3 HOT Tips To Improve Your Ads/Flyers and Letters for Small Business Growth

One of the areas that you can dramatically improve the number of leads to your small business is through effective advertising.

Right now I’ll take you through 3 HOT tips on how you can bring in more money and customers.

Here are three things you can do to improve your prospecting letters.

1. Use a benefit orientated headline, not your business name.

The biggest mistake most small businesses make is using their business name as the headline for their advertisements.

Your prospective customer isn’t interested in your business name, they want to know what you will do for them. So tell them in the headline.

A case in point is the weight loss market.

If you’d like to lose weight which headline would appeal to you more…?

“Naughton Services” (business name headline) or…

“Lose 5kgs in 7 weeks” (benefit headline)

Obviously the second headline would appeal more.

Make sure you use benefit headlines for all of your marketing pieces.

2. Take a ‘Point of YOU’ approach.

Print out each of your letters/ad/flyers and take a red pen and circle the words I, We, or Our in your letter/ad/flyer.

Now rewrite your letter using the words YOU or YOUR.

Why?

Your prospective customer doesn’t care about you. They are interested in themselves and they want you to tell them how buying from you will benefit them.

So don’t tell them about you in your ads/flyers and letters. They don’t care! Appeal to their self-interest by telling them how they will get value for money, and how they will benefit.

For example…

“I will talk about the 5 key areas that I feel are important in health”
“You will learn the 5 key important areas that will dramatically improve your health”

A general rule of thumb for any marketing piece is that for every ‘I’ or ‘We’ there should be 5 ‘You’ or ‘Your’s.

3. Ask the reader to ACT NOW!

At the end of all of your marketing pieces make sure you ask the reader to take action.

Specifically tell them to ‘pick up the phone’ or ‘visit our website’ or ‘visit our shop’.

It seems really strange to point this fact out. Yet so many businesses simply forget to tell the reader what they need to do to buy from them. And if you aren’t telling them, you’re losing sales.

Your customers are ‘silently begging to be led’ so tell them how to contact you or what they need to do to buy from you. It makes a HUGE difference. Try it and see for yourself.

These three guidelines you have just read, can immediately improve the results you’re getting from your marketing.

Try them, and see if they improve your business growth.

Copyright © 2005 by Casey Gollan. All Rights Reserved

A CRM Solution For Small Businesses

Managing customers, conducting marketing campaigns and achieving timely follow-up on sales leads is a vital process that can overwhelm a small business. Keeping promises, storing correspondence, managing sales and being able to quickly determine the status of accounts is crucial to success. Having a single, integrated solution to accomplish all this makes the lives of small business people so much easier and more productive.

Internet-based customer relationship management (CRM) and contact management solutions offer significant advantages. Typically, they are more affordable for small businesses because there is no software to buy or maintain. Equally important, online CRM solutions are accessible from any Internet connection by authorized personnel, providing a good centralized answer for both far-flung sales forces and company management. Too, online CRM solutions circumvent the danger of viruses accessing or destroying vital company data. And most solutions do not require a long-term contract, so it’s easy to get started and companies are not locked into a solution that may not be right for them.

I recently helped a client modify his Website to communicate with AppShore’s online CRM and contact management solution. I was impressed by what I saw.

Why? First, AppShore is designed for small businesses, a market that my own consulting service targets. Having tried other online CRM solutions myself, I am familiar with their functionality. What struck me right away about AppShore is how simple it is to use. Things that seem complex in competitive Internet-based solutions like Salesforce.com or desktop packages such as Goldmine are straightforward and fairly easy to understand in AppShore. I believe this reflects the background of the AppShore team, which consists of seasoned software professionals experienced in start-ups and small businesses.

