Lori Osterberg

Article Summary:

How to Improve your small business marketing even when it appears to be successful.

Change Your Small Business Marketing Strategy Even If It's Working

At a recent networking event, a businesswoman made an interesting comment about her marketing. She has operated her business for a number of years, and is recognized as a leader within her industry. Her marketing has worked well for her in the past. She's happy with her current sales level. So she asked the question, "Why change my strategy if it's working well?"

Should she keep her current strategy in place? And if so, for how long?

For many small business owners, when they reach the point of being comfortable, they simply quit trying. Why make changes to something that's bringing you in all that you desire. But the real question is, "what if you could have more?"

Marketing is a subjective skill. You can use it to bring in any level of business you desire. You choose the level. You choose what "success" means to you. For one business owner, a five-figure business is more than adequate. For others, they may keep pushing to reach a seven-figure sales level as quickly as possible.

The comment "Why change my strategy if it's working well?" simply means she's reached her comfort level. Why add more risk to her life when she's happy with what she has?

But what if she did try something new? What's the worst that could happen?

Not only could she build her business even further, she may also find a new passion for running her business. Growing a business is much more exciting than maintaining a business. It puts life back into the daily routines.

Remember when you first started your business? In order to grow your business you probably were willing to try a variety of things. Creating a new marketing tool was a part of your daily routine.

As your business grew, you kept certain tools in place as well as letting some disappear. Your marketing plan firmed up simply by chance. Success settled in as stability took hold within your business.

To remain a successful business, evaluating and updating your marketing is not only important, it's a necessity. If a business isn't growing, it will eventually die as other stronger companies take over the clientele. And there are many ways to tweak your current marketing strategies without adding the risk of completely changing directions.

For example, instead of replacing a current marketing method, try adding something new that's complementary to an existing strategy. If you've always advertised in three local magazines, is there a fourth you can try? If your advertising brings in a certain percentage of clientele, can you fine-tune your words to bring in an extra percentage or two?

As a good marketer, understand there is always a way to make it better. Something as simple as a new title on your letters, or a change to a key word in your tag line can add thousands to your bottom line. Keep these three tips in mind when looking at your marketing:

1. Change and tweak.
Marketing is about testing. Whatever results you are getting, by changing and tweaking just a few items may cause a drastic change in your results. I've seen advertisements that bring in 20%, even 30% increase in revenue simply be changing a few words in the call to action.

For example, a local painting company regularly mailed postcards to prospects. The owners were happy with the 2 percent success rate, but wondered if they could increase performance. By making one change and adding a stronger call to action on their postcards, response soon increased to more than 3 percent. And the owners are enjoying a steady increase in their profits.

2. Add before you subtract.
While most business owners use just a handful of marketing tools, there are dozens available.

Rather than trying a new tool in a new market, consider adding a new tool to an existing market. If you market your product to new moms, your current strategies might include an advertisement in several parents' magazines and sending postcards to moms with kids under the age of 3. Partnering with a complementary business, such as a children's clothing store, may give you results.

Once you have a new method in place, evaluate your results. Are you gaining more clients? Before you cancel one marketing strategy, assess your results. Remember that many forms of advertising may impact your clients, and that your strategies may be working together to bring in business. If you eliminate a marketing tool without replacing it with something else, your business profits may be affected.

3. Try something new.
Sometimes it can be rewarding to try a brand new marketing technique, or take your products and services to a different marketplace.

Local service business, such as doctors and dentist, often get into a rut with their marketing. Because their clientele is generally located within a 20-mile radius of their practice, they use only a few community based marketing tools, such as direct mail. Many have yet to make the leap to the Internet, even though statistics show that up to 80 percent of all adults research online before making a purchase. Just adding a website and an email campaign could change the profit level of their businesses.

Hidden opportunities exist everywhere. The key is trying new techniques and discovering the right marketing patterns to make your business even more successful.

Lori Osterberg has created three successful businesses in the past 10 years, and along the way discovered the secrets of taking a local small business and turning it into a worldwide success. She now shares this passion with people all over the world, and speaks, writes and mentors on using technology to grow your business - and stay small at the same time! Receive her FREE ezine at Vision Of Success.com.

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