Smart & Steady Marketing Overcomes Slumping Sales

All businesses lose customers — whether from economic downturns or simple attrition: People lose or change jobs, move across the country, get sick, even die.

Every thriving business needs a strategy for replacing lost customers. Your online presence — website, e-news, social networking and more — is a vital part of that strategy. Your website and other online marketing projects are pivotal tools for keeping your customer pipeline filled.

Smart Marketing

The secret to smart marketing is knowing what your customers are really buying from you. Three vital questions uncover the results your visitors want:

  1. Who are your ideal customers?
    Young? Old? Novices? Savvy? Neophytes? Experienced? Single? Married? Empty Nesters? The more clearly you define your ideal customers, the more easily you can understand what they need.
  2. What problem do you solve in their lives?
    People don’t buy a drill because they want to put that tool on their shelf. They buy it in order to make holes. What sorts of holes (results) do you create for your ideal customers?
  3. Why do they prefer you to their other choices?
    What unique qualities do you and your company bring to your product or service? Are you especially intuitive? Logical? Reliable? Spontaneous? Responsive? Creative? How do these personal or corporate attributes make you ideally suited to the results you achieve for customers?

Answers to these three questions are the key to attracting your ideal customers and understanding how to keep them satisfied. They are also vital to your business’s and website’s success.

Guidelines for Website Excellence

Your website is the heart of your business’s marketing plan. Your home page has roughly three seconds to entice new visitors to stay and explore further. (See also Three Tips for a Powerful and Effective Home Page.)

Far too many websites “talk at” their viewers with boring lists of features and lifeless descriptions of benefits. Capture your visitors’ attention by displaying the results they’re looking for.

In other words, if they want a vibrant lawn, information about killing crabgrass and filling brown patches belongs on subordinate pages. Fill your home page with vigorous, flourishing shoots of green.

Steady Marketing

Even a fabulous website does you no good if people aren’t seeing it. To attract those all-important eyeballs, you must do several of these regularly:

  • Tell people to visit your website: In person at networking events, on business cards and advertising, in email signatures, on your truck or car, anywhere your business name appears.
  • Make your website findable in the search engines: Know which keyword phrases your customers use in searches, use these phrases on your website, and tweak, tweak, tweak.
  • Toss newsy tidbits on the waters: Remind customers of your existence through e-newsletters, blogging, and activities on social networking sites (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter).
  • Keep updating your website: Add new material to make it larger, keep it current, and provide useful information that attracts the attention of other websites. Every outside website that links to yours is a vote of attention-worthiness for the search engines.

Overcome Slumping Sales

Following these best-practice guidelines will help attract new eyeballs from your ideal customers, persuade them to explore your website, and contact you!

—October 2009, Wyn Snow

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