Direct Response or Bust!

Posted by markdevincentis on July 2, 2018

If you are running or own a business, do you utilize direct response marketing in your strategic marketing plan? If you don’t…why not?

Direct response marketing is a marketing tactic that demands a direct response from your potential customers.

This type of marketing is used to answer questions, present your branding, your products or services and the reasons you do what you do.

Customers love, love, love this, as they are offered the opportunity to provide a response, whether that response be in the way of signing up for a newsletter, posting a comment on your site or blog, or purchasing from you.

So, what does direct response marketing look like? Well, it comes in many forms, including:
• Direct mail (My next blog topic will be on direct mail and why it isn’t dead yet)
• Print ads
• Radio and TV ads
• Coupons or other incentives
• Telemarketing

Some of the advantages of direct marketing are:
• A great way to use free time during lulls in business
• Productive way to communicate and empower you to create more relationships
• Great way to up-sell and cross-sell to current customers
• Low cost way to rustle up new business
• Supplement your current marketing program (Actually if you do not utilize direct response marketing, you most likely do not have much of a marketing program)
• Cost-effective way to reach target markets
• Offers to you measurable results
• Allows your business the opportunity to reach outside your local area for new business
• Will definitely Increase the effectiveness of your sales force

These are all great things that can come from just taking a few simple steps to putting together a direct response marketing plan and executing it (The most important part.)

“I honestly don’t think you’ll ever find a safer, lower-risk, higher-profit method of increasing your business or profession than direct-response marketing.” Jay Abraham

Direct response marketing is one of the best ways to launch your business on a large scale and reach out to everyone in your target market whether they are in your local area or not.

Our NO-COST test drive can help you put together a great direct response marketing plan and get your business thriving, not just surviving.

Contact me for more information at:
mark@bottomlineconsulting.org

Thank you for reading.

Mark

Do You Suffer From SOS?

Posted by markdevincentis on June 2, 2018

There isn’t a week that goes by, that I do not talk to a business owner who suffers from what is commonly known as the “Shiny Object Syndrome” (Or SOS for short).

Now before I get a slew of messages telling me that there is no known syndrome with this name recognized by psychiatrists, I am sure that is true. However, this is a real condition that does affect business people to the point where it hurts their business.

In an effort to show some transparency here, I too have suffered from SOS. As I look around my office at the various programs I have bought, or email newsletters I have subscribed to, I have my own personal “oh bleep” moment for wasting time and mostly money.

SOS in some cases is such a detriment to a business, that it can be the single reason a business just survives (Or not) vs THRIVES in their marketplace.

Here is an example of an owner I spoke to a few weeks ago that perfectly exemplifies what I am writing about…

Her business was struggling, and she was having a hard time making traction. She had been in business for a few years but was frustrated with her lack of growing revenues and profits. She could not understand why her marketing was not driving huge sales into her business.

In our conversation she told me she had purchased 4 different marketing “Systems” from 4 different marketing “Gurus” (She asked me if I was a marketing “guru”, I informed her I wasn’t and who calls themselves a “guru” anyways?)

Now these systems cost her around $20,000 and they were all purchased over a 2-year period approximately. But they weren’t working for her and she felt she got “ripped off”.

I did not ask what programs she purchased or even what she did not like about them. It was irrelevant to her situation. The issue was not that she had purchased the wrong programs, the primary issue was simply a lack of focus, patience and clarity. And that is an internal issue, not an external issue.

We all get distracted. It is easy to listen to the noise, especially if we are working from a place of “scarcity”. All business people who want to excel are open to new ideas and thoughts.

So how do you know you have SOS?

1. Sometimes it is as easy to see as looking around your office or going into your email box and looking at all the emails + newsletters from “experts” you don’t even have time to open (and forget why you even signed up for them). Yes, I speak from personal experience here.
2. Are you finishing your projects you start? (Again, personal experience)
3. Do you start multiple projects that compete for the same result?
4. Is your “to do” list manageable? (Yup, I own this one too)
5. Do you have a plan for your business regarding marketing, sales and growth? I am talking long term (1 year plus) vs what you want for the next 7 days.

