Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ten Tips for “Sharing the Love” in Your Marketing Plan

2-14-11 Ten Tips for “Sharing the Love” in Your Marketing Plan

Make others feel important. Put them first. You need to make sure plan puts the WIFM, (What's in it for me?) thoughts in their minds. Emphasize the advantages you can offer them.

1.     Guarantee, have you thought about what kind of guarantee you give your customers?  100% Money Back Guarantee and the conditions.  The Amway Corporation does a great job of this.  They guarantee that if you are not satisfied for any reason, they will not only refund your money but also your postage.  They give specifics as 120 days or 180 days.  Not bad and very specific!

Customer Appreciation party theme from
2.    Customer Appreciation Days are great ways to show the love and add them to your plan.  Banks and offices around the country do it, they have open houses and banks will put out cookies and coffee for their clients.  Add something into your plan at least once a year, maybe quarterly, maybe even once a month.  Keep it within your budget and understand your goal in doing this—keeping in touch with your client, letting them know you care and creating a fence around your herd of customers.  One of my clients Villa Southside in Pittsburgh, Pa., just had a huge Customer Appreciation Day, Pig Roast and Luau.   They invited both clients and new customers and all of the food was free.  It was such a festive event, not only the customers were excited about it but so was the neighborhood and they not only pleased their old customers but added some new ones.

3.    Loyalty Programs

Don't just celebrate birthdays!
We all celebrate special occasions in our lives including birthdays, anniversaries, and special holidays. Are you taking the time to get in touch with your customers and showing them you care about them whenever these special occasions occur? Do you send out cards and letters regularly?

Try this – remember the date they ordered from you, and celebrate it as an anniversary of your business relationship together. Similar to a wedding anniversary, the day your customer chooses you as provider to earn their business is a day that should be remembered. After one year, send your customer a special gift, a one year anniversary present, and profess your absolute appreciation for their business. Remember, they’ve given you one year of business if you want that relationship to remain strong, and if you want to earn more revenue, don’t ever forget their anniversary!  If your budget is strong there are actually automated programs out there that can do this for you or put it into your calendar with automated reminders.

But remember, that’s just one day of the year. If you really want to impress your customers and keep them thinking, and talking, about you, you’ve got to do a lot more than that. Send them special cards and letters for celebrated holidays and occasions! If you consider the cost, it is a very small investment to make to completely earn and build a much stronger relationship with your customers. Show them you care so much about their business, and who knows, perhaps they’ll start talking about you to their friends.  Send Out Cards is a great way to automate this and actually save money on it.  The price of a card is much less than going to a card shop and they address it, mail it.  You can even create a campaign.  Remember now when you do your marketing plan to add the cost to your strategic marketing budget.
4.    Be open to feedback. Encourage it. You need to be available to your customers. Automation is good, but make sure you answer feedback promptly and whenever possible with a personal touch.   Send out periodic surveys and give a reward to those customers who fill them out.  By all means, though do something with the information.  You can create free surveys that will tally the answers for you at:  the basic plan is free and I believe you can ask up to eight questions.  If you need it, you can get the pro plan later.

5.    Plan to Deal with problems and conflicts quickly and positively. 

No one wants to deal with irate customers. Look at a problem customer as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than as a thorn in your side. Your business will benefit from the experience. Analyze how the problem can be avoided in the future.  Conflict resolution and customer service procedures should be part of your business plan.  Everyone once things to always go great with customers but put a plan in place ahead of time in case it does not.

6.    Give your customers special offers and discounts.

And this isn’t about your own special offers and discounts, but offers from your partner companies. Use the relationship you have with your customers as a way of introducing them to other products and services they might find useful. If you do this, keep the offers relevant, customize it to suit your customers, and don’t make it come off as SPAM! Offer them solutions to problems, and make it somehow connected to your own business and service but just make sure it is non-competitive to your business.  I put out a PositivelyPittsburghPerks newsletter periodically where my online magazine clients or radio show hosts of my Monday night show, PositivelyPittsburghLive, can give a free or discounted offer to my online magazine vendors and subscribers.  Create a part of your plan to allow for cross marketing with synergistic non-
competitive businesses.

