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Services Marketing that You Must Know

People Management

The customer experience is the vital ingredient in the success of service businesses.

With that customer experience being people based it is fundamental that a successful marketing strategy contains a directive on effective people management.

Recruitment, retention, training and employee satisfaction are all elements of people management which needs to be planned. But more than that, those organizations which really excel at excellent customer service go beyond having happy employees to nurturing them as “brand champions”.

Every interaction with an employee creates an impression with your customer – whether it is the CEO, a senior manager or the bell-boy. You are only as good as you weakest link and customers will judge you on their last interaction.

Processes

Successful processes help motivated employees to deliver the exceptional service customers seek.

The consistency of experience you receive in that favourite coffee chain only happens through well designed and implemented customer focused processes.

For example, Dominos employ a “Faultless Execution” manager charged with ensuring that pizza gets to you piping hot, to your satisfaction and on time.

Management of customer information is an important tool in marketing services efficiently. Computerization of well designed processes ensures that customers will receive information on relevant services at the right time. Received a large number of offers for credit cards when your balance is low? Blame the processes!

Successful processes ensure efficiency and effectiveness – the traits of a successful business.

Physical Evidence

Every aspect of the customer experience makes an imprint.

The location and appearance of your premises are a critical element of your services marketing mix.

That coffee shop with its laid back ‘Friends’ feel, that department store with its prime location and exclusive ‘feel’ to its building, the atmosphere of that favourite local restaurant, the cleanliness of your doctors surgery.

These are all deliberate attempts to provide you with an attraction, sense of security, feel-good factor, sense of being special and pretty much every other sensation and feeling which will remove any objections and add to the temptation to pay for that service.

Successful service marketers understand that the physical aspect of their service can make or break a customer experience.

Think about how you can deliver the experience your customer desires through your people, processes and physical evidence and start impacting on the success of your business.

How to Promote Your Business

Sometimes, we can get so caught up in being the worker for the business that we forget we also have to be the visionary and the planner – the role that gives the business guidance and ensures its longevity.

Consistent marketing and promotion not only help in branding your business, but it can also help with the following:

– Keeping current clients/customers informed of new products/services
– Bringing in a stream of new clients, which is vital for business growth
– Encourages and motivates you to keep up with trends in your industry
– Creates a vision for your business.
– Adds professionalism and sets a standard for your business

Commitment to your marketing efforts is key. A minimum of 2 hours daily should be given to marketing. This can include: calling current customers and updating them on product specials or new services; creating brochures or flyers to mail out to potential customers; participating in community events or finding new avenues of advertising.
Following are 8 ways that you can market and promote your business:

1. Press Release. When you launch a new business, product or service or you are involved in a newsworthy event, write a press release and send it to publications that your clients/customers read.

2. Volunteer. Volunteer a limited amount of your products or services to a worthy cause. For example, if you own a graphic design company, you might design a conference brochure or guide for the American Cancer Society or a local women’s hospital. This not only gives you a great client reference, but it gets your work in front of potential clients.

3. Advisory Team. Create an Advisory Team of individuals in various professions. Include benefits: organize a bi-monthly or monthly luncheon, offer discounted services/products etc.)

4. Web Site. Web Site. A web site is a great way to promote your products and services. There are many companies that offer low-cost sites as little as $7.95 monthly or free sites (plug in “free web sites” on your search engine and review which has the best offer and quality).

5. Newsletter. Create a 8 •½ x 11 one-page newsletter and send out monthly via email or US mail. Include service/product updates, informative articles that can be put to good use.

6. Open House. Have a quarterly open house or social where you display your products or provide an enlightening seminar on your services. Offer refreshments, samples or discount coupons and allow your clients to mingle. Also allow your clients/customers to introduce themselves and share information if they would like to.

7. Advertise. Based on the type of business you have, advertising with your local community paper or cable channel can be cost-effective. Call and ask for an advertisement kit or rates. Information should include: publication distribution including areas, number of readers or viewers broken down into categories etc. ** Never provide a dollar amount for your marketing budget over the phone. Review information and let them know that you’ll get back with them.

8. Join Projects. Establish working relationships with other businesses where your services or products compliment one-another. Develop ways you will work together. This can include: providing cross-referrals to one another, doing presentations together and sharing ad space etc.

How to Opening a Business Successfully

* Research, research, research. Before I opened my business, I spent over a week finding whatever information that I could on being a Virtual Assistant. Much to my husband’s happiness (or lack of), I printed every article I could find on the business of Virtual Assistance.