How to control SOS? Here are suggestions I give my clients:

1. Be patient. Have an idea, thought or service you want to try? I suggest waiting a bit. Being impulsive can hurt your business and if you have a staff, it can confuse the heck out of them.
2. Control the number of projects you start and delegate when you can.
3. Before starting a project, buying a service or investing in a new product, ask yourself how this will move your business forward?
4. Set realistic expectations for yourself and your business. Forgive yourself when you go off track…but then get back on track.
5. Plan. Short term / long term. Project based. Just plan. And when you are done planning, give it a chance to work (minimum 90 days for a marketing strategy).
6. Be consistent in your activities and make your activities supportive of your plan.
7. Find a mentor, coach or consultant you can trust. As business people we can get lost in our own business and not see solutions to what ails the business, because we are too busy working the business.

While I coach people, I also have mentors and those that coach me. It helps me better at everything I do, which helps me be a better coach to my clients.

When I sit down with business owners, the majority suffer from some sort of a degree of SOS. We are human and we all can get distracted. But if you want your business to THRIVE, then just being self – aware when it comes to the signs of SOS, will help move your business forward.

For more information on my coaching please visit me at: http://bottomlineconsulting.org/

And here is a link for a no-cost test drive of my e-learning center: http://hiddenprofits4u.com/

Thanks for reading.

Mark

Does Your Marketing Help You to Survive or to THRIVE?

Posted by markdevincentis on May 30, 2018

Last week I had a meeting with an owner of a new business “start – up”.

She asked me if I could give her 3 or 4 keys. “Must haves” for marketing tools she will need to get and more importantly, keep new customers.

“What a great question” I told her. It was well thought out and it shows that she is aware that for her business to not just survive, but thrive, she needed to be unique. Different from others who can do what she does.

Here is what I told her:

1. A human touch: It’s essential you meet with customers/clients in person whenever possible. This shows you respect them and will take the time to work with your clients to give personal attention to each of them.

If the client is a distance away, then technology today allows us to meet “in person”. I personally utilize the Zoom platform for my virtual meetings with out of state clients and prospects.

2. Follow up letter: Always take a moment to send a follow up letter (or e-mail) about what you talked about, new agreements or partnerships made and to thank them for taking the time to meet with you.

Likewise, you should always send thank you letters or small gifts to partners you find success with.

3. Phone call: Use a telephone call to follow up with them to talk again about the matters you spoke about in your meeting. Offer any assistance you can to help their business run smoothly and more successfully.

However, none of these will work if you don’t have a quality product/service to back you up!

Here are the key steps for putting together your start-up marketing tools:

1. Research potential customers, buyers, competitors and their preferred methods of distribution.

2. Talk to potential customers. Take a hard look at your product from a customer’s perspective and see what it needs to be successful.

Ask yourself: “What is the problem they have and do not want?”.

Then ask yourself: “Do I have the solution they want and do not have?”

1. Follow up with your 3-step process from above.
2. Develop systems for contact follow through, quality control standards and customer service.
3. Develop a post-sale follow up system to keep lines of communication open with all customers. This will build on your current relationship which increases the opportunities future purchases.

“Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs” Peter Drucker, management consultant

Here’s another one I love from an icon:

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company

Whether you are a new start-up, or an existing business, it is imperative to have a marketing plan, not just a bunch of tactics.

Do you have a strategy and the tools to put together a marketing plan that can be used repeatedly to help your customer base and business grow in a manageable way?

In a very un-scientific poll of businesses I have contacted and spoken with, less than 10% have a well thought out strategic marketing plan. Most think that the multitude of various tactics deployed on a whim constitute some sort of a plan.

They hope their tactics will as one owner told me: “pull in some business”.

Hope is not a plan, nor is it a strategy.

Without having a plan or strategy I promise you are wasting money and time.

Businesses today are in an existential fight for survival. The ones that not just survive (Living pay day to pay day) but thrive (Dominate their market) utilize a strategy, a well thought out marketing plan with tools that separate them from their competition.