Be transparent!  Make it easy for your
customers to contact you.
7.    Your Service:   Eliminate the customer obstacle course. If you asked many customers of businesses today they’d say that the obstacle course for figuring out who to talk to and how and when to get service is over-complicated, conflicting and just plain out of whack. Make plans in your plan to create several ways for
Your clients to reach you do business with you and communicate with you.  Radio and TV stations are very good at this; they let you know who takes care of advertisement, distribution and news.

8.    Your Website –find ways to make it clear, make information accessible, contact information on every page, Give good helpful content that helps your clients make decisions—not necessarily selling them.  Here are a couple of good examples.  A good example of a website that is really helpful:  eHow - eHow is an online community dedicated to providing visitors the ability to research, share, and discuss solutions and tips for completing day-to-day tasks and projects.  Guess how they make their money? Advertisement, they give out good information, people go there to get it and then other businesses pay to advertise.  Could you possibly add something like this to your model?

9.    Guilt Free Customer Service

Don't let your customers look like this, give them
a reason to smile!

 There is a growing case of corporate memory loss that annoys and aggravates customers every day as they have to strong-arm their way through the corporate maze just to get basic things accomplished. Consumers have to fight for their rights with both many large and small companies.  I just recently complained about a cell phone and all of the issues I had with it, what a hassle.  I have a technology show, the TechnoGrannyShow with quite a few listeners; you would think they would want to make me happy not just as a client but also as a media person.  They did not get it and when my contract is up they will not get my renewal.  At all costs, put this in your plan, a guilt free customer service plan.

10.   Share the love.—Get  testimonials and use them

If your customers sing praises about your company, make plans to share it on your website. If you’ve made a customer happy, they’ll have no problem putting their name online for you. Customer testimonials are a great way to attract new customers. Determine how you will collect your testimonials. Maybe there’s an open-ended question on your survey or you can have an online form. Don’t be afraid to ask, but always make sure you do. Testimonials are a true testament of your love.

Make that call with a smile on
your face.
11.  Plan to: Pick up the phone and call your customers.

Today there are so many business processes that are automated, it seems that we have forgotten the importance of something as simple as sending a personal greeting to those we do business with. Is your customer worth a phone call, how much will that cost you?   What can you do to instantly build a stronger relationship with them? Put this in your plan, a program to contact x amount of customers each week to ask, how are you doing, congratulate them on a success, wish them a happy birthday.  Hey you might even ask how your service or product is working out for them.  In this day and age, they will be surprised and delighted.

And what do you get out of this special gesture? For one thing, it is totally unexpected and comes off as a unique and personal approach, communicating just how much you care for your customers. Now how much value does that add to the relationship?

12.   Plan: An amazing, entertaining and informative newsletter should be part of your marketing plan.  Deliver it regularly. 

 Think about how many times during the year/quarter/month a customer needs you, or your products or services, and let that be your guide to determining how often to reach out and touch your audience. Think of this number as a minimum, and then build from there.  Newsletters have always been used as a tool for businesses to stay in the minds of their customers.   You need a newsletter that is engaging and fun and makes people want to open it.

If you don’t like to write, then add it into your plan to have a freelance writer or newsletter specialist to write it for you.  Add their fee into your strategic marketing budget.  You need a newsletter that is engaging and then add a touch of your company’s personality to it.  A good newsletter is one that clients will take time to read and possibly forward to friends.

Print or e-mail newsletter makes no differenc
just so it gets read!
My company produces “done for you” newsletters with engaging content and the addition of your own dynamic story and offers directly from your company.  For additional information contact me at:  412-628-048 or

Since it is roughly six to 12 times less expensive to sell to an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one, the value of customer loyalty and repeat business is just too compelling to ignore.  There are many more tips for sharing the love in your strategic marketing plan, watch for the upcoming E-Book?

Watch for upcoming E-book on this subject, “Choosing Your Customers, Marketing to Them for Life.”
Additional information at:
Expected release date September 1, 2011.

