Small Business Marketing Blog

June 9, 2010

Rev Up Your Referral Engine

Filed under: Business,Marketing — Robin Witt @ 9:22 am
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What portion of your business currently comes from referrals? While it is widely known that referrals are essential for growth and vitality, few businesses have a systematic approach to getting more of them. That is why I was so excited to read John Jantsch’s new book, The Referral Engine:  Teaching Your Business to Market Itself.  Going beyond tips and tricks, Jantsch gets at the heart of what it takes to be a highly referable business. Here are a few of my favorite takeaways:  

Start with a referral mind-set. When you have the goal and expectation of getting more referrals, it changes how you do things. Instead of just being as good as the competition, or only slightly better, you set a goal for yourself of being “remarkable.”  Otherwise, no one is going to be excited about it—maybe not even you.  According to Jantsch you have work to make sure that the “core difference you offer” makes people stop and take notice.

Create a referral strategy. This starts from the very beginning of the relationship by setting up the expectation that the client is going to be so delighted by what you have to offer that they are going to be compelled to tell other people about your business. It might sound self-serving but you can make this easier for customers by taking the time to identify—during and after the service—the progress and how the customer is getting exactly what they asked for. 

Don’t forget to ask. Once the service is complete, there is a natural point where the customer is expressing how much they like the finished product. This is the perfect time to ask for referral. Don’t be afraid to be specific. Explain to them what kind of customer you are looking for and even how they can recognize “triggers” that signal a perfect time to make a referral.  I experienced this recently while I was checking out at an Aveda Concept store. I complimented a salesperson on his hair and without missing a beat he said, “Thanks, I get my hair cut at Adore Salon in Oceanside with Raelynn. She is great. Here’s her card.”  I was impressed. That was a well-executed referral based on the trigger of my compliment.

Being successful in getting more referrals is a great, cost-effective way to generate more business. John Jantsch’s The Referral Engine is a great resource for getting started. Tap into the power of positive word-of-mouth.  Get your customers excited about your product or service and help them help you spread the word. (And if Small Biz Marketing Blog is something you’re excited about, please be sure to point others to www.robinwitt.com or to me personally at robin.witt@yahoo.com !)

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June 2, 2010

Now is a Great Time to Be in Business?

Filed under: Business,Marketing — Robin Witt @ 12:55 pm
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Now is a great time for business. “Business is Booming” is certainly an attention-grabbing title for a presentation at a time when many businesses are experiencing something more like “Business is barely hanging in there,” but that is the kind of thinking you get from Brad Sugars, author and CEO of Action Coach.  Sugars was in San Diego last week on one of the many stops of his 2010 “Business is Booming” tour.  Not only did I find Sugar’s presentation entertaining, I loved how he challenged the audience with the points he made. 

Here are some of my favorites:

If you have a business and you are not having fun, you are doing it wrong.

The most expensive advice is free advice from a person who doesn’t have any money.

Many people overestimate what they can get done in one year and underestimate what they can accomplish in ten years.

The definition of leverage is doing the work once and getting paid forever.

Many business owners do not know how much it is really costing them to get a customer. Attracting a lead, converting a lead, and calculating the lifetime value of a customer are all important factors to know and understand.

Business opportunities change like the seasons. There is a time to grow and a time to harvest. Business owners can get in trouble if they are doing the wrong activities at the wrong time.  

Sugars reminded the audience there are no get-rich-quick schemes. It takes about ten years to become wealthy because that is how long it takes to learn how to do it, apply it, and complete a full business cycle.  

Regardless of the current economic conditions, there are always opportunities.  As business owners we are only limited by our own ability to learn, adapt, and strategize. Are you open for business?

May 18, 2010

Is it Time to Ditch Email Marketing?

