Want To Grow Your Small Business?
Do you want to learn how to increase sales in your small business? I am not surprised since we get hired by coaches, consultants, speakers, authors, advisors, and others all the time for our business consulting/business coaching services in this area. Every small business typically needs to boost sales. To do so, you will need a sales promotion strategy and I will help you create the best one right here in this article.
All my client family members that I consult with, invest a percentage of their income on promotional and marketing strategies and the good news is that the ones I share with them are proven to work so they are not wasting money on promotions that will be costly and give them no return on investment. Sadly, most business owners have been wasting their time, money, energy and resources on marketing that fails and gives them no ROI (return on investment).
In this article, I will share some proven promotion and marketing ideas that really work. Some will be no cost and others will be low cost. Keep in mind that you want to pick only a few tactics each quarter and roll those out. You are not trying to win a contest rolling out a lot of these. Slow and steady does win the race. I know from my forty years of business experience, that it is best to have a clear focus for your marketing so that you actually can monitor the increase in sales you have as a result of your marketing and promotional efforts.
Before you select any of the tactics I will share, remember that you must have a clearly defined niche so your marketing and promotions are getting in front of your ideal prospective client family members and not wasting money going to just any audience. Be certain you are crystal clear who your exact and ideal audience is that you want your promotions and marketing to be in front of. As an example, one of my client family members hired me and told me he could help “everyone” because “everyone” could benefit from what his company provided. I told him we could not find “everyone” in an ad, with a blog post, with social media posts, etc. I had him select one small, narrow niche for us to begin with so that we could grow his revenue and profits. He selected men who owned their own chiropractic business who lived in New York or New Jersey and were between the ages of 30 and 50. Now I had something to work with to get him marketing results and generate more sales for him. Again, be clear and define a very narrow niche.
Before you select your marketing and promotion tactics, you will want to set up a marketing plan so that your marketing is clear and intentional and will get you the best results by resulting in the most sales while not spending or wasting a dime.
As a Master Certified Guerrilla Marketing Trainer and Coach, I guide my client family members to use The Seven Step Guerrilla Marketing Plan and this is the only marketing plan I recommend and endorse because it has been proven to work. This plan helps my client family members get clear on how they will attract and convert more customers and create more sales. This is the only marketing plan I use because I have found people get marketing results when creating and using this plan correctly, no matter what business they are in and no matter the size of their company. Having this marketing plan will help you determine your marketing actions that must be taken to increase your sales objectives. This plan can be put together fast so you can begin taking the right actions to move your business forward immediately.
In my experience, most small business owners don’t have a marketing plan because it seems like a very complicated and complex task that will have little to no benefit to the business owner and will take a lot of time to put together. This is another reason I use The Seven Step Guerrilla Marketing Plan. It is simple, fast and it works. I have met many business owners with very complicated marketing plans who have never used or implemented the plan once they finished it or paid a firm to create it. Follow me and with one short-page you will have a better marketing plan than most business owners really quickly.
The Guerrilla Marketing Plan Steps
The first step in your plan is to write down the purpose of your marketing. You must be clear on why you are marketing. I have met business owners who are doing all sorts of marketing and have no purpose at all in mind and this amazes me.
The second step is to write down how you will achieve your purpose. In this section, you will talk about your competitive advantage and the benefits of doing business with you.
The third step is to define your target market. If you don’t know who you are trying to engage to become a client family member, then there is no reason to market.
The fourth step is to list the marketing weapons (tactics) you will use. You will select a few of these to deploy.
The fifth step is to know your niche and position in the market. The way I help my client family members get clear in the fifth step is to create their Core Unique Positioning Statement. This will truly separate them in their niche and they will rise to the top of their industry.
Step six is to write down the identity of your business. This is another area business owners typically not have spent time considering.
And the final step is to determine your marketing budget.
