Category Archives: Marketing

Beware of Dog & Pony Show Pitches from Hell!

Team-Delivered Sales Pitches (TDSPs) are still common in the marketplace today – some are effective, efficient and engaging sales messages. But, unfortunately, too many become ‘Dog & Pony Show Pitches from Hell‘. What pushes them over the edge is poor planning and preparation, just as with other types of workplace presentations. Read More »

Painless Sales Pitches

Do you ever experience pain when you pitch business? Do you cause some pain for your prospects as a result of those pitches? If you answered yes to either question, then read these Best Practices for creating Painless Sales Pitches. Read More »

Brand Your Way to Success!

Branding is always a hot topic for my small business clients and for many ‘Communicate Confidently!‘ readers. Recently, one asked how a small business can effectively brand itself. Here’s a summary of my comments: Read More »

Does Your Marketing Suck?

I thought of calling this rant ‘Your Marketing Sucks’, but that declarative statement sounded too in-your-face and presumptuous, even for me. So, I changed the statement into a question to let you decide if your marketing sucks … and how much. (Full disclosure – this piece first ran in COSE’s Mind Your Business Blog in September.) Read More »

Referrals Rule!

Last month, we discussed whether or not you should ask for Referrals, winning Repeat Business and seven tips for how to ‘Nail the Sale’. Now, let’s focus on Internal and External Referrals and how to say ‘Thank You’. Read More »

Pro Bono Power

Here’s a simple but very effective strategy to maximize the impact of a ‘No Budget Marketing’ campaign you may create for your employer or your own business – harnessing the ‘Power of the Pro Bono’ or what I like to call ‘Strategic Volunteering’. Read More »

Harness the Power of Free Ink

(This article originally ran in the Cleveland Council of Smaller Enterprises ‘Mind Your Business’ blog.)

How many of you are frustrated and bewildered by the ‘Small Business Marketing Paradox’? We all recognize the critical need to do more and better marketing of our products or services to survive and thrive. But, few of us have the knowledge and skills to do it ourselves. Yet, we hesitate to – or can’t afford to – invest in having experts do it for us. The result is that we often do nothing. Bad idea. Read More »

Marketing With No Budget

Marketing for entrepreneurs is always a challenge, especially with no budget for someone else to do it. Here’s a summary of my comments at a recent panel discussion on the topic:

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Branding on a Budget

Last month’s feature on the always hot topic of Branding generated even more reader reaction and questions. One of them asked about branding on a tight budget. My comments:

Time to get creative with ways to get lots of free positive exposure. The concept of ‘target market’ weaves throughout my comments below. It requires you to precisely define and describe your ideal customers with specific demographic details – those who really need your product or service, value your approach to it, love your style, will always pay full price for it and will easily evolve into raving fans.

1. If you know what trade publications, eLetters or blogs your target market reads regularly, try to publish content in them that promotes the value of the concepts behind your product or service. But, don’t try to sell. Write about the importance of data security for small businesses, not the specific data security service your company provides. Allow the exposure to ‘brand you’ as an expert.

2. If you know what professional or business group events your target market attends regularly, offer to speak at them. Same caveat – speak about the value of the concept, not your specific product. Allow that exposure to also ‘brand you’ as a dynamic and engaging expert.

3. Volunteer your time and talents to some of those groups. Showcase your expertise. The classic example is the website designer who freshens up the organization’s site pro bono, in exchange for a mention on their home page. Allow the contribution of time and talent to help ‘brand you’ as a professional who gives expertise willingly to support worthy organizations.

4. Always ask for referrals from happy customers. Let them become an extension of your sales team … or your entire sales team. Testimonials on your website can help, but not as much as a happy customer calling a colleague on your behalf. And the larger the customer’s organization, the greater the chance for internal referrals to other divisions and departments.

So, ‘No-Budget Branding’ is simple but not easy. It requires time and effort, especially if you don’t want to invest the money to have a branding pro do it for you. One final tip – whenever you network at small business-oriented events, ask people you meet how they brand their businesses on a budget. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn.

Best wishes for success and keep those comments and questions coming.

Brand Your Way to Success

Branding is always a hot topic for my small business clients and for many ‘Communicate Confidently!‘ readers. Recently, one asked how a small business can effectively brand itself and I shared a few thoughts. Here’s a summary of those comments: Read More »