For you to build a profitable brand, you’ll need to continuously put your business in the face of your target audience and customers. This means that you need to invest in marketing and depending on how long you have been in business and what you are trying to achieve, your marketing costs can run from a few hundred to millions from year to year.

However, no matter what percentage of your operating costs goes into marketing, there are probably some marketing costs you are bearing that is absolutely unnecessary.

[Great Read: How to Reach Your Target Audience on a Shoestring Marketing Budget]

The fact that you are currently using a marketing strategy does not mean the strategy is working neither does it mean that it can’t be reviewed. You should review your marketing strategies from time to time to switch things up, see where you can cut costs and even adopt new strategies.

Below are several strategies for cutting expensive marketing costs without jeopardizing the quality of your existing marketing campaigns.

1. Conduct a Marketing Review

In the course of trying to get the message of your business out there, you might have signed up for some marketing. That’s why a marketing review should be conducted at least once per quarter.

You must know all your active marketing campaigns – what is working, what is not working and what can be improved. Some of the marketing campaigns you may want to look into include:

•Content creation and promotion

•Current Social media ads and their effectiveness

•Email marketing copy for the emails you send

•Additional forms of advertising, including print media

•Video scripting, creation and promotion

2. Refine your Customer Targeting

When trying to reach new customers, there is a high possibility of targeting those who do not necessarily need your products. Targeting people who are outside the description of your target audience will increase your marketing costs dramatically.

Therefore, it makes sense, when trying to cut marketing costs, to look into how you target your customers. The goal is to narrow your targeting so that your marketing campaigns deliver real results.

Targeting the right customers not only helps to grow your business, but it also helps you to improve your customer-retention rate.

[Great Read: How to Conduct a Marketing Survey]

Actively Use Marketing Channels Where Your Target Audience Can Be Found

One of the hardest things about marketing is knowing which marketing channels to choose. This is especially true in the age of digital marketing. With many social media platforms to choose from, it becomes increasingly hard to know which marketing channels to use.

If you truly want to cut your marketing costs, one of the best approaches is to only use marketing channels where a high percentage of your target audience spend their time.

For instance, you do not have to run marketing campaigns on Facebook if your target audience can mostly be found on Instagram. Instead of splitting your marketing budget to run ineffective campaigns, divert your funds to where they are likely to succeed. In order word, choose marketing channels that will most likely produce results.

4. Re-Purpose Older Content

One of the best marketing tools you have is your older content. If you are serious about cutting your marketing costs, review your older content and analyze which one generated enough buzz from those who engaged.

Once you identify such content, the next step is to add life to it and repurpose it. For example, you can cut a clip from an old video, add a few slides and call-to-action and it will feel like new to your target customers. You can also repurpose and old post that performed so well, and present it to your target audience under a topic that feels new and fresh. Doing this will help you cut your marketing costs and help you have more cash at hand.

[Great Read: How to Use a Holistic Marketing Strategy to Scale Your Business]

5. Focus on Referral Marketing

Almost nothing beats referral marketing because it is one of the most effective forms of marketing. Your current customers are the best mouthpiece you can ever ask for and the more they refer their friends, the lower your marketing costs will become.

Treat your current customers right, offer them incentives to show you care and watch them tell their friends and family about your business like it’s their personal business.

Bottom line: No matter the strategy you are currently using, there is always room for improvement. There is always something you can do differently to cut your marketing costs without jeopardizing quality.

Thank you for reading.

Enjoying Onpoint Success’s posts? Be generous! Leave your feedback and share with a friend.

Need business mentoring? Join our business mentoring platform, #OSBSElite. The next open enrollment starts September 1 – 14, 2019. To get on the waitlist, click HERE

 

In a recent publication by Geek Wire, it was reported that Amazon rejected all 11 annual meeting proposals including employee-backed climate plan.

What does this tell you about the success rate of proposals? Many proposals are rejected daily and because writing a proposal sap lots of energy from the writer, the rejection of a proposal can have a detrimental effect on the psyche of the writer and the stakeholders.

