My friend James Watt of The Launch Connection has a knack for making your marketing anxieties disappear .... and simplifying what you may think is complicated. Now that's a talent!
James has some simple advice on what tools a small business really needs to boost their marketing performance.
So according to James, the two number one marketing tools that every small business owner needs are ......
1. An auto-responder. Building a customer database and having an easy way to follow up is obviously critical. Do you know how much dentist offices raise business just by sending out an "it's time for your yearly checkup" postcard? Direct mail costs too much money to do regularly, and a good relationship with an email list can convert just as well if not better.
The most important parts of doing this right are going to revolve around choosing the offer you want to give people to sign up ("free newsletter" is not going to cut it, conversions are going to be in the tenth of a percent) ..... and there's also going to have to be a plan for having a good followup sequence.
Testimonials and case studies woven in with content is a good choice. This also provides an easy way to monetize paid traffic within a few days, either by encouraging a phone call or some kind of purchase. Don't forget to track! (Google Analytics will be my bonus third tool I'm recommending. It's free, and anyone can figure it out in an afternoon).
So, how do you build an email list? Aweber. It's simple, it's cheap, and it does more than you'd ever need it to do. Businesses with an email list can often start cutting down advertising budgets due to a much more steady flow of business from old clients.
2. The second tool every business needs is Wordpress, hands down. Are you tired of asking your webmaster to change every little thing on the website? How long does it take him to make the changes when you ask? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to go in and just do it yourself without having to learn all that technical nonsense? Enter Wordpress. If you can use Microsoft Word, now you can manage your own website. The best part? It's free, and it's not any more expensive to get a Wordpress style website done than it is to get a "normal" site.
If you know what Wordpress is (a blogging platform) you might be wondering whether or not your site will end up looking like a blog. That wouldn't work for most businesses of course, so I thought I'd post an example to put your mind at ease:
..... would you have guessed this was a Wordpress site?
Best of all, it lets you regularly add good content to help bring in new people and build relationships with old customers. Nothing works better in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) than regular content ...... and with Wordpress you can even set it up so that you can just email your posts, it'll add them to the site automatically. Or if that sounds too complicated and fancy, train the intern to post it and email them your posts instead.
Moral of the story?
Use Wordpress, I cringe anytime I see a business that isn't. Then when you're website's up, use it to start building an email list and a permanent relationship with your customers.