea to educate prospects on the entire process.

An example of this could be getting a house built through a building company.

The entire process may take six months or more, and there may be 25 stages that the project needs to go through.

By having a detailed breakdown of the steps that are needed during the process, it helps the prospect understand the entire process and helps to breakdown resistance.


Educate on Value, Not Price

If you’re competing on differentiation (quality as opposed to price), you need to educate your customers on the Value your products and services generate.

Do this by articulating the results, outcomes or benefits the product will produce.

Move the conversation away from price, unless your product directly creates or saves the customer money.

An example could be LED lights.

They cost slightly more than regular lights, but they last 10x longer.


Email Marketing / Auto Responders

Email autoresponders are emails that are set up and delivered over a predetermined sequence.

An example of this could be: When someone signs up to your subscriber list, they will automatically receive five emails over the space of two weeks. These emails will provide the prospect with information, free tools, answer questions and build you as an expert authority and lead them further down your sales funnel.


Entertain, Wine & Dine

This tactic can work well for high-end products. An example of this could be a VIP mixer.

Companies like Mercedes-Benz host special VIP events when launching new models.

These events make customers feel special and help cement long-term relationships.


Factory/Site Tours

Having factory and site tours can be a great way to create engagement with customers.

It allows customers to gain insight into how the product is created.

This works especially well if you have an exciting manufacturing process.

Examples of this can include: Chocolate factories, winery, candle making, etc.


Flowchart Your Sales Process

It’s important to flowchart or diagram your sales process, as it shows the entire process from start to finish that your customer takes.

This allows you to identify and analyze the touch points through each step.

This can be used to find weak points or missed opportunities. It’s a great way to refine your customers user experience.

You can tweak your upsells, cross-sell, down sells and your conversion rates.


Follow Up & Follow Up Again

One of the great secrets of companies that have high conversion rates is that they continually follow up with customers.

It’s a great idea to always put the deal in front of the customer, and to stay in contact right through the buying process.

This is especially important for businesses that provide quotes or proposals. You need to follow up until a result is achieved.


Gift Voucher Towards Purchase

Gift vouchers can be a great way to encourage customers to shop with you.

By offering a voucher or store credit when they purchase a certain number of products or buy specific products, can help with conversion rates.

These types of tactics work well with memberships.

An example could be a points system that allows customers to accumulate points towards gift vouchers.


Gimmicks with Direct Mail

Direct mail is another traditional method of marketing. It has since died off some, but is still very effective if done correctly.

You can expect a response rate of between 1-3% depending on your message and audience. Extremely targeted lists can provide results well over 10%.

For best results, personalised mail will give you the greatest return. Creating gimmicks like putting something lumpy in the envelope will create intrigue.


Greet Prospects, Use Their Name & Introduce Yourself

When dealing with prospects or customers, it’s always best to use their name. It makes them feel important and respected.

Use a CRM to capture your customers’ details. If you don’t know their name, then ask.

And always be sure to introduce yourself and pass your card If needed.


High Dress Standards/Uniforms

A simple and effective way to increase your conversions.

Uniforms are another extension of your brand. Having well-dressed uniformed staff with name tags makes the customer experience easier to navigate.

Nothing is worse than going into a business and not knowing who the staff are.

It’s also a professional look when uniformed employees arrive at someone’s house with smart looking uniforms with name tags.

It gives people a feeling of trust, and that you know what you’re doing.

This tactic is cheap and easy. A real must have. Your team members look much more professional.


Hire Salespeople

If you have a business that could utilize salespeople, but you don’t want to take on the additional risk of employing someone, then commission-based salespeople could be useful.

Additionally, this tactic works well if you want to sell outside your geographical area, as you don’t necessarily need to supply an office.

It’s a results-based model that can work well depending on your product or service.


Increase Product Knowledge

An easy way to increase your sales conversion rates is to be an expert on product knowledge.

To achieve this, you’ll need to have regular training sessions with staff and sales reps to ensure you’re up to date with the latest industry changes.

A best practice is to collect feedback and questions from customers, then incorporate this information into your staff training sessions.

You can apply these to your website and other marketing materials also.


Increase Range or Variety

By simply increasing the range of products you have, you can dramatically increase your conversion rates.

Ensure you have great product intel data that shows you what products are leading in their class, then ensure you have those products.

Every product a customer asks for, that you don’t stock, is a lost sale.

If your selling services, offer a full range of complementary products.

For example: A restaurant can sell a range of branded signature sauces.


Information Sheets & Booklets

By providing detailed information sheets and booklets for your products and services, you’ll significantly increase your conversion rates.

Remember, prospects are continually reviewing and analysing products before they buy. You need to ensure they have all the information they need to make an informed decision.

Often, once a prospect has reviewed a product, and it meets their criteria of X, Y, Z. They will then purchase.

Ensure you have all the information and data likely customers will be looking for.


In-store Merchandising

In-store merchandising are a tactic used by companies that want to obtain placement within someone else’s retail store.

You’ll often see these stands in convenience stores, gas stations, and general retail outlets.

If you have a product that fits this criteria, having merchandise stands might be a great way to showcase your products to thousands of people each day.

This also enables you to sell your products in many locations without the overhead of renting spaces.


Kids Room, Snack Bars, Background Music & WiFi

If the nature of your business requires customers to sit and wait for extended periods of time, then having amenities that make things more comfortable for customers will go a long way.

This is especially true if customers have their small children with them.

An example of this might be a car mechanic. By having a play area for children, it means the parents will be more relaxed.


Landing Pages and Sales Funnels

A landing page is a mini-site or a specific page on your website that is used to engage with visitors that have come from your online marketing channels. i.e. PPC ads, social media etc.

You’ll need to have a compelling offer that directly relates to your campaign.

Popular landing page builders and sales funnel platforms are Clickfunnels, LeadPages and Thrive Themes.

They are easy to set up and enable you to track and measure different campaign content quickly.


Lighting, Clean Toilets, Air Conditioning

This basic tactic relates to making customers feel more comfortable and allowing them to stay longer in your store.

The longer they stay in your store, the higher the chance of a sale.

If you have customer toilets on your premises, ensure they are checked every 30mins or so.


Make an Offer

If you have a retail store, “Make an Offer” days could work well.

It gives people, the option to engage with you and haggle a deal.

The main tactic here is to get people through the door.

This tactic works best if you have products that have high margins; thus you have the ability to negotiate on price.

The Make an Offer tactic also works well when combined with other attractions or gimmicks.

You may want to have a free sausage sizzle at the same time.


Make it Easy to Buy

The easier it is to buy your product or services, the higher the conversion rates you’ll have.

If we look at this from an online perspective, the fewer the clicks it takes to complete the purchase, the better. Top e-commerce sites average 4-6 clicks to complete a purchase.

During the checkout phase of the purchase, you want your customers to be able to purchase as a guest. This will make purchasing easier and faster while reducing the abandonment rate.


Measure Conversion Rates

You can’t manage what you don’t measure!

Measuring your conversion rates (for all your products) is one of the most crucial initiatives you can do.

This can be done by way of using a CRM or Analytics software.

Companies that regularly measure their performance far outperform those that don’t.


Offer Home Delivery

For some customers, having the product delivered to their home will be enough to convert them.

This works especially well for bulky products or clients who are extremely busy. Additionally, you can offer assembly or installation to your range of services.


On-Hold Messages

On-hold messages are those recorded messages you hear when calling a company.

They can help with increasing your conversion rates as customers are more likely to stay on the line.

Good on-hold messages should include:

  1. That you appreciate their call and will be with them shortly.
  2. What caller number they are in the queue.
  3. What is the expected waiting time before they can talk to you.
  4. Offer alternative ways to contact you. i.e. Email, phone call back etc.

Outstanding Brochures

Brochures and E-Brochures are standard marketing materials that are used when someone your talking to wants something to take away with them.

There often used at tradeshows or retail stores when people ask after detailed product information.

Brochures are more effective than simply giving someone your business card.

Sending them electronically means you can cut costs and scale your marketing efforts.


Packaging

Product packaging is more than just how a product looks; it’s how it makes the customer feel.

It’s an incredibly valuable customer touch point that can’t be overlooked. Customers want to buy more than just the product; they want to buy an experience.

Your packaging needs to reflect your company values, and the ethos of what your company stands for. Packaging is part of the consumer journey.

Great packaging can make your product memorable and stand out from the pack.


Print Company’s Vision/Mission

Some prospects will be interested in your company’s ethos and what you stand for.

Print your companies Vision and Mission statements and display them on marketing material or in places where prospects can view them.

Prospects want to understand your values and see if they align with their own.

Very rarely will prospects be motivated to purchase if your company is solely motivated by profit.


Provide a 1st Buyers Incentive

A great way to entice new prospects to purchase from you is to offer a first buyers’ incentive.

This can take the form of a discount, free gift, or free month of a subscription, etc.

This tactic works well for long-term plans or subscription-based models.

If you have an online business, you can offer a special coupon for first-time purchases.


Provide a Timely Response

It’s important that when customers contact you, that you respond in the quickest time possible.

Whether that be by email, phone or in person, a timely response will always help in increasing your conversion rates.

If you’re in an office setting, have a rule that all phone calls must be answered within 3-4 rings.

Or if you’re out in the field, try using a Bluetooth Headset.


Provide Ideas & Advice

Providing free ideas and advice to customers gives you the ability to showcase your product or service, and highlight the value you offer.

This makes it much easier to sell. Conversion rates for businesses who willingly give advice and are genuinely helpful have a much higher closing rate.

Even if the product or service you sell is not suited to the customer, if you can provide ideas and advice that can help them, this will go a long way, and they will remember this.

It’s a great way to build your brand and develop trust within the industry.


Provide Team Incentives

A great way to increase your sales conversion rates is by setting up sales targets for the team with rewards.

This tactic not only helps with increased sales, but it’s also a fantastic tool to build team culture.

Team members will be more motivated to collaborate to achieve the common goal. Teams can build synergies to reach the goal and share in the rewards.


Re-write Quotes, Tenders & Proposals

If you have quotes or proposals that you have sent out.