As an entrepreneur, there will be moments during your journey where you’d have to develop proposals that will help you advance your business goals.

Examples of such proposals could be trying to partner with another business, trying to gain the business of a prospect, trying to upgrade a current customer, etc. To increase your chances of writing a winning proposal and getting a “yes” from the recipient, here are 5 proven tips that can help!

[Great Read: How to Start Charging Customers What You Truly Deserve]

Keep it Short and Simple: Many times, in a bid to impress the recipient, many entrepreneurs attempt to write proposals are unnecessarily long. As an entrepreneur who desires to write a winning proposal, your goal should be to be as detailed as much as you can without the filler content. It is okay for your proposal to be short and straight to the point.

Try to avoid the use of vague terms or words that require the use of a dictionary.   Keep in mind that your recipient is likely a busy person and when your proposal is too long, the chances of sweeping it under the carpet is very high.

[Great Read: How to Start a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog]

Use a catchy and systematic design: Writing a winning proposal requires that you catch the attention of your prospects. You might be tempted to use the good old Microsoft word but if you want to win over your prospect, consider using catchy and systematic design.

Include diagrams, charts, organograms, if possible. Make your proposal interesting by using a powerpoint or keynote. Use images where appropriate to buttress your point. A catchy and systematic design prevents your prospects from skimming through your proposal.

Focus on the benefit to the prospect: If you want to write a winning proposal, you must focus on the benefit to the prospect. Your prospect is asking “What’s in it for me?” If your proposal does not clearly state what’s in it for the prospect, you will not get a deal.

Offer no more than three options: Writing a winning proposal means that the prospect will buy into your idea. In buying into your idea, you need to give your prospect options to choose from. As a rule of the thumb, offer no more than three options.

Anything more than three options means that your prospect has more options to choose from and this can lead to confusion and frustration. To minimize confusion, embrace the power of three. Most people will remember up to three options vividly.

[Great Read: How to Conduct a Marketing Survey]

Make the contract process a breeze: Once your prospect has bought into your idea, the next step is to make the contract process a breeze. Do not try to over-complicate things or make the process a tedious one. Instead, be prepared to answer questions and more importantly, be prepared to sign the contract as soon as you can.

If you follow these 5 tips while also embracing the spirit of excellence, you are on your way to creating winning proposals.

How do you create winning proposals? Kindly share below in the comments.

Thank you for reading.

Enjoying Onpoint Success’s posts? Be generous! Leave feedback and share with a friend.

Need business mentoring? Join our business mentoring platform, #OSBSElite. The next open enrollment starts September 1 – 14, 2019. To get on the waitlist, click HERE

Are you looking for paying clients? One of the best places to find clients who will not only trust you but will also pay you are Facebook Groups. From your alumni to social to niche groups, your clients are everywhere just waiting for you to be visible. How can you turn your Facebook connections into paying clients?

Follow the steps below and be on your way to increasing your client base

Audit the Groups you Currently Are a Member Of

To make the most of your Facebook Groups, you must first conduct an audit of the Facebook Groups you are currently a member of. Go through the list and if you find groups that do not reflect your core values, it’s time to bid those groups bye-bye. Also, another point worthy of note is that you should check the objective of the group and determine if the group has members who fit the description of your target audience. If a group happens to have members who do not match the description of your target audience, it’s time to press “delete”.

[Great Read: 5 Time-Management Tips to Help You Reach Your Business Goals]

Clean up your Personal Facebook Timeline

The moment you decide to become an entrepreneur is the moment you’ve decided to give up some privacy. Why? This is mainly because people only do business with who they know, like and trust.

One method people use to get to know about you is to view your social media accounts. If you truly want others to connect, trust and do business with you, you must be committed to creating a great first impression.

Also, if you underestimate the power of a strong impression, you’d be repeatedly passed over for opportunities. Your Facebook timeline serves as your ticket to board the heart of a prospect and if you do not present the right ticket, the chances of being denied boarding are very high. When most people start seeing your name popping up in groups, the first thing they do is to check your timeline.

