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The Fundamental MUST DO’s of a Small Business Marketing Strategy
The best small business marketing strategy is no secret if you stick to the fundamentals. As a small business owner, you are constantly bombarded with what someone tells you is the latest and greatest marketing strategy. Before you waste your time and money on something new, you really need to ask yourself if you’re doing the basics right.
Take a moment and step away from your business and think of your business as your athletic team. It’s the start of the season and you’re excited for the coming year. What is the first thing you are going to do to prepare for the year? Do you start practicing tricks? Of course not! You practice the fundamentals.
- If you’re a baseball team, you practice hitting and fielding.
- If you’re a soccer team, you practice blocking, tackling, shooting, and running.
- If you are a soccer team, you practice kicking and passing.
- You don’t start running plays until your team is in shape!
Okay, now that practice is over and you’ve showered and cleaned up, it’s time to get back to your small business marketing strategy!
7 Critical Small Business Marketing Strategy Fundamentals
Is your team (staff) fit? Do you know the basics? Do you have them practice and rehearse the right way to serve their customers, or do you let them improvise and expect them to do such a good job that your customers are magnetically drawn to your business?
Guess what? If you leave it to chance and assume customers will come back, you risk taking your business into the world of lackluster results where you’ll join the legions of small business owners wondering where the next customer will come from. Don’t leave your success to chance and then find the magic wand that will save your business. A powerful small business marketing strategy starts with the fundamentals. Here are 7 critical steps to your business success:
- Critical Foundation #1: You must have a unique selling proposition, which answers the question “Why should I do business with you?” Your USP is much more than giving a good service or doing a good job. Your competitors are saying the same thing. Your USP should have the insert saying “Really? Tell me more!” Helps get your prospect interested in buying from you. Give them a powerful reason to do it.
- Critical Foundation #2: Your business must be living its USP. If you make the claim, play the game by making sure everyone in your company lives the USP. If you claim to have great customer service, but let your phone ring 10 times before someone answers it, you’re not living in customer service-based USP. FedEx does not claim that packages will arrive overnight, they receive them overnight. If you make your customers follow 5 phone prompts to place an order, you are failing on a service claim. If your delivery person doesn’t thank your customer, your competition will.
- Critical Foundation #3: You must know the fundamentals of selling. It usually costs a great deal of money to get a potential customer to visit or call your business. Once they’re there, doesn’t it make sense that you have the skills to sell to them and maximize transaction value? It does so by cross-selling and up-selling. Don’t wait for the customer to ask for more, you have to help them. Sales training is one of the best investments you can make in your company. Everyone who comes into contact with a potential or potential customer should know the basics of selling.
- Critical Foundation #4: This foundation is one of the most critical and obvious but most overlooked elements of a successful small business marketing strategy! You should have a system for capturing customer and prospect information such as name, address, phone number, email address, purchase history, preferences, and other information related to your business. Today’s technology makes it very inexpensive to do so. When you have this information, you can develop a close relationship with your customers based on what THEY like.
- Here’s a real world example: My wife and I eat at a nice restaurant at least once a week and we like to go to different places. There is only one restaurant in the Cincinnati region that has ever asked me for my name and address. They send us coupons regularly so we eat there regularly. Everyone else is wondering how to get new customers and spending a lot on advertising to get them. Now that doesn’t make much sense, does it? Why don’t others ask about me and what I like? It’s really easy and cheap, but most business owners are out of touch when it comes to knowing their customers.
- Critical Foundation #5: You must have a system to regularly communicate with your prospects and customers. You should be receiving them frequently with unique offers, birthday cards, newsletters, and customer-only specials. Your customers WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!!! Research proves it. If you don’t talk to them, you are communicating an attitude of indifference towards customers and opening the door for your competition to take them away from you.
- Critical Foundation #6: You should leverage your marketing efforts by establishing joint ventures and alliances with other businesses that have similar customer profiles in a non-competing business.
- Look at this scenario: You own a restaurant, and you have 1,000 customers who know and trust you and like your food and service. The flower shop down the street also has 1,000 customers who know and trust it. You approach her with an idea. You will pay for sending a mailing to your list endorsing your restaurant and offering a special coupon for a free appetizer to your customers. You send a similar endorsement for your store to your list. Both will get a great infusion of new business. Now, doesn’t that make more sense than running an ad on the radio or in the newspaper?
- Critical Foundation #7: First of all, keep in mind that all of the above fundamentals do not ask you to risk money on media advertising and any of them can easily increase your sales by 20% or more. However, if you choose to advertise in the media, CHECK YOUR RESULTS! Don’t fall into the trap of building a brand or getting your name out there. If you are investing in something, know the return on your investment. If you put $5,000 into an investment portfolio, you expect a minimal return and closely monitor its results. Do the same when you invest in marketing.
You should get the basics in place
Or you are losing business!
As we discussed earlier, a good small business marketing strategy starts like a sports team does in preseason, by going back to basics. If you’re following these small business marketing strategy fundamentals, you should congratulate yourself because you’re one of the few who are getting repeat business, referrals, and new customers for a fraction of what the average small business spends to attract a customer.
If you’re not doing it, start. It’s much easier and less expensive than you think and your profits will be huge and you will literally get exponential increases in sales.
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