One way to increase conversions is to not only follow up on the quote but also to find out where the prospect is in the sales process.

You may find that there is an opportunity to resubmit your quote or proposal and get a deal made with adjustments.

This tactic is rarely used, but you will be surprised how many additional sales you’ll be able to make.


Sales Scripts

Sales scripts are a piece of pre-planned marketing content that is used to help salespeople guide prospects through the buying process.

They can be used for sales calls, face to face meetings or presentations.

Sales scrips endeavor to highlight the need or benefit of the product/service while dealing with the barriers and objections.


Sell on Emotion & Dreams

Depending on your product or service, you may want to sell based off emotional drivers.

When selling on emotions, it’s not about value, price or the financial benefits that will result. It’s about selling the dream.

Examples are high-end luxury products such as; A new sports car, the latest phone, designer clothes, expensive watches.

These products are marketed in such a way, as to make the prospect feel they will receive a certain lifestyle if they purchase these goods.


Selling in Bulk

It’s a great idea to have a ‘volume” selling offer.

By giving discounts or other bonuses like free delivery or installation on bulk orders. You have the ability to move a lot more stock and generate a higher gross profit.

It helps you attract customers that are commercial or larger size clients you wouldn’t usually work with.

It also means you can move older, seasonal or unwanted stock in larger volumes.


Send SMS Appointment Reminders

Every business that requires people to make appointments knows how frustrating it is when you get “No Shows.”

By simply setting up an SMS appointment reminder platform, you will enviably decrease your No-Show rates, thus, improving your conversions.

SMS appointment reminders are very cheap but incredibly effective.


Set Sales Targets

To ensure sales conversion rates remain steady, or improve over time, it’s vital that you set sales targets and continually measure them.

If you have a number of steps within your sales process, you need to measure the performance of each of these steps.

An example could be: Calling all old customers who purchased within the last 12 months.

Or calling everyone who made an inquiry over the last six months.


Show Samples/Example Photo’s

A simple yet very effective way to increase your conversion rate is to show examples or photos of pervious work you have completed.

It gives you the opportunity to showcase your skills and experience. Prospects need to understand the value you provide, and sometimes visualizing the product or service may be all that is required to convert them.


Stay in Touch, Cards, Newsletters

Maintaining an existing relationship with a customer is cheaper and easier than finding new customers.

There are many ways to stay in touch with customers.

These include: Emails, Phone calls, Personalised Cards, Newsletters, Events, Gifts, Lunch & Learns, etc.

To keep this tactic well organized, incorporate it into your CRM.


Survey People Who Don’t Buy

Surveying people who don’t buy your products might seem like a strange marketing tactic. However, it can be a goldmine of useful insights.

You may have a clear understanding of why your customers buy from you (and that’s very important). But you also need to know why customers don’t buy from you.

If you develop a deeper understanding as to the reasons people don’t purchase, you can then go about solving those issues.

Solving these issues will inevitably result in higher sales figures.


Survey Your Past Customers

Conducting surveys on past customers is a great marketing tactic.

It not only allows you to gain a better insight into their customer experience, but it’s also a great touch point enabling you to reconnect with them.

This will help you with gaining market intelligence and where the industry is heading. You’ll better understand the industry trend and what opportunities are ahead.

Conducting surveys is also a great way to validate and test new products and services before releasing them into the market.


Target Better Prospects

By identifying and targeting your ideal customer, you’ll significantly increase your conversion rates.

We don’t want to spend marketing funds on low probably prospects.

You can target customers by:

  • Location (Geographical)
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Life events (pregnancy, divorce, retirement, etc.)
  • Interests
  • Occupation

The more you know about your ideal customer, the easier it is to target them.


Team Member Profiles

By adding team member profiles to your website or marketing material, it can help in increasing your conversions.

Outlining their skills, experience and expertise lets prospects know you’re a professional organization and helps build trust.

This can also be used to help prospects contact team members directly, allowing for a more personalized connection.


Testimonials

Testimonials are a core aspect of social proof.

You need to have them across websites and all your marketing collateral.

Many people who are interested in your product will only buy it if they read a glowing review of your product or service.

Testimonials need to be written in a way that makes the prospect emotionally connect with the experience.

This tactic is especially critical for e-commerce stores, with many customers vigorously checking the reviews before purchasing.


Train Entire Team in Sales/Service

Every single member of your team is a salesperson.

From the person who works the front counter, the admin person, the person who works on your vehicles. Every member is a salesperson.

With that being said, all team members need to be well versed in the products and services you offer.

“Sales” needs to be the first priority for every team member.

Ensure you incorporate sales training into your induction processes.


Try Before You Buy

Enabling customers to fully use the product before they buy it can be a great way to increase conversations.

This is especially true for high priced products that require a high investment from the customer.

Examples of this are: Allowing customers to trial a new car over the weekend.

Examples of online products could be one-month free membership.


Update/Re-post Articles & Blogs

Posting content should be a core part of your marketing strategy.

To ensure you gain the maximum benefit from it, regularly review and update your articles, blogs, and other content.

Industries are continually changing, and it’s important that your audience knows that you’re staying with the times and have intimate knowledge of your industry.


Up-sell, Cross-sell & Down-sell

To increase your conversion rate, it’s a great idea to give prospects different options.

Three options are always best (if possible).

Think about the core products and services you sell, then ask yourself. What could my up-sell be? What could I cross-sell with it?

And what could I down-sell if they wanted a smaller product/service?


Use NLP Techniques

The key to sales is excellent communication.

Through the use of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), salespeople can increase their conversion rates.

NLP is concerned with the words you and your prospect use, then adapting your communication style to better understand the needs of the prospect.

A few key points:

  • Everyone has a preferred language
  • Listen and look for the words people use in conversation
  • Match your sales strategy to your prospects buying strategy
  • Identify “Towards” and “Away” behaviours

Use Payment Plans & Financing

There are a number of different payment plans you can offer customers. Some of these include:

Lay-by, no interest payments, no money up front, balloon payments and rent to buy.

These work well for high priced ticket items such as cars, furniture, motorbikes, boats, etc.

Based on your industry data and customer profiles, you should have a good idea of what percentage of your customers buy your product or service using finance.


Use Prospect Questionnaires

Offering prospects questionnaires can be a great way to gather data and intel move customers further down the sales funnel.

It can help prospects with product selection, product fit, pre-qualify them and create commitment.

An example could be: A questionnaire that helps you choose the right cosmetic product for your skin type and needs.


Video and Audio Demonstrations

Video and audio demonstrations can be a great way to educate and showcase your products.

Take for example a new type of hair straightener; if you have an amazing video of the hair straightener in action, it can show the product being demonstrated in a way not possible in a store setting.

Customers can better imagine themselves using the product, and how it might feel to be using it.


Write The Company’s Story

If your business is well established and has been around for a long time, it might be worthwhile writing your companies story.

You’ll often see these stories about “how the business started” in businesses like restaurants.

The goal here is to connect with the customer emotionally and build a repour.

This tactic can also work for new businesses, by explaining “why” you started the business, or “how” you came up with this crazy new idea.


Written Guarantees

Providing customers with guarantees and warranties is a great way to increase sales, especially if they are not familiar with the product.

This is especially true with larger ticket items, like houses, cars, tools, appliances, etc.

By lowering the risk to the consumer, you will increase your conversion rates and build trust.

 

107 Marketing Tactics To Increase Sales

This is Strategy State’s guide to the best marketing tactics for 2019.

All of these tactics have their place and work well if carried out properly under the right circumstances.

We hope you enjoy it, and it offers you some useful information to help grow your business.

Happy selling!

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Affiliates

Marketing Tactic: Affiliate

Affiliates are online commissioned sales associates. They set up sales pages/sales funnels and promote your products and services. You’ll often see affiliate sites and “review sites” with links to products.

Affiliates receive commissions based on the payout models of CPS = Cost Per Sale or CPA = Cost Per Action. Cost per action can be; Clicks, impressions, leads etc.

Commissions can range from 5% to 30% for physical products, and 30% to 90% for digital products. Commission rates can vary depending on the agreement and the amount of commitment from you. I.e. Your digital marketing spends.

To maximize the return of affiliates, it works best if affiliates have a huge/loyal database of your ideal customers.

Pros: You pay based on results. You can reach targeted audiences.

Cons: Doesn’t work well for Low Margin products or new products that don’t have marketing content or data.

Useful Links / Resources:


Articles (Published)

Marketing Tactic: Articles

Articles can be a great way to build brand awareness and build trust with your customers. They are easier to distribute than books, so offer a wider audience. I.e. You can publish your article across 20 different websites.

Pros: Can brand yourself as an expert in your industry. Scalable. Can be cheap to produce.

Cons: Can take time to create. Can require a high level of industry or specialized knowledge. Can take a long time to see results.


Association Memberships

Marketing Tactic: Association Memberships

Association memberships can be part of your networking initiatives. This tactic involves marketing your products and services through the membership organization.

Pros: Depending on your membership audience, you could have pre-qualified targeted leads.

Cons: Your product or service needs to be in alignment with your membership’s interests.


Banner Advertisements (GDN)

Marketing Tactic: Banner Advertisements (GDN)

Banner ads can be a great way to build brand awareness for your products and services.

As shown in the example, banner ads are the advertisements that surround website content. You can target where you want your ads to appear based on Keywords, topics, and interests that relate to your product.

Banner ads work well when retargeting your audience. Ie. When someone visits your website (cookies are embedded). You can then retarget those visitors with specific content and offers.

GDN (Google Display Network) is the most common banner display platform.

Costing Model can be CPC (Cost Per Click) or CPM (Cost Per 1,000 Impressions).

Pros: Reach a huge audience with a low budget.

Cons: Can have low Click Through Rates (0.2% – 0.4%). Creative needs to be effective.


Barter / Trade Exchanges

Marketing Tactic: Barter/Trade Exchanges

Barter trading is a system whereby you can barter your goods and services within a cashless business network.

Pros: You can increase your network, decrease stock, expose you to opportunities that you didn’t have before. Reduce costs for essential products and services you require.