* Have a plan. You can have a formal business plan, or you can have an outline of what you plan for your business. My original business plan was written solely for my guidance purposes and it was 7 pages printed. It was informal, and referenced many of the articles I read. The plan helped guide me and keep me on track. Remember to be flexible, and change your plan when the need arises. No matter if you’ve been in business for 3 months or 10 years, figure out where is the next step your business is going, don’t let it stagnate.

* Establish policies and procedures. How are you going to handle payment? Are you going to have a contract (I advise, YES)? How will you handle communication with a client? How do you plan to communicate project needs? What about payment, what forms will you accept? I could go on and on with questions you need to have answered BEFORE you open your doors to a client. I literally lost a client because I had not answered these questions, and rushed into business before thinking things through.

* Organization. Organization can make or break you. Are you able to find clients information or do you have to dig? Where will you put finished projects and projects you are working on? What will your filing system look like? Look at where you are working, and decide, how can I make this work for me?

* Time management. This is crucial to be successful. Create a schedule and stick to it. Get your family to respect your schedule if you work out of your home.

* Add new “niches”. Spice up your business and expand it for your clients by continuing to grow in the services you offer. As a former teacher, I learned very quickly that the degree was not the end of my learning. The profession changed day by day and year by year, so I was in “training” almost as much as my students were in class. The same is true for small businesses. Software changes, as well as client needs change. Are you open to these changes? Continually educate yourself through articles, classes, and talking with other professionals in your business.

* Most importantly, don’t forget why you opened your own business. Whether it was to stay at home with your children, be your own boss, or do something you love, remember your reason when you become frustrated and want to give up.

Opening a new business is rewarding, exciting, and sometimes even fun. On the other hand, it can be frustrating, time consuming, and exhausting. In the end, the rewards outweigh the frustrations, so stick with your goals and dreams!

Low Cost Marketing Tips

1. Business cards

Business cards are often one of the most underutilized tools in marketing. Use the front and back of your business card to gain full benefit. You can put valuable information on the back such as a sports schedule, emergency numbers, or special dates people want to remember.

Creatively distribute your card. When you eat out, leave one with the tip. If you borrow a library book, use one as a bookmark. Hand them to clerks in stores who may know other people who could use your product or service.

2. Send a picture

A great way to keep your name fresh in a customer’s mind is to send them a picture of when they purchased a product or service from you.

Put a picture of a buyer’s auto purchase in a beautiful calendar. Likely, the proud owner of the vehicle will display the calendar for the next 365 days.

For specialty gift shops, when a customer makes a substantial purchase, have a picture taken with the shop owner. Frame the picture and send it to the customer. Chances are very good the picture will be displayed proudly for friends and family to see.

A dentist who specializes in smile makeovers can easily arrange to have a professional makeup artist and photographer capture the patient’s beautiful new smile. No doubt the patient will be more than happy to show others their new look.

3. Associations

Associations relevant to your market are a great resource for marketing. There are associations specific to virtually any industry, job type or business. A quick web search will show you how many associations exist in your market.

Most organizations have the following opportunities that can help you to gain visibility and do some very effective marketing:

– Newsletters
– Internet listings
– Links to your website
– Discounted advertising rates
– Networking opportunities
– Business referral services
– Special recognition events
– Educational seminars
– Business and membership directories

4. Committee involvement

Committee involvement is a great way to give back to an association or community while building visibility for you and your business. In some cases, you may want to get involved in a committee where you have little experience or knowledge. This will give you an opportunity to stretch yourself and meet and network with individuals you may not have otherwise had the chance to meet.

5. Contests and drawings

Contests are a favorite for many businesses with high foot traffic, such as a restaurant. Contests are a great way to build your database quickly. You will generate very hot leads when you have a contest with people who have already frequented your place of business. The key to making this work is to do follow up with back-end marketing. Far too many businesses hold contests, get lots of names and do nothing with them.

You can advertise a contest to gain new foot traffic in your place of business. Be sure to check local ordinances for any restrictions on holding a contest.

6. Cross-promoting

Join with other companies who have products or services that compliment yours and promote each other. A landscaping company can cross-promote with an outdoor spa company. A real estate company could easily cross-promote with a mortgage lender. A hair salon with a tanning salon.

Cross-promoting can considerably cut down the cost of business promotion and allow each business to use promotion techniques that might be too costly to implement alone.

7. Bonuses

Secure special offers from various businesses who share a similar market. When a customer buys a minimum amount they would receive a bonus packet with various offers from the other vendors. This creates a win/win situation all the way around. The other vendors gain visibility, you have something extra to offer your customers and the customers get an incredible value for their purchase.