The tools offered in our no-cost test drive offer these very same things.

I speak to business owners and CEO’s of small companies who do not understand how to put together a strategy and a marketing plan that will ultimately save them money and time but will also increase their revenues and profits.

They live day to day and tactic to tactic only surviving, not thriving.

Contact me for more information on how I can help you thrive:

mark@bottomlineconsulting.org

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Stop Wasting Your Resources!

Posted by markdevincentis on May 9, 2018

In my conversations with business owners I come across many common “themes”.

One of those “themes” is a waste of resources…usually on the newest “shiny object” they think will help their business.

I will write an article on what I call “The Shiny Object Syndrome” at another time.

Resources are at a premium as you are certainly aware when owning or running a small / medium enterprise. And by resources I do not mean simply dollars and cents.

Time is a more precious resource as we can never buy any more of it.

So, money and time are your primary resources that as an owner or business person we need to protect and not waste away.

Today my focus is on how to find a target market of potential customers, so you aren’t wasting precious resources on blitz marketing.

So, the two questions you must ask yourself are:

• What do people really want to buy from me?
• What related products are they already buying?

Once you figure this out you will know who is more predisposed to purchase your products/services. Then, you find other businesses with the same customer base who you can customer “share” with.

How do you customer “Share”?

Come up with an incentive and great arrangement to encourage both of your customer bases to shop at, both of your stores.

The basic concept is this:

You want to find existing businesses who have the customer profile that you are looking for to market your products/services to.

Then strike up a relationship with those business owners to work out an incentive for customers to purchase from both businesses.

As a result, you have an audience to market to and the other business owners will generate an added value from their current base.

So, how do you figure this out? There is a great formula from Jay Abraham you can follow with great success.

LV = (P x F) x N – MC

Here’s what it all means:
• LV is the life time value of a customer
• P is the average profit margin from each sale
• F is the number of times a customer buys each year
• N is the number of years customers stay with you
• MC is the marketing cost per customer (total costs/number of customers)

Once you know how much you need to spend to attract a new customer, you will know how much of an incentive you can offer to a business to help attract new customers.

Here is a link to Jay’s website which has fantastic content and is worth visiting:

https://www.abraham.com/

So, here’s your step-by-step process:

1. Find companies who already have the customer base you are looking for.
2. Negotiate an incentive for them to share that customer base with you.
3. Focus your marketing resources to this group of predisposed customers.

If you need help working through this process, check out our no-cost test drive for the most comprehensive system of marketing tools and resources.

http://hiddenprofits4u.com/guidedtour

Thank you again for reading. Make it a great day.
Mark

Educate Your Customers

Posted by markdevincentis on April 20, 2018

Educate them about what, you may be thinking.

Well, consider this, many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, but you NEED to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former customers. These are people you already know to be a good sales potential…they’ve already bought from you!

Take the time to market and sell new products to your old customers and less time trying to sell old products to new customers and you will see a drastic change in your sales, customer quality and branding position.

Here are a couple of key elements to use to retain your current customers:

1. Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, in person-by pigeon if you have too!

2. Post-Purchase Assurance: This means you need to follow up with customers. Your customers need to feel like they are being supported for their purchase and with the item they purchased. How many times have you purchased a product, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a Thank You note with your contact or customer service information can go along way in retaining a great customer.

3. Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a club specifically to reward loyal customers. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option.

4. Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go along way with customers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of swindling out there and the safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you and that makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.

There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:

* Quality product/service

* Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer

* Offer subjects your customers find interesting

Use this approach of educating your customers and offering them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success.

Stop wasting all your time on new prospects while your current customers fall by the wayside!

As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and diverts some of your resources into reselling, up-selling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every way possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”

So, there it is! Educating your customers.

Give us a no-cost “test drive” and we can help you put together the resources and tools to do exactly that. We can help you educate your customers and you can watch the benefits pay off many-fold.

http://HiddenProfits4u.com/system

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Mark