Filed under: Business,Marketing — Robin Witt @ 9:13 am
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Customer reading email. With social media all the buzz, it might seem like email marketing is no longer a valuable tool for growing your business. Apparently that was not the opinion of the 300 or so people who took time to attend a Constant Contact email marketing seminar in San Diego last week. According to the event’s presenter, Ron Cates, 91 percent of people who use email, do it daily, with 25 percent checking it more than 10 times a day. He also said that accessing email via smart phones is rising steadily and is expected to double next year. Cates emphasized that not only is email marketing still very popular, it remains one of the most effective ways to increase sales, averaging a return of investment of $44 for every dollar spent.

After reminding the audience of the importance and value of email marketing, Cates recommended the following best practices for businesses to maximize results. 

Clearly identify who the email is “from.” 60 percent of email recipients decide whether they will open an email based on this factor alone.

Make sure the text, not the images, clearly conveys the message. Many email clients like Yahoo, Gmail, and Outlook block out images until the recipient clicks to say they are OK to view. This does not mean don’t use pictures; just make sure the message makes sense without them in case they are not present.

Don’t be an “accidental spammer.” An accidental spammer is when you unintentionally spam your customers. While the Can Spam Act explains what spamming is from a legal point of view, your customers might have different ideas. Possible triggers that get you labeled as a spammer by clients are: sending too frequently, not getting permission, or sending content your customer doesn’t like.

Make it easy for customers to sign up to be on your email mailing list. Display a sign-up field in a prominent area on your website and include a link in your email signature. You can also encourage people to sign up by offering them an irresistible incentive to do so.

Most importantly, share content that is valuable and interesting to your intended audience. If all your emails say the same thing “buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff” that gets old over time. Instead, show your expertise and focus on building relationships.

Email marketing continues to be a valuable way for businesses to communicate with customers and demonstrate their expertise. By sharing useful and interesting information, businesses can look forward to both increased loyalty and revenue.

May 11, 2010

3 Marketing Tips to Learn from American Apparel

Shoppers lined up for American Apparel's Rummage Sale in San Diego's Gaslamp District on May 8, 2010.   471, 472, 473 clicked the attendant in the green shirt.  It was the number assigned to me, my teenage daughter, and her friend as we descended down into the basement of clothing retailer American Apparel in San Diego’s Gaslamp District.  When I first saw the crowds snaking along several blocks I thought they were waiting to buy tickets to a concert or Padres’ game. Little did I know I would be waiting in that very line for three hours before we would reach our final destination, the 3rd annual American Apparel Rummage Sale.

These days, not many retailers have people waiting in line to give them money. In fact, most are reporting their lowest sales in years. So how does a retailer like American Apparel, dealing with the same business pressures as everyone else, post an 8 percent increase in sales for the last quarter of 2009? From what I could see, it comes down to three things.

Consistency.  American Apparel is consistent with their brand (simple, quality, American-made fashions) and this builds trust because people know what to expect. In addition, American Apparel stocks a large selection in their stores and many of the styles are not available at other retailers.  This winning combination has garnered American Apparel a loyal fan base.  

Socially Connected.  American Apparel uses social media effectively to keep in touch with customers. Most of the people I asked in my small circle in line had found out about the sale on Facebook. But American Apparel does more than broadcast promotions on Twitter and Facebook, they also engage in meaningful conversations with their online followers. For example, in one of their posts they asked people who were planning on attending the sale what they were hoping to find, so they could make sure it was available. Another post offered tips for avoiding a long wait. It was evident they were using these real time online tools to improve the customer experience.   

Constantly Promoting. American Apparel’s Rummage Sale was obviously successful, but that did not mean the staff was going to rest on this one event, they continued to promote for the future.  While customers were waiting to get into the store, employees with clipboards walked around to see if anyone wanted to get on their email list and offered a gift when they signed up. They also scouted out the line for possible new hires.  I guess they figured if someone is willing to wait several hours to get into the store, they very likely would make a passionate employee.  And for a final hook, they tucked a postcard into my bag with a 15 percent discount for next time.

