Marketing Services: The Pricing Discussion

Price is a prime concern when customers shop for goods. But when they shop for services, price is secondary. For service customers the primary concern is your ability to deliver the service professionally and in a timely manner.
Therefore the discussion of price should come much later when marketing services than it usually does when marketing goods. Indeed, in marketing a service, your goal should be to postpone a discussion of price until people have substantively decided that they want to do business with you.
The early part of your marketing message must primarily be about the extraordinary benefits which you provide, with no mention of the fee for your service. Before you ever talk about price, your objective is to have potential buyers highly enthusiastic about the value which you deliver, so enthusiastic that they are receptive to a substantial fee for what you provide.

Continue reading

Your Marketing Message: Is It Designed Right?

All startups fall into one of three categories: those which sell products, those which sell services, and hybrids which sell both. These distinctions may not seem all that important at first. But in fact they make a profound difference in how you design your marketing strategy.
To put it simply, a service company is unlikely to succeed if it markets itself the same way that a retail company does. And vice versa.
Among other things, the first concern of most retail customers is your price and how it stacks up against your competition. The first concern of service customers is whether you can deliver your services professionally, with quality, and in a time frame which meets their needs.

Continue reading

Learn from My Recent Mistake

Encore entrepreneurs and small business owners must limit their cash flow dependency on factors they cannot control. The sudden reversal of fortunes in the oil industry of late demonstrates how quickly a seemingly robust sector of the economy can suddenly fall upon hard times.

This is why its imperative for encore entrepreneurs and business startups to diversify their customer base, so that they are not excessively dependent on one segment of the economy doing well. Unwittingly I made that mistake myself by allowing too much of my new business to be vulnerable to the downturn in the oil patch.

Continue reading

The Six "P’s" in Your Marketing Pod

Marketing is the DNA of every business. You therefore must never approach your marketing effort in a willy-nilly fashion. Your marketing strategy must be strategically thought through and reduced to a plan.

Your plan is the first ‘P’ of six ‘P’s’ in your marketing pod. Within this plan you must address these additional considerations.

First, a description of the type and range of Products that you will provide for your companies. Second, the way you will position your business and its offerings in the eyes of would-be customers. Third, is your strategy for pricing.

Fourth is placement, how you will make your product or service accessible to customers, and do so in such a way that you maximize its exposure and the interest it generates. And fifth how you will promote your products and your business so that more people become aware of what you offer.

Continue reading

Business Planning: Bet Small, Win Big

While planning is always important, many startups do not need an in-depth business plan to get underway. This is particularly true for initial projections of revenue over the first two years of the company.
Sometimes you just don’t have the data to make those projections. And focus groups are notoriously unreliable as a predictor of how the market will receive a product.
Therefore, your best strategy is not to bet the ranch on a single product or service, but instead to build your business by making a series of “small bets.” Put two or three products or lines of products in the market, holding your investment to a minimum, then monitor how potential customers react.
When a product or service seems well-received, expand it. When one is not well-received, abandon it and place another small bet. Success is more often than not the result of winning a lot of small bets rather than winning a single big one.

Continue reading

An Overlooked Way to Let Google Promote a Web Page for Free

The header of every web page should contain a description of the page within a meta tag. When the page is displayed in a browser, this description never appears. Therefore, web programmers are sometimes inclined to dash off a description of the page rather hurriedly.
But when your page shows up in search engine research, the first 156 characters of the description meta tag are reproduced right below the name of your site. If you write your description tags enticingly enough, you can use these two free lines to draw people into your web site.
So see the description as free promotion of your site by Google. And take the time to carefully craft an engaging description for each page, a description that pulls people magnetically into your site.

Continue reading