If you are wondering if you really need to do a Guerrilla Marketing Plan, let me tell you that this same plan is used by companies like Proctor & Gamble. This plan works in every size business and every type of business and it will also work in yours. I will give you an example from one of my client family members actual Guerrilla Marketing Plans to help you create your own plan.
Example: Guerrilla Marketing Plan
My client family member, Steve, is a business coach. This client family member hired me because he was wasting a lot of money on marketing and the results from his marketing were not getting him enough sales to keep his bottom line healthy and his business profitable. He was concerned that if he kept up this way, he might be out of business and hunting for a job in a few short years.
I started consulting with him by asking him to plan his marketing by determining the purpose of his marketing, which is the first step of the plan. I reminded him that all I wanted was one sentence which would be the one action he wanted prospective client family members to take. He told me he wanted prospective client family members to go to his website and take a business assessment. This was great because now we both had clarity of what we wanted to sell with his marketing messages. We wanted to offer a free business assessment. We had a goal. We now had our purpose.
Notice, he wasn’t rushing to push for a sale but instead giving prospective client family members a no-risk way to find out more about their own business while giving him their name and email to send the result of the assessment to them. Often, in my seminars, I say that marketing should not be running around asking everyone you meet to have sex with you on the first date. Instead, you wine and dine your partner. Marketing is the same thing. I don’t rush into bed with my prospective client family members. I create value for them. Steve was following what I mentored him to do – create value and not ask for any sale up front.
I asked Steve how many people per week he would like to have to take the assessment and asked him to jot down that number. The clearer he is on his goals and objectives the easier it is to pick tactics to make his sales goals reality so I wanted to be certain he had clarity before we moved forward with his marketing plan.
We moved on to the second step of the plan and I reminded him he was to write one sentence on how he would achieve his purpose and have prospective client family members visit his website and complete a business assessment. I asked him to sit in a prospects shoes and get clear on the benefits of taking the assessment and to really look at making sure the prospective client family member could clearly see what was in it for them so they would be motivated to take the assessment. I told him to think about what would compel a busy business owner to act quickly and take a short assessment and what they would get out of it. He wrote his sentence: You will receive a free no-obligation business assessment that will show you what area you can quickly shift in your business to make an extra 20%-50% of profits. Notice he is getting the attention of a business owner who doesn’t have enough profits, right? That is his exact target audience. He is also clear that the assessment is free and comes with no obligations at all.
We now go to Step 3 which is defining your target market. I reminded Steve, he needed only to target very specific prospects and must have a marketing message they would want. I encouraged him to not try to work with all business owners, only specific ones that would be ideal for him and he could get results for. He told me he wanted to target small business owners who lived within 20 miles of Trenton, New Jersey and owned an accounting business. Notice how is very specific with who he is going to serve? This will have him stand out from any competition because he has a specific market that he can be known in and become a celebrity in his field. This concept is discussed in great detail in my best selling book. Instead of being a business coach for everyone in any business anywhere in the country, he was specific and created his ideal target audience.
Now we move on to step 4 which is determining which marketing weapons Steve, will use to get the result he wants. The fourth sentence asks you to select your marketing tactics, which in Guerrilla Marketing is called “weapons”. Guerrilla Marketing talks about 200 individual marketing weapons that you can use to promote your business so this is where you would choose what you will do for this promotion. I encourage my client family members to look at how they are going to attract attention, get a commitment, convert and follow-up. The “weapons” are used to do this.
I sent Steve the 200 Guerrilla Marketing Tactics and asked him to please select 3 to 5 maximum tactics that he felt good about and that would be easy and effortless to implement. I also sent him 100 more tactics that are proprietary to my company that was updated with today’s online and off-line environment. He now had 300 tactics to select from.
His first tactic was to send four emails to those who took the business assessment, each one week apart, providing them more information and value and offering to review the assessment and help with the issues they were having in their business with a phone consultation that was not going to be a sales pitch in disguise. It was going to be a business consulting session to review their results and to diagnose the biggest issue they had in their business.