Even during tough economic times, when shoppers are looking for the best deals and most retailers tell you how hard it is to make a buck, hard work, good value, and strong promotion can still bring people into a store.  Take a look at the three ways that American Apparel creates the kind of buzz that makes it seem reasonable to wait in line for hours for the chance to buy something.  What can you do in the areas of consistency, connection, and promotion to improve your business?  It might take a little time, but with some concentrated effort, you can create a loyal fan base, and the strong word-of-mouth endorsement that has folks lining up to do business with you.

April 20, 2010

Chocolate Kiss Your Marketing Message

Filed under: Business,Marketing — Robin Witt @ 8:22 am
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A chocolate kiss is a metaphor for keeping your marketing message simple.In talking to other business owners, I have found that we are all doing more marketing than ever before. One of the contributing factors is that the products and services we are selling are pretty complex. Another factor is increased pressure from the competition. This, combined with the usual business factors, has stepped up the time and energy needed to explain our value proposition and differentiate ourselves.

But just because our task may be more complex than in the past, our marketing message shouldn’t be. In marketing your small business, the challenge is to make the complex simple. Here are a few tips from one of my favorite metaphors, the Hershey Chocolate Kiss, to help you remember to keep your message simple. See if you can use any of these ideas in your marketing business strategy:

Be recognizable. Hershey Kisses are an excellent example of effective branding. Although Hershey Kisses are available in several types of chocolate, and some varieties even have nuts, they have retained their iconic plume shape and foil wrapping. Customers easily recognize the Hershey Kiss and know what they are getting. What are you doing to create a consistent message and feel across your products and services to ensure an easily recognizable image?

Miniaturize the Message. With a Hershey Kiss, you get full chocolate flavor, but in a tiny package. Distill what you do into a small, bite size morsel that is easy to remember but is still delicious and valuable.  For Hershey Kisses, their tagline is simply, “Kiss someone.”  What’s your message you want people to remember?

Be easy to share. Hershey Kisses are individually wrapped making them easy to share. Getting others to share your message is one of the best ways to attract new customers.  How can you make your message easy to share on social media networking sites, emails, and blogs?

Just because your products and services are more complicated, doesn’t mean your messaging should be. Think of the Hershey Kiss to remember to keep it simple, memorable, and easy to share with others.

To find out more about how you can use a chocolate kiss approach to attract customers with social media marketing, contact Robin Witt: robin.witt@yahoo.com

April 9, 2010

Don’t Let Writer’s Block Derail Your Small Business Blog

Filed under: Blogging,Business,Marketing — Robin Witt @ 7:45 am
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Writer's block  is a problem when writing small business blogs. Writing blogs is one of the best marketing tools small business owners can use to attract customers. Posting  on a consistent basis is essential to getting the best results.  One of the biggest stumbling blocks is not being able to remember any of your good ideas when you finally sit down to do the writing. The secret is to have a steady supply of story starters at your fingertips so your time can be spent on the writing instead of generating ideas.  Here are four tips to get you started. 

Make idea generation and blog writing two different activities.  When you sit down to write your blog posts for the week, your time should be spent on just writing not looking for ideas. If you try to do both activities at the same time it will take too long and there is a risk you won’t get it done. 

Have a way to capture ideas.  Finding ideas is an ongoing process and you don’t always know when inspiration will strike. Find a reliable way to save these ideas to be used at a later date. Some people write down ideas while other people like to store ideas in their phone or leave themselves a voice message. It doesn’t matter what you come up with for a solution. The important thing is that it works for you and is easy to do, otherwise it won’t be successful. 

Constantly be on the look-out for possible ideas. Great blog ideas can come from a variety of different sources.  For example, clients have questions, concerns, and issues that make excellent blog posts. When you are reading articles, ask yourself, “Is there something here that would valuable to share with my customers?” Just add your own point of view and link back to the original source.  Other sources of inspiration could be movies, books, or your life experiences. 

Fill in the blank. Simple  phrases  or fill-in the blank sentences can help jolt the creative juices. Here are some universal themes to get  you started: 

  • Avoid this mistake at all costs.
  • Do this to be successful.
  • What your _____doesn’t want you to know.
  • How to _______.
  • Thinking about______? Why that is the worst idea ever.