From your timeline, they can deduce many things about you including your personality, lifestyle and beliefs. What you believe in will reflect in things you posts, the comments you make and even the pictures you share.

[Great Read: Here are the Top Three Reasons Why You Don’t Have Repeat Customers]

Stop Being Dormant

Once you’ve completed the audit of your Facebook Groups and cleaned up your timeline, it’s time to stop being dormant and start lending your voice to the conversation. Prior to doing that, be sure to read group rules so you are not violating them.

Adopt Content Marketing

Instead of using traditional marketing styles to promote yourself, a better approach is to adopt content marketing. Content marketing helps your audience connect with you and your brand on an emotional level. Your posts must be thoughtful, meaningful and consistent.

It could be a story about your challenges or how you helped your clients and how you are looking forward to helping even more people. If you are consistent enough, you’ll begin to build a following of loyal readers and also earn their trust.

Once people trust you, it is very easy for them to want to do business with you

[Great Read: 4 Reasons Why You Write a Book and 6 Steps to Take Before Writing One]

Send Friend Requests/Accept Friend Requests

Sending a friend request to someone who has been reading your posts and even appreciates or accepting friend request them is the beginning of another level of trust. It lets people know that you have nothing to hide. The more open you are to accepting new people into your space, the more trust you’ll build with them.

Peradventure you are the type that loves your personal space and would rather not have strangers intrude, it might be time to refrain from sharing things you consider personal on your profile.

Thank you for reading.

Enjoying Onpoint Success’s posts? Be generous! Leave a feedback and share with a friend.

Need business mentoring? Join our business mentoring platform, #OSBSElite. The next open enrollment starts September 1 – 14, 2019. To get on the waitlist, click HERE.

If you run your business in the 21st century, you already know how hard it is to earn loyalty from your customers let alone turn them into raving fans. However, as a business owner who wants to succeed in business and prosper in life, you must come up with ways to earn your customers’ loyalty and turn them into raving fans.

In order to earn loyalty from your customers, you need to understand the core of who a customer truly is. Every customer is first a human before they bear the title of a “customer” and that’s where I feel a lot of business owners miss it.

If you treat your customer like a robot, you’ll definitely get a robotic relationship.

Robotic relationships in business mean that other than the transaction, there’s nothing more, nothing less. Most corporations have robotic relationships with their customers and although corporations are starting to realize that robotic relationships with customers no longer work in this day and age and are trying hard to build more humane relationships, they are still no match when it comes to how small business owners can build humane relationships with their customers, earn their loyalty and turn them into raving fans.

[Read: How to Reach Your Target Audience on a Shoestring Marketing Budget]

 

Why Should You Care About Turning Customers into Raving Fans?

 Back in the days, many brands didn’t have to do much to earn customer loyalty because there weren’t many options. When I was growing up, there were very few soap brands. In fact, we only had two options. If you didn’t use soap A, you had to be using soap B. The manufacturers didn’t have to worry about working hard to earn the consumer’s loyalty. However, all these changed as the internet became more popular and lowered the barrier of entry of being an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs can now with very little capital start their business and provide a world-class service straight from their computers. This has led to fierce competition in the marketplace and flipped the power from the business to the customers.

[Read: How to Retain Customers in 5 Easy Steps]

With this in mind, a diligent business owner should care about turning customers into raving fans. What’s the difference, you may ask?

Customers are generally people who buy from you because they need your products. Raving fans are people who not only buy from you but are extremely satisfied with your brand and are willing to go the extra mile to blow the horn of your brand without any coercion. When you have lots of raving fans, the rewards are boundless. Your marketing budget reduces (in most cases), loyal customers will increase and so also will your sales increase. Can you beat that?

 

Earning Loyalty and Turning Customers into Raving Fans

Loyalty simply means allegiance. This does not mean that customers have no other option. It simply means despite having other options, they decide to choose you. That’s a pretty hard spot to land on especially if there are millions of people who offer the same services as you. The good news, however, is no matter how hard it is to land on such spots as a business owner, it is doable.