The next tactic was to offer any prospective client family members who had taken the assessment and had not had a conversation to review the assessment, to attend a seminar valued at $1500 that he was gifting them and one friend or associate a free pass for. The seminar was going to cover key business issues and was going to answer the biggest questions a small business owner might have regarding sales, marketing and generating more profits in their business.
He also created a flyer offering both the assessment followed by the phone consultation as well as the seminar and handed this out at networking events and sent it to all his current and past client family members asking them to invite others.
He had now set up a very intentional marketing plan and was getting ready to profit from his results.
We moved to step five which was to clarify his niche and his market position. I asked him to ask past and current client family members this question, “What is the number one result you get from me?”. He did this by phone interviews, by email and by use of Facebook and LinkedIn messenger services. I also had him send out a survey, asking the identical question, with the surveymonkey.com tool. We compiled all the responses and began to look for any trends. We were curious and open to see what people thought his brand was and his outcomes were. We discovered that the result his client family members and prospective client family wanted was a business coach that had experience with retail stores. I suggested he specialize in this one niche. When you try to attract all types of client family members from many different industries your marketing can be very expensive and when you are specific not only will your costs be reduced to low and no-cost marketing, you can quickly become the authority in that field. I have an entire free training on this topic. I explained that having a Core Unique Position would make a big difference for him.
We moved to step 6 which is creating one sentence that describes the identity of your business. I encouraged him to make sure whatever his brand promise was that he would go above and beyond that promise and that he would do business as a Heart-repreneur® which means he would be in integrity, with transparency and authenticity giving his client family members whatever his marketing claims were and fulfilling on his offerings. I asked him to describe the identity of his company and explained, in fact, this is the basis of his entire business. You must know who you are and why you can get client family members the result and outcome you promise in your marketing.
His sentence stated that his company was a professional Business Coaching/Consulting Group (although right now he was the only business coach/consultant), who specializes in retail stores and is committed to helping their client family members increase their revenues and profits by a guaranteed 33%.
This is a clear identification of who the coach/consultant serves, the coaching/consulting company expertise and their brand promise all crafted into one sentence.
Finally, we come to the 7th step in the Guerrilla Marketing Plan which is determining your marketing budget. I Steve how much he was willing to spend to acquire a new client family member to his company. I also asked him what kinds of marketing dollars had he been spending prior to hiring me as his business consultant. He was all over the place with his numbers. Some months he had done Facebook ads paying a firm more than $5,000 per month to do this and paying Facebook over $2500 a month in ad spend with no serious or qualified leads. Another month he sent postcards which were low cost and received only one lead that did not turn into a new client family member. And he was doing a lot of other marketing which cost him anywhere from $100 to $4,000 per month that he wasn’t even tracking results for. I told him he needed to establish a fixed percentage amount per month or per year for his marketing and that I preferred my client family members select a percentage of sales to determine that amount. I felt the fixed marketing percentage amount could be budgeted and would be used only on what was working and proven and would give him the best results with his marketing. I saw this strategy as the way to stop his overspending on marketing that was not work. I also knew he would need his marketing costs to grow as his business expanded because he had a lot more he could do to attract prospective client family members and grow his business plus he would need to invest in marketing to retain his client family members long-term and create a sustainable accounting firm. We decided he would begin by budgeting 10% of his revenue right back to his marketing and as the business grew we would revisit this number the next quarter with the intention to grow the marketing budget to 20% before the end of the year.
Case Study: Increase In Sales
Let me share the results of Steven’s sales once we had created The 7 Sentence Guerrilla Marketing Plan. This simple, one-page plan resulted in a 38% increase in revenues in 176 days! We saw a lot of dramatic changes over the 176 days. The company was clearly positioned and branded and becoming known for their single-focus and expertise, their assessment was resulting in telephone consultations and the events were yielding great results with more qualified prospective client family members finding out about the company. Steve said he had never had such a simple marketing plan result in creating more sales and was shocked at how much less he was spending on marketing. After 176 days, he decided to commit to 20% of his revenue for marketing because he wanted to expedite his results and was ready to invest more in marketing that was proven to work.
