I love dark chocolate, and I can justify my indulgence because it’s the healthiest of all chocolates. Vegetables, on the other hand, are not nearly as sexy; and at the risk of offending any vegans out there, I’d go so far as to say that vegetables are downright boring. Yet, there’s no doubt that eating more of them would be better for me in the long run—albeit less exciting.
There are two different types of prospecting, and which you choose depends on how hungry you are.
When hunting, you eat what you kill. Hunter prospecting methods involve doing things that get you business immediately. The downside is, you’ll soon be hungry again and need to spend time hunting down new clients. As any jungle predator can tell you, your success rate will vary and there are times you may go hungry for a spell.
As some point in our pre-history, early Man figured out that planting crops to grow food was less dangerous than taking forays into the forest. Plus, having food around when you’re hungry is a nice perk. But farming takes time—crops don’t just spring up overnight.
Previously, I wrote about how to make print ads interactive using QR Codes. Depending on who you listen to, QR Codes are the next wave in advertising, or they are Internet’s equivalent of the pet rock.
I’ve been writing about how to use targeted marketing to attract better clients and clone your best ones. One way to do this is by focusing on a vertical market.
To recap, a vertical is simply a specific industry, like photographers. Yet there are different specialties in photography, from wedding photography, to food photography, and more. You could narrow the field and focus exclusively on wedding photographers. But here’s another way to look at a vertical market:
“A set of customers having the same product needs”
This means that bridal shops, florists, disc jockeys, caterers, and banquet facilities also fall into the same vertical as wedding photographers. This is important to consider when targeting a vertical, because you can focus on marketing to all the companies serving a common customer base.
In my last article, I talked about how setting your sights on “small to medium-sized businesses” was casting your net too wide. That was the problem I faced when I took over our telemarketing department in 2007. I had tons of leads to call, so at the start of a canvass, my team would simply start at the beginning and call through the list. By the end of the calling canvass, sometimes the lists would be completely called through and sometimes not.
This meant many businesses received only two or three calls at most. If the first two went to voice mail and the third was unanswered, then we never even came close to reaching a decision-maker. Once I identified that problem, the next obvious question was, how much time and how many calls should we invest attempting to reach any one particular business?
Here’s how segmenting your market can address that question.
I belong to a couple of web-related groups on LinkedIn. While these are a great source for news and information, they are also notorious spam magnets. In the Web Development group, I commonly see postings from web companies offering their services. If you’re advertising (or spamming) your web services in a forum full of other web designers and developers, clearly you don’t understanding who your target market is.
Defining your target market is crucial if you want to be successful. Yet most of us fall into the trap of describing ours as:
“Small to medium-sized businesses”
Or even worse:
“Whoever wants my service at the price I’m offering it”
While the first example is a tad bit better, it’s still horribly unspecific. Defining a target market is like setting a goal—the more specific you are, the better chance you have of reaching it. Which goal do you suppose you have a greater chance of achieving: “Make a lot of money next year” or “Earn $60,000 by the end of 2012 by gaining 20 new clients”?
In a recent article I wrote for SitePoint, I pointed out the tendency for consultative sales types, particularly web designers, to hide behind a proposal instead of directly asking for the sale … something of which I was equally guilty:
But the fact of the matter is, I would do anything to avoid directly asking for the sale—especially if it meant I had to quote a price. Instead, I took the softer, gentler approach and buried the cost somewhere on page nine of my 10-page proposal. But after a few years, I began to grow weary of the “prepare a proposal and hope” strategy. After some struggle, I emerged with a method more effective than letting the proposal do the selling for me.
In my previous article, I wrote about the pros and cons of partnerships. When we formed ours, there were many things we didn’t plan for in advance, but I was fortunate that we had an amicable split due to changing priories and goals, not ill-will. Looking back, I can see how under different circumstances, things could have ended badly. So here are some safety tip to consider when forming a partnership—before you shoot your eye out.
New businesses characteristically fail at an alarming rate. Between 2007 and 2010, the failure rate for U.S. small business rose by 40 percent. Yet, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, companies with multiple owners are more likely to survive longer than sole proprietorships. What’s more, a 2008 study showed that the average revenues for partnerships increased 157 percent since 1980, while revenues for the average sole proprietor decreased 51 percent during the same period. The study also reported that the average sole proprietor’s net income in 2008 was around $12,000.
The facts seem to make the case for partnerships, yet 72 percent of small businesses are sole proprietorships. Partnerships have their pros and cons, and at first glance, the pros might seem to outweigh the cons. Yet, a partnership gone bad can make you wish you’d never gone into business in the first place.
… advertisement is engraved on the memory by the expensive process of mere repetition. It may be a crude and an expensive method, but it seems to be effective.
Over 100 years ago, Dr. Walter Dill Scott, pioneer in applied psychology, wrote that in his book, Psychology of Advertising in Theory and Practice. In today’s advertising vernacular, this is known as frequency, the number of times a person must be exposed to an advertising message before a response is made.
In his 1885 publication, Successful Advertising, Thomas Smith described how frequency works, based on 20 exposures to an advertising message:
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Thanks for visiting. I’m a Marketing Evangelist, Blogger and Sales Trainer.
I get excited about geek stuff. But I’m also passionate about helping people and companies reach their fullest potential and becoming wildly successful.
That’s why I love helping businesses figure out how to market (especially web marketing) and why I train sales people to be the best they can be at what they do.