Marketing does not have to be expensive nor does it have to be mundane. The possibilities are merely limited by imagination and your willingness to implement them.

Self Storage Marketing Success

1. When creating marketing materials, don’t focus on you. Focus on your customers needs and wants and how you solve them. Try to find areas of their life that have emotion since emotion is the fuel of action. Emotions like fear of loss, embarrassment about clutter, the relief of saving money, and so on are prevalent in this industry.

2. Precisely define your target market. Focus your advertising dollars only on people who can say “yes” to your offer and who have a good reason for doing so. These people typically live or work within the closest 30,000 households. The 1% rule of thumb works best for most facilities. In other words, if 1% of those receiving your marketing message responded, you should be 100% occupied. For a facility with 300 units, focus on the closest 30,000 households and businesses.

3. Use your location to your advantage. Rather than focusing on your logo and phone number, interrupt those passing by your facility with an intriguing and persuasive message. If your city regulations allow you to use 84″ X 36″ over sized banners, create 12 and change them monthly.

4. Differentiate. Unless you’re the only facility in town, you absolutely must separate yourself from your competition through hard or soft innovation. Then, communicate the differences in all of your marketing materials. This is especially important in advertising mediums like the yellow pages where you’re placed right next to all of your competitors. This will not only increase rentals but will also cut back price shoppers so you can rent space at higher prices and increase your economic occupancy.

5. Create a proactive referral program. Your customers are your biggest asset and should be raving fans of your service and facility. Make it easy for them to give you referrals by structuring a program that gives incentive to the referrer and the referee. Your customers don’t remember your phone number or exact address. If you use referral cards, they can easily hand one to a friend in need of some extra space.

6. If you don’t have a clean, professional website, get one. Our society is rapidly becoming accustomed to searching for stuff online.

7. If you have a website, make sure it is optimized on all major search engines so when prospects search for storage in your city, you are there. Your fancy website is no good if nobody can find it.

8. Form alliances. There are many local businesses in your area that have credibility with your prospects and see them at least once per week. Businesses like coffee shops, dry cleaners, salons, restaurants, R.V. and boat dealers, apartment complexes, etc. are all willing to help you if you help them in some way. Forming mutual-beneficial alliances with them is one of the least expensive and most effective ways to increase your occupancy.

9. Be consistent. Your prospect’s life is changing daily. You never know when something will set them off to look for storage. Your consistent message and presence to the right crowd will make them choose you when the time is right.

Guide to Create Successful Booth

First, ask yourself. When you go to a Trade Show, Expo or Business Fair, what attracts you to the various booths? When you see a slovenly-dressed attendant sitting down or worse yet – talking on her cell phone, does that just draw you to the display? Of course not!

Making sure a positive, energetic person is staffing the booth is probably the most important consideration. S/he needs to be dressed professionally for that type of event, and NO SITTING DOWN! Yes, I know it’s a long day. If you’re pregnant or infirm, then by all means sit down, but know you will be less able to attract people to you. There will be a few minutes of slow time here and there to rest.

I will not pretend to understand your industry, so I will assume you can create an attractive table with appropriate display items. If you’re unsure, go to an Expo and observe the most popular booths. Why is everyone hanging out there? Being outrageous in appearance and/or behavior will always attract people to check you out.

Now that you have the aesthetics handled, you need to determine your goals for the event. Are you trying to sell products right then and there? How much product? Will you deliver it then or have it delivered at a later date?

Are you trying to collect information? What kind of information? How many people’s information do you want? Set yourself some aggressive goals before the event.

I have a client (let’s call her Sue) who owns a tutoring company and is working toward increasing her number of clients. She found an opportunity to have a table at a fundraising event at a local high school. Here is what we discussed and I suggested this week:

Have a clear idea of who you want to attract to your booth, and why they should give you their time. Also, be clear on what your intention is for the day – what do you hope to accomplish? She primarily wants to book fr’ee consultations, and secondarily to collect contact information.

So, why would anyone even stop to talk to Sue? Having a compelling, short statement that will stop people from just walking by is very important. For example, as people are walking by, she could ask them if they are looking for a way to assure their high-schooler’s acceptance into a good college, or something equally emotional that would make caring parents stop and listen.

After they stop, why should they book an appointment or even hand over their personal information? Give something away! I suggested she could give away a fr’ee consultation to everyone, and give away a personal assessment in a drawing. In fact, I suggested she give away 5 personal assessments to really entice people to enter the drawing. I also suggested she inform visitors of the dollar value of the fr’ee consultation and the assessment. Booking the appointments right there on the spot when possible saves everyone time, but giving the person an appointment card and then calling to confirm the appointment are important.

