Tag Archive | "marketing"

Business Sense: Marketing Essentials for Countertop Fabricators

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Business Sense: Marketing Essentials for Countertop Fabricators

Posted on 05 October 2018 by cradmin

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

Who needs marketing? Everyone.

There are so many reasons why you should be giving your marketing some serious thought. So, is it part of your shop’s process and where does it fit in to your business plan? Let’s discuss!

Free marketing can be your best tactic

I don’t need to tell you how vital referrals are to your business. But just for fun, I’ll drive the point home with a statistic – 92% of customers trust word of mouth over any other form of advertising. That’s essentially free marketing, hooray! But how are you maximizing this?

Your customer’s journey should be as enjoyable as possible from start to finish. Whatever obstacles or errors occur, handling it with understanding and a solution are key to a turning your customers into evangelists. A simple “I hear you” can go a long way during a tough situation. If you make their experience a great one, they’ll be excited to tell their friends, family,  coworkers, and anyone in their network. Basically, make sure your customers end up with a big smile and their version of a perfect countertop.

Inserting your marketing process into your shop’s system

You’re a fancy countertop fabricator and that means you’ve got a pretty great system in place for your workflows in the shop. Now, where can we insert some marketing tactics to enhance your countertop customer’s journey and get the word out about your fab skills?

Check out some examples of what other shops are doing:

After the first in-person meeting: Send the potential customer an email thanking them for their time with their quote attached as a pdf. This will show them you are professional and considerate of their time – two important assurances during a stressful remodel!

After first encounter: Keeping track of your customer from the moment they show interest to the end of time allows you to manage the relationship successfully. You’ll be able to avoid miscommunication and know when to make a marketing move that will impress them consistently.

After install: Email the customer a survey. Not only will this give you feedback on your shop’s process but this will also let your customer know that their feedback is important and will feel empowered to keep sharing it with their network.

After install: Create a referral program by partnering up with local businesses where for every referral your customer sends to you, they will receive a reward of your choosing.

After install:  Encourage your customers to post a picture of their new countertops on their social media for a reward. This is an especially great idea as it backs up their testimony with visual proof and you can repost to reach an even larger audience… aka more customers, hooray!

*For the record, we use our own Systemize software as our customer relationship management tool. Ask us how, we’re happy to share our tips and tricks!

We’re all in this together

Being new to the stone industry, I’ve been really impressed at what a close and supportive network it can be. There are groups like the Artisan Group that are dedicated to sharing best practices across companies and the Stone Fabricator’s Alliance for posting any questions you have. Attending events like the Stone World Magazine and Natural Stone Institute’s Stone Industry Education Summits or Park Industries’ Digital Stone Expos can also be a great way to learn some new tactics and see how other shops are implementing marketing strategies into their shop for greater success.

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Business Sense: Why Committing to Marketing Feels Terrifying

Posted on 09 March 2018 by cradmin

By Harry Hollander of Moraware

If you want to grow from a $2 million business to a $5 million business, you have to spend a scary amount of money on marketing. Owners who embrace marketing build businesses while owners who fear marketing frequently build jobs for themselves.

The difference is glaring – your approach to marketing is the difference between choosing your customers and begging.

A marketing-driven business says “if you’re this specific type of person, we’re an awesome fit for you, and we understand why you want to buy our product.”

A business that sees marketing as a necessary evil emits a different message: “Can I work for you? I need a job. I work hard. I work cheap. Can I please work for you?”

The customer who knows they paid you 20% more than the lowest bid and who is thrilled with the experience and end result is delighted that you advertised to them. They feel lucky to have heard about you. Except it’s not luck. It’s a combination of understanding your customer, followed by boring consistency – rinsing & repeating.

So simple that it’s anti-climactic, right? Except that simplicity is never simple to achieve – it takes commitment. Which brings me to a story…

Putting it into Practice
I recently took part in a marketing workshop for countertop fabricators. Working in groups, our task was to come up with a marketing budget for a fictitious fabrication firm.

To simplify matters, we were given our annual revenue goal and price point for jobs performed. Our goal of $5M in revenue, from performing $50k jobs, meant we needed to sell 100 jobs.