You can listen to a fifteen minute audio version similar to this blog at:  

For More on this Topic:
 "Folly of Marketing Plan in Your Head, 101 Compelling Reasons to Write One" 

This blog post can be reproduced in its entirety with the following information:
© Joanne Quinn-Smith 2011, Monday Morning Marketeer™ 412-628-5048

Or on its unique radio channel at:
Joanne Quinn-Smith is the Creative Energy Officer of Dreamweaver Marketing Associates in Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania and an expert on Web 2.0 Branding.
Joanne has also been designated by the 2009 U.S. Small Business Administration as the Small Business Journalist of the Year for her work with information relevant to and advocacy of small businesses.
Follow at:

Phone:  412-628-5048

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Marketing Plan Series, 50 Tips for Defining Your Best Customer

50  Tips on Defining Your Best Customer

Marketing to your best customer means
major dollars for you.
Who Is Your Best Customer or Client and why should you figure that out?  Well there’s an old saying in sales that fits marketing very well, “You won’t figure out how if you don’t know why!”  Who are the customers that give you the biggest bang for your buck.  This is the one who pays on time, uses you eclusively in all of your niche areas of expertise.  This is a client with whom you have a great working relationship and you go out of your way to make sure they are happy at all times.   They know that if they are in any way dissatisfied you will do anything within your power to fix it.  For that reason they know you are the best solution for their needs and possibly others within their sphere of influence, so they will often refer other clients to you.
Here are some criteria for determining who your best customer is and how to service them:

1.     Can you make them more profitable and make money yourself doing it?
2.     Do you have automatic rapport that won’t take years to create
3.    Can you help them focus their energies on their niche and what they do best?
4.    Can you develop a fence around them as part of your herd as Dan Kennedy says, your best customer is also your competitors best customer
5.    Figure out how to express to them what you do best
6.    Make sure your best customer understands how you can help them

Why Define Your Best Customer in Your Marketing Plan?

Rather than wasting your time complaining that too many of your clients are needlessly cheap or are hard to sell to, ask yourself why you keep going back to these same people again and again, somehow expecting a different result than what you'd experienced before. It’s easy to say why you don’t want these customers, definition of madness is doing the same thing and expecting different results.  What I just enumerated earlier can help you define them, now you need to target them relentlessly.

Some tips:  

·         Develop a profile of what you would consider an ideal customer.
·         focus your efforts on attracting the attention of that kind of customer.
·         Qualify your customers as all customers and clients are not created equal
·         When you need revenue it’s easy to take on anyone you can get but it’s biblical, “Write your vision on tablets.”  If you have a best client profile and stick to it, you won’t be tempted and also you probably won’t have those times either.
·         Remember this: it pays to be choosy. Closing is faster and easier when you're only trying to sell a round peg to a round hole.
·         When your target market is well-focused, you spend far less time struggling.
·         Leapfrog over the competition by focusing on people you enjoy selling to.
·         You'll reduce the amount of objections you encounter, and you'll gain more repeat sales because you'll be dealing with people who want to have a long-term engagement with you.

Once you have a profile of your ideal customer, the next step is to look at who you sell to and determine how many of them meet that profile.

·         Are they solo entrepreneurs or corporations?
·         Are they service or retail or manufacturing?
·         Are they “b to b” or “b to c”?
·         Are they government organizations or are they consulting companies?
·         Are they international or they domestic?
·         Are they all run by women or men?
·         Are they for profit or non-profit organizations?

Once you've found the common thread that weaves together this "best of the best" customer list, use the same criteria when reviewing those who are in your prospect database.  Dan Kennedy says, “Niche to get Rich.”  If you are dealing with the same type of businesses your approach doesn’t always need modified, pitching and proposals are easier and the work goes more smoothly.
·         If you have a sales force then you can sub niche.  For instance you might divide your sales force accordingly
·         To apply a tighter focus on targeting have them focus on sub niches.
To really make money, you need to niche market and
then niche your sales staff.
·         One might focus on women business owners, another on non profits, a third on government organizations, get the picture.  
·         Each of your sales reps can have  a different product and a different market, and then they can find ways to become specialists in one area.
A fan of Monday Morning Marketeer, Jim Loevner wrote in about how he got the job of desgining the Rosebud Coffee and Music Venue.

He says:  “ In the Rosebud coffee and music venue job...not a very complicated story, really...and not sure how relevant for your peeps. 

Buuuut...I assembled kind of a "thematic" package wherein I took a blank, new corrugated cardboard box (to match the Metropol people's industrial aesthetic) about 10" square...and filled it with coffee beans, sugar cubes and two vintage pink coffee mugs nestled within...along with my business card...tied it with jute string...and dropped it off in person for the owner, Robin Fernandez. 

