A small business must work smarter and harder when it comes to marketing.
That’s the message from Al Lautenslager, a national speaker, certified guerrilla marketing coach and co-author of “Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days.” His presentation made to 65 Door County business owners and nonprofit organization leaders Nov. 17 in Fish Creek was sponsored by the Door County Economic Development Corp., Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and the Door County Visitor Bureau.
Lautenslager said a guerrilla marketing approach is all about investing time, energy and imagination instead of “writing big checks.” He shared examples of marketing by small businesses and information from his book and asked participants to do something within the next 30 days with the ideas to help build awareness and business.
“Have a guerrilla marketing mindset,” Lautenslager said. “You really are the marketer of your store, the marketer of your organization, the marketer of where you work.”
He advised attendees to clarify the purpose of marketing and then to ensure that all messages have a clear call to action.
“What do you want prospects to do as a result of your marketing? Call you? Visit your business? Send in for information?” Lautenslager asked.
Target markets must be defined by business owners as well — and the best prospects are current customers and past customers, he said.
“Put out a guest book in your business or a bowl for them to enter a contest, and then put the names in a database. Those lists are gold mines.”
Market positioning is also all about planting seeds in people’s minds.
Lautenslager shared a story about a woman who called herself a “consultant” before he counseled her to position herself as a “leadership expert” instead.
“Everyone in this room is an expert on something,” Lautenslager said. “People like to buy from experts. People trust experts.”
It’s also important that business owners think in terms of benefits to others as opposed to features of their companies.
“Features tell. Benefits sell. Speak from the standpoint of the customer, not the standpoint of you,” Lautenslager said.
The audience heard Lautenslager’s take on fusion marketing, e-mail marketing, direct mail and public relations.
Fusion marketing is an affinity relationship of some type. For example, a dry cleaning business hands out coupons for $5 off pizza, and the neighboring pizza parlor gives $5 off dry cleaning.
Businesses should create e-mail address lists from visitors to their Web sites and by collecting customers’ cards, as opposed to buying lists, Lautenslager said.
A well-written e-mail subject line is important. So is frequent (about once a month) mailing to the list. The idea, Lautenslager said, is to build a relationship.
Similarly, in direct mail, Lautenslager encouraged the audience to mail more often to a small audience, as opposed to once to a larger list.
“In a mailing to 5,000 people, take 4,000 names and throw them away, and mail five times to 1,000 people,” Lautenslager said.
Effective copy for e-mail and direct mail messages gets readers’ attention, addresses benefits, makes a strong offer and closes with a call to action, Lautenslager said.
He also suggested businesses develop marketing hooks, which are offers of free information or things that people are likely to value.
Regarding public relations, Lautenslager urged business owners to send out news releases about new services and people and changed locations, and to make themselves available to the media as spokespersons as news suggests.
“If there is a marathon going on, a chiropractor can be available to talk to the media about stretching exercises,” he said. “It may not get you a flood of business, but it will give you some credibility.”
I attended this free seminar and walked away with my mind buzzing. It’s easier to sell pizza or plumbing than it is pottery. Still looking for my hook.
BTW I a an expert in the daily use of functional stoneware.
Free report to anyone who asks.