The first thing to understand when it comes to earning loyalty from customers is to understand that loyalty is earned not bought, coerced or demanded. You cannot demand loyalty from anyone, you’d need to work hard to get it. In order to earn loyalty, you must understand that business is beyond a transaction – it is the relationship. Start earning loyalty from your customers that giving them undivided attention, making them feel special and care about them. Every human in the world responds to attention. If you start treating every customer like the most important person in your world rather than someone from whom you get money, you are on your way to building a loyalty base.

[Read: How to Write an Effective Ad Copy]

The second thing is to be innovative. Innovation fuels excitement and loyalty. No one likes to be with someone who is not committed to constant improvement unless they have no choice. Innovation does not always mean discarding old ways of doing things, it simply means constant improvement over time. Work on your branding, come up with new ways of accepting your orders, invent new ways of delivery and just keep improving. When your customers know that you are constantly researching and coming up with novel ideas, you will earn their loyalty.

[Read: How to Remain Relevant in a Rapidly Changing World]

In addition to being innovative, you should learn how to reward your customers. Rewarding them drives loyalty and it makes them feel special. No one likes to feel used and unappreciated so go ahead and start earning your customers’ loyalty by rewarding and appreciating them.

Once you start earning the loyalty of your customers, it’s time to turn them into raving fans. Turning your loyal customers into raving fans means that you are willing to go the extra mile. Extra mile means that you will start doing things other businesses don’t do. For example, you can go the extra mile providing exclusive access to your loyal customers for troubleshooting, knowing their birthdays and even that of their family members, providing resources beyond the basic to help them advance their personal gains etc.

Going the extra mile come rain or shine will win over even a heart of stone and in doing so, you can turn customers into raving fans.

 

Thank you for reading. Enjoying Onpoint Success’s posts? Be generous. Leave a feedback and share with a friend.

 

Question: How do you earn customer loyalty and turn them into raving fans? Leave a comment below.

 

Last weekend, I was at the mall and it was interesting for me to watch the tactics used by different stores to boost the end of the year sales and finish strong in 2018. As I walked through the mall, I saw some stores that had lots of people inside it and some stores that barely had anyone inside it. This got me curious as to what the stores that had lots of people inside it were doing differently than the stores that barely had people shopping. One of the answers that readily came to my mind was the difference in sales strategy. Let me quickly admit that I recognize that the reason why a store may lack customers might be much more than not having a sales strategy but not having a way to boost sales definitely ranks high on the list of causes.

[Read: How to Use a Holistic Marketing Strategy to Scale Your Business]

The greatest mistake entrepreneurs make is to assume that once you set the business up, sales will be boosted all by itself. And when customers tell me about how their quality products are constantly being rejected in the marketplace, I ask them “where is your sales and marketing strategy?” Most will usually say they have none while few would say “social media.” Social media is not a sales strategy, it can be part of a sales strategy. I’m not going to dwell much on that today but since it’s festive season, I wanted to quickly share some ideas that you can use to boost sales in your business. These ideas will work whether your business is online or offline.

1. Use scarcity: As I walked through the mall this weekend, scarcity was a recurrent theme among all the retailers. Almost every shop had deadlines in which buyers could make a purchase or they risk losing out on the offer. This sales strategy works every time and can help you boost your sales this festive season. I remember years ago, I wanted a handbag and because the store stated in its advert that sale prices will be on for two days only, I made sure I woke up as early as possible to go and buy the purse. After my purchase, I traveled out of town and didn’t have any reason to go back to the mall until two months after. I decided to stop by at the store only for me to find out that the purse I so much stressed myself to buy two months earlier was drastically cheaper than what I paid for it. So, yes, scarcity works every time as it forces consumers to spend immediately.