Writing blogs is one of the most valuable activities you can do to establish credibility and trust. Don’t let the pressures of time or an occasional case of writer’s block keep you from making the most of this marketing tool.  With a little bit of planning and attention to a couple of simple strategies you can have a large pool of ideas to choose from.

April 6, 2010

Don’t Let Your Social Media Sites Become Ghost Towns

Filed under: Marketing,Social Media — Robin Witt @ 8:28 am
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Socieal media sites can become ghost town without proper attention. No  fans or followers on your small business social media sites?  As a consultant I hear this complaint many times. There seems to be a misconception that if you put up a site, you don’t need to put any more effort into it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Creating a Facebook fan page or new Twitter account is just the first step.  To be successful long term, it’s important to avoid these three common mistakes.

Mistake #1—No goals. What is your desired outcome?  If you don’t know what you want out of your social media marketing, there is a very good chance you will fail. Like other forms of marketing, it requires clear goals, good strategy, and consistent effort to be successful.

Mistake #2—No plans.  Writing tweets, updates, and blogs all take time. It’s important to identify who is going to do it, when they are going to do it, and how much time they will devote to each activity. Planning this out ahead of time will save you heartache in the long run.

Mistake #3—No value. All the content you post should be aimed at your target audience. This is not about your interests, it is about attracting potential customers. With that said, does that mean you have to stifle your personality? Absolutley not, that is what makes you unique and real. You are not a robot after all! Just make sure you stay on message by keeping your ideal client in mind at all times.  

It is tempting to want to rush into social media because of the opportunities it offers small businesses.  Make sure you have clear goals, a well-thought out implementation plan, and a sense of what would be interesting to your clients before you begin.  If you fail to address these three areas your sites might end up being empty, lifeless ghost towns, instead of the vibrant communities they should be.

March 23, 2010

Social Media Marketing: 3 Time-Saving Tips

Filed under: Business,Marketing,Social Media — Robin Witt @ 11:00 am
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Saving TimeNot having enough time is one of the biggest concerns clients tell me about when they are considering social media marketing for their small business. The thought of adding tweets, blogs, and other interactions to an already jammed schedule can seem overwhelming  to many. The result is some business owners become paralyzed taking no action at all to market themselves in this area, while others think about finding to an outside agency to do it for them. Both of these ideas are short-sighted. Unless the reason you don’t have time is because you have too many customers, doing social media by someone inside your company presents a wonderful opportunity to get closer to existing and potential customers. The trick is to use your time wisely. Here are 3 tips that will help you to get started with social media in a time effective manner: 
  1. Develop specific goals.  This begins by identifying what you want social media to do for you.  Do you want to create a large follower group, drive traffic to your web site, or provide a resource for existing customers?  All of these are possible goals for social media. Once you identify the end result, you will be able to develop a more targeted plan and approach. If you don’t, you will spend more time than necessary.  Different goals require different actions.  Get clear on your desired outcome.
  2. Define your target audience.  Second, identify your ideal client. It is tempting to say that everyone could benefit from your product or service, and that may be true, but trying to target messages to such a broad audience will generally result in scattered efforts.  Instead, clearly define who your best customer is.  See them clearly and then choose content that would be most interesting to them.  This precision will help you to sort through content quickly to find the best items. The clearer you are in this area, the more focused, targeted, and successful your strategy will be.
  3. Get experienced help.  This third tip will generally save new users the most time.  Trial and error is an effective way to learn, but it takes a lot more time. Small business owners can dramatically decrease their ramp-up time by finding an expert who knows what the time traps are and how to avoid them.

Even under the best of circumstances, getting started with social media takes anywhere from 1-3 months before new users see results.  Don’t delay the process with unclear goals, undefined customer segments, or a go-it-alone attitude.  With a little bit of help, small businesses can be up and running with social media and enjoying the benefits in 4-6 weeks.   The extra planning up front saves time and achieves better results in the long run.