I am a big fan of the Guerrilla Marketing Plan and approach that I consult my clients on because it is proven to work in all size businesses, with all size budgets using low and no-cost strategies that increase the sales of the company. Instead of spending most of your time as a business owner hunting for more prospective client family members, you can focus Guerrilla Marketing on finding your ideal prospective client family members, serving your current and past client family members more fully and retraining them longer and acquiring their referrals. I find, and so do my client family members, that this is a much easier and less expensive way to grow a business.
Your Turn: Increase Sales Using Guerrilla Marketing
Hopefully, after reading this article and learning about The Seven Sentence Guerrilla Marketing Plan and digesting my client family member case study, you are convinced and ready to do your own Guerrilla Marketing Plan to increase your bottom line through generating more sales. In my experience, doing this with thousands of client family members, this is the best approach to driving more sales to grow your small business.
Before you begin, be certain you can answer the question, “What do you do?”. Why? People you meet online and offline will want to know what you do and will ask you this question. If you don’t have complete clarity when giving an answer you will find they lose interest in you quickly. I am amazed when I have an audience of 20 or even 50 or 100 business owners that I am speaking to and I ask them what they do most give an answer that is scattered and hard to understand. Some can’t tell me what they do in thirty seconds, never mind a minute or two. People they speak to will quickly lose interest. Remember this very important and profound point – if you do not have a clear and concise response no one will care or listen.
The other problem is some people have learned to recite an elevator pitch or a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) which they give as their answer to this question. In this case, typically the listener feels no connection to them as they give a rote response to something they really should be passionate about. I get excited when people ask me what I do and because I am crystal clear with my non-memorized answer that simply comes from my heart and people usually engage me in conversation once I have responded to their question.
I believe you must get this down and nail it. I am not saying to memorize a pitch and to say it. Let me be clear. I am saying you will want to remember why you selected the business you are in and what your passion is and the reason for doing what you do. Simply speak from that place. As an example, if you asked me the question I would say some variation of this, “I help coaches, consultants, advisors, speakers, and authors owners grow their businesses while creating more free time in their lives and stop traditional sales and marketing and become a heart-centered business”. If you hear that and you aren’t one of those target audiences, you know we aren’t a match. If you are one of my target audience and you prefer to work 80 hours a week with no vacations, you would not resonate with me. And if you want to continue spending a lot of time and money on marketing, you would not be my ideal prospective client family member. Finally, if you want to do business from a more heartfelt place, you might want to find out more.
I am very clear who my target market is and I identify my target audience in all of my online and offline marketing. Unless I know who I serve I can’t engage in any marketing to attract more sales. Think about this. If I was to create a flyer to send out and I mailed the flyer to any business trying to find my specific niche, I would be tossing money down the toilet bowl. If was to put a website that didn’t say who I worked with, if I generated any leads, whey would not convert. Sadly, I find many business owners really aren’t clear and specific about their niche. They sound like generalists who believe they can help anyone and everyone.
Now, I am going to tell you transparently and bluntly with love, what the biggest problem I see with most business owners. This might be you. If it is, don’t resist and instead know I am writing this article because I care and you matter and I want to give back to the world of business that has been so good to me and pass this information forward so you can be more successful. If I didn’t care, I would not tell you the truth and would harm your business.
Are you ready? Can YOU handle the truth?
Most people go into business with a service or product they want to provide and they believe people really need and want. Then, often, they don’t have enough sales and get frustrated and without enough sales and income, and they are in serious danger of going out of business. Which, in fact, is the story with most businesses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that 20% of small businesses fail in their first year and of those that do survive half of those will fail in their fifth year. I am on a mission to help thousands of small business owners not only survive, but thrive.