It was easy to agree that our target customer was fairly rare, but easy to identify. This customer has high wealth or high income (two very different things) and cares about the end result more than the price. This customer cares deeply about how things look and how they are treated throughout the process.

Without getting distracted with HOW you would attract this type of prospect, the critical question is HOW MUCH are you willing to spend to acquire this customer?

With virtually no debate, we agreed that spending $2,500 to acquire a $50,000 job was quite reasonable, representing 5% of job revenue.

Simple. Case closed. Start printing money $50k at a time. Except not.

It was at that moment when the monster of big numbers awoke. Doing the math – 100 jobs, $2,500 to acquire a job, that’s $250,000 spent on marketing annually. The feeling was visceral. That’s way too much. $100,000 felt more like the right number. All the planning, research, customer knowledge and commitment drained away at the mere sight of the big number beast.

And here’s what the trap sounds like…

Marketing-Fearful Thoughts
Thought: “We can probably acquire those same customers by spending $1,000.”
Reality: “No, you really can’t. Hope is not a business model.”

Thought: “We can if we’re really creative.”
Reality: “Creativity takes a lot of time and money in the form of salary. That’s just a trick to hide marketing expenses in another category called Overhead.”

Thought: “I’m afraid to spend that much because I don’t know if it will work.”
Reality: “Then you’d better create ways to know what works and what doesn’t.”

Thought: “If we spend that much we might have to lay people off and we definitely can’t afford the new CNC machine.”
Reality: “If you don’t embrace marketing, you will certainly lay people off. And nothing is more sad than a silent CNC machine.”

The Takeaway
The takeaway is rather tidy. Know who your customer is and who they are not. If you can’t say with confidence who is NOT your customer, repeat the process until you definitively can. Reach assumptions about how much you are willing to spend to acquire a customer. If you aren’t willing to defend those assumptions to the death, continue working on them until you reach that point. If you don’t, your commitment will waver when the big number appears. The budget will be cut. The fellowship will fail.

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Business Sense: Stand Out From the Pack – Step Five

Posted on 09 February 2018 by cradmin

By Harry Hollander of Moraware

By now, I hope you understand the importance of having a unique position in the marketplace to grow your business and sell more countertops.

Not only will it help you win more jobs and charge higher prices, it will help you attract higher quality customers.

We all want to work with people who are easy-going and who don’t haggle over price. If I was to narrow down your ideal customer, my guess is that they would be someone who knows exactly what they want, has high-end tastes, deep pockets, and will send you lots of referrals.

The way to attract friendly, easy to please, wealthy, and popular customers is simple. You must prove to them that you are the better choice.

Your unique selling proposition is essential for showing what makes you better and why.

In this course so far, we’ve talked about the areas where you can show how you are better by identifying who you serve, what you sell, and what is unique about what you do. Yesterday, we added your negative promise and a time frame.

A Gutsy Guarantee

We have now reached the last step, and this step is imperative because it removes all risk from your customer. If you really want to win better, higher paying customers you have to add a gutsy guarantee.

When done the right way, removing risk for your customer essentially eliminates any objections they have in buying from you. If customers can see that you are the best, and there is little or no risk to buy from you, you can charge higher prices and close more sales than you have ever seen before.

The way you reduce risk to a customer is by taking on the risk yourself. This happens when you provide a bold guarantee. We’ve been developing your USP and making a lot of promises. Now, we add an “or else” statement:

  • Or else you will refund
  • Or else you will replace
  • Or else you will repair

In our industry, these types of guarantees are risky because of the hard costs involved. Instead of shying away because of the risk, let’s instead look at the potential gain.

Offer What Your Competitors Won’t

First, your competitors won’t be willing to offer a refund guarantee. Offer one, and you can effectively win a lot of their prospects.

In practice, very few customers actually act on a refund or replacement guarantee, so my advice is to go big and go bold. Better to win a lot of sales than to worry about the money you will lose to make an unsatisfied customer happy or the small percentage of people who will take advantage if they’re allowed to.

Even still, there are ways you can eliminate abuse and mitigate the risk you are putting on yourself by offering a gutsy guarantee.

For starters, you can make your guarantee conditional. Maybe your guarantee is only valid if the customer uses your interior designer or orders a specific type of counter.