Cons: You don’t receive cash (cash flow). Can have limited trading opportunities. Ongoing fees to remain a member of a program. Bartering and trading are not tax exempt.

Useful Links / Resources:


Blimps, Balloons, Plane Banners & Skywriting

Marketing Tactic: Blimps, Balloons, Plane Banners & Skywriting

Blimps, Balloons and large inflatable signage solutions are perfect for grand openings, trade shows and large-scale outdoor events where there are large amounts of people.

Pros: Can be seen by thousands of potential customers at a time. Is great for brand awareness, giving you a wow factor.

Cons: Expensive, not ideal for small business operators.


Blogs / Blogging / Content Marketing

Marketing Tactic: Blogs / Blogging / Content Marketing

Blogs are a great way to generate organic traffic. However, they can take a long time to reap the rewards. Unlike paid digital marketing that stops working once the budget stops, blogs remain effective for an extended period of time.

They can be a great way to build your authority within the industry.

Pros: They can be inexpensive to create if you do them yourself. Plus, you can use leverage, ie. You can post them on your website, guest posts, LinkedIn or even sell them.

Cons: You need to write the blogs, either yourself or outsourced, blogs take effort. Also, to be effective, you need to keep them updated and create new content to keep readers coming back.


Books (Paperback)

Marketing Tactic: Books (Paperback)

Books can be a fantastic way to develop your brand and authority within an industry. Having a New York Times bestselling book will differently open doors for you.

Pros: Separate yourself from the pack. Books are scalable and can be in audio and multi languages

Cons: Can take a long time to develop (Years). Can require huge amounts of effort and special knowledge to market and sell your book effectively.


Branded Promotional Gifts

Marketing Tactic: Branded Promotional Gifts

Company branded promotional products are a supplementary marketing tactic that is usually accompanied by other marketing initiatives such as promotional events, trade shows, competitions, giveaways etc. As the cost of the promotional products can vary, it’s important that you carefully select who you give these products to.

Pros: It allows people to take something physical away with them after making contact with a sales representative.

Cons: Highly ineffective at creating sales, used mainly for brand awareness. There are minimum quantities for production runs that may be outside your scope.

Useful Links / Resources:


Brochures and Electronic Brochures

Marketing Tactic: Brochures and Electronic Brochures

Brochures and E-Brochures are standard marketing materials that are used when someone your talking to wants something to take away with them.

There often used at tradeshows or retail stores when people ask after detailed product information.

Brochures can be more effective than simply giving someone your business card.

Pros: Then can be sent electronically.

Cons: When using high-quality printing paper, the costs can add up.

Useful Links / Resources:


Building Signage, Flags, Window Decals

Marketing Tactic: Building Signage, Flags, Window Decals

Building signs are probably the oldest form of advertising known to man.

Every bricks and mortar business needs to have shop frontage with a clear sign that tells people what the store is offering.

Pros: Helps customers locate your business. You can get sponsored signs from companies like Coca Cola.

Cons: Lightboxes and power generated signs can cost money to maintain them.


Bulletin Boards

Marketing Tactic: Bulletin Boards

Local community bulletin boards can be effective at reaching a localized audience. They are especially good if you’re trying to promote a local event.

If your selling things such as firewood, lawn services, or dance/yoga and guitar lessons. Bulletin boards could be useful.

Pros: Free, easy, can be effective depending on your demographics and target market.

Cons: You’ll first need to find them, then test them. You’ll also need to maintain your advert continually.


Business Cards

Marketing Tactic: Business Cards

Business cards are another essential marketing aid.

It’s one of the only ways which allows you to pass information instantly to people you’re speaking to.

Business cards are best utilized when you follow up with new contacts in a systemized manner. Ie. You call or email new connections the following day.

Pros: Cheap, easy and quick to obtain.

Cons: Low conversion rate. You’ll need to hand out hundreds to get results.

Useful Links / Resources:


Business Directory

Marketing Tactic: Business Directory

Business directories can be online or offline.

Offline directories such as Yellow Pages are typically printed once a year.

Online directories such as business.com and yahoo.com can be useful in drive referral traffic to your website. Often online business directories will rank higher than your website.

Pros: Depending on your industry, you could potentially receive many inquiries.

Cons: Can be expensive and offer little in the way of results.


Buy Database Lists

Marketing Tactic: Buy Database Lists

Business owners can buy databases on just about anything. Databases can be a great way to identify your addressable market. You can use these databases to make contact (cold calling) and engage with your target market.

It’s also a great way to identify competitors.

Pros: Works great with B2B marketing

Cons: There are privacy regulations when making unsolicited contact with recipients. Ensure you follow the local laws when it comes to contacting people.


Car Signage

Marketing Tactic: Car Signage

If you have a service business or provide delivery, having an eye-catching vehicle can set you apart.

First impressions matter, so a branded vehicle can be a great extension to your brand.

Pros: It’s mobile signage, it can grab people’s attention, you’ll stand out and be much more memorable.

Cons: If your employees act in a negative way while using the branded vehicles. This will affect your reputation.


Catalogs

Marketing Tactic: Catalogs / Catalogues

When we talk about catalogs, we’re referring to manufactures and wholesalers (not Walmart or Kmart catalogs).

Catalogs are booklets that contain a large range of products that manufacturers and wholesalers provide. They are typically larger size and high-value products that evolve slowly over time.

These catalogs are usually produced yearly.

Pros: Can provide high level and detailed information on products and services.

Cons: Not great for products that have a short product life cycle.


Change / Open More Locations

Marketing Tactic: Change / Open More Locations

With any business premises, you lease. It’s always important to assess the geographic and demographics of the location.

Finding out things like the foot traffic, parking, access to public transport, building size requirements and benchmarking local rent rates are useful.

You may want to consider changing your location or adding additional locations, so you can better serve your customers. Your current location may not be big enough or serve your requirements adequately.

Pros: Better serve your customers or a wider range of customers

Cons: Do your research first. Adding fixed expenses can be risky if you have incorrect assumptions.


Cold Calling

Marketing Tactic: Cold Calling

Making calls is one of the foundations of sales whether it be cold, warm or a hot lead.

Best results are generated by: Cultivating a targeted list, following a robust sales script and being prepared for any questions that will arise.

Pros: You can explain your service or product in high detail, handle objections and questions, all while receiving immediate feedback.

Cons: Without a targeted list of prospects or warm leads, sales calls can be very ineffective, time-consuming and costly.


Commission Based Salespeople

Marketing Tactic: Commission Based Salespeople

If you have a business that could utilize salespeople, but you don’t want to take on the additional risk of employing someone, then commission-based salespeople could be useful.

Additionally, this tactic works well if you want to sell outside your geographical area, as you don’t necessarily need to supply an office.

Pros: It’s a results-based model.

Cons: The sales process needs to be monitored very carefully to ensure your brand is not damaged.


Community Involvement and Sponsorship

Marketing Tactic: Community Involvement and Sponsorship

Similar to association membership. Community involvement is a form of networking that has a long-term focus.

Community involvement can take the form of sponsorship for local sports teams or events.

Pros: It can help build your brand within the community.

Cons: Long term play. Return on investment can be low as it’s a community focus, not a commercially focused investment.


Competitions and Sweepstakes

Marketing Tactic: Competitions and Sweepstakes

Competitions and sweepstakes can be a great way to attract prospects to your business as many small and medium business don’t utilize them. To maximize this initiative, you need to think about your audience, the time of year and what would get people excited and talking about your business.

Pros: If the competition goes viral, it can drive a lot of interest to your business.

Cons: They can be expensive to run and involve a fair amount of time. You may also need a lawyer to run over the fine print to ensure you’re running your competition ethically.


Coupons

Marketing Tactic: Coupons

Coupons can work well if used correctly, especially if your target market is thrifty. Coupons work best for lower value items, with customers who are time rich and cash poor. They can help with increasing your conversion rates. But be aware, it may lower your brand value.

In recent times coupons are all the rage online. Markers often use them in conjunction with email marketing to help drive the call to action.

Pros: Can increase email response rates and conversions. It can encourage customers to spend a little more, ie. The coupon works if you spend over $50.

Cons: Can lower your brand value, as you become a “coupon product”. If you use coupons to often, customers will see the “Special Price” as the norm.


Courses

Marketing Tactic: Courses

Online or offline courses can be a great way to extend your brand and showcase your offerings.

By teaching a course in your particular field, it paints you as an “expert” within the industry.

Online courses are very easy to put together. With the likes of Udemy and others, entrepreneurs can leverage off their platform and quickly put a course together.Another added benefit is that they can provide some passive income.

Pros: High-quality courses require expert knowledge, skills and time to implement, thus, creating barriers to entry. You can set up referral programs to drive more students to the course.

Cons: If the learning material is poor. It will have a negative effect on your brand and business.

Useful Links / Resources:


Demonstrations

Marketing Tactic: Demonstrations

Demonstrations are a form of secondary media. Once you have created the audience, demonstrations can be very effective at generating sales.

An example of this is an infomercial. They are basically demonstrations followed testimonials.

The prospects are shown in great detail the benefits of the product or service.

Pros: Demonstrations can be cheap (not the infomercials) and easy to implement. You sometimes see these at hardware stores.

Cons: The person doing the demonstration is an extension of your brand. Ensure they are key staff and not minimum wage temporary labor hire.


Direct Mail (Physical Mail)

Marketing Tactic: Direct Mail (Physical Mail)

Direct mail is another traditional method of marketing. It has since died off some, but is still very effective if done correctly.

You can expect a response rate of between 1-3% depending on your message and audience. Extremely targeted lists can provide results well over 10%.

For best results, personalized mail will give you the greatest results. Sometimes putting something lumpy in the envelope will create intrigue.

Pros: Can be cheap, easy, scalable and have great results if done correctly.

Cons: Requires expert copywriting and a highly targeted audience.


Distributors

Marketing Tactic: Distributors

Using a distributor can be a great way to grow your business.

Distributors can have hundreds of distribution centers all over the country, with each center servicing thousands of retail outlets.

By selling your product through a well-established distribution center, you can get your product in hundreds of thousands of retail outlets.

Pros: If you have a physical product that is sold in retail outlets, using a distributor might be one of the few ways that will enable you to get your product on the shelf.

