Market yourself: understand why people buy 129
10 top marketing tips that experts rarely
There are countless books on marketing theory. These tell you what and
why but rarely how and when. Some of the best marketing tips are those
developed by entrepreneurs themselves. Here are ten favourites.
1 Free stuff – a band gives away its latest track as a download. Fans have to provide
their email address and postcode. The band can now organise gigs where most fans
live and invite them to buy tickets.
2 Omnibus – new mums get a bag of baby products given to them in hospital. Mum is
more likely to buy products that she’s tried. The suppliers share the promotional cost.
Cross-sell – the zoo gives its visitors discount vouchers for the theme park and vice
versa. Both know they’ll only be visited once, so lose nothing by promoting each other.
4 Classifieds – these short lineage ads don’t cost much to place, yet with the right
words and a website can be powerful. For example, Find free marketing tips at
5 Facebook ads – social networking sites can allow you to target very accurately the
people you want to see your ad. This means you can make very specific offers.
6 Frequency – regular small ads always work better than fewer big ones.
Personalise – the more personal your approach, the more likely your success. In
other words, a tailored letter to a researched prospect will always do better than a
8 Specialise – you can’t supply all the people in the world wanting pet products but
you can become an expert on say hamsters: www.madabouthamsters.com.
9 Pre-booked visits – one window cleaner books the next visit before he leaves and
another waits for the phone to ring. Guess which has more work?
10 Make it easy to say yes – a low cost, no commitment ‘starter pack’ will make it easy
for new customers to say yes and try you out.
130 brilliant checklists for entrepreneurs
Marketing theory is not to be sniffed at, but most of us simply want to know
what will work for us. Try different things and measure the response. Become
better at doing what works best for you.
Valerie Colling, Colling Construction, www.collingconstruction.co.uk
Valerie ﬁrst became interested in building when running a construction training
company. She helped people who were out of work gain the skills, conﬁdence
and experience to work in the building industry. Because part of her work
involved arranging work placements, she visited a lot of building sites and saw
how reluctant many were to embrace new sustainable technologies.
An interest in ‘green construction’ and the knowledge that most established
builders preferred traditional methods gave her the idea for Colling
Construction. Research revealed a new technology, structural insulated panels,
which are effectively factory-built walls and the next logical step on from
timber-frame construction. Already proven in North America and Japan, Valerie
decided to focus on bespoke homes using this very green technology.
To ﬁnd her customers, Valerie became an expert contributor to a number of
specialist websites, such as Restoration and Beyond, which attracts people
interested in creating individual, environmentally sound character homes.
By being very speciﬁc about what she does and recognising that of the
thousands of new homes built every year she only needs a handful to succeed,
Valerie has made her business:
speciﬁc – and clearly focused on one market niche;
visible – by linking with advice websites visited by her target audience;
accessible – by offering free advice to potential customers;
realistic – knowing that she only needs a small market share to succeed.