You can also reduce risk to yourself by adding a time limit to your promise, such as 30 days or one year from purchasing.

The one thing to keep in mind is if your competitors can offer a similar kind of promise. Your goal is to be so bold that they can’t even come close. Differentiating yourself in the marketplace isn’t easy, and it does involve some risk. There is a lot of reward involved if you can do it, though, and if you can do it right.

Elements of a USP

To recap, the requirements of an effective unique selling proposition are:

  1. It must state the specific benefit you will get with the product.
  2. It must be one that your competitors either cannot, or do not, offer.
  3. It must be so strong it can move the masses.
  4. It must be tested.

Use the steps we’ve learned to create a winning position against your competitors that they won’t be able to match. I can’t promise you will achieve world domination, but being number one in your markets won’t be far from reach.

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Business Sense: Stand Out From The Pack – Step 3

Posted on 07 December 2017 by cradmin

By Harry Hollander of Moraware

In steps 1 and 2, we focused on two critical pieces for crafting your unique selling proposition for your countertop business. First, you must choose your buyer. Second, you must choose what it is you are selling.

Choose Your Unique Angle

Now that we’ve gotten the hardest parts out of the way, Step 3 is to choose your unique angle.

Having a unique angle has enabled thousands of businesses to become huge successes in just about every major industry.

FedEx used a unique angle to come onto the scene as the first freight company to offer overnight shipping. Their slogan made it unmistakable: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.

TOMS Shoes is another great example of being the only shoe company to give back and donate a free pair of shoes to a child in need. “One for one.

Although you don’t need to come up with your own catchy slogan for countertops, you do want to determine a unique angle that you can advertise.

Here’s a list of unique angles your business can take to differentiate yourself to your customers:

  • A unique benefit, result, or outcome
  • A unique deliverable
  • A unique track record
  • A unique level of customization
  • A unique level of quality
  • A unique environment or presentation
  • A unique method or mechanism
  • A unique experience of doing, using, or attending
  • A unique bundle
  • A unique price or payment plan

Can you promise something special about what your customers will get from working with you? That can be your unique angle.

You Already Have a Unique Angle

Do you provide a higher level of quality that you can back up with data or proof?

Do you have especially friendly or interesting employees, or is there a unique way or time frame that you deliver a finished kitchen or bath? Most businesses don’t know the power of having a unique angle and how it can transform sales. Your competitors don’t know this, and you want to be the one to do this first.

Go through the list of options above and ask yourself two questions:

  1. Do I already have a unique angle here that I’ve just never advertised?
  2. Can I take this concept and create a new angle in my business that I can then advertise?

A little creativity and ingenuity is all it takes to create a unique angle that is highly attractive to your customers. Start using this in your marketing and your sales can literally change overnight.

Read Part 4 of this series now at Moraware.com.

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Business Sense: Stand Out from the Pack – Step 2

Posted on 03 November 2017 by CRadmin2

By Harry Hollander of Moraware

Last month, we saw that the first step to establishing a solid, unique selling proposition and transforming your countertop business is to choose your buyer.

There are specific customers you serve and specific problems you solve. Use this in your messaging and test if it gets you a better response.

What are you selling?

Step two is to differentiate your business by choosing what it is that you’re selling, and the key is to find something that will swing more buyers your way.

So, what is it that you are selling that is unique to you?

Dave Ramsey is a New York Times bestselling author and is heard on more than 450 radio stations throughout the U.S. to more than 4 million listeners every week. People from all walks trust Dave with their financial problems and alter their entire lives to follow his advice to become debt free.

If you’ve heard his radio show, you know how passionate he is and his conservative, no bull approach to fixing people’s finances and getting them out of debt. Like most radio or TV personalities, Dave is a perfect example of establishing a unique selling proposition by selling himself.

He has a rags to riches story, establishing a 4 million dollar real estate portfolio by age 26 and losing it by age 30 only to rebuild into the celebrity financial expert he is today. Love him or not, Dave has built his success and fame on his unique views, personality, and financial success story.

You’re not just selling a countertop

You have something you offer that is unique, too, and you can use this to win more customers.