[Read: 3 Steps to Getting Customers Who Will Pay You]

2. Embrace cross-marketing: I’ve seen some stores engage in cross-marketing and I love the idea. Cross-marketing is when two or more stores come together to promote their businesses. For example, if a consumer makes a purchase at store A, at the end of the transaction, store A issues a receipt to the consumer which has a shopping coupon for store B. Who doesn’t love to save money? This works well for most stores because even if the consumer had no intention of stopping by the other store, the temptation of “saving money” using a discount coupon is almost impossible to resist. As an entrepreneur, you can also partner with other businesses and use cross-marketing as a strategy to boost sales during this period.

3. Upselling: This is one of my all-time ways of boosting sales. It works any time of the year and it could mean a big difference at the end of the day. Upselling is when you suggest an additional complimentary item(s) to a customer at the end of their purchase. Upselling works especially when the customer feels like they are saving money and there are different tactics you can use in implementing this. One way is when customers make a purchase and you offer them an additional item(s) in which the individual prices are higher than combined prices. This makes a customer say yes more than they say no. Simply put, irresistible!

[Read: Upselling Techniques: That Really Works!]

4. Give something for free: It’s amazing what people do when they hear the word “FREE.” What you are giving away for free should not eat deep into your profit and it shouldn’t necessarily be something the consumer can use directly, but it should be free. Yes, you read that right, make it free and people will buy. Let’s say you selling children’s clothing, you can give away affirmative wristbands for free and this offer would be strong enough to boost sales in your business

5. Offer coupons that can be used at a later date: This strategy works so well and one retail store where I sometimes buy my children’s clothing uses this strategy and I fall for it every time. The strategy works in this manner. Make a minimum purchase of $50 and get a $25 off $50 coupon that you can use at a later date in the store. There’s no limit to the amount of $25 coupons you can get for a limited time only. The initial purchase is set for a limited time so also is the latter use of the savings coupon. This drives a lot of traffic to the store and people will go out of their way to buy items they don’t need just to get the coupons to be used some other time. 90 out of 100 times, people forget about the coupons and never come back to use them and even when they remember to use them, there’s usually nothing to buy as the stores would have jacked up the prices of most items.

Which of these strategies have you tried in the past and which ones will you try? Join the conversation in the comment box and remember to share this post with a friend.

 

 

As a small business owner, many times you might be tempted to look outward instead of inward when things are not going in the direction you had anticipated. However, when things are taking the downward spiral turn or if your business is not growing well, the best place to start is to look inward and you might find surprising ways you might be killing your small business.

In this post, I’ve identified 10 surprising ways you might be killing your small business.

1. Going with every wind of change

As an entrepreneur, you are burdened with the task of making decisions that could directly or indirectly affect the growth of your business. One of such choices might be deciding which new technology to embrace or which social media platform to become active on. Whatever choices present themselves to you, try and ensure that you don’t change what is already working.

Change is a constant, however, going with every wind of change is a surprising way you might be killing your small business.

Don’t try to be the first one purchasing a new technology neither should you position yourself in such a way that you are the last person to get on board. Always update your knowledge and be patient when making decisions that affect your business growth.

[Read: Starting a New Business? Here are 6 Common Mistakes to Avoid]

2. Ineffective pricing

As a small business owner, the sole purpose of a business is to make PROFITS. If you don’t make profits, then you are not running a business; it’s a hobby.  In order to make profits, you have to price your products/services competitively.

When determining your PRICE, don’t just look at the cost price of your product and add a comfortable percentage.

Rather, consider the cost price plus your overhead costs. Your overhead cost includes but not limited to transportation, communication (phone bills), meals, electricity bills etc. If you keep pricing your products based on cost price only, you are killing your small business in a way that it might be too late before you realize it.

[Read: 4 Things Warren Buffet Wants You to Know About Wealth Building]

3. Lack of social media presence

If you think you are too busy to maintain an active social media presence for your business, you might find yourself in hot soup sooner or later.  Think about it; if your customers spend most of their time on social media, you might as well socialize with them there.

Socializing with your customers and interacting with them gives you an opportunity to get to know them up close. When they know you better, they become your mouthpiece and introduce you to their friends.

