Social media is a great launch pad for new businesses and products. Heinz discovered this when it launched Five Beanz. To support the launch, the company devised a “Which bean are you?” quiz for its Facebook page. The personality-based quiz attracted 10,000 shares, 22,000 likes and reached 11 million people.

Try to think of ways you can use social media to promote your products or services without spending a single penny. You can encourage people to share your posts with incentives such as entry into a free draw. The prize could be low-cost but practical promotional merchandise that will carry on marketing your products long after individual social media posts are forgotten. Think of pens, mugs and umbrellas.

Make sure your business has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. It is also worth pinning links to your products on Pinterest. Starting new Pinterest boards is easy – and it’s free. Remember not to let vanity cloud your judgement. Impressions and engagement rates are more important than follower numbers. Use hashtags on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram to reach people outside of your immediate audience.

THE VALUE OF FACE-TO-FACE MARKETING

Face-to-face marketing instantly connects you to potential customers. Not only can you show people your products and how they work, you can highlight the benefits in much more detail. Customers like dealing with a business in person. What’s more, you can learn from the experience by listening to and taking onboard feedback.

One of the biggest growth areas in sales is networking. It connects new businesses to the right people and helps budding entrepreneurs extend their contacts quickly. In fact, networking is now considered as important as referrals. You can start networking to grow sales by joining a local business club. If you are new to this type of marketing, these tips will help you:

⦁ Find out who is attending an event in advance and make a note of who you would like to be introduced to
⦁ Always carry business cards
⦁ Arrive early and leave late to make the most of networking events
⦁ Don’t be afraid to talk about the weather or general business topics. Nobody wants to be subjected to a full-blown sales pitch the first time they meet you

Not convinced networking is for you? Consider these statistics: up to 85% of jobs are now filled through networking; 41% of networkers want to network more frequently; 100% of people say face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships; the close rate for in-person meetings is 40%. With 7 out of every 10 millennials saying going into the office isn’t necessary, you need to take note. B2B buyers, for example, are increasingly millennials and they love networking.
* Statistics from HubSpot

TRADE SHOWS BRING YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMERS TO YOU

One of the best places to showcase your products or services is at a trade show or business exhibition. If you choose an event that complements what you do, you will have a ready audience; people who are interested in your products and services. For example, I organise West Sussex Expo and Brighton Expo. They are both geared to the B2B sector and businesses looking to expand sales in specific geographic locations.

The benefits for exhibitors is that they know what they are offering will be seen by their ideal customers. Can you imagine having thousands of potential customers all under the same roof, at the same time? It is great for businesses because this type of marketing increases awareness about their brand, helps them make new connections and also brings in sales – all in one day. This is another form of networking and why business shows are popular. Exhibiting at a trade show does not have to be expensive. For example, a stand at West Sussex Expo starts at under £400. Exhibitions can also be great fun and open up huge opportunities.


FRANCHISE YOUR BUSINESS TO MAKE MONEY QUICKLY

Are you scratching your head trying to come up with a quick way to make money from your business model? Stop for a minute. Think about the concept behind your brand. Is it something that could be replicated? If your answer is ‘yes’, franchising could make you a fortune.

Franchising can be applied to a wide range of business concepts. What’s more, the financial risks are relatively low and the rewards can be high. The biggest hurdles include the legalities of starting a franchise, effective marketing and consistent quality control.

If you want to know more about franchising, there is free advice in the blog section of my website – www.monkmarketing.com

HOW TO CORNER NICHE MARKETS

The quickest way to woo customers is to know and understand them. If your sales process uses content to generate leads, make sure it offers value. Give your audience free tips and valuable information that can be put to use. Gear your marketing to the age, gender, location and interests of your ideal customer. Increase sales with cross-selling, loyalty schemes and rewards.

The sales process is changing. Customers want personalised marketing and exceptional buying experiences. Give it to them across multiple platforms and engage them with marketing that appeals to what they like. Do that and you will create fans of your brand and loyal, repeat customers.

If you want to develop your sales strategy and have any questions about the topics raised, I am happy to answer any questions.