 

  

March 16, 2010

Marketing with Yelp: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

Filed under: Business,Marketing — Robin Witt @ 7:23 am
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Woman talking loudly signifying Word of Mouth Marketing with YelpIf you are a small business owner who sells to consumers, you’ve probably heard about Yelp but may not know much about it. It’s important to get up-to-speed quickly with this new online review site where customers are describing their experiences with a business for others to see. Yelp calls it “word of mouth amplified.”  Don’t miss out on this important new online forum.  Your business can benefit by being active with Yelp right away with seven quick actions.

Complete your business profile. Go to yelp.com and access the section for business owners at the bottom of the page. Think about how you can make your profile as inviting as possible. Start by posting important information about your business like the hours you are open and your website address. Also include photos or a logo. 

Unlock you business page. Once you have completed your profile you have the opportunity to use tools that are geared toward businesses such as information about how many people are reviewing your business. A step-by-step video guides you through the process.  

Check in frequently.  You can learn from what others write about you. Where is your business doing well and where do you need to improve?  If someone is unhappy with your business you can take this opportunity to find out more and possibly turn them into a fan instead of a critic.

Respond to both positive and negative reviews. Online communities like Yelp are relationship extenders. Reaching out to people who have taken the time to talk about your business can make a big difference. You can respond to reviewers privately or publicly.

Be authentic. Who doesn’t want to have as many favorable reviews as possible? Just make sure you get them in an ethical way. Remember, the transparency of social media makes everything you do very visible. It is OK to promote and ask for reviews, it is not OK to offer rewards or manipulate this process.

Check out additional Yelp resources. There is a lot of great information for business owners including a section on commonly asked questions.  For example, why do reviews sometimes disappear? There are also videos with actual business owners you can access.

Realize you can’t please everyone. Sometimes you will come across someone who uses online communities to make unrealistic demands on businesses. In that case, you will just have to let it go.

Knowing how to effectively use Yelp can help your business find out what your customers are thinking and how to better meet their needs and expectations. By using Yelp’s ability to generate “word of mouth amplified” you can create better solutions, happier customers, and more referrals!   

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March 8, 2010

Don’t Forget These Three Marketing Ingredients for Small Business Success

Filed under: Marketing — Robin Witt @ 12:35 pm
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Don't forget these important marketing ingredients for small business.Yesterday I was making one of my favorite recipes.  It’s a homemade version of the lettuce wraps with spicy ground chicken made famous by P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. When I needed to leave unexpectedly, my husband offered to finish it up.  (That’s a first, but more about that at a later time.) When I got back from my errand, he said, “I did what you said, but something is missing.”

After looking back over his steps, we figured out that he forgot to add one of the ingredients.  Once we added it into the mix, it made all the difference. We were both surprised by the impact that this one small ingredient had on the overall dish.  (By the way, the missing ingredient was ginger.) This got me thinking about business and specifically, about marketing.  Is there a missing ingredient that could make all the difference in your business? Here are three powerful, but often overlooked, ingredients to consider:

The Customer—Keep the customer in mind in all of your marketing messaging. I know this sounds elementary, but it is easy to get off track and think in terms of our own interests instead of the customer.  For example, some people get wrapped up in the visual esthetics of their website and become more interested in that than if the website is easy for the customer to navigate.

Anxiety—Marketing is all about creating anxiety. Shocking? It shouldn’t be.  In marketing, anxiety serves two purposes; first it gives the customer a reason to take action and second, it creates urgency.  Make sure it is clear what the customer will miss out on if they do not get your product or service.

Exciting Offer—Once you have created anxiety, the next step is to present a clear solution, otherwise known as the “irresistible offer.” Show how your product or service will solve the customer’s problem and make their life better.  

That’s it.  Three success ingredients that will increase your chances of attracting and retaining customers.

PS: Don’t forget to ask for the sale.

