Dear business owner,
If you want (or need) to improve your marketing and sales, this is the right place for you. You may not be happy with the leads you generate, or you may not be happy with the “conversion rate” – how many leads you convert into paying customers, or you may not be happy with the prices you´re getting, forced to compete on price with your competition.
Whatever it is, here you´ll find help. HOWEVER: marketing and sales require time, resource, investment and work – nothing will change just from reading this article! If you want or need to “do something” about growing your business, but you´re not the “kind of guy” who would study and implement the strategies, than FIND someone who will!
I´m serious about that: If you are not going to put in the time and do the work, FIND someone who will! And I´m not telling you to hire a “marketing agency” (although quite often it´s a smart thing to do), just get someone working for you in your business, or someone in your family, or a friend who is looking for new opportunities, and make him the “sales and marketing guy”, let him go through our free training and education and let him be in charge of developing your business, generating more quality leads and converting them into clients.
Pick someone (your son, your niece, your granddaughter – I don´t care!), let him/her learn the stuff, and let him/her do the work! The positive side effect will be: he or she will learn something that lets her make a living and earn a decent income in an increasingly more competitive world!
So, if you´re not the guy willing to do the work, just forward the link to this website to the person who will! Let them do the training, and – more importantly – require them to implement it! Otherwise, nothing will change; or if it changes, it will become worse …
OK, now that we´ve clarified this, let´s get started:
What should you do to improve sales and marketing?
In today’s economy, marketing and sales are becoming increasingly more confusing and complicated. There are so many options and possibilities out there, that a business owner becomes confused about what to do, which option to pursue and which to ignore? Should you run paid advertising on Google? Should you focus on blogging and writing great articles? Should you run a fan page on Facebook to engage your customers and potential clients? And what about Instagram, should you have an account there? Is Twitter the right thing for you? And what about LinkedIn – should you work on a great profile there and spend your time in LinkedIn-groups?
What is a good way to generate leads, and what is only going to waste your time and money?
More options and more choices leads to more confusion …
So, the first goal is to figure out WHAT you should be concentrating on – what is going make sense, and what is going to just waste your time.
And there are basically 2 ways to do that:
One way, that we strongly advocate, is keeping an eye on your competition – on those who are successful in generating leads and making sales. That´s why we recommend to reverse engineer successful marketing campaigns and watch, how the leaders in your industry are growing their businesses.
The other way is to study your potential customers, especially their decision making process.
But let´s start with the first – keeping an eye on your competition.
Learning from your successful competitors
When you monitor your competition, you´ll usually find that there are 2 ways to grow a business, one is through joint ventures, alliances, referrals, M & A, the other is trough paid advertising. You should be looking to reverse engineer both, evaluate them and model the once that are most likely to work for you!
How to monitor, reverse engineer and model the first type?
Let me give you one example from a client I worked with:
A few years ago I was advising a small company that was producing solar panels in Germany and wanted to grow their business.
The first thing we did is to check out what the market leaders, companies such as First Solar or Yingli are doing. I went to their websites and studied their press releases, paying attention to the Joint Ventures they´ve created, the companies they´ve acquired etc.
I found that one of the main strategies to grow was to acquire project development companies, thereby “forcing” them to develop all future solar projects with First-Solar or respectively Yingli solar modules.
Great, but unfortunately my client didn´t have the money to go out and just buy project development companies and they couldn´t obtain bank or venture capital financing for that purpose. So we had to “change” a little bit the approach and try to find different ways to basically achieve the same outcome.
So I came up with the idea to approach (small) project development companies and – instead of immediately buying them – just offer them a joint venture, where my clients offer them help and added value in exchange for exclusivity, which means the developer makes all his projects with modules from my client. We had a lot of talks with developers to figure out, what we can offer them that has high value and would induce them to grant us exclusivity and we have been able to strike a few mutually beneficial joint ventures that helped my client to significantly grow his business!
That´s how you want to do it: figure out, what the “big guys” are doing, and model it at a smaller scale by doing something that will produce the same effect (in our case: exclusivity).
As I said: One good way is to systematically check out their websites or just do a Google search for press releases. You also may do Google searches for
“(company name) + strategic alliance”
“(company name) + joint venture”
“(company name) + acquisition” or “acquired” etc.
Another great way is to set up “Google Alerts” for those keywords – whenever Google finds information on the internet with those keywords, it´ll let you know.
The other thing you should be monitoring and reverse engineering is their paid advertising strategies: Where are they running ads successfully and how are the successful campaigns looking?
There are a lot of “competitive intelligence tools” out there, and some of them offer free versions or trial periods, that will help you reverse engineer, what advertising campaigns are working for your competitors.
For more on this topic, I recommend you check out my article:
So, let´s recap:
- Check out how the most successful companies in your industry are growing
- Evaluate their strategies if they would work for you as well and, if necessary,
- Change and adapt them, so that they work for you.
Once you do the research, you´ll know what´s really working in your industry and what you should be focusing your marketing efforts on.
Maybe you´ll find out that the “winning” marketing strategies in your industry are setting up joint ventures with certain type of businesses and running paid ads on the Google search network, offering a discount or a free consulting session.
Whatever it is, you´ll know it!
But learning from the most successful competitors is in our opinion only half of what you should be doing. The other, maybe even more important part, is:
Study your (potential) customers and their decision making process.
What do I mean by that? Think about this:
How are you buying a book?
How are you picking a place to grab a pizza with your buddies?
How are you finding and recommending a heart surgeon for someone?
Chances are, your decision making process in all those cases isn´t exactly the same.
For example, when I´m buying books I quite often go to Amazon and read the reviews, than I download the free sample. And I guess, I´m not the only one doing this.
So, if you are a writer, and guys like me are your target group, it would be smart to sell on Amazon and stimulate great reviews, right? Because that is where your potential buyers are and the reviews is one of their important criteria to choose a book.
When it comes to grabbing a pizza somewhere, a coupon / discount may work with me; chances are, more guys like me are deciding the same way. So, if you´re selling pizza and I am your target customer, make sure I see a coupon. Since I am hanging out on Facebook, offering that coupon on Facebook might be a good idea.
Now, if I had to research and recommend a heart surgeon, a “coupon” or discount won´t really work. Since this is literally about “life and death”, I´ll make sure the surgeon has an outstanding reputation, works for a great hospital, is a professor etc. I´ll go through his biography to make sure that he really is “the best”.
So, if you are a heart surgeon, you want to make sure that your biography, credentials, reputation etc. are available online and demonstrate that you´re the best – it comes down to positioning.
So, you need to study and know, how YOUR potential clients are forming their purchasing decision,
- how and where they start looking for a solution
- what they are paying attention to
- when and how they are comparing the different options and
- how and why are they arriving at the final decision
And you want to make sure that you “appear” early in that process and form/shape their criteria and decision making process, provide proof that you meet them, so that they end up choosing you instead of your competition.
Those are basically the steps we recommend if you want to improve your marketing and grow your business, and congrats – that was a loooooooong article and lots of information for you to swallow!
What now? Next step we recommend is to:
1.Sign up for our newsletter (upper right hand corner) to get weekly updates and tips. It´s free and you can cancel at any time. (… btw: when you sign up today, you´ll get a special gift as well!)
2. Then, check out our other free articles for more in-depth information and training:
To learn more about reverse engineering the competition, we recommend these articles:
To figure out, if traffic sources, like Google or Facebook might work for you, we recommend:
To sell more and better, we recommend:
For learning the essentials and getting a strong foundation when it comes to business and marketing, we recommend:
And, if you want to take your business to the next level and generate more clients, check out the Business Growth Club:
To your success,