Cons: Distributors work on scale. You’ll need to have the funds to scale up in order to work with major distributors.


Door Hangers / Flyers

Marketing Tactic: Door Hangers / Flyers

Doors hangers and flyers are largely ineffective. They can offer some help, if, for example, you’re a real estate agent, and trying to build up your profile in a particular neighborhood. You can drop your flyers every four weeks continuedly.

Pros: Cheap, easy and quick to produce.

Cons: Will produce low results. Highly dependent on the copywriter. Not scalable/local areas only.


Drop Shipping

Marketing Tactic: Drop Shipping

Drop shipping is a method by which the “Seller” does not stock the goods, but instead makes the sale; then transfers the order to the manufacturer/wholesaler, who then directly ships the product to the customer.

Drop shipping although not a direct marketing tactic per se, it allows businesses to offer a much wider range of products without having the inventory required to do so.

Pros: You can offer a much wider range of products. You can start drop shipping with only a website. Scalable (sell worldwide).

Cons: Low margins, highly competitive, low barriers to entry, no control over the supply chain. Difficult to build a brand.


e-Books

Marketing Tactic: e-Books

e-Books can be a great way to educate and build authority. They are typically used as lead generation magnets on a website. For e-Books to be effective, you need to address the core issues and questions that customers have. To do this; It’s best to survey or interview 200+ prospects (backed by keyword research) and ask them what their burning questions are. Then develop an e-Book that addresses all these concerns.

Pros: Scalable, builds authority, can be used as a “freebie” for a sales funnel. Once made are free to produce. You can use a ghostwriter to help you if needed.

Cons: Requires time, effort and skill to make a great e-Book.

Useful Links / Resources:


Elevator Pitch

Marketing Tactic: Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a 30 second to a one-minute sales pitch about your product or service.

It should be extremely compelling, and fully explain what your offer is. People should have a clear understanding of the value your product provides.

Pros: Can be powerful providing you get in front of the right people. Works best at networking events.

Cons: Not scalable, works best if you are the business owner (not an employee).


Email Autoresponders

Marketing Tactic: Email Autoresponders

Email autoresponders are emails that are set up and delivered over a predetermined sequence. An example of this could be: When someone signs up to your subscriber list, will automatically receive five emails over the space of two weeks. These emails will provide the prospect with information, free tools, answer questions they have, build you as an expert authority and lead them further down your sales funnel.

Pros: Once set up, they have a high return on investment.

Cons: They can take time to implement. You need to do a fair amount of A/B testing to get it just right.


Email Marketing

Marketing Tactic: Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the cheapest and most effective forms of digital marketing as the people on your email list have already engaged with you at some point.

The effectiveness of email marketing is growing with 5.5 billion email accounts by 2019, and 61% of consumers like to receive promotional emails weekly.

There are many email marketing platforms that can help you track your subscription list, open rate, and click-through rates.

These platforms also offer ready-made templates to make life easier.

For best results: Produce expert copy, build a relationship with your audience with a mix of information, free tools, and sales offers.

Note: Familiarise yourself with your industry email benchmarking and compare yourself to that.

Pros: Cheap and effective. Can produce a high ROI.

Cons: Needs expert copywriting skills. Ensure you abide by the privacy laws of each country.

Useful Links / Resources:


Email Signature

Marketing Tactic: Email Signature

Email signatures are a must have for all members of your business. They may be the first piece of branding colleterial that a prospect or customer will receive.

Not having an email signature can be annoying for the customer if they want to contact you directly.

Email signatures should include all your social accounts, website details, phone number etc. Ensure these are all “buttons” and “click to call”.

Pros: Quick, easy and free to produce.

Cons: Ensure you keep your details up to date.

Useful Links / Resources:


Event Marketing

Marketing Tactic: Event Marketing

Event marketing is the designing and developing of a themed event, activity or exhibit. These include: Sporting events, festivals, fairs, concerts, trades shows, sales and motivation events.

They typically involve direct contact with the brand’s representatives, thus allowing you to build direct relationships with customers.

Pros: Can work well with social media campaigns, as you can generate a lot of engagement. Not to mention, creating competitions, giveaways, and demonstrations

Cons: Can be expensive, very involved and require lots of planning. It can also take time to see results.


Explainer Videos

Marketing Tactic: Explainer Videos

Video content has been rapidly increasing in popularity and is one of the leading marketing initiatives. The reason is that it delivers a high engagement rate with prospects.

Explainer videos are the most popular form of videos for small and medium business because they are cheap and easy to produce.

Videos help explain a company’s products and services in a way that can be much more digestible than copywriting along.

Pros: Cheap, easy, quick to implement. Can be used across multiple platforms.

Cons: Can look cheap and nasty if done incorrectly. Thus, hurting your brand. Relies on a good script and storyboard as a base to produce something effective.


E-zine Advertisements

Marketing Tactic: E-zine Advertisements

E -zine advertisements are; adverts in electronic magazines.

These can work really well if you’re targeting a specific niche or group of people.

Pros: Can be cheap and provide a high ROI. You can reach your niche in a fun and direct way.

Cons: Works best for niche products and services, so not necessarily a scalable marketing channel.


Facebook (Page, Ads, Groups, Marketplace)

Marketing Tactic: Facebook (Page, Ads, Groups, Marketplace)

Facebook is the leading social media network with over 2.27 billion monthly active users.

In recent years, with changes in Facebook’s algorithms, there has been a decrease in the effectiveness of organic posts from company pages, which is driving more businesses to use Facebook paid ads.

Facebook ads allow detailed targeting and a variety of ads types which enable you to tailor the campaign objectives (such as reach, clicks, landing page views, and lead generation).

Using a wide range of ads layouts like video, carousel and product feed, can help your ad become more attractive.

Pros: Enables you to target your audience in a really detailed manner, ie. Age, gender, life status, income, interests, followers, and friends of followers, retargeting and building look-a-like audience.

Engagements rates can be high, as people usually use Facebook in their downtime.

Cons: You’ll need to have a high level of skill for paid ads to be effective

Useful Links / Resources:


Festivals & Trade Shows

Marketing Tactic: Festivals & Trade Shows

Festivals and trade shows can be a great way to introduce the market to your new product range. They go hand in hand with demonstrations.

An important part of trade shows is collecting contact details of prospects, then following up with them after the event.

Pros: If you book your stall position well in advance, you could obtain a great stall location that is next to the entrance way (on a corner) where you can get the majority of the foot traffic.

Cons: Can be expensive to hire a stall, plus you’ll need to buy and build a stand to go with it.


Forum Boards

Marketing Tactic: Forum Boards

Forums and discussion boards can be a great way to interact with your target market. It allows you to find out about their challenges and needs.

Providing you give helpful advice to others in the forum, you can brand yourself as an industry expert.

Pros: You can encourage people to contact you by adding a signature at the bottom of each post.

Most forums are free to use.

Cons: You need to investigate which forums will give you a fair ROI of your time before committing.

Useful Links / Resources:


Free Consultations (Skype Sessions / Online Booking System)

Marketing Tactic: Free Consultations (Skype Sessions / Online Booking System)

Offering free consultations is a “Serve First” mantra. By offering a “free consultation” to prospects, you’re lowing the barriers of entry and risks to prospects (what do they have to lose?).

Providing “free sessions” gives you the ability to showcase your product or service, and highlight the value you provide.

This makes it much easier to sell. Conversion rates for people who do free consultations are usually quite high.

It can also be a great way to build your brand and develop trust within the industry.

Pros: High qualified audience, if prospects are prepared to spend the time, they must be interested in your product.

Cons: Investment of your time, you need to be able to identify issues, make recommendations and sell sell sell.


Google My Business

Marketing Tactic: Google My Business

Google My Business is a free service by Google that allows you to promote your business by creating a business profile. It showcases your opening hours, contact details, images and location, which can work well with Google Maps allowing customers to find you easily.

You can also grow your reputation by having a high number of 5 Star reviews and positive feedback.

Pros: Free, easy to use and set up. Helps with search result ranking for a local audience.

Cons: Having a number of negative reviews could derail your business.

Useful Links / Resources:


Group Buying

Marketing Tactic: Group Buying

Group buying as the name suggests is just that. An example of this is a group of similar small businesses banding together to purchase a product, that they would not normally be able to buy due to min order quantities.

By buying the product as a group, it gives them access to products they would normally not be able to obtain. Thus, giving them the ability to compete with larger chain stores.

Pros: Buying in bulk will give you better purchasing power, thus offering a wider range of products to your customers.

Cons: You may not be able to purchase as frequently as you would like. You are at the mercy of the groups buying cycle.


Guest Posting / Guest Blogging

Marketing Tactic: Guest Posting / Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is a great way to leverage off someone else audience. It’s done best when you have a similar audience and offering a complementary product/service. If you want to drive traffic to your site, the content will need to be new, fresh, interesting and of high quality. The owner of the blog is not likely to post your blog unless it adds value to their brand.

Pros: You can get your content read by thousands of people from an established blog.

Cons: The results are short-lived, as you don’t own the traffic. You may have to pay in order to publish on someone else’s blog site.


Industry Newsletter

Marketing Tactic: Industry Newsletter

Creating an Industry Newsletter is an ambitious marketing tactic. It involves a serious amount of time, effort, skill and planning to make this happen. Not to mention its an ongoing activity that never ends. You’ll most likely need to employ a number of full-time staff in order to make this a reality.

The benefit of creating your own industry newsletter is that you can obtain a fair amount of clout within the industry.

You can sell ad space within your newsletter. You have full control, so you only need to sell space for those who don’t directly compete with your business.

Pros: Depending on your niche, you can brand yourself as the industry expert/leader.

Cons: Requires a lot of work and effort to produce an industry magazine. Also, your production skills need to be high.


Influencer Marketing

Marketing Tactic: Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a type of marketing whereby “Influencers” (an obvious example would be Kim Kardashian) promote your product. The advantage of this type of marketing is that the influencer has established credibility within a specific industry.

Pros: Providing you engage with the right influencer, you have the potential to obtain huge amounts of growth in a very short period of time.