February 20, 2010

Marketing Lessons from a Roller Derby Playbook

San Diego Derby Doll, Lila Troncone, aka Lilamonster

San Diego Derby Doll, Lila Troncone, aka Lilamonster

I love stories about girls kicking some booty, so it was merely a matter of time before I brought home the roller derby movie Whip It. It’s a fun, coming-of-age story about a small town Texas girl who discovers herself when she joins a local roller derby team. The characters are warm and believable, and I think you will be pleasantly surprised how much you’ll like it.

I think you’ll also be surprised when I tell you that I was able to find some lessons and ideas that could apply to social media marketing!

A cool name is just the beginning.  Picking out a fierce derby name like Smashlee Simpson or Babe Ruthless is fun but it will not win you any bouts. This is one of the things the derby coach told the newly enlisted team members. If you want to win, you have to do the right actions. The same is true for social media marketing. New businesses can get caught up in picking out the color for the Twitter background, but then don’t take the time to find exciting content or keep up-to-date on conversations.  Social media marketing requires daily interaction with friends or followers and to be constantly on the look-out for content the client would find valuable and interesting.

You have to make contact. To be successful in roller derby, you have to eventually make contact. It wouldn’t really be roller derby if everyone just skated around without pushing, shoving, and the occasional hip-check.  It is the same with social media.  You have to be prepared to mix it up a bit.  You can’t expect to engage in an authentic conversation without getting your hair messed up.

Work the strategy. Early in the movie the featured roller derby team (The Hurl Scouts) never wins a game.  Why?  According to their coach, it’s because they’re not disciplined and they don’t follow the playbook. They thought if they just laced up and got on the rink, it would somehow happen all by itself. Guess what, the coach was right. Shooting from the hip rarely works, especially long-term. With social media marketing it is important to know what you are trying to achieve and how you are going to get there.  

For a fun experience, requiring minimal effort, you can’t go wrong with the movie Whip It.  Having a successful presence on the internet will require more effort and tenacity. The important thing is to keep going and not be afraid to take a few hits.

Photo courtesy of Lila Troncone, San Diego Derby Doll.

February 11, 2010

How to Get Noticed Without a Super Bowl Commercial

Del's Barber Shop owner, Dan Engelbrecht, with a customer, was one of four businesses featured in a 2010 Super Bowl commercial.

This year, one Super Bowl commercial caught my attention more than any other and it wasn’t because of creativity, humor, or special effects. It was a Miller Beer commercial and the theme was “giving it up for small business.” When the first business name and location came up, I nearly lost my pretzels. There on my TV screen was Del’s Barbershop, a family-owned business not too far from my home.

It was a great promotional opportunity for Del’s Barber Shop owner, Dan Engelbrecht. Not only was Dan lucky enough to be among four businesses that Miller decided to highlight, he also had the good fortune to be part of a commercial shown during the one broadcast where people actually watch the commercials.

What if you are a small business that wants more business but doesn’t have the Miller Brewing Company asking you to be a part of a national campaign? Don’t be discouraged, you can still capture the attention of potential customers. Here are a few tips to make sure your small business gets noticed.

Be visible and valuable on the Internet. People are constantly searching, exploring, and learning about things that they are interested in. As a business owner, you want to make sure when customers go looking, they find you! Make sure that you are creating content through company blogs, websites, and other online resources. Be sure to include key words that prospective clients are likely to be searching on.

Join in the conversation. People are spending more and more time on networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, talking with their friends, and interacting with brands. It is important that your business be present on these sites, as well. Remember that customers want two-way communication. Take the time to listen as much as you broadcast. Embrace this new two-way dialogue because you will learn so much about your customers, and how they feel about your products and services.

