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Sales & Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners

How Aggressive is Your Marketing?

by Charlie Cook
©2007 In Mind Communications, LLC,
all rights reserved.

Cathy, a business writer, emailed me and said, "Boy, do I need to work on my Web site this year!" I gave her a couple of ways to improve her site and had her look at several websites that sell effectively on the Internet. Her response was a common one; she thought those sites were marketing aggressively and she worried about turning her prospects off with a "hard sell."

Are you concerned about being too aggressive in your marketing?

No one in business wants to be seen as the stereotypical used car salesman, who tries to sell you a lemon by claiming the car was owned by a little old lady who never drove it. And are prospects really convinced by promises that are too good to be true? "Start your own business and make $200,000 in just two weeks!" Then there are the salespeople who drive everyone crazy with their annoying cold calls at dinner time...

You could try the "soft sell" approach; in your marketing materials, simply state your company's name and include a list of the products or services you sell. This is a very common approach. But it doesn't work. It's true that if you're too loud or annoying, you may scare your prospects away, but if you're too subtle or you sound the same as the competition, no one will ever read your materials.

Let me clear up one misperception right away. Aggressive marketing does not mean deceiving your prospects or deliberately pestering them. Don't make claims that you can't back up, and don't annoy your prospects. You want them to become satisfied clients, after all.

When you think of aggressive marketing you may think of being aggressive as "showing a readiness or having a tendency to attack or do harm to others". Instead, think of aggressive marketing as "characterized by or exhibiting determination, energy, and initiative". (Definitions from Encarta)

When people read your marketing materials, your sales letters or your web site, you want to grab their attention, to impress them and to prompt them to contact you and buy from you. To get attention and do well, you need an aggressive marketing approach that demonstrates your determination, energy, and initiative.

Remember your school days. If you sat in the back of the class and never raised your hand, never asked a question or participated in discussions, it was tough to get top grades. No matter how smart you are or how good you are at what you do, if you don't let your prospects know how you can help them and convince them of your credibility, you won't get their business.

You want the people reading your sales letters or visiting your web site to contact you, get to know you, see you as the expert to rely on and buy from you. It's reasonable to expect at least one out of ten web site visitors to contact you.

Some of my clients are getting one out of five site visitors to contact them. If you're not getting that kind of response, chances are that you're not being aggressive enough in your marketing.

How aggressive are you in your marketing?

Take the 10 item quiz below to find out. Circle yes or no next to each question.

1. Have you written down your business goals for the next 12 months? Yes No

2. Is one of your goals to grow your list of qualified prospects by 5% each month? Yes No

3. Do you have a written marketing plan that guides your daily, weekly and monthly marketing activities? Yes No

4. Is the first and most prominent element in your marketing materials a one-sentence explanation of how you help your clients? Yes No

5. Do you feature client testimonials or case studies that provide proof of the results your products and services generate? Yes No

6. Is the first 50% or more of your marketing copy in your marketing materials focused on your prospects problems and concerns relative to your products and services? Yes No

7. In your s.ales letters and on your web site, do you use a free offer to prompt prospects to contact you? Yes No

8. Does your free offer prompt hundreds of people to contact you each week? Yes No

9. Do you follow up each prospect inquiry with an immediate response and at least 6 follow up contacts? Yes No

10. Do you continue to stay in touch with qualified prospects at least once a month, sharing an idea they can use and demonstrating the solutions you provide? Yes No

Your Marketing Aggressiveness Score and What It Means Count the number of your "Yes" answers and see below.

1 to 3 You're a marketing wallflower. You may be brilliant, and you may have great products and services, but your prospects have probably never heard of you and aren't buying from you. Make a marketing plan and discover how to create a steady stream of prospects.

3 to 6 You are on your way to becoming a successful marketer and to growing your business. You just need to discover how to generate more leads and more sales.

7 to 10 You're an aggressive marketer. You've been in business for at least a couple of years and understand the core marketing techniques that provide results. Next discover how to further increase your conversion rates and sell more to new and existing clients.

Whether you scored 1 or 10 on the quiz, there are steps you can take to improve your marketing and grow your business. You understand what your prospects want; use your marketing to motivate them to buy from you. Remember that aggressive marketing is about demonstrating your determination, energy, and initiative.

2006 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved

The author, Charlie Cook, helps small business owners and marketing professionals attract more clients, whether you are marketing in print, in person or online. Sign up for the Free Marketing eBook, '7 Steps to get more clients and grow your business', full of practical marketing strategies you can use to increase profits at www.MarketingForSuccess.com




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