I believe people go out of business because they have not asked this question and built a business based on the answers they receive. In my experience with thousands and thousands of business owners around the world in hundreds of different industries, this question can make all the difference.
The question you want to ask all your current, prospective and past client family members is, “If I could give you one result and only one result, what result would you like to buy”?. Don’t guess. Don’t assume you know the service and products that will help them. You don’t know what they want. They do know what they want. You might think you know what they need, and you don’t. Only they know what they need and typically we buy what we want and not what we need, anyway.
Ask the question and find out the greatest desire from their answers and then and only then create your marketing strategy to achieve more sales, income, and profits. I have made this mistake in my own business and helped thousands of other business owners who made this mistake at start-up and later were struggling or their business was stagnant. Ask this question.
Once you know what it is they really want as a result of hiring you or your company, then create a compelling call to action that will get their attention and have them move into action so they actually purchase your products/services. Don’t waste time and money trying to sell to people without some call to action that gives them some incentive to be motivated to purchase/invest right away. Create offers that truly appeal to them and excited them and you will get a better response and have more sales. You can you discounts, early-bird offers, coupons, free bonuses, and many other things. Find out what will compel them to buy fast. Ask them what will compel them. Do not guess.
Once you have figured out these steps and you have created your own Seven Sentence Guerrilla Marketing Plan you can get your brand noticed by implementing your marketing tactics/strategy both online and offline.
Monitor To Monetize
One thing I notice business owners often forget to do is to monitor and track their marketing results. They create a campaign, invest in the campaign and have no idea what is actually bringing in the new client family members. They have no idea which tactic or strategy really is working and which is wasting their time, energy and money. To me, that is like playing roulette with your business and hoping you actually make money and stay in business long-term. I don’t like to gamble on business success and I take responsibility with my client family members to make certain they become a success story with all the sales they need to create the business of their dreams. Instead of living a life in default they actually design a business and their lives.
I have them evaluate every strategy in terms of results to see if the money and time they are spending on each tactic is generating more sales and is working for them. If the strategy needs a tweak we do that or if they need to switch up a strategy we do that as well. One of my client family members was using Facebook Ads to generate about 15 highly qualified prospective client family members per week and only because we monitor their numbers and success from each tactic every week, they noticed they were getting fewer and fewer qualified prospects each week for 3 weeks. With the changing online algorithms, you have to notice these types of things. My client family member told me if she was not working with me she planned to use Facebook Ads and to keep giving Facebook more money every month. Because we did a review and could see that the money spent on Facebook was not generating much new business and in fact had become an expense, it was clear to my client family member we needed to plan a new strategy/tactic.
Thank goodness there are over 200 of these low and no costs strategies in the Guerrilla Marketing arsenal I send my client family members.
Keep in mind Guerrilla Marketing is based on using low and no-cost unconventional and unique tactics to get attention and that when these proven tactics are deployed correctly you will grow your brand as well as grow your sales.
Jay Conrad Levinson, the father of Guerrilla Marketing created the 200 marketing tactics. I added another 100 to the list as a Master Certified Guerrilla Marketing Trainer and Coach because things have changed since his death on October 10, 2013. The additional 100 items are given only to my client family members, however, I am gifting you Jay’s list. Please note, some may be a bit out-dated and need revisions.