  • What is it about your knowledge and skills that no one can compete with in the industry?
  • What is your experience or your story that got you where you are today?
  • What is it about your personality that makes customers buy from you time and time again?

If you can answer either of the three questions above, and you can satisfy the four requirements of an effective USP, you are your unique selling proposition. Just like Dave Ramsey, what you are uniquely selling is yourself.

If that is not the case for you, your service or product may also be completely unique. Maybe you are the only fabricator in town to offer custom painted backsplashes, or you are the only fabricator in the world to install Black Opal countertops. This alone may win you lots of high-paying customers.

If you don’t currently sell a product or service that is uniquely appealing, what can you do to create one?

Position yourself in a unique way

How you position yourself can greatly affect your image in the marketplace. This can go positive or negative, and there are prime examples of this in every community. Find what is unmatched and unique about you or your service or product, and make this unmistakably clear in every interaction that you have.

Your advertisements should be obvious about it, your staff should be obvious about it, and you should be reinforcing it at every opportunity.

Have something unique and compelling in what you are selling so you stand out from the crowd and win more customers.

Read Part 3 of this series now at Moraware.com

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Business Sense: Stand Out from the Pack – Step 1

Posted on 10 October 2017 by cradmin

By Harry Hollander of Moraware

When you’re thinking about marketing, the most important question you can ask for your countertop business is: “why should your customers buy from you rather than anyone else?

If your answer is your prices or business reputation, then you need to ask yourself one more question: “Why should your customers buy from you rather than do nothing at all?

A Unique Selling Proposition

Successfully answering these questions empowers you with a unique selling proposition. A USP is essential if you want to sell more than your competitors, charge higher prices, and hand-pick your customers.

Without a strong USP your customer is more in control of the transaction than you are. You’re constantly in head-to-head battles with competitors, and you will be forever subject to the whims of the market.

A true USP gives you power in every negotiation, it gives you power to close the deal, and it transforms mediocre advertising into GREAT advertising that wins you customers with every campaign.

With it, you get the positioning and respect that make customers knock down YOUR doors and pay the prices you want.

An effective unique selling proposition has four requirements:

  • It must state the specific benefit you will get with the product.
  • It must be one that your competitors either cannot, or do not, offer.
  • It must be so strong it can move the masses.
  • It must be tested.

You’re going to learn how to satisfy each of these requirements and walk away with an unbeatable position in the marketplace so you never have to compete with having the lowest price again.

Choose your customers

Here is your first step: choose who you’re selling to.

You can’t formulate an irresistible selling position without first determining who it is that you are selling to. This can be based on a specific demographic or a specific problem your customer faces.

Write out everything about your buyer that you can imagine that is relevant: their age, demographics, gender, family, friends, interests, etc.

Next, write out everything about the problem you solve that is relevant. Is the problem you solve acute or chronic? Is the problem you solve rare or widespread? How hard has it been for your customers (or your competitors) to solve this problem?

Granted, in the countertop industry, we are not curing back pain or fixing crooked teeth. However, there are unique problems that you solve. It may be getting a home ready to be put on the market or making a kitchen more functional. Either way, there are problems your customers face that you provide a solution for.

To construct a unique selling proposition based on your buyer, determine if you can focus on any of the above and be the only one making the claim or offer. Can you get a significantly stronger response from customers by doing so?

If your answer is yes, you are one step closer to developing a solid USP for your business.

Read Part Two of this series now at Moraware.com.

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Laser Products Hires New Director of Marketing

Posted on 25 August 2017 by cradmin

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAvlAAAAJDZlMjgzOTUwLWMyOGEtNDFmZi04YTRmLTY4NTNlYTJkZmNkZQLaser Products has announced that it is significantly increasing its outreach to U.S. and foreign customers, the media and its partners with the hiring of Y. Kevin Yeh as Director of Marketing. In this newly created position, Yeh will be responsible for developing and leading the company’s  marketing initiatives and new product commercialization. He will direct and optimize the company’s advertising, public relations and digital assets and will be the primary corporate liaison with the media and trade associations in the stone and woodworking industries.

Yeh comes most recently from James Hardie Building Products where he led the marketing team for the country’s foremost siding company. Prior to that he served as the global strategic business unit leader for the Liftmaster and Chamberlain brands of garage door openers at the Chamberlain Group. He has a BS in Business Management and International Studies from Indiana University and is bilingual in Mandarin Chinese.