Cons: You will need to pay the influencer to make this happen. This will be a fixed fee, or a percentage of the sales generated.


Instagram

Marketing Tactic: Instagram

Instagram marketing offers a variety of visual tools to create brand awareness. It can help promote your products or services, whether it’s an organic post, live stories or paid ads.

Instagram marketing works well with younger demographics, with over 100 million photos and videos posted each day. With Instagram’s popularity continually growing, it shows no sign of slowing down.

Pros: You can target niche audiences. Instagram has high engagement rates which allow people to have a closer connection to you.

Cons: You need to create quality content and creative in order to be effective. You’ll need specialized skills to build a brand personality.

Useful Links / Resources:


Instore Displays and Signage

Marketing Tactic: Instore Displays and Signage

In-store signage is similar to window displays; however, they are confined to inside the store.

They are primarily used to highlight sections within the store and showcase promotions.

You’ll often see these in large format department stores.

Pros: Helps customers with the user experience and navigating large stores. Can also help with conversion rates and up-sales.

Cons: Only works for localized foot traffic.


Joint Ventures / Alliances / Strategic Alliances

Marketing Tactic: Joint Ventures / Alliances / Strategic Alliances

Joint Ventures and Alliances from a marketing tactic could be described as “Joint Venture Campaigns”.They can give you the ability to leverage off other people’s audience or create a marketing and sales synergy. An example of this could be: If you service a certain geographic location, and you’re getting traffic from outside your serviceable area, you can create a deal with someone who serves that area and take a small fee. The same applies to the other person. This strategy means everyone wins!

Pros: Joint Ventures can be very effective once set up. They don’t have to cost you anything.

Cons: Might not be realistic depending on your industry and can take time to find willing JV partners.


Landing Pages / Sales Funnels

Marketing Tactic: Landing Pages / Sales Funnels

A landing page is a mini-site or a specific page on your website that is used to engage with visitors that have come from your marketing channels. Ie. PPC ads, social media, etc.

You’ll need to have a compelling offer that directly relates to your campaign.

Popular landing page builders and sales funnel platforms are Clickfunnels, LeadPages and Thrive Themes.

Pros: Easy to set up. It enables you to track and measure different campaign content quickly.

Cons: It’s not a set and forget task, you’ll need to continually test and measure different layouts, wording, and images to see what gives you the best results.

Useful Links / Resources:


Leads Magnets and Freebies

Marketing Tactic: Leads Magnets and Freebies

A lead magnet is a marketing tactic whereby you offer something “of value” to the prospect in order to push them further down the sales funnel.

This is often in exchange for their email address, or other contact information.

Lead magnets usually offer a piece of digital, downloadable content, such as a free PDF checklist, eBook, infographic, whitepaper or video.

Pros: Relatively cheap and easy to set up. Freebies can help your email marketing initiative as prospects are already interested in your products.

Cons: If the “Free material” you provide is of low quality, it can hurt your brand.


Licensees & Franchisees

Marketing Tactic: Licensees & Franchisees

Selling the rights to sell your product or service is a great growth initiative.

If your business is labor based, then the only way to grow may be selling your intellectual property, systems, and process. Alternatively, if you sell a product that has geographical restrictions, then setting up licenses to sell your product all over the world might be a viable option.

A service example could be consulting, where you are limited by labor output.

A product example could be concrete furniture and sculptures.

Pros: You can gain passive income from licenses and generate a return on your intellectual property.

Cons: If you get the wrong licenses, it could hurt your brand. It can take considerable resources and time to set up your franchise packs and systems.


LinkedIn

Marketing Tactic: Linkedin

LinkedIn is another social platform, but it can be used as a great tool to help you make important business connections and join professional groups. LinkedIn allows you to post articles and videos on the platform, thus allowing you to build a personal brand.

In terms of marketing, LinkedIn has a premium service and paid ads which allows you additional features like In mail messages, sponsored posts and lead generation.

Depending on your product or service, LinkedIn can be a great way to grow your business.

Pros: You can target people by: Job title, industries, company size etc.

Works best for B2B companies.

Cons: Not effective and costly for broad audiences.

Useful Links / Resources:


List Swap

Marketing Tactic: List Swap

A simple yet effective marketing tactic.

Swapping your list of contacts/prospects with a complementary industry is a great way to build up your potential leads.

An example of this could be. If you’re a personal trainer and you do a list swap with a dietitian.

Pros: Costs nothing, only your time to find someone willing.

Cons: This tactic may not be repeatable, as once you have given your list to someone else, you probably can’t give it out again, or at least you have built up a new set of contacts/prospects.


Local Newspaper Ads

Marketing Tactic: Local Newspaper Ads

A very traditional form of marketing. Depending on your audience, advertising in your local newspaper could be effective, especially if your product is geographically restricted.

Local newspapers often have special sections that target audiences based on industry or service; for example, Home & Garden, Travel, Events, etc.

Older demographics tend to still read newspapers. There are also ethnic groups that produce their own newspapers.

Like all marketing initiatives, identify your ideal customer, then work backward to see where they engage.

Pros: Can increase brand awareness and drive new/repeat foot traffic to your business.

Can also be great for special events.

Cons: Requires copywriting and graphics skills to create the ads.


Magazine Ads / Newspaper Ads / Newspaper or Magazine Columns

Marketing Tactic: Magazine Ads / Newspaper Ads / Newspaper or Magazine Columns

Magazine and Newspaper Ads can be a great way to reach your target audience. However, they work in different ways.

Newspaper ads are more localized, and these work best by looking like articles, and over a continued period of time.

Magazine Ads serve a much more defined niche market and are usually nationally or internationally distributed.

An example of this could be a taxidermy magazine which has a tight niche, while a wider niche would be a golfing magazine.

Pros: Magazine ads can be effective if your target audience is niche and many of them read a particular industry magazine.

Cons: Smaller niches have a lower subscriber rate. You’ll need to research to see if it will produce the results you are after.


Media Expert / Authority

Marketing Tactic: Media Expert / Authority

Promoting yourself as an expert or authority can be a highly effective way to promote your business. You can be a guest or be interviewed by news channels, TV and radio shows, podcast, videos, and blogs. These are great opportunities to showcase your knowledge and skills.

If this tactic is suited to your personality and you have the skills and industry knowledge. It could be a long-term play, especially if you become a regular contributor.

Pros: Works best for businesses that revolve around personal identities, such as consultants, lawyers, personal trainers, phycologist, etc.

Cons: Takes time to build an expert reputation. You will need to maintain a relationship with journalists and producers.


Meetups

Marketing Tactic: Meetups

Meetups can be a great way to extend your networking base and showcase your products and services.

The official Meetups website: meetup.com has a huge number of groups that you can join. Not just for business people, but people from all walks of life.

Meetups are best suited for B2B type businesses.

Pros: It’s a financially cheap investment, and you’ll gain many new useful contacts in the process.

Cons: Can be expensive in terms of time commitment. You’ll need to stick at it for a while.


Merchandise Displays / Point of Sale Material

Marketing Tactic: Merchandise Displays / Point of Sale Material

Merchandise stands, and display units are a tactic used by companies that want to obtain placement within someone else’s retail store.

You’ll often see these stands in convenience stores, gas stations, and general retail outlets.

If you have a product that fits these criteria, having merchandise stands might be a great way to showcase your products to thousands of people each day.

Pros: Enables you to sell your products in many locations without the overhead of renting spaces.

Cons: You have little or no control over the negotiating process.


Movie Ads

Marketing Tactic: Movie Ads

Movie ads have a high view rate as people are forced to watch your ad.

However, the audience is there to watch the movie, so are unlikely to search and engage with your service.

Movie ads are best used as an awareness tool.

Pros: Trapped audience.

Cons: Your product/service needs to work on a broad audience.


Networking

Marketing Tactic: Networking

Networking is a tactic that works well no matter what stage of business you’re at. There are formal networking groups such as BNI that have a proven track record for the past 40 years.

It enables you to share knowledge and leverage of other people’s networks. To get the most out of networking, you’ll need to provide others with value, do one on one meetings and utilize LinkedIn.

Pros: It’s usually inexpensive in terms of money. You’ll get to meet people outside of your business circles you wouldn’t normally meet. It has some social aspects to it.

Cons: Can take up a fair amount of your time

Useful Links / Resources:


Online Classified Ads

Marketing Tactic: Online Classified Ads

When we talk about classified ads we are referring to both offline (magazine/newspaper) and online (craigslist/gumtree).

Classified ads can be a great way when starting to validate (test) your product or service as its affordable, and you’ll get immediate feedback.

Pros: Easy and cheap to promote your products and services. Scalable. You can leverage off huge amounts of existing traffic.

Cons: High level of competition. Difficult to differentiate yourself from competitors. You need to update your listings continually.

Useful Links / Resources:


Online Marketplaces (eBay / Amazon / Etsy)

Marketing Tactic: Online Marketplaces (eBay / Amazon / Etsy)

Online marketplaces are big business, with many of us routinely opting to buy online.

If you have a business that sells a physical product, it might be worthwhile to also sell them on one of the big platforms.

Building a successful online store from scratch takes a lot of time and hard work.

These platforms have huge amounts of traffic and marketing budgets that your business can benefit from.

The downside is that it can be difficult to differentiate yourself from the pack.

Online marketplaces are not so great for service-based business unless you are low-cost provider.

Pros: Fast, easy and inexpensive to set up a store. You can leverage off the platform’s traffic.

Cons: You don’t own the platform. Can be hyper-competitive.

Useful Links / Resources:


Outdoor Advertising / Billboards

Marketing Tactic: Outdoor Advertising / Billboards

Outdoor Advertising is designed to capture the attention of local traffic such as motorists and pedestrians.

For best results, your message needs to be clear, short and simple, as people only have a few seconds to see it.

With new sign technology, signs can be digitally animated and more dynamic. As well as allow you flexibility for short-term promotions.

An example could be a countdown advert for a hot rod show in two weeks’ time.

Pros: Can be highly effective when placed in high traffic areas.

Cons: Can be expensive, due to the size and location.