In summary, to set yourself up for success at a trade show or expo, put your best foot forward by exuding positive energy and looking and sounding professional. Know exactly why you are there and what you hope to accomplish by the end of the event. Be prepared for success – have your appointment books, order forms, credit card machine, etc. Provide an incentive to visitors to your table in exchange for their information.

Business Communications Components

Creating Web Copy

Copywriting, one the most vital aspects of business communications, deals with your interaction with potential and existing customers via your Web pages and advertisements. It tells them why your products or services are great for them. That’s what makes it so crucial to your communications basket, it convinces them to purchase what your Website offers.

And copywriting to get publicity,through press releases you write, keeps your company in the public eye, and enhances your business image.

If you want to keep your customers updated about your company and at the same time, make them feel appreciated, you could send them a newsletter periodically. Here again, your copywriting needs to be spot on. You could include information about a special sale or a new product in your newsletter.

Brochures, flyers and the like are products you could use to promote your business and increase sales. Here again, good copywriting is very important. These products need to be eye catching, tastefully designed and must show your business in the best light possible.

Business Letters

Business letters deal with the way you communicate with third parties, after all they keep you in business. This is why letters are so important to your business. You use them correspond with your clients and suppliers, and other organizations or people on a daily basis, for instance, by email, fax or use a courier or regular mail.

Inter-office communication

This is any activity that takes place within your company. Memos and messages count as business communications, as do phone calls and meetings. Anytime you are communicating something that has to do with taking care of your company to others in the company, that is business communications. Keeping your employees informed and making sure that they fully understand your expectations is very important. It cuts down on misunderstandings and increases the productivity of the company. It also creates a much better atmosphere.

Promotional Items

While not to every business person’s taste, promotional items can help attract people to your side. They can create a public presence generate company awareness and enhance your business image as a sound, reliable and professional company. They include items such as shirts, business diaries, pens, tote bags, key chains and even little toys. No matter how you might wince at them remember they attract public attention, especially because carry them around a lot of the time.

About Successful Brochure

The elaboration of brochures is of great importance as it is a main path towards catching the attention of others about your products. Yet the wider market is highly competitive, so the brochures should be designed with the utmost care and inspiration. Each detail should be taken into account and led to perfection.

The bright idea is to stress on what makes people remember your brochure. The colour, format paper and printing quality are all decisive ingredients for success.

Add elements not commonly found in wide-ranging brochures. Usually, a brochure is offered free to costumers, although most may not manifest interest towards it. The enthusiasm surrounding the product you have launched is extinguished in the matter of weeks.

Instead of addressing solely to unknown costumers, why not deliver the brochures to people you often interact with? This way the credit for that particular product augments, because it is known in commercial psychology that products tend to be associated with the ones offering them. One might even consider adding some personal information to the brochures which will be delivered to friends or some more detailed info on the specific product. You might make people you haven’t talked to for long re-establish contact with you and become interested in more of your offers because of this type of brochure. It’s also recommendable to take advantage of any new acquaintance you have made. You should try to discuss with him or her the way in which your two businesses could interact. This way you would have a helping hand in your activity and you could have worthy allies on the market. The first key towards success in the bitter competition of the market is popularity. Most people will trust sources they have heard of and the logic of most is that the most renowned are indeed the best. This opinion is not far from fact.

In the market universe communication is everything. Therefore the use of the advantage offered by today’s communication possibilities is a must.

Offline Marketing Techniques

Press Release

The secret to getting a press release published is to forget all about what you want to accomplish with a press release and concentrate on what the newspaper you’re sending it to wants from your press release. Don’t make your press release sound like a commercial… make it sound like a news story…answer the 5 “W”s, who, what, where, when, why. Call the paper and talk to them first, see what they think. Any small paper is always looking for relevant news…they’ll work with you!

Posters

Make sure all you’re trying to accomplish with any poster or printed advertising is to get the reader to go to a website or a phone number. Don’t try to sell from a 8 X 11 piece of paper! Just get their interest and then give them someplace to go to get more information.

Door-To-Door

Be sure you’re careful with this! Make sure the door-to-door thing is done legally! Pay some kids you trust to hand out your flier. Again, make it a teaser and then send them to your website or a telephone number.

T-shirts

A friend of mine has had huge successes using t-shirts that are imprinted with his logo and business URL. He gets the t-shirts for under $5.00 and gives them out free! Good buzz gets started each time he does this.