You may also be interested in this article Meganite Introduces The Movement Series.

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Business Sense: You Can’t Have 10 Specialties

Posted on 10 August 2017 by cradmin

Projektovy-manazment-pre-Marketing_8_wMany countertop fabricators today like to offer their customers a full range of products and services, but saying you specialize in each one of them stretches the definition of the word a little too far. For example, one countertop fabricator’s website claims the company specializes in “granite, marble, limestone, tiles, quartz, travertine, onyx soapstone pavers and fireplaces.” For what it’s worth, this fabricator may as well throw in basketball, blackjack and fine cheeses.

This is in no way an isolated incident. A few quick jumps through Google reveal a whole host of other fabricators with similarly long lists of specialties. In just one city, the following examples can be found:

  • We specialize in countertops, vanities, windowsills, fireplaces and coffee tables.
  • We specialize in natural stone, granite, marble, limestone, soapstone, travertine and onyx.
  • We specialize laminate, solid surface and sinks.

How is a homeowner supposed to determine which of the above businesses he or she should select?

Create a Unique Proposition

Rather than trying to attract the entire kitchen and bath market, focus on what makes your company unique. Instead of spouting out all of your services and products in one long list, tell your website visitors why they should choose you. A great template for this sentence looks something like this:

I help _____ do _____ so they can _____!

Now, this message is not going to attract everyone, but it should ring true to your primary customer base. To help you create a powerfully unique marketing message, ensure it meets the following four criteria:

  1. It states a specific benefit.
  2. It includes an offer that does not or cannot be met by your competitors.
  3. It speaks strongly to a large group of potential customers.
  4. It is tried and tested to be true.

All it takes is one day of brainstorming to create a unique message that converts your website visitors into happy customers without having to say that you specialize in everything.

Read the full article by Harry Hollander of Moraware here: You Can’t Specialize in 10 Things

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Branding: The Subtle Secret to Explosive Marketing

Posted on 13 June 2016 by cradmin

By Rich Levin

When I hear the word software, I think of Microsoft. The mention of a soft drink means Coke or Pepsi to me. Mention search engine, and Google pops into my mind. So how do you make your name pop into people’s minds when they hear the mention of countertops?

It’s Called Branding

Branding is the immediate association of a business name with its product type, and the right brands are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and, sometimes, a whole lot more. Can you establish a brand that has such value? Yes, you can, and consistency is the key – consistency of your graphics and consistency of the experience your business provides.

It’s More Than a Name

To Xerox something means to make a copy of it. You also believe that you can depend on a Xerox machine. A Kleenex is a facial tissue. You expect Kleenex to be decent quality. When you Google, you are confident that you will find what you want. These brands are recognizable by both their name and their logo, and they are associated with dependable quality and service.

All of that, the name, the look and the quality of service, is all part of the brand. Any fabricator’s goal is to have the people in their market associate the mention of the company’s name or seeing its brand with a positive and successful countertop experience.

It takes more than a name, a slogan or a logo, however. A successful brand is also the promise of something verifiable by the consumer as they work with the company. And to distinguish the business, the promise must be above the minimum expectation of quality. For a countertop fabricator, that means more than a basic level of service, attentiveness and expertise. So, how do you create a recognizable brand and raise your quality of service above these basic levels?

Brand Graphics

Creating a successful look or visual brand is called brand graphics, and it is not as intimidating as it sounds. Think of the Coke or Pepsi logo. It is a combination of a design, font and colors. And the brand graphic does not change for years or even decades. A fabricator’s brand graphic is also a simple combination of design, consistent font, colors and use of an eye-catching image. It should always be kept simple yet memorable and impart a specific feelings, such as solidness, quality or quickness.

Brand Experience

Creating a successful brand experience is also easier than it sounds. Many fabricators have already done this and don’t realize it. Think of your favorite store, restaurant, hair stylist or website. The way they greet you, speak to you, interact with you or, in the case of a website, the navigation. There is consistency that you recognize and depend on. When you call a local fabricator in Kansas City, you’ll hear some variation of “And a grand good day to you?” or “Hello and a glorious good morning.”