200 Guerrilla Marketing Weapons
1. Marketing plan
2. Marketing calendar
4. Business cards
6. Personal letters
7. Telephone marketing
8. Toll-free number
9. Vanity phone number
10. Yellow pages
12. Postcard deck
13. Classified Ads
14. Per order/inquiry advertising
15. Free ads in shoppers
17. Community bulletin boards
18. Movie Ads
19. Outside signs
20. Street banners
21. Window display
22. Inside signs
25. Door hangers
26. Elevator pitch
27. Value story
28. Back-end sales
29. Letters of recommendation
30. Attendance at trade shows
32. Direct mail
33. Newspaper Ads
34. Radio Spots
35. Magazine Spots
37. Television commercials
40. Chat rooms
41. Forums boards
42. Internet bulletin boards
43. List building
44. Personalized email
45. Email signature
46. Canned email
47. Bulk email
49. Domain name
51. Landing page
52. Merchant account
53. Shopping cart
55. Search engine ranking
56. Electronic brochures
57. RSS feeds
60. Own ezine
61. Ads in other ezines
63. Content for other sites
65. Joint ventures
66. Word of mouse
67. Viral marketing
68. eBay/auction sites
69. Click analyzers
70. Pay per click ads
71. Search engine keywords
72. Google AdWords
73. Sponsored links
74. Reciprocal link exchanges
75. Banner exchanges
76. Web conversion rate
77. Knowledge of your market
78. Research studies
79. Specific customer data
80. Case studies
84. Business directory
85. Public service announcements
87. A speech
88. Free consultations
89. Free demonstrations
90. Free seminars
94. Publishing on demand
95. Speaker at clubs
98. Constant learning
99. Marketing insight
101. Your employees and reps
102. Designated guerrilla
103. Employee attire
104. Social demeanor
105. Target audiences
106. Your own circle of influence
107. Contact time with customers
108. How you say hello and goodbye
109. Teaching ability
111. Sales training
112. Use of downtime
114. Professional title
115. Affiliate marketing
116. Media contacts
117. A-list customers
118. Core story
119. Sense of urgency
120. Offer limited items/time
121. Call to action
122. Satisfied customers
123. Benefits list
124. Competitive advantages
127. Public relations
128. Fusion marketing
130. Word of mouth
132. Community involvement
133. Club and association memberships
134. Free directory listings
135. Trade show booth
136. Special events
137. Name tags at events
138. A luxury box at events
139. Gift certificates
140. Audiovisual aids
142. Reprints and blowups
144. Free trial offer
146. Contests and sweepstakes
147. Baking or craft ability
148. Lead buying
150. Tracking plan
151. Marketing on hold
152. Branded entertainment
153. Product placement
154. Radio talk show guest
155. TV talk show guest
156. Subliminal marketing
157. A proper view of marketing
158. Brand name awareness
162. Theme line
163. Writing ability
164. Copywriting ability
165. Headline copy
167. Hours of operation
168. Days of operation
169. Credit cards accepted
170. Financing available
178. Opportunities to upgrade
179. Referral program
182. Extra value
183. Noble cause
184. Easy to do business with
185. Honest interest in people
186. Telephone demeanor
187. Passion and enthusiasm
196. High energy
199. Attention to details
Even if some of the tactics are outdated, overall the strategies on this list will be applicable to the small business owner to create more sales using less marketing money. Circle tactics that resonate with you and ignore ones that you would not enjoy doing. These tactics will work no matter where you live how big or how small your business is. I have coached/consulted with client family members to create fast start-ups using these tactics plus my 100 additional tactics and have turned around struggling business quickly with these as well.
I suggest you select your three to five Guerrilla Marketing Weapons from this list and also consider adding things that might be newer and relevant for your business like Instagram or Facebook Live. (The kinds of things I have added to the additional 100 Guerrilla Marketing Tactics).
My Top Ten Ways To Increase Sales For Free!
Here are my top ways to increase sales for free. Remember, only apply 3- 5 tactics to begin with.
- Create a referral/reward program
- Create a fast action bonus
- Use Facebook Live and create a lot of value
- Start a Facebook Group with your ideal prospective client family member and truly help them get a result for free
- Set up an automated webinar to educate and give away your best content
- Create a guarantee
- Be transparent, in integrity and authenticity as a Heart-repreneur® based business
- Create a highly valuable lead magnet
- Joint ventures/affiliates
Here To Help YOU!
If you want help, guidance, accountability, or support I provide Terri-On-One Consulting Days, Zoom or Phone Consulting, Immersion Trainings on Marketing, Selling, Branding, and Marketing as well as Keynote Customized Presentations.