Pay Per Click (PPC)

Marketing Tactic: Pay Per Click (PPC)

PPC or Paid Per Click is a form of digital marketing model where you pay when your ad has been clicked on.

The biggest platforms that offer PPC advertising are search engines (Google, Bing) and Social Networks (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter).

Popular ad types are text ads that appear in search results. This follows a bid system where you bid for specific keywords.

Another type of ads are “display” ads or “banner” ads. These appear in any relevant websites your prospects visit.

Pros: This can be a cost-effective tactic, as you only pay when a user clicks through to your website.

Cons: Requires skill and technical knowledge to set up, optimize and maintain ads.


Personal Meetings

Marketing Tactic: Personal Meetings

Personal meetings are a client maintenance task, which involves you purposely engaging with your client to help them create value.

Everyone knows that keep existing clients is much easier than finding new ones, that’s why is tactic is vital for all salespeople.

Plus it builds a larger Customer Lifetime Value.

Pros: If done correctly, over time you can turn clients into raving fans of your brand.

Cons: If you have a large amount of client, you may only be able to focus on the top 10-20% of clients.


Personalized Letters and Email Messages

Marketing Tactic: Personalized Letters and Email Messages

Personalized letters can be a great way to differentiate yourself from others. It shows you value them, and you’ve taken the time and effort to come up with something original.

There are many different websites and apps that can help you with this. You can also send small packages that contain small gifts and tasty treats.

This tactic is best used for high-value clients and people you want to build a long term relationship with.

Pros: Personal letters have a very high open rate.

Cons: They can be expensive and time-consuming to produce. You can only use this tactic for people you actually know.

Useful Links / Resources:


Piggyback Invoice Mailings

Marketing Tactic: Piggyback Invoice Mailings

Piggyback invoice mailings are similar to List Swaps in that you are leveraging off someone else’s database.

Piggybacks are putting your details on another company’s invoice.

You commonly see these on supermarket shopping dockets.

For best results, it works if there is a strong correlation between your company and the piggyback company.

I.e. A landscaping company, with a piggyback advert for an outdoor furniture company.

Pros: Cheap and easy to implement.

Cons: Can have a low response rate.


Pinterest

Marketing Tactic: Pinterest

Pinterest is a web-based pinboard with great organizational functionality. You can also think of it as a bookmarking tool.

Pinterest can be used to grow your business by uploading interesting pictures that relate to your business. People then click on the images, which direct them to your website.

When considering this platform, bear in mind that 81% of all users being female.

Note: People who go on Pinterest are usually in their “downtime”, so generating awareness of your products and services needs to feel natural.

Pros: Free and easy to set up.

Cons: Can be hard to differentiate yourself from others.

Useful Links / Resources:


Podcasts

Marketing Tactic: Podcasts

Podcasting is a relatively new form of marketing. The benefits of podcasting are that people can listen to them on the go!

Another benefit to podcasting is that, unlike other forms of media, they have a very long engagement rate, with many listeners tuning in for more than 20 + minutes.

Setting up your podcasting will take some time to get the format and audio sounding the way you want it.

Pros: Inexpensive to set up. If done right, you can build a loyal following.

Cons: Requires technical knowledge to produce high-quality podcasts.

It will take time to grow an audience base.


Postcard Deck (ValPak)

Marketing Tactic: Postcard Deck (ValPak)

Postcard decks such as Valpak is a direct marketing tactic where a marketing flyer (such as a coupon) is placed inside an envelope with other marketing flyers.

The advantage of this is that the cost of delivery is significantly reduced as costs are shared among everyone who is advertising in the deck.

This marketing tactic works best for products and services that target a broad audience. Niche products are less suited for ValPak.

ValPak operates in over 45 US States and parts of Canada, reaching over 39 million households every delivery run.

Pros: ValPak is cost effective. They also offer an end to end service where they will provide the design and print.

Cons: You are not necessarily offered exclusivity when marketing. Ie. There could be competitors on the same deck as you.

Useful Links / Resources:


Posters / Dropdown banners / Floor Stickers

Marketing Tactic: Posters / Dropdown banners / Floor Stickers

Another low-cost marketing tactic. Best used for localized foot traffic. Helps customers find your business and raise awareness of the passing traffic.

Best used for retail and trade type businesses. It’s also great for trade shows and exhibitions.

Pros: Can capture the attention of passing trade.

Cons: Extremely localized results. Blanket marketing, so not great for niche products.


Press Releases

Marketing Tactic: Press Releases

A press release is a piece of media communication that is directly sent to an editor or journalist of any news network (online or offline).

Typically press releases are four to five paragraphs and 300 to 800 words in length.

If you have a piece of interesting information about your company, writing a press release could be a great way to build brand awareness and leverage off news network traffic.

Pros: Can be very cost effective. It can contribute to your SEO initiatives.

Cons: Requires professional writing skills.

Useful Links / Resources:


Product Packaging

Marketing Tactic: Product Packaging

Product packaging is more than just how a package looks; it’s how it makes the customer feel.

It’s an incredibly valuable customer touch point that can’t be overlooked. Customers want to buy more than just the product; they want to buy an experience.

Your packaging needs to reflect your company values, and the ethos of what your company stands for.

Pros: Great packaging can make your product memorable and stand out from the pack.

Cons: Keep in mind; Durability, shipping costs, scalability, and function.

Useful Links / Resources:


Product Placement

Marketing Tactic: Product Placement

Product placement is a marketing tactic whereby companies promote their products and services through their appearance on TV shows, movies, and other entertainment platforms.

Product Placement is all about generating brand awareness. You’ll often see examples of product placement in movies or on tv shows.

An easy example is when you see judges on a talent show like American Idol, and they all happen to be drinking Coca-Cola.

Another example is when you see a tv show and their driving around in a car, and your camera zooms into the logo of the car more than ten times.

Pros: You can create a brand synergy between the tv show and your product. If done right, product placement feels more natural and less “commercial” than an ad.

Cons: Can be ultra-expensive if you don’t get your target audience right.


Public Relations (PR)

Marketing Tactic: Public Relations (PR)

Public Relations is a way for companies to get information about themselves out into the media.

It can be done using traditional methods such as magazines, newspapers, TV, and radio.

More common now is the use of online channels.

For PR to work effectively, you need to have a clear message, a memorable USP and followed up by regular content.

Pros: Helps build your brand identity and loyalty.

Cons: If situations arise that require PR, they need to be handled professionally and with the utmost of care.


Radio Advertisements

Marketing Tactic: Radio Advertisements

Radio ads fall under the category of blanket marketing. As such, this tactic works best for products and services that serve a wide audience base.

Moreover, radio is best suited for building branding and awareness.

Typical costs to run radio advertisements each week range from $200 to $5,000 depending on your location.

Production costs can be anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500.

Pros: Can have an immediate impact on your business.

Cons: Can be difficult to measure the result (awareness).


Referrals / Word-of-Mouth

Marketing Tactic: Referrals / Word-of-Mouth

Referrals and word of mouth marketing tactics are one of the best forms of marketing. As prospects who come to you from a referral are pre-qualified.

The conversion rates are much higher compared to other tactics, and potential clients are more likely to be A grade clients that don’t negotiate on price.

Referral Marketing can be a form of “growth hacking” which has the potential to give your business exponential growth. Take the example of Dropbox and Airbnb.

Pros: Can be free to set up or cheap (if you offer an incentive for existing clients to refer you).

Cons: Your referral system is a long-term play. Expect results after an extended period of time.


Refrigerator Magnets

Marketing Tactic: Refrigerator Magnets

Fridge magnets are a long play in terms of a marketing tactic.

They are something you would consider if you wanted to build up your brand over an extended period of time.

Magnets are best suited to serviced-based businesses, such as food /delivery, plumbers, etc.

The best results I have seen have been takeaway food and real-estate agents but really depends on your audience.

Pros: Magnets can have a long-life cycle.

Cons: Can be expensive if not targeted correctly.


Remarketing / Retargeting

Marketing Tactic: Remarketing / Retargeting

Remarketing is a tactic to re-connect with visitors that previously visited your website or engaged with your social media accounts.

This is done using a piece of code (also known as a tag or pixel) that is added to your website. This code adds your visitors to your remarketing audiences using browser cookies.

Remarketing code can be customized to target people for specific time frames (i.e. last three months) or specific actions on the website (visited your product page, abended the shopping cart).

Remarketing campaigns can be used on many different platforms, such as Google Shopping, GDN, Facebook ads, YouTube and email marketing.

Pros: Remarketing can be highly effective in increasing your conversion rate as these are people that have already shown interest in the product.

Cons: Require technical knowledge to set up the code and create your remarketing campaigns.


Review Websites

Marketing Tactic: Review Websites

A review site is a website that enables people to search for local business and check reviews and feedback on that company.

Posting your business on a review site can help with your SEO (ranking) as these website rank high in search results.

Review sites also help with building trust, authority, and reputation.

One of the downsides to review sites is, the majority of happy customers will not leave a review, while the minority of unhappy customers will leave strong negative feedback. Review sites need to be carefully managed and steps are taken to promote positive feedback.

Pros: Helps with driving online and offline foot traffic.

Cons: Review sites need to be continually monitored. Bad reviews can hurt your business.

Useful Links / Resources:


RSS Feeds

Marketing Tactic: RSS Feeds

RSS which stands for “Really Simple Syndication” is a simple method that allows users to access updates to online content.

An example of this is setting up an RSS feed to your website, which in turn notifies the subscriber when you publish a new blog post.

The advantage of this is that your key audience will be directly notified when you post something new. It also works for iTunes Podcasts, Vlogs, and all other media.

Pros: It means your target audience never miss a post.

It allows you to spy on competitors.

Cons: To maximize this tactic, you really need to be posting regularly and providing continual value.

Useful Links / Resources:


Sales Presentations

Marketing Tactic: Sales Presentations

Sales presentations are similar to free consultations; however, they differ as Sales Presentations are usually initiated by the salesperson instead of the prospect.

For many salespeople, the number of Sales Presentations they do each month is a KPI.

Pros: Usually a highly qualified audience.