Even if you don’t have the good fortune to be featured in a Super Bowl commercial, don’t let that stop you from interacting with your current and prospective fans. With online marketing you can engage in a dialogue that will make your business an MVP in their eyes. Provide good content, be easy to find and approachable, and you’re sure to start seeing results. Congratulations again to Del’s Barbershop and all of the small businesses profiled in Miller’s campaign. If you haven’t seen the commercial yet, here’s a link: www.spike.com/video/miller-high-life/3338461

January 27, 2010

To Attract Customers Set Your Marketing GPS on Multiple Locations

Filed under: Marketing — Robin Witt @ 10:05 am
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Marketing GPS to Attract CustomersAttracting and retaining customers is important to the success of every business. When talking with other business owners, I have found that many of us are spending more time on marketing than ever before. One important step to consider before coming up with a marketing strategy is to ask yourself two elementary, but powerful questions:

Who is my ideal customer and where are they in terms of knowledge of my business and readiness to buy?

What you will find is that customers are in one of three places. To be successful it is important to design your marketing strategy to be able to reach potential customers in each of these areas.

In the Driver’s Seat–This customer has an immediate need and a clear sense about what type of product or service would be the solution. This is a person who is ready to buy and is actively looking for a vendor or service provider. Who they decide to ultimately do business with is usually determined by an online search, a quick look in the phonebook, or an ad in the newspaper featuring a current promotion on the item or service they are looking for.

Kicking the Tires—This customer is not ready to buy today, but somewhere down the road they will be making a purchase. For this customer, there might be a nagging problem or something they would like to upgrade someday but the immediate need is not there yet. Possible examples could include new marketing software, home remodeling, or even a hobby. At this level of readiness, it is all about being able to find out more by researching, learning, and engaging. In this category, the company with the most interesting and easy-to-find content wins.

Enjoying the Ride–This customer feels that they have everything they need for the present and immediate future. Life is good and they don’t feel any need for a product or service right now. They have a new pet, but they haven’t thought about veterinarian services. They have a newborn, but they are not thinking about preschool or orthodontics. At this level of readiness it is about meeting the customer where they are at.  Instead of talking solutions or products, open up a conversation about enjoying life to the fullest by exploring possibilities.

Each of these three categories presents opportunities for potential customers to get to know your business, whether it is an easy to access website, an informative blog, or just friendly conversation on Twitter. Make sure that you have something to offer each type of customer. The objective is get in front of them before they have a need, so when they are ready to buy, you are the obvious choice.

January 19, 2010

Fall in Love with Carbonita Detail

Filed under: Marketing — Robin Witt @ 5:20 pm
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Starting a new company is risky business even in the healthiest of economies. So when two ordinary guys in Southern California came up with the idea to start Carbonita, a new auto-detailing company, they knew they would have to do something remarkable if they hoped to be successful.

The plan was to get the word out about the new company in the shortest amount of time by using multiple marketing channels, This strategy included traditional marketing; such as going door-to-door and performing a few services for free. In addition to the usual promotions, Carbonita also got active in social media. This winning combination helped Carbonita go from doing two details the first week, to more than 100 in only six weeks. While the company is still in the beginning stages, entrepreneurs can learn from Carbonita’s strategy.

Marketing Lessons from Carbonita

Be an expert. There is not a shortage of car detailers who have a bucket and want to make a buck, but that does not mean they understand the science of car paint finishes. Carbonita demonstrates their expertise by being certified and educating clients. In addition, they post tips and updated information on their company blog. Recent blog topics include why I need auto detailing in the first place and why bugs are bad for your car.

Stand out from the crowd. Carbonita uses an eco-friendly approach to auto-detailing. The entire process uses less than a pint of water to completely wash the average car and all of the cleaning materials are biodegradable. They also use super fuel-efficient Smart Cars to drive out to customer locations instead of the usual gas-guzzling trucks most competitors use.

Connect with the customer. One of the social media platforms Carbonita has been most successful with is Twitter. Because of Twitter’s ability to engage in two-way conversations with prospective customers, more people have found out about the service and have been willing to give Carbonita a try. They also use Twitter’s real time capabilities to answers questions.

By using multiple marketing channels, engaging in conversations, and most importantly, delivering remarkable results, Carbonita have been able to ramp up sales in a short amount of time. This has also given them the opportunity to live their company philosophy: to remind people why they fell in love with their car in the first place.

For more information on Carbonita, visit their Website or follow them on Twitter.

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