Sunday, August 24, 2008

Twenty Keys To Success

This guest post is by Jay Conrad Levinson. He speaks about marketing ideas I have been blogging about for years. Somehow when he talks about these ideas folks seem to listen. I'm not saying they don't listen to me, they do. I have the small business market in my area, he on the other hand, has all of the small-business market. Okay, enough chatter, hope you enjoy his marketing wisdom as much as I do.

In some of my past "Guerrilla Marketing" books, I've presented 100 different marketing weapons, and then advised readers to be aware of all 100, try many of them, and eliminate those which did not prove their efficacy on the front lines. In my most recent books, "Guerrilla Marketing Start-up Guide," which I co-authored with my wife, Jeannie, and "Guerrilla Marketing Fourth Edition," I've written about 200 guerrilla marketing weapons. My next book will delve into details of those weapons.

In this article I'm listing the twenty most crucial marketing tactics, urging you to be aware of all of them, then try every single one of them and keep trying them. They're all going to work for you and we don't even have to get into that silly conversation about getting a bang for your buck.

This article is about the bang but not about the buck. These are the twenty tactics, out of a full 120 described in my book, "Guerrilla Marketing for Free," which are the most crucial for you to understand.

1. Marketing Plan
It only has to have six sentences listing your purpose in marketing, prime benefits, target audiences, marketing weapons, niche, and identity.

2. Marketing Calendar
Determine your marketing for the next 12 months. For each month, list your marketing thrust, media, and results. Improve it at the end of the year based on results.

3. Name of Company
Bad names are hard to spell, pronounce, remember, and believe. All the others are good names. Your job: select any one of the good names and none of the bad ones.

4. Niche
The Madison Avenue buzzword for this is "positioning." Your niche is what you stand for, what makes you different; the first thought you want to enter your prospect's mind.

5. Benefits List
This is a simple list of all the benefits that you offer, not only your main benefits. It will serve as ammo for those who will create your marketing. It's no time to be modest.

6. Research Studies
Your best research comes from questionnaires that you prepare, asking lots of questions to your customers. Analyzing it, you'll learn exactly who should be your target market.

7. Quality
Quality is the price of admission for doing business in the 21st Century. Quality is not what you put into your offering, but what customers get out of it. Of course it's job #1.

8. Designated Guerrilla
Someone has to ride herd over your marketing program. If you're too busy, delegate it to another guerrilla, in your company or out. The best designated guerrilla is always you.

9. Competitive Advantages
Here is where you hang your marketing hat. Your competitors may offer the same benefits as you, so differentiate yourself and stress a competitive advantage.

10. Networking
Join a group of prospects, not peers, then ask questions, listen to answers, take notes, contact who you met, and gauge your success by business cards you got, not gave.

11. Elevator Pitch
If you had a mere ten seconds to tell what you do for a living, what would you say to make the asker want to learn more about you? Tha answer is your elevator pitch.

12. "A" List Customers
All customers are not created equal. Some buy more, refer more, are easier to deal with, and keep coming back. Treat your "B" list customers like royalty, your "A" list like family.

13. Past Success Stories
Everything right that you've done in the past is another weapon in your marketing arsenal. Lean upon these tales in your marketing because prospects need signs of your success.

14. Service
The only definition of service that makes sense these days is that it's anything the customer wants it to be and not what you have been doing in the past. Be clear on that.

15. Email
It gets higher response rates than snail mail, is less intrusive, does not destroy rainforests, and doesn't even need a stamp. Truly, it's the brightest star in cyberspace.

16. Guarantee
People expect it but you've still got to stress it. The longer your guarantee, the more enticing it will be and yet the fewer people will ever ask for refunds. Ain't that sweet?

17. Follow-up
Nearly 70 percent of business that is lost is due not to poor service or shabby quality, but because of apathy after the sale. The opposite of apathy is follow-up. Follow-up rocks!

18. Free Consultations
It's hard to say yes to the offer of a free sales presentation, but simple to say yes to the offer of a free one-hour consultation. During that hour, don't sell. Prove your expertise.

19. Speaking at Clubs
Many local clubs will be delighted for you to speak to them for free. Just speak for 30 minutes and don't make a sales presentation. Instead, demonstrate that you're The Man.

20. Customer Mailing List
It's worth more than its weight in platinum, especially if it is bulging with information about each customer. It's free to compile such a list and insane not to. A real duh.

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