Category Archives: Networking

Building Relationships Takes Time

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I recently talked to a small business owner who has marketed her products using traditional marketing methods (brochures, ads, brochure type website) for 6 months. Her results have been way below expectations. She has gained 2 new customers through word-of-mouth marketing. One of her ideas she shared with me was to discontinue her current marketing efforts and concentrate on word-of-mouth marketing. She is a work-at-home entrepreneur with limited resources and a very small marketing budget. Her plans include starting a blog.

In my efforts to encourage her and create a marketing plan for her company, I re-read some chapters of Mitch Meyerson’s excellent book “Mastering Online Marketing”. Information on page 119 caught my eye:

Did you know that

37 % of interested prospects take 0-3 months to become customers

28% of interested prospects take 3-6 months to become customers

18% of interested prospects take 6-12 months to become customers

And did you know that

48% sales people give up after the first contact

25% more give up after the second contact

12% stop trying after the third contact

5% cease after the fourth contact

90% of leads never get followed up more than 4 times

Business owners really have to be committed to devoting the time and patience necessary to the conversion process.

 

 

Ten Affordable Small Business Marketing Ideas

  • Start a networking group or a book club at Meetup or Facebook. Encourage participation, organize contests. Have participants donate giveaway prizes.
  • Start or reinvent your blog. Free blogging platforms: Blogger and Live Journal. I am partial to WordPress as it is more than just a blogging platform, it is a publishing platform.
  • Create meaningful PowerPoint presentations. Go to Slideshare for fresh ideas and inspiration and learn how the effectiveness and rules of PowerPoint presentations have changed. Upload your presentation to Slideshare.
  • Bake a batch of tasty cookies, package them nicely and take or send to your customer’s office.
  • Buy an affordable video camera at Best Buy and create some instructional “How To” videos. Post them to your blog or website.
  • Send a free press release announcing your new product or service at PRlog.
  • Write a brochure or book covering topics that interest your target market. Publish it for free on Lulu, make available on your website or blog.
  • Give practical gifts to your prospects and customers such as VISA gift cards (they can use them as they see fit) or John Jantsch’s book Duct Tape Marketing that includes money-saving coupons.
  • Use a WordPress theme to create a new website or redesign your existing website. Themes are search engine optimized, prices start at below $30.00. If you know how to use WordPress – you will have your fresh site up and running shortly.

Indexed Outlook – Marketer’s Dream

Millions of people including myself use Outlook as their main email program. Many of these users are frustrated when they can’t find email addresses and phone numbers they are looking for. Outlook can also slow down significantly. A company, called Xobni was created to fix these problems.

“Using Outlook today is like taking a Volkswagen Beetle into space,” founder Mr. Adam Smith said. “People are kind of exerting all these stresses upon it that it wasn’t originally designed to withstand.”

Xobni is introducing a new downloadable tool that plugs into Outlook. This tool indexes all the e-mail in Outlook and makes messages quickly and easily searchable. It is available at www.xobni.com.

Small Business Owners and Social Networking

Salesconx, a growing online business referral company, recently surveyed 700 small business owners across North America in an effort to understand how they value new client relationships, approach lead generation and how they utilize the Internet’s networking features.

Survey findings indicated that word-of mouth and client referrals are the main source of new client acquisition for small businesses. Most small businesses are slow at implementing new marketplace techniques. Why?

Small business owners are concerned about the expense and they mistrust unfamiliar marketing methods. While Facebook has 50 million users and LinkedIn has 14 million users, only 11% of survey respondents noted that they belong to either of these communities. 79% of the participants do not belong to social or professional network.

Referral and word of mouth account for nearly 50% of all new business for surveyed small business owners, however, only 9% are using online lead generation. I could not find any data about the age of the small business owners who were surveyed, but I know several small business owners who are 45 or older and need help understanding or learning Web 2.0. They state they don’t have time for social networking. They view social networks as popularity contests as well as question the importance of online networking . Many of them still don’t have websites.

I keep learning and teaching them in the process….

Traditional versus online marketing

 

Things happen fast these days…..The ink has not dried yet on the brand new marketing kit you were planning to mail to your prospects in a few days when you find out your competitors have uploaded another new podcast to their website featuring added services.  Their updated marketing materials can be downloaded off their site. Their blog has recently been updated as well. Did you miss the train again?  Should you even bother creating brochures and mailing them out?

Prospects and customers need information faster and faster to make important decisions and move on. 

Small business owners need to be adaptive to their customers’ needs and trends, therefore they can’t set their marketing plans in stone.  Marketing plans need to be reviewed and updated frequently.

Some things have not changed.  Networking and word of mouth referrals still remain strong.  Here are some useful tips for 2008:

Some rules from One Phone Call Away: Secrets of a Master Networker by Jeffrey W. Meshel and Douglas Garr

  1. What you know facilitates who you know.
  2. Make the person you are speaking with feel like he or she is the most important person you know (relatively speaking, of course).
  3. At each new stage of life we don’t “graduate from,” we “graduate to.”
  4. Good judgment comes from experience.
  5. Experience comes from bad judgment.
  6. The one thing you go to your grave with is your reputation.
  7. Plant a lot of seeds. They will turn into trees.
  8. Share unrelated values and opportunities. Your relationships will appreciate it, and loyalties will grow.
  9. Are you viewed as smart and sharp at what you do?
  10. Are you viewed as a giver or a taker?
  11. Do others think you are connected?
  12. Are you well liked by your peers; are you viewed as a good person?
  13. Do people respect your opinion?
  14. Are you ever overbearing or overanxious when making a point?
  15. The perception may be wrong, but it doesn’t matter. Perception is reality.
  16. Drive yourself to be better – every day.
  17. Shyness may be a personality characteristic, but it need not be lifelong. If you’re shy, work to overcome it.

Facebook

Facebook privacy settings keep names, photos out of search engines

By now, the names and photos of Facebook’s 40 million users are available to anyone who searches for a name on Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. The full profile of a user, which includes their interests, hometown, birthdate, and friends, is not viewable.

It’s good business for Facebook, which is projecting that the IDs will attract millions more people to their site, making it far more profitable. At the same time, the move has set off privacy alarms among customers who don’t want their listings to be public information.

The public searches show any Facebook member with a search privacy setting set to “Everyone.” Individual users, however, can change the setting and opt out of public searches.

Facebook started as a network for college students and expanded to include high schools and workplace networks. It has increased its membership four fold since it make its service available to everyone a year ago.

Now the company is placing more targeted ads on its site in order to generate even more income.

Many who are familiar with Facebook’s change in policy say the company has preserved its sensitivity to privacy by limiting profile listings, giving customers a chance to opt out, and giving them fair warning of the policy change.