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The must-have techniques you need to have in your small business’ 2019 Marketing Plan

Marketing your business is often a daunting task for a small business owner or entrepreneur -- but it doesn’t have to be. With small and consistent steps, you can get your 2019 marketing plan humming while keeping your budget happy in no time. Here are my top 10 marketing strategies, that won’t break the bank:

  1. Make it Personal

Today’s consumer is getting more and more tired of impersonal touches and cold calls. Think about it: When was the last time you received a telemarketing call or email from a company you’ve never heard of, and made a purchase? My guess is never. Your potential clients will never make that purchase either, no matter how great your script is. Personalized marketing takes a lot more time and effort than spam and impersonal marketing, but it is completely worth it. Take the time to get to know your leads and prospects. Find and follow them on social media. Read their tweets to learn what they care about.

When you take the time to learn about someone, you’ll be better equipped to help them with a problem in only the unique way you can. You don’t want to get creepy here. You just want to build a level of interest, trust and openness to what you are offering your prospect. And, if it turns out your product or service can’t help that prospect, they’ll remember your personalized service when a friend of theirs is in need of your help.

  1. Spend Your Marketing Budget Online…

It’s a Digital World. The days of effective television, newspaper, magazine and radio advertising are gone, in my opinion. You just can’t argue with the stats: more than 75 percent of Millennials rely on social media to make purchasing decisions. The big players are Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Pinterest (for some niche businesses). I know it’s tempting to bite when a newspaper advertising rep gives you a call and offers you a great deal on some advertising space. They’ll insist your target market reads the section they are selling you. But think about it. If they don’t sell, they don’t make money.

I once had a newspaper ad rep pay me a visit, offering me an outstanding deal -- in the newspaper’s TV guide. She insisted my prospects -- local golfers who can afford to spend $1,000+ a month on golf -- read that section. She based her argument on the fact that local residents age 80 and older were reading that section, and was not taking a good look at who my prospects actually were. Newspapers are dying for a reason -- no one is reading them. Don’t place an ad in a publication no one reads.

And television? Completely overpriced for the average small business. Pay attention to the commercials you see; they are almost all national brands, not local, small businesses. Trust me, you’ll get a far bigger bang for your buck on social media. Put your ad dollars there first.

  1. … and Also Try Direct Mail

Direct mail marketing fell out of favor with the advent of email marketing. As a result, our snail mailboxes are ad-free, with the exception of election season. Take advantage of that. You have a captive audience when you are the only electrician in the area postcarding the specific neighborhoods, specific annual incomes and specific household types you want to target. Services like InfoUSA and ExactData both offer mailing lists at very reasonable prices. As a matter of fact, you can tell them exactly how much you want to spend.

Another route (no pun intended) is the Postal Service’s Every Door Direct Mail. With this, you can choose which neighborhoods and zip codes you’d like to target, and hit as many neighborhoods as you can afford. I’d recommend using an EDDM service that will print and mail your postcards for you, because the Postal Services rules and quirks on this program can get hairy. Still, it’s a fairly cost effective way to get your marketing message out to a good deal of people you have identified as possibly needing your product or service.

  1. Vary Your Marketing

Don’t rely on just Facebook, or just postcarding, or just referrals. Just like an effective diet, an effective marketing program is well rounded and everything is served in moderation. You want your marketing program to include as much of the following as is practical: daily social media posting; consistent social media advertising; consistent blogging; regular email touches to your leads; regular phone calls to your leads; postcarding; personal notes sent via mail; free, helpful content on your website; updated printed collateral; a customer retention program; a customer referral program; productive networking practices; trade shows; and texting. Your aim is to do as many of these marketing tasks as possible and on a consistent basis. Keep rinsing and repeating, and you’ll begin to see good results.

  1. Appeal to Emotions

I have found that the most effective marketing campaigns elicit emotion. Your customer has a problem, and you are the solution. So, think about the emotions surrounding the problem and solution. For example, a leaky sink could create feelings of stress and helplessness in some people. Now, think about how a plumbing business would meet that solution. If the service is speedy, friendly and professional, the homeowner will likely feel like you’re their hero, and will feel a great sense of relief. Your marketing message should revolve around those emotions.

What is important for most business owners to understand is most purchasing decisions are made based on emotions, and not on logic. Purchasing a piece of jewelry is not a logical decision (in most cases). No one NEEDS another piece of jewelry; we WANT it. The decision to purchase that 54th pair of earrings is an emotional decision, not a logical one. This is another reason to base your marketing campaigns on emotions, not logic.

  1. Implement a Habit Forming Program

The building blocks to all goals lies in habits. If your product or service can help a customer meet a goal, if you’d like repeat business, or if you want your customers to refer new business to you, you should be implementing habit forming. The best example of this is the dental industry, in my opinion. My goal is to keep a healthy mouth, free of pain. In order to meet that goal, I need to form a daily habit of brushing and flossing, and a bi-annual habit of seeing my dentist for a cleaning and to take care of any issues immediately. Goal, meet habits. My dentist could take this idea a step further by offering a discounted or free service or product if I refer a new patient to her.

If your customer’s goal is to improve their golf game, you’ll want to offer them personal, one-on-one lessons and clinics regularly to help them. If you’re a coffee shop, simply offering your customers a loyalty card or app that gives them a free drink after a set number of purchases is a great way to build loyalty and return business.

  1. The FOMO is Real

FOMO (fear of missing out) is defined as anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website. We’ve all experienced this. Use it to your advantage by posting testimonials, pictures of events you’ve thrown, customers enjoying your product or service or pictures or testimonials of problems solved by you. Your message with FOMO-type marketing should be something like, “don’t miss out!” or “limited space available!”

  1. Try Making it an Experience

78 percent of Millennials are spending their disposable money on experiences -- spas, fitness, dining, events, sports, etc. Why not create some fun and unique events around your product and service, and get a little piece of that pie? We are seeing a lot of this with wineries, breweries and yoga instructors. Now more than ever, we like social activities with our friends while doing something fun. Why not invite your previous plumbing customers to an aqua aerobics class? Or invite your electrical customers to a night of DIY fun making their own lamps? Charge nothing, or just enough to cover your costs. Either way, your customers will remember you for sure the next time they need your help -- or the next time someone they know is asking for help.

  1. Show Them What Counts to You

Are you a chiropractor with a special love for homeless kittens? Are you a nail salon that donates your services to homeless women on their way to a job interview? Talk about it on social media, and mention it in your collateral. Make sure to not do this in an exploitive way -- keep it casual. 40 percent of online users are sharing and reposting things that are close to their hearts, and if you support a cause or work on causes in your community, chances are there are prospects out there who think that’s great and will think of you the next time they need your help.

  1. Finally, Keep it BRIEF

I find the most popular Instagram posts only show pictures, not a lot of words. This goes back to the Emotional Marketing in this aspect. A picture really can say a million words. So let them. Even your postcards should be short on verbage, focusing instead on the emotional message you are trying to convey and the call to action you want them to make. The average person has an attention span about a second shorter than a goldfish -- 8 seconds. You have about 7 words to get your message across in a headline. That’s it! Keep the details on your website or blog, and drive traffic to those details with your advertising.

BONUS TIP: Get a Consultation

Are you completely overwhelmed after getting through my Top 10? No worries! I love to help, and I am offering readers who got to this bonus tip a FREE 10-minute consultation with me to determine what your next marketing step should be in your business. No strings, no gotchas. Complete the form below and I will personally be contacting you to set up a time to chat. You have no further obligations, I promise.

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