Cons: You will need skills to be able to entertain, educate and persuade prospects.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Marketing Tactic: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a marketing tactic that focuses on growing the organic (non-paid) traffic to your website.

The goal is to make the website rank higher in the search results for certain keywords.

It is important to start by identifying the keywords that are relevant to your business and will provide a high volume of quality visitors.

Improving your SEO is technical in nature and involves improving your website (web code, loading time, responsiveness, user experience, backlinks etc).

It also has a creative element which involves creating quality relevant content, such as blog, articles, and videos. All these things help your website authority and reputation.

Pros: Long term results. Organic traffic is usually of higher quality as these are actively searching for your product or service.

Cons: Usually takes several months to see results. Requires an ongoing effort to maintain your position.


Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Marketing Tactic: Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are paid campaigns that allow you to bid on relevant keywords and appear in online searches.

This helps your website rank higher when customers search for terms relevant to your product or service.

The model works by selecting keywords, then paying per click when someone clicks on your advertisement.

The most popular platforms for SEM include those offered by search engines themselves, such as Google Ads (previously Google AdWords) and Bing Ads.

Typical SEM campaigns include: Text ad, Shopping ads, and Re-marketing.

Pros: Highly targets results.

Unlike SEO, you can see immediate results.

Cons: The results stop as soon as you finish spending money on campaigns.

Setting up and managing campaigns requires technical knowledge.

Useful Links / Resources:


Seminars and Workshops

Marketing Tactic: Seminars and Workshops

Seminars and workshops, either free or paid, can be a great way to build your business. Not only do they help build your brand and authority, but they help move people further down the sales funnel and make it easier to sell your products and services. When conducting a workshop or seminar, it helps build trust.

Pros: You can team up with other companies to create synergies.

Cons: Not scalable (unless video broadcasted). Can be very time consuming to set up a workshop. Ie. All the learning resources, content, takeaways, etc.


Shipping and Billing Inserts

Marketing Tactic: Shipping and Billing Inserts

Shipping and billing inserts are those cards you receive inside your parcel when you purchase something.

They are often discount vouchers that you can apply to your next order.

This tactic helps promote brand loyalty.

It is best utilized if you also provide something extra within the package, like a sweet or fridge magnet.

Pros: Cheap, easy and fast to implement. You are retargeting clients who you have already sold to.

Cons: Only works with products and services where the consumer buys more than once.


Shoppers / Circulars

Marketing Tactic: Shoppers / Circulars

Shoppers and Circulars are those marketing brochures you get in your mailbox three times a week.

For the most part, they are extremely ineffective, unless you are a corporate or a major retailer with deep pockets.

They are best used for maintaining brand awareness and market share.

This is not a tactic that is suited to small or medium business.

To make this tactic work its essential that you amazing product photos, with each week offering a new selection of products.

Pros: Helps maintain brand awareness and market share.

Cons: Although cheap to produce per unit, it’s an expensive tactic once you produce millions of shoppers each run.


Shopping Centre Promotions

Marketing Tactic: Shopping Centre Promotions

Shopping Centre Promotions are a marketing tactic used by Shopping Centre management to attract customers to the center.

Promotional activities are usually short-term events which create urgency and increase sales, such as pre-holiday weekend discounts, or mid-season sales.

Usually, these promotions will include a main attraction that offers to help drive more traffic to the event. Examples can be shows, raffles, special stands, car giveaways, kids face painting, etc.

Pros: If done correctly, a synergy can be created whereby the overall sales for the mall increase.

Cons: If the promotions are specific to certain industries, it may not benefit the other stores within the mall.


Social Media

Marketing Tactic: Social Media

Social Media marketing tactics include a variety of platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram. Each platform requires different skills, creative and even different marketing goals.

Creating a company page and sharing content on social media networks is a fast and affordable way to reach your potential audience, offer information and promote your business.

The biggest opportunity in social media is that you can engage with your customers across the entire buying cycle. From brand awareness through to consideration and decision making, and even after sales support.

Pros: Easy and inexpensive to implement. You can build a relationship with your customers and react to their needs.

Cons: It’s critical to have a well-crafted strategy and a deep understanding of your audience. Takes time to build a quality group of fans/followers.


Speaking Circuits / Keynote Speaking / Expert Panels / Lectures

Marketing Tactic: Speaking Circuits / Keynote Speaking / Expert Panels / Lectures

Offering lectures and working the speaker’s circuit can be a great way to build your personal brand and authority within an industry.

If you combine books you have written, courses, programs and elite consulting options as part of your business. You can create a synergy of products and services.

Speakers circuits work best when you leverage off other top-level presenters.

Pros: If you’re persuasive and command the audience, you can generate a good supply of new leads.

Cons: Can take up considerable time and effort in terms of planning.

You may need to pay a substantial amount of money to be popular speakers circuits.


Special Events

Marketing Tactic: Special Events

Special Events are not your usual type of marketing tactic.

They consist of hosting an industry event or party whereby experts, industry leaders, and key customers attend your event.

The goal here is to identify yourself as the event organizer, sponsor and key influencer within the whole event.

While obviously entertaining guests and VIP’s, you’ll need to find a way to educate and inform people about your products and services.

Pros: Special Events can be a great way to launch a new product or make huge announcements about upcoming developments.

Cons: Special Events can be very expensive and produce a low or no return if they are not managed correctly.


Stickers & Tags

Marketing Tactic: Stickers & Tags

Stickers are a cheap and effective way to create brand awareness.

On buildings, you’ll often see them next to doorways or in areas at “eye level”.

Sometimes car dealerships put stickers on the cars they sell. Also, mechanics put those little service date stickers on the top of your windshield.

Depending on the product or service you sell, adding stickers to your arsenal could be useful.

Pros: Very cheap to produce.

Cons: Can look cheap and tacky if you use low-quality stickers that flake off from sun damage.


Surveys / Research Studies

Marketing Tactic: Surveys / Research Studies

Surveys and research studies are a great way to get in front of cold prospects.

This can be done using the phone or an internet survey. But the quickest and easiest way is in person with a clipboard or tablet.

In person is always best, as you get immediate feedback and build brand awareness for your business.

After a few hundred surveys and talking to people, you can start to “feel the market”. You’ll have a much better understanding of what customers like and dislike.

Conducting surveys is also a great way to validate and test new products and services before releasing them into the market.

Pros: Can be cheap and extremely effective at gaining consumer intel.

Cons: You need to craft the right questions to make this a worthwhile endeavor. Also, ensure you use staff that leaves prospects feeling positive towards your company.

Useful Links / Resources:


Taxi Backs, Bus Signage, and Trams

Marketing Tactic: Taxi Backs, Bus Signage, and Trams

Taxi Backs and Buss Signs are those signs you see on the back and top of taxis.

The success of this type of marketing is dependent upon the product/service you are offering.

The main benefit of taxi backs is that the signage is mobile.

Because of the mobility and visual of the signage, taxi backs can be useful for generating awareness for events.

Pros: High visibility.

Cons: Can be expensive and ineffective depending on where the taxi operates.


Telemarketing

Marketing Tactic: Telemarketing

Telemarketing which is similar to cold calling is usually disguised as a phone survey.

Traditionally these coincide with major events. An example of this might be someone calling you to conduct a poll on a local election. They will ask you a few questions, which are cleverly disguised to promote a particular candidate.

Another example might be of someone conducting a survey on local power or phone suppliers.

Pros: Can be effective for building brand awareness and generating leads. Can also be great for promoting events.

Cons: If you use an agency, it can become very expensive. If not done correctly, it can be seen as spam and thus harm your brand.


Television Commercials and Infomercials

Marketing Tactic: Television Commercials and Infomercials

One f the more expensive forms of marketing.

As a form of blanket marketing, you need to be very selective about when your commercials are aired.

It could be certain times of the day or connected with selected tv shows.

Because of the costs and resources required to produce commercials, they are typically dominated by international companies and large brands. As such, tv commercials are not suitable for most small businesses.

Depending on your product or service. There are opportunities to create more cost-effective tv commercials by utilizing local and regional tv channels.

Pros: More effectively for broad audiences and building brand awareness.

Cons: Expensive and hard to measure. Less effective your younger demographics.


Testimonials, Reviews, and Endorsements

Marketing Tactic: Testimonials, Reviews and Endorsements

Testimonials are a core aspect of social proof. You need to have them across websites and all your marketing collateral.

Many people who are interested in your product will only buy it if they read a glowing review of your product.

Testimonials need to be written in a way that makes the prospect emotionally connect with the experience.

This tactic is especially critical for e-commerce stores, with many customers vigorously checking the reviews before purchasing.

Endorsements are similar to testimonials; however, they are usually done by people who have high social influence.

Pros: Free to set up. Builds credibility.

Cons: Can take some time to gather a number of high-quality testimonials.


Text Messages / SMS marketing

Marketing Tactic: Text Messages / SMS marketing

SMS marketing (Short Message Service Marketing) is a marketing tactic that sends promotional mobile text messages such as new products, specials, and updates. It can also be used to remind customers of special events or appointment times.

This marketing tactic is permission-based, meaning the recipient needs to give you permission before you can send offers.

SMS marketing only works for short messages. However, you can send links to landing pages or specific sites.

Pros: Cost effective. Great for last minute offers, food delivery, etc. You can reach thousands of people in a matter of seconds.

Cons: You need to remain compliant with anti-spam laws. I.e. Opt-In/Opt-Out.


Trade Longer / Different Hours

Marketing Tactic: Trade Longer / Different Hours

As the title says. A simple but effective concept. If you have a business that is not online based, and you need to service customers, it might be a great idea to trade outside of normal trading hours.

As many customers will be working during the day, you could greatly benefit from trading outside those hours. A common example of this: Thursday late night hairdressers, mortgage brokers, etc.

Pros: You can gain sales that would not otherwise exist. You can provide better service to customers.

Cons: You’ll need to work longer hours, or possibly pay people penalty rates for abnormal hours.


Twitter

Marketing Tactic: Twitter

Twitter can be a powerful tool to help you market your business. Especially for young demographics with over 313 million active monthly users.

Due to its dynamic nature, Twitter has over 7,000 new tweets every second.

