Category Archives: Marketing Plan

Ask SCORE: How can I get more customers? 

By Ken Sethney, Kitsap SCORE 

For many years, my business efforts were focused on helping client companies market their products and services. I was an advertising agency creative director for five years. On day one, there were just two of us. Five years later, we had a lot of clients and a team of 36. 

Our sales and marketing efforts worked. When the owner closed the agency for medical reasons, I created a virtual ad agency. Six months later I had seven clients, all on the list of the largest companies headquartered in Orange County, CA. That was my goal, and I reached it. 

Working with companies that were large and small, I learned many things. One of the most important was that entrepreneurs need a bullet-point marketing plan. They need to focus some of their energy on finding new customers and the rest on delivering excellent products and services. 

Short answers to the following questions will give you an excellent marketing plan.

Ask SCORE: What is the best way to market a niche product?

by Ken Sethney, Kitsap SCORE

Marketing a niche product means that you’re not selling to everyone. You are focused on a group of people who are most likely to buy your products or services. 

Having a narrow pool of potential customers comes with challenges and ultimately means more work on your part to find those people who fall within your niche. However, marketing a niche product also has advantages once you identify your customers. 

Successfully marketing a niche product starts with an in-depth understanding of your potential customer’s wants and needs.

When you are targeting a small group of buyers, you need to understand who is most likely to buy your product and how your product can provide solutions to their needs.

Start with a bit of market research. Google can help you find lots of useful information. You can also visit the Kitsap Regional Library and speak to an adult services librarian. The library website can give you access to valuable information. 

What Online Marketing Tactics Generate the Best B2B Leads?

The days of B2B businesses generating leads via sales letters and cold calls are long gone. Today, savvy B2B marketers use online marketing to attract qualified leads. But which digital marketing tactics work the best for this purpose?

Here’s what a recent survey of B2B marketers in the 2017 State of B2B Digital Marketing has to say.

Social media, email and search are the most popular lead generation tactics…

Some digital lead generation tactics are almost universally employed. For example, 95 percent of B2B marketers surveyed use social media to generate leads, 93 percent use email marketing and 91 percent use organic search.

…but that doesn’t mean they’re the most effective.

Continue reading

The key to being different… and 10 ways to do it.

by Kelly Deis of SoundPoint Consulting

The odds are that there are a lot of other businesses in your market providing similar products or services. After all, the world cannot survive on just one pizza joint, accounting firm, beverage wholesaler or equipment manufacturer. So what is compelling about your firm that sets you apart from your competition and entices potential customers to buy from you?

Many business owners will answer with the “soft” differentiators, such as reputation, good service and high quality. These are all great characteristics (and absolutely necessary!), but do they really and truly set you apart? I’ll bet that if you ask your competition what sets them apart, you will get similar answers.

The fact is that highly differentiated firms are generally more profitable than their counterparts. Yes, their overall market may be smaller than a firm with a broader strategy, but they have more of it (the proverbial big fish in little pond). And, they most likely charge more and spend less on advertising and marketing.  Continue reading

Successful marketing takes a bit of creativity.

I often work with SCORE clients who want to create a successful marketing strategy so they can find customers for their products and services. During our conversation, I introduce the Bullet Point Marketing Plan and share a copy of the six-question worksheet.

After they identify their “Class A Prospects” and think about where they might be “hiding,” I ask how they intend to reach them. This can be a bit of a struggle, so I tell a story about some friends who delivered hand-addressed 9×12 inch envelopes to the offices where their Class A prospects were “hiding” and well protected by “gatekeepers.” The envelopes contained a business card, a personally addressed and hand-signed letter, plus a reel-to-reel audio tape containing samples of their work.

This was in the 1970s. They were selling their services as writers, arrangers and recording engineers for radio commercials in Los Angeles. Their target audience consisted of creative directors for advertising agencies who had never heard of these Seattle guys who had just moved to L.A. The “lumpy envelopes” were opened and my friends got lots of calls. The calls turned into lots of business for their new production studio.  Continue reading

Marketing on a Budget? You can still see results.

You’ve worked hard to develop your business plan and refine your products or services. Now it’s time to connect with the people your business was designed to help.

But marketing your company can quickly become expensive. If you’re operating on a shoestring budget, you may feel discouraged that you can’t do enough to promote your hard work.

Even if money is tight, you can still make marketing work for your new business. Here are a few reminders to keep in mind when you’re marketing on a tight budget.

marketing-budget-results

Continue reading

Ask SCORE: How much should I charge for my products and services?

Solving the Pricing Puzzle

Setting prices for products and services should be simple, shouldn’t it? Cover your costs, make a profit, and appeal to customers. But there are more variables to the pricing formula than many new small business owners may realize.

“When you’re starting out, you may not have a good handle on all the costs you’ll incur,” observes Janet Attard, founder and owner BusinessKnowhow.com. “Unless you have previous experience estimating jobs in the same industry, you may have difficulty making accurate estimates of the time and/or materials needed to complete jobs. You also may not account for non-billable hours—the time you spend marketing and promoting the business.”

Other costs of doing business may also be overlooked—until you have to pay them. These include payroll and self-employment taxes, fees for accepting credit cards, health insurance and other benefits, and a variety of overhead expenses.  Continue reading