Top 10 Website Marketing Tips, by Rick Crandall
Despite confusion about what marketing is, without it no business
can succeed. The best definition of marketing is anything you do to
get OR keep a customer. This means the most important forms of
marketing are customer service and referrals. Thatís why in my books
on marketing I focus on how to build relationships with customers
and potential customers. You can build relationships in person or
online. Even your advertising and brochures can help build
Having recently collected almost 2000 ways that real companies and
individuals have marketed successfully, I've picked a few to mention
The best methods for you will differ depending on your personal
style, your industry, and your budget. But these should give you
some ideas. Despite the increasing impact of technology on
marketing, most of the key things you can do are still aimed at
standing out in your market and building relationships. If I had
to pick the top ten approaches they would be these.
1. MAKE YOUR ADVANTAGES EASY TO UNDERSTAND. For instance, Computer
Resources International AS originally sold consulting, for which
they used proprietary software. Only when they started selling the
software first, and then customization and consulting as extras did
their business take off. Buying software was easier to understand
than the more intangible consulting. LifeUSA insurance, and many
other businesses, focus on speed in every aspect of their business.
They make fun of the slower industry standards and provide a simple
advantage clients understand. Other ways to set yourself apart are
through great service or association with worthy causes.
2. DONíT TRY TO BE EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE. Just as customers screen
you, you should decide who you want to serve. Printing Resources
originally took any printing business that walked in the door. When
they realized which kinds of customers they worked with best, they
were able to cut down their marketing costs and make more money.
Some computer consulting firms only work with one customer per
industry so they will have no conflicts of interest. You can bet
they select customers carefully, and that customers are flattered
by the partnership approach. Consider creating a checklist of who
shouldnít hire you! It will help you focus, and may impress the
right customers if you share it with them.
3. WORK FOR REFERRALS. Word of mouth is the least expensive, most
effective way to get new business. Barry Farber has new customers
write on the back of their business cards why they bought. These
become mini-testimonials. Bob Brassard calls at least one client a
day just to keep in touch. This builds the relationship by showing
he doesnít just care about them when he wants something, allows him
to update files, and generates referrals. One upscale dentist put
up a Web page. He got about six extra referrals a month because
his clients thought it was cool that their dentist had a Web page.
4. USE ONLINE MARKETING. You donít have to have a Web site like
Eastern Mortgage Services to do business online. You can send
personalized e-mail like Michael Swartz of DNA Software. You can
pay only for the leads generated for you by advertising on many
sites. You can research potential clients for better presentations.
You can gather customer input inexpensively as Ritchey Design does.
Or you can post free ads in discussion groups.
5. DONíT SELL, HELP PEOPLE BUY. When you truly put the clientís
interests above your own, you will become a consultant, a team
member, and a partner for your client. When youíve earned trusted
advisor status, doing business is no problem. For instance, computer
consultant, Amadaeus Consulting Group, helps its customers make more
money by using computers to help their clients sell more. Of course,
the extra business comes around as the client grows. A small
accountantís client felt they needed a Big 5 firm to handle their
audit because they wanted to go public. Instead of resisting, the
accountant helped the client select a Big 5 firm, thus maintaining
and extending the relationship with the client. Conrad International
added warehousing services near overseas clients so they could afford
to buy in bulk for a lower price. When you put the customer first,
you earn long-term loyalty that is more profitable than a larger
6. PARTNER WITH OTHER COMPANIES REACHING YOUR MARKET. This might be
neighborhood merchants cooperating on a sidewalk sale, or Digital
Equipment partnering with Infinite Technologies to better serve the
Bank of New York. Or it could be you partnering with a charity to
create a fund raising event that brings attention to both of you,
like Service Merchandise and Goodwill did.
7. SHIFT THE RISK TO YOURSELF AND YOU WILL PROFIT. A believable
guarantee makes it safe for prospects to give you a try. Very few
people will exploit a generous guarantee compared to the extra
business it generates. YoyoDine is one of many companies that
guarantee you results from their online advertising. Even Kaiser,
the big HMO, found a money-back guarantee to be successful.
8. BE PERSONAL. To build relationships you have to build a personal
connection. A handwritten invitation pulled great for Frank Candy,
president of the American Speakers Bureau and for restaurateur Murray
Raphael. Internet consultant Dan Janal gives clients links from his
page. One nursing home created a waiting list through great referrals
by greeting visiting relatives by name and filling them in on their
loved ones at the start of each visit.
9. CREATE FREE PUBLICITY. Our old Construction Computer Applications
Newsletter had a hard time finding reviewers for computer programs of
interest to readers. Our reviewers not only got publicity from their
reviews, but we gave them referrals. A large CPA firm specializes in
citrus growers. Every year they do a survey of their clientsí costs
of operations. The survey data helps their clients benchmark their
operations, positions the CPAs as the experts, and gets the CPA firm
publicized in trade articles. Inquiry Handling Services gets regular
publicity from newsletters and articles, as well as a book they wrote
for their industry. And Luxury Limo received major coverage about a
special rate created to allow three regular women to share the
commute in a limo at about the cost of carpooling.
10. INTEGRATE YOUR MARKETING. This means that everything you do
should convey the same message and represent what you stand for.
Putnam Investments manages $150 billion in assets. All their
literature, and even their office, conveys the same message. Viva
Knight, a script consultant, rents mailing lists from the same
magazine he advertises in. If he also wrote articles for the same
magazine, it would add to the integrated approach.
Whether you use high tech or shoeleather approaches to marketing,
the best methods will be comfortable for you and prospects, build
relationships, and support the setting up of a system that can be
done regularly. And perhaps thatís the main secret of successful
marketing to get started and keep doing something on a regular basis.
These tips are from the book: 1001 Ways to Market Your Services:
Even If You Hate to Sell, by Rick Crandall (RPCrandall@aol.com),
published by Contemporary/NTC Books. Available at online bookstores.
Copyrighted. Contact him for a free marketing newsletter.