You’ll need to have a cleverly crafted and well-defined content strategy, and continually make efforts to ensure your message stands out to gain attention.

Pros: Great for sharing information and creating brand awareness. Can aid in market research.

Cons: Will work best for brands with a younger audience. Less effective for lead generation.

Useful Links / Resources:


Uniforms / Name Tags

Marketing Tactic: Uniforms / Name Tags

A simple and effective marketing tool.

Uniforms are another extension of your brand. Having uniformed staff with name tags makes the customer experience easier to navigate.

Nothing is worse than going into a store and not knowing who the staff members are.

It’s also a professional look when uniformed employees arrive at someone’s house with smart looking uniforms with name tags.

It gives people a feeling of trust, and that you know what you’re doing.

Pros: Cheap, easy. A real must have. Your team members look much more professional.

Cons: If you have staff working onsite that act in a disorderly manner, your company can be easily identified. Similar to having sign written vehicles, it can hurt your brand if employees act in an unsuitable manner.


Video / In-store Displays

Marketing Tactic: Video / In-store Displays

Video indoor displays can be a great way to educate and showcase your products.

Take for example a new type of kayak; if you have an amazing in-store video of the kayak being used in the rapids, it can show the product being demonstrated in a way not possible in a store setting.

Customers can better imagine themselves using the product, and how it might feel to be using it.

Pros: Instore videos can help with the overall consumer experience. They can demonstrate a product instore that would not be possible otherwise.

Cons: Creating a video for multiple products can be very expensive.


Video Marketing

Marketing Tactic: Video Marketing

Video marketing has become one of the most popular ways to promote your products and services and can be highly effective in engaging and building a relationship with your customers.

Video formats can vary from explainer videos, “how to” guides, vlogs, and promotional video ads.

The biggest video platform is YouTube over 1.8 billion users. You can also share and market your videos across various social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, Snapchat and WeChat.

Pros: Great for SEO, social engagement and building backlinks to your site.

You can educate your audience about who you are as a brand and highlight the benefits of your products and services.

Cons: Videos need to be of high quality to be effective.

Useful Links / Resources:

YouTube Ads


Webinars

Marketing Tactic: Webinars

Webinars are online seminars that are video recorded; they can be Live or Pre-recorded. The premise of a webinar is that you will use a lead generation initiative that will prompt people to register for the event.

Webinars can be an effective tool to engage with your audience, educate them and promote your offer. They are a great way to develop authority and trust.

Once you’ve recorded and set up your webinar, you can use it over and over again.

Pros: Affordable and saleable. Helps to create brand awareness and establish a relationship with your target audience.

Cons: Setting up the webinar can take time and requires planning and skills.


Website

Marketing Tactic: Website

Websites are just another extension of your branding colleterial. As such, they need to reflect the values your company represents. Providing high-quality content on your products and services is paramount.

Customers are very web savvy; they have no patience for old slow websites. Ensure your website is responsive as more than 70% of online searches are from mobile devices. User experience is key.

Websites are only effective if you have sufficient traffic coming to your site. This is where digital marketing comes into the equation.

Pros: 24/7 Salesperson. Scalable, ie. You can sell all over the world.

Cons: Having a poor website will affect your reputation.


Window Displays and Sidewalk Signage

Marketing Tactic: Window Displays and Sidewalk Signage

Window displays are a traditional way of attracting customers into your bricks and mortar store. They work best when you have high volumes of foot traffic. Combining this with special offers will give you great results.

Pros: You can showcase the newest and best products. Additionally, you can get customers through your doors that wouldn’t normally come in.

Cons: Very localized marketing. You will need to change your window displays continually.

Why Evaluating Your Business Is The Most Important Thing You Can Do In 2019

Evaluating your business, auditing it, giving it a health check, popping the bonnet under the hood of your business, whatever you want to call it. All businesses need to be analyzed and evaluated on a regular basis to ensure that they remain healthy, competitive, and heading in the direction that the owners intend.

Evaluating your business has often been a task that is overlooked by business owners as most of their time is spent working in the business and managing the daily tasks.

Not much has been written on the subject of business evaluations and the importance of business owners stepping back periodically and taking a good look at their business from the outside.

Below are the top seven reasons why evaluating your business is vital with business changing at such a rapid rate.

1. Evaluating your business can identify risks, problems, and issues before they occur.

On average, over 60% of businesses are profitable before they go into receivership or bankruptcy. This means that some of these businesses are “good businesses,” but still manage to fail.

Most businesses that go under, don’t go under because of some catastrophic event, but because there have been many tasks that they have, or have not been doing over an extended period of time.

By completing an evaluation and taking the time to step back and have a look at your business, you can often identify problems and issues before they get out of control.

The old saying of “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” rings true. If you don’t evaluate your business, it can be hard to put the finger on what the issues are.

2. You have blind spots!

As the saying goes, you can’t proof your own work. It’s very hard for people to objectively look at their business and fairly recognize the holes and mistakes that they might have and inadequacy within the business. This is especially true if you have been involved in the industry or business for a very long time.

This is the main reason why people get business advisors and business coaches involved. They want someone from the outside to help them with their business that’s coming at it from a different angle.

3. You don’t know what you don’t know. So, ask and find out!

As a business advisor, you come across many interesting people. I had a discussion with a guy one day, and I asked him a question, “How do you quote on your jobs?”
He proceeded to explain in great detail how he priced his jobs. To my amazement, he had been misquoting his work for the last 25 years. Now, I don’t mean he quoted differently, I mean incorrectly!
He was under-pricing his work substantially in relation to industry averages. He didn’t know what his competitors were charging; he was in a race to the bottom all by himself.This practice over a period of 25 years had him losing money (leaving money on the table) on every job.
Now, if we take a figure of $15,000 per year (loss), and we span that out over 25 years, we could say that this person lost $375,000 in revenue.
For a solo operator, that’s a chunk of change.

The lesson here is having a deep understanding of your industry, and make sure you know everything there is to know about it.

4. Know the key areas of your business.

A solid evaluation should cover the following areas (see list below).
Examining these key areas will ensure the greatest chance of success and reduce your business risk.

Business Strategy

  • Business Strategy Plan
  • Cost Reduction
  • Compliance and Risk
  • Legal
  • Process Improvement
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Benchmarking
  • New Product / Service Development

Marketing

  • Marketing Strategy
  • Branding
  • Website
  • SEO
  • Digital Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Lead Generation

Sales

  • Business Development / Sales Strategy
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Quoting
  • Tendering
  • Pricing

Customer Service

  • Customer Service Policies
  • Measure and Analysis
 

Human Resource

  • Recruitment
  • Training and Development
  • Employee Incentives and KPI’s
  • Workplace Culture

Leadership & Wellbeing

  • Time Management
  • Wellbeing
  • Leadership and Direction

Accounting & Finance

  • Bookkeeping
  • Tax Compliance
  • Payroll Administration
  • Financial and Cash Flow Forecasting
  • Financial Goals
  • Budget Management
  • Financial Policies and Procedures
  • Financial Performance

Operations

  • Operation Management
  • Administration

Technology

  • Productivity
  • Cloud and Infrastructure
  • Cyber Security

5. You have limited resources. Identifying what to focus on is vital.

Most small businesses don’t have an endless supply of funds, time, and resources to achieve their goals.
This brings me to my next point of identifying and focusing on the key tasks that are going to drive your business forward. But in order to get to that point, you first have to understand your business; what’s going on and what are the things that are going to generate the greatest impact.
One lesson SME’s can learn from private equity and venture capital firms is; when working for a company, they identify what the industry’s 3-5 must-wins are.

They focus on the key things that drive a business forward. What this does is that it creates a laser-like focus on the activities that are going to produce the greatest results for the least amount of resources possible, thus maximizing their return.

What solo, small, and medium businesses can take from this is that once you have evaluated your business and you’ve identified your must-wins, you can then allocate the required resources to achieve those tasks and disregard other tasks that have little or no value.

Below is an example of a chart that shows the different pain points within the business. You can see which initiatives are the most important based on Impact and Priority.

Pain points within the business chart


Click below to download your free “Business Pain Points” chart:


6. Evaluating your business helps with planning your business strategy and tactics moving forward.

In terms of business planning and strategy, as discussed earlier, businesses have limited resources for achieving initiatives.
Evaluating your business and identifying the areas that you need to work on helps with the business planning process. It enables business owners to focus on tasks that need to be completed over three months, six months, and 12-month periods.

This type of planning enables team members to concentrate on tasks that are going to have a direct impact on the profitability and competitiveness of the company.

Typically, after an evaluation has been completed, business owners can break tasks up into:

  • 100-day Plan
  • 6-month Target
  • 12-month Target
  • 18-month Target

This can also be supplemented with monthly reporting and adjusting your KPI’s accordingly.

7. Give your team and advisors a higher learning curve position.

We should all strive to buy a high learning curve position; i.e., we want to gain the greatest amount of information in the shortest time possible so that we can make better-informed decisions.
This also applies when utilizing the resources of a business advisor. Business advisors, like many other service providers, want to provide the highest value possible to their clients.
To do this, they need to have a deep understanding of your business. The more they know about your business, the better, and higher value information they can provide. There is nothing worse for an advisor to find out several months after the initial engagement that crucial pieces of information have been undiscovered.

Do yourself and your advisor a favor by giving your business a full evaluation before you engage in their services. Give your advisor a strong starting point. You want your business advisor to be thinking of ways to double or triple your business in the next 12 months.
You want them to be focusing on things, such as scaling your product, creating leverage, joint ventures, and alliances. Things that are really going to grow your sales. You don’t want them working on tasks that are not going to directly drive growth.

Recap

No matter what stage or size of your business, by conducting a business evaluation you will better identify opportunities to create growth and sustainability.

After identifying these growth initiatives, you’ll reduce mistakes and gain a better return on your time.
Business evaluations give owners a helicopter view of the business that allows them to analyze key areas of their business in one concise document.

Below is an example of the overview page from the Strategy States Business Evaluation:

Overview page Strategy States Business Evaluation

Like to find out more about how you can evaluate your business and take things to the next level? Read more about the product.