A day later, he called asking me to come down to speak with him and I won the job of designing Rosebud.

My outreach showed him that I ‘got’ where he wanted to go, stylistically.  We'd made a connection.  Clients want to know that you ‘get’ them, is what I'm saying, I suppose.”

This is a volunteered local example sent in to MondayMorningMarketeer.  Can you figure out now why knowing who your best customer is might be helpful?
So how do you attract the attention of your ideal customers?  In essence, find out where they hurt, or what keeps them awake at night.  Most sales are emotionally based and the most powerful sales emotion is the avoidance of pain.  Here are some things that may work for you:
·         Focus on a specific geographic area
·         Specific product
·         Specific service offering
·         Find the customers that you enjoy working with and that enjoy working with you.
·         Determine your customer’s needs and concentrate on selling benefits that fulfill those needs.

Here are some other reasons for defining your best customers and your target market:
·         For your business to succeed, it must have enough customers to buy the product or service offered.
·         So you need to evaluate your potential customer base.
·         Once you have figured out  who your best customer, your target client is then you can customize your marketing messages and your products and services to those customers.
·         Figure out whom you expect to be your most likely customers -- in other words, your target customers. Then tailor your marketing efforts, as well as your products and services, to those customers.
  • You can then tailor your products and services to better meet your customers' needs and desires
  • You can craft your marketing efforts to reach your most promising prospects.
·         Besides,  you can’t be everything to everyone and unlike some new entrepreneurs think.  Defining a target market will not limit your business. 
·         Identifying target customers does not prevent your business from accepting customers that don't fit the target profile. If such a customer seeks your product or service, you will still be available. But you won’t waste your time promoting to suspects who will never become prospects.
·         Defining a target market will save you time and money.   Unless you have unlimited marketing resources, it's much more effective to focus your marketing efforts on potential customers who you have determined are likely to buy your product or service -- rather than wasting time and money on those who “might” become customers.

How to Define Your Target Market

In a nutshell, defining your target customers means identifying the specific characteristics of the people or businesses who you believe are most likely to buy your product or service. These characteristics are sometimes called a demographic profile. Common characteristics used to classify customers include:
·         age
·         gender
·         income level
·         buying habits
·         occupation or industry
·         marital status
·         family status (children or no children)
·         geographic location
·         ethnic group
·         political affiliations or leanings, and
·         hobbies and interests.

Okay so now you are ready to create a marketing plan to reach your best client.  Whether you use five or all fifty of the tips put forth in this blog, and there will be other tips in the upcoming E-book, you have at least figured out by doing some of the things suggested here, who you are marketing to, once you have figured out that you can work on a plan to design how.

Watch for upcoming E-book on this subject, “Choosing Your Customers, Marketing to Them for Life.”
Additional information at:
Expected release date September 1, 2011.

You can listen to a fifteen minute audio version similar to this blog at:  MarketingPlanSeries: Designing a MarketingPlan for Your Best Customer

This blog post can be reproduced in its entirety with the following information:
© Joanne Quinn-Smith 2011, Monday Morning Marketeer™ 412-628-5048
Listen at:

For More on this Topic:
 "Folly of Marketing Plan in Your Head, 101 Compelling Reasons to Write One" 

Or on its unique radio channel at:
Joanne Quinn-Smith is the Creative Energy Officer of Dreamweaver Marketing Associates in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and an expert on Web 2.0 Branding.
Joanne has also been designated by the 2009 U.S. Small Business Administration as the Small Business Journalist of the Year for her work with information relevant to and advocacy of small businesses.
Follow at:

Phone:  412-628-5048

Saturday, August 6, 2011

MondayMorningMarketeer, The Folly of the Marketing Plan in Your Head or 7Things You Need to Know to Get Into Customer's Heads

Hosted by: technogranny
Title: Monday Morning Marketeer-- Folly of the Marketing Plan 

in Your Head
Or 7 Things You Need to Know to Get Into Customer’s Heads
Time: 02/07/2011 11:00 AM EST
Episode Notes: "My marketing plan is in my head, " you say. 