Speaking as a small business person myself, here are some things that I particularly like about AppShore:

  • It has an intuitive design and offers functionality that is a good fit for small businesses rather than enterprise-level companies. I did not have to spend hours studying a manual to understand the function of each tab or how to use it.
  • It employs “mouse over” technology to give you a quick overview of accounts and leads, as well as the ability to edit them.
  • Accounts and leads can be imported using csv files. This means your Outlook Contacts and ACT! files, for example, can be easily imported to AppShore.
  • Relevant documents, such as proposals, agreements and RFQ’s can be uploaded and stored for fast access and management.
  • AppShore even offers a means to seamlessly transfer captured data from Website forms into the AppShore “new leads” database and then automatically notify you via email. This is a terrific time saver that ensures that Web-generated sales leads never fall through the crack!
  • The ability to prioritize tasks by customer or prospect helps you to focus on activities that generate business.
  • Opportunities are easy to track and (by assigning a probability and dollar amount to each) provide a basis for forecasting sales. Setting up a sales funnel with different stages is straightforward and beneficial.
  • Versatile reporting capabilities facilitate management of marketing and sales functions, as well as providing fast looks at expected revenue.
  • AppShore includes a convenient outbound Webmail function that allows you to send email using your domain name. Emails can be linked to customer and prospect accounts for easy retrieval and reference.
  • The ability to set up and use templates with multiple “insert” fields for outbound email marketing campaigns and customer/lead follow-up is available with the premium plan. This is both convenient and effective, allowing small businesses to be responsive and conduct inexpensive marketing campaigns. Just be sure that emails are sent only to valid contacts to avoid violating CAN-SPAM laws and provide an “unsubscribe” capability if you use this feature to send email newsletters or promotions.
  • A “dashboard” tab allows you to quickly review upcoming activities, your latest leads and top opportunities.
  • Password-based access and a separate Administrator function provide adequate security. AppShore databases are also backed up on a regular basis. Having vital customer and sales information located offsite also facilitates disaster recovery.

Overall, AppShore is an excellent solution for a small business. It’s not too much, nor too little. Like any CRM package, however, set-up and terminology may be a little confusing for small businesses that have never used a CRM package before.

What would I like to see more of? The AppShore solution is surprisingly lacking in online tutorials and a Help tab to provide quick answers for “how to” questions. This oversight is balanced by AppShore’s free personalized training, set-up assistance, and excellent telephone support (I know because I tried it!). And, AppShore will release a new version in June 2008 that includes a searchable FAQ (answering “how to” questions), user manual downloads and online problem ticket submission.

Best of all, AppShore is affordable for small businesses, with prices starting at just $11 monthly per user after a thirty-day free trial. Moreover, there are no long-term contracts, so companies can export their data and discontinue AppShore at any time if they are dissatisfied. But from what I’ve seen, small businesses will be pleasantly surprised by the positive impact on their bottom line once they start using AppShore CRM.

Lead Generation for Small Business Owners – Part 1 of 5

Do you have a strategy for generating leads? You do realize that without leads you will not have new customers. Attracting and generating leads is a necessary component in growing your business. The lead attraction process is not overly complicated.

In order to generate leads for your small business you must have a lead attraction strategy. There are five primary steps needed when designing your lead attraction strategy.

1. Be visible – you must promote your business. When you send an email your email tagline should contain your business information and a call to action that directs the reader to your website, social media sites, or blog. An email auto-responder or the resource box on your articles or press releases will also generate leads for your business. Your business information must be visible and contain a call to action directing traffic to your website or squeeze page.

2. Offer or Give away – people love free. You will want to offer a free eBook, tip sheet, special report or a coupon on your blog, website or squeeze page. A squeeze page is the preferred method. You do not want your lead to get distracted by clicking on other buttons and then navigate away from your offer. Your goal with your squeeze page and offer is to capture his or her information.

3. Contact information – when your lead clicks to download your free item or makes a small purchase you will want to collect his or her contact information. At a minimum you will want his or her email address. If you are able to capture a phone number or mailing address you will be able to follow up using various methods.

4. Follow up – you must have a strategy for following up with people that receive your free report. You will want to send another report or your newsletter. If your lead purchased something you may want to follow up with a phone call or send him or her something in the mail as a thank you.

5. Continue to follow up – you will want to continue to build rapport with your leads. This can be done using your ezine, print newsletter, or via social media. Do not SPAM their email account with emails. Remember, to follow FTC guidelines. You must follow up after the initial contact. You must make time to establish rapport and build the relationship.

Lead attraction and lead generation are necessary steps in growing your small business. Today, you have many free resources at your disposal to aid in growing your business. When you capture your leads contact information and follow up without spamming you will continue to grow your business.

This article is the first of five and is an overview of the lead attraction and lead generating process. Please read the remaining articles in the series for more specific steps to designing your lead attraction and lead generating system.