Free Papers

These papers are called a variety of things…free trader, green tab, free stuff. The secret is that almost everyone looks at them during the week! The ad rates for business ads are very reasonable and you’ll find that the conversion rate is high in most of the papers. Again, use a teaser and send them to your site.

Local Cable Channels

The FCC mandated that each cable provider must provide free access to the community. Make use of that. You probably have a community service channel on your cable system. You know, with the crawling ads and that sort of thing. Usually very inexpensive and they do convert to a sale now and then.

Business Cards

You really need to make up business cards if you haven’t already and get them out all over town. On bulletin boards, in rest rooms…everywhere you can that won’t get you arrested for littering!

Speaking

Speak about your business at Chamber Of Commerce meetings, Rotary Clubs, just about anywhere you can think of. Make you speech something like: “10 things everyone should know about [your specialty]” make the speech short and sweet and informative. Become a local expert in their eyes.

Team Up With Local Groups

Is your product or service something that a local group of Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, FHA, FFA…whatever could sell for you? If so, give them a percentage of the sale for doing so. Groups like this are always looking for fundraisers!

Finally, Use Your Eyes

What type of local advertising makes you see it? What do you notice? Write those things down and then add your own little twist to is and start doing it! The secret is to never try to sell from an ad like this. Give them enough to want more information and then send them to a website!

Create Small Business Marketing Plan

The marketing plan is very important because it sets a direction to focus on and establishes the steps to get you to your goal, thus reducing the chance for a small business to fail.

Convinced yet? Maybe the following guidelines will get you 100 % determined to put in place such a marketing plan.

Start by setting a time frame the plan must cover, as experts state that for most small business, a marketing plan that covers a one-year period is more than enough. The sales and revenue should be carefully tracked and compared against the marketing plan for that certain year and decide if the plan you developed has covered your business. If the answer is yes, then you can get on and make a marketing plan for a longer period of time, say for two to five years at the most, as it is harder for a small business to stick to a plan for such a long time. These sort of business must survive at any costs, even if surviving means changing the whole strategy and marketing goals.

Sometimes, the marketing plan must be shared with everyone who has a stake in your business, including any investors involved in it and in some cases your employees as well.
Both employers and employees can get very motivated by a marketing plan, as reading and seeing see the vision for the success of the company is a very good thing.

But on the other hand, there are cases when it must be kept a secret. This is the case when your business is meant to serve a highly specialized niche industry. I hope you see why!
To sum it up, developing a marketing plan that can be often referred to is a way of hanging on to the goals a company wishes to achieve.

Of course these plans can be amended once in a while, and especially when the success is higher than anticipated.

Good Entrepreneur Characteristics

Entrepreneurship is collectively defined as exhibiting one’s vision, taking action, and pursuing that vision as a goal to be achieved in life as service to reality. In the meaningless definition, it’s getting your butt out of that couch and doing something rather than fulfilling your life’s destiny of being a couch potato. Stated below are some of the distinct attitudes an entrepreneur should positively have:

• Optimism – is foreseeing things in a positive way notwithstanding any circumstances that may hinder progress. The assertiveness of an individual depends on his knowledge of how to handle a difficult situation

• Creativity – is thinking outside the box. Expanding one’s mind of what is beyond the ordinary through fine research and collection of data.

• Stability – either physical, mental, social or emotional, a leader must possess a stable life which means he could handle tough situations during tough times

• Charismatic – intelligence of communicating with different walks of life. Who says a charming man is less than an intelligent one? A good entrepreneur must have the certain magic glistening in his eyes and could convey enchanting words to get hold of that convincing power no one dare resist.

• Risk-taker – as someone beginning his own dream, he should be stern and must have the guts and the balls to take the big leap of plunging into his own doom or success. He should not be afraid of taking chances when opportunity strikes.

• Energetic – willing to do whatever it takes to reach to the finish line. His drive must always be at its highest level for being an entrepreneur would make you work overtime. His enthusiasm must prevail the next best thing.

• Time bound – like a written report in a newspaper, an entrepreneur must be on the top of every innovation. By looking at our past, we could predict our future.

Small businesses, in time, would turn out big if the scope of management exceeds what is expected. So it is necessary for a beginner to be positive about his endeavors. He must be very observant of what his environment lacks and needs. He should have sturdy shoulders to put on extra weight of carrying a responsibility that could change his or her life.

One’s greatest failure is sticking with the mentality of being conventional. This would be one of an entrepreneur’s greatest downfalls. Think big. Act. Make your business dreams come true.