Sure and so are the last two weeks, to do list! How many of those important, "to-dos" never
happened and what were the consequences. If there weren't any consequences, then you were just plain lucky or your "to-dos" just weren't that important.
There's a little more at stake with that marketing plan in your 
head. The number one thing that you need "to-do" in your business is to market it. No matter how
sharp you think you are, please don't leave this important task 
to your very fallible brain. Today on Monday Morning Marketeer, hear some tips to help you get
started. Listen to archive of this show at:

It's in your head, now you have to get
it out on paper, a plan is no good
unless it's written.
I recently attended a No BS Marketing Meeting which I attend every month because it keeps me fresh with the things that I am doing.  The moderator, Becky Ayres, asked how many people in the room of forty had a marketing plan.  A few of us raised our hands and then a busieness owner in the back of the room said, she had one also but it was in her head!  Wrong!  Not only is this a really bad idea, it’s against biblical advice and that’s the best business guide I know of.  Yes, I said it, the Bible is a great business guide.  In the bible it says, “Write your vision on tablets.”  I am not a biblical scholar just a follower and so I can’t tell you chapter and verse but I know that just like a contract keeps honest people honest, a business plan keeps a creative marketer on track.   It’s only February, please don’t get to the end of the year analysis and remember all of the great marketing ideas that you had that you never implemented.  Why?  BECAUSE YOU NEVER WROTE THEM DOWN, SILLY!   Am I yelling at you, yes I am!
One of the toughest marketing assignments is to write a marketing plan that is ambitious yet still attainable. Here are some simple things to do when you start your marketing plan.
Before starting on your written plan, you should answer the following questions:
1.      What is the product or service you are selling?
Whatever widget you sell whether it be a service or a manufactured product, you need a plan to sell everything, and you need a segmented marketing message for each product.  I do so many things that for a long time it was hard for people to understand what I really do, so I began segmenting my marketing for each of my products.
On that information highway you
have to have a division in your
marketing message to your
various segments of clients.
For instance if you are a consultant and you do public speaking, you have a book and you do billable hourly consulting but you also do group training, each of those is not only a tool to market you as a business/coach or consultant but also a product that needs promoted.  So decide what it is you are selling, what levels you are selling it at, and how many different variations of the product you are selling.

2.      Who is your market that will buy the product or service?
This is a tough one, let’s make a list for instance if I were to take this show and create information products who would I sell it to?
First of all, I would sell it to my current clients
Second, my listeners
If you think marketing is a game, then
learn to play chess, at least that's a
strategic game.
Third, others in the marketing business.  Whoa, horse, you are saying, others in the marketing business?  Absolutely, when you have information and if it’s not necessarily proprietary it is marketable to your competitors, maybe not the close ones, but if you make it public you can’t stop that but what about others nationally and internationally.  It’s hard to keep that information private with the internet so you may as well make money on it. 
Fourth, my blog readers
Fifth, attendees of my speaking engagements
Trade show attendees
Are you getting the picture?

3.      What need does the above market have for your product or service?
Affordable marketing
Increasing their business
Becoming known as an authority
Getting internet visibility
Using social media to get their message out

4.      What is the basic message that you would like to send to this market in regards to your product?

Don't let yourself be easy to miss, use
everything in your arsenal.
You are an authority at what you do or at creating what you sell
You have recommendations
You have endorsements
You have satisfied customers
You have a guarantee
On time, excellent quality

5.      What is the best way of getting in contact with your projected market? (i.e.- T.V, Radio, Print, Online)

Where is your marketing dollar best spent

If you don’t have a budget then perhaps you need to learn as much as you can about online marketing and social media as you possibly can.

After answering the above questions you will ready to start on your marketing plan. When answering question five keep in mind your budget limitations as you do not want to set yourself up for committing too much money to advertising. 

For More on this Topic:
 "Folly of Marketing Plan in Your Head, 101 Compelling Reasons to Write One" 

This blog post can be reproduced in its entirety with the following information:
© Joanne Quinn-Smith 2011, Monday Morning Marketeer™ 412-628-5048

Or on its unique radio channel at:
Joanne Quinn-Smith is the Creative Energy Officer of Dreamweaver Marketing Associates in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and an expert on Web 2.0 Branding.
Joanne has also been designated by the 2009 U.S. Small Business Administration as the Small Business Journalist of the Year for her work with information relevant to and advocacy of small businesses.
Follow at:

Phone:  412-628-5048