4. Selling on Credit

If you want to fast track your business death, sell on credit!  Selling on credit is bad for business and as a small business owner, you should not lay this foundation for your business. If you have been selling on credit, seek counsel on how to stop unless you are ready to shut down.

5. Not following up with your loyal customers

Let’s face it, your loyal customers are the one responsible for 80% of your business profits, why take them for granted?

If you don’t follow up with your best customers or you don’t touch bases with them routinely, they might start to lose interest in patronizing you.

Remember, your competitors are out there trying to woo your loyal customers to their side. Whenever possible, try looking for ways to keep them loyal. Give them a surprise offer or reward, they will appreciate you for it.

6. Lack of integrity

If you lack integrity in the way you conduct your business,  it will die a sudden death. You might get away with your lack of integrity at first but when it boomerangs, it’s usually fatal and irreversible. Rather than making empty promises, it is best if you are plain about your strengths and weaknesses up front.

[Read: How to Charge Customers What You Truly Deserve]

7. Poor customer service

Attitude is everything!  If you don’t treat your customers well, you are killing your business gradually.  People want to know that you appreciate them for choosing you over your competitors. One of the best ways you can show your appreciation is by offering a good customer service to them.

No matter the quality of your products or services, if you do not provide excellent customers service, you are gradually hurting and killing your business without you even knowing it.

8. Failure to keep proper records

One of the mistakes I also made earlier on was a failure to proper records. The importance of keeping proper records cannot be over-emphasized.

Keeping proper records ensures that you accumulate sufficient data over time and helps you to identify what part of your business that needs improvement.  I

t also ensures that when you need the records, you can easily locate them. If you don’t keep proper records in your business, you are gradually killing your business.

9.  Not conducting market research

Routine market research is a must for every serious business owner. The needs of your client base change over time so you need to identify their exact needs and ensure that you are meeting those needs in a way that is mutually beneficial.

[Read: 6 Practical Ways to Inspire Creativity]

10.  No marketing

As a small business owner, you should be involved in actively marketing your business to prospects and current customers. If not, you are like a boy winking at a girl in the dark. He’s the only one who knows what he’s doing while others don’t. If others don’t notice your business due to a lack of marketing, it will die a natural death.

Thank you for reading! Enjoying Onpoint Success’s posts. Leave a feedback and remember to share with a friend.

I once read a book (pardon me, I forgot the title) in which the author opined that “money is under your foot, you just have to know how to find it.”

By this he meant, the money you desire to earn in your business is within reach and all you need is to know how to get it. This concept is not hard especially when you understand the underlying principle of success in business and ultimately in life. So you may be asking, how do I find the money? Or better still, what steps do I need to take to find customers who will pay me? There are several steps to take, but today I will share three steps you need to take in order to get customers to pay you over and over again.

[Related: How to Retain Customers in 5 Easy Steps]

First, spend time where your prospects can be found. This means you need to define those who are most likely to buy from you ( and by that I mean your target audience) and then research where and how they spend their time and go and meet them there. This is very important especially when you are new in the market. The mistake I see a lot of people make is believing once they set up a business, all there is to do is to fold arms and the customers will come. It does not work that way.

In business and life, proximity is power. The more time you spend with your prospects, the higher the chances of them trusting and liking you to the point of wanting to give you their money in exchange for the value you offer.

Second, once you meet your customers where they are, you need to make your voice heard and engage them in a conversation. I’m always taken aback when I see people lurking in groups instead of engaging or attending a networking event and staying in one corner. Keeping mute doesn’t help you to get your voice heard.

Marketing is about visibility. If you lurk around or keep mute, no one would remember you no matter how great your products are.

Third, showcase your expertise. We are in the information age and everybody knows something about everything. However, if you want customers to give you their money, you need to know everything about something. By that I mean, stop being a generalist, be a specialist.

Customers want a specialist, not a generalist. They want someone who can get the job done like none other.

Once you pick your area of specialization, showcase your expertise,  be available when needed and serve others as best as you can.

Thanks for reading! Do you have an area of specialization? Please leave a comment and share this post with a friend.