Any business stands or falls by the effectiveness of its promotional activities. To avoid wasting time or money for little or no return, you need to have an effective strategy and the skills and processes in place to implement it. Here we consider 2 crucial elements of any promotional strategy, marketing and sales.
Know your market
What does your competition do in terms of marketing? Presumably, they’ve learnt through experience and evolved their strategy in light of what does and doesn’t work. At the same time, consult with your prospective customers. How do they go about identifying prospective suppliers? What do they look for? Use this insight to inform your marketing strategy.
Digital marketing plays an ever-increasing part in business marketing strategies, and it can be a powerful promotional tool. But it’s also easy to become fixated on it. Consider the following questions when deciding how much of your time, energy and budget to focus on digital activities.
- Who are you targeting?
- Do they use online tools? Which ones?
- Are you selling a product or service that’s ordered online, or are you using online tools to generate enquiries?
The answers to these questions will influence the use, content and functionality of your website and social media profiles.
It’s also important to consider the consequences of a mediocre online presence. Your digital profile provides an immediate impression of quality. If it’s out-of-date, difficult to navigate, complex or slow it might put potential customers off.
Consider the merits of collaborating with others to market your business, for example using telemarketers, collaborating with complementary businesses or working on a sub-contract basis.
Selling probably causes more angst than any other aspect of self-employment. Even experienced sales professionals can find it an uncomfortable exercise, maybe because they’re selling themselves rather than someone else’s products or services. Effective selling depends on you knowing your product or service offering, understanding the sales process and developing your communication skills.
Know your product
- Can you clearly articulate the main features and benefits of your product or service?
- Who is your main competition and how are you different?
Developing your sales process
- Begin with a full understanding of your customer’s needs and preferences. One ‘must have’ feature is a way for customers to talk to you about their purchase
- Develop your communication skills; listening, questioning, presenting, summarising. You might even want to invest in some sales training. To begin with, try practicing with someone you trust and ask for honest feedback
- Manage your expectations. Is it realistic to get a sale at the first point of contact? If you’re selling services, there will probably be several meetings before your client is ready to buy
- Consider your route to market. Could you collaborate with someone who can sell on your behalf?
Whatever your promotional strategy, monitoring the effectiveness of the tools and techniques you use is crucial to it’s success. Tracking the results of your efforts will allow you to make adjustments and improvements as needed.
This article was written by the career coaching experts at Chiumento.
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