The way you answer the phone, propose a project or give a presentation; the speed and frequency of communication, giving of gifts, progress reporting, use video and social media – all contribute to the experience a fabricator provides. Consistency of that experience establishes your brand experience.

Be careful. Any businessperson wants to choose the most positive experiences to construct their brand experience. The best way to discover which experiences to make consistent is to ask. Call your clients from the past year or two and ask the following questions.

In addition to learning the best experiences to build your brand around, you are making a strong professional impression and you will likely generate some referrals.

  • Ask what they had heard about the way you do business?
  • What do they remember most?
  • What did they like and appreciate?
  • If they were to refer you, what would they say are the best things about the way you do business?
  • Why did they choose to work with you?
  • What do they think would be important for you to keep on doing, do more of, do differently or stop doing?

Consistency is the Key

There is an important principle in marketing that says, “The time when you are getting bored with your brand is about the time when it is just beginning to work.” Remember how long Coke, Pepsi, Kodak, Godiva, Google and other extremely successful brands maintain their brand graphics and brand experience? It is measured in decades. Choose your brand characteristics and, unless there is a very compelling reason to change, keep your brand characteristics for at least two more years after you are feeling bored with them.

You Don’t Have to…

Finally, whenever I teach or coach marketing, I always ask attendees to write this down: “You don’t have to get it perfect. Just get it going. And keep improving it.”

The way you do that is to choose deadlines. By when will you have your web design chosen? By when will you have your postcard designed? By when will you choose the photo you will use? Then, stick to those deadlines and move on to the next decision. Keep it moving, and you will realize that getting it going and then improving it is a key to success in your marketing.

About the Author

Rich Levin is one of the most successful business coaches in the nation by virtue of the measurable results of his clients and creator of the Real Estate Hierarchy of Success, a working model for understanding and planning a real estate business.

Copyright ©2016, Rich Levin. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at [email protected].

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Build a Marketing Plan Guaranteed to Increase Your Business

Posted on 13 April 2016 by cradmin

By Grant W. Hicks

Marketing Objective

There is nothing better in marketing than surpassing your targets and growing your business as you planned. On the flip side, there is nothing worse than finishing a slow month and starting a new month with few prospects and little potential business other than a desk full of cold calls to make.

We all have financial goals and targets. Now we need a blueprint to start making those goals a reality. As an advisor, I know that the ups and downs happen. But I also know that with a consistent marketing guerrilla-attack program, you will smooth out your production and be more consistent in your approach.

Marketing Strategy

How do you sit down and write a marketing plan? Budget at least half a day to one full day, grab a pad of paper and a pen and start writing. Sound simple? Well it is, so make it simple. Unless you’re running the marketing for Proctor & Gamble, why do you need an exhaustive written plan?

Try these simple steps:

1. Write down all of the marketing that you are doing now, the frequency and the annual and monthly costs.

2. Write down all of the marketing ideas that you were thinking of pursuing in the next year. Write or collect a list of ideas. Don’t discard anything until you have examined it further. At this point, write it down. If you are looking for ideas, conduct a routine search of the Internet. Ask your manager or marketing wholesalers for ideas. Visit the library to find a book that serves as a guide to marketing ideas. Just write them down.

3. Write down what your competition is doing for marketing. At the same time, write down who your competition is.

4. Write down what your peer group and some of the business owners you admire or respect are doing in terms of marketing and their costs.

5. Create an annual and monthly budget. Exclude the cost of personnel. The final marketing budget should be between 10 to 20 percent of your gross income. Remember, marketing is an investment in your business and not an expense.

The second part of budgeting is time. Your time and the time staff spends on marketing both need to be allocated. How much time will you devote to developing your marketing? How much time during the day do you spend on marketing? Now, how much time should you spend on marketing during the day? I always schedule a half day per month to work on my marketing and client communication strategies. This scheduled time is very productive time in my practice. If you don’t have the time now, how will you have time in the future to grow your business?

6. Identify your ideal client profile, and write it down.

7. Decide what marketing mix will work for you. What will work and what won’t work depends on your commitment. This is where you make decisions based on projections of growth that you want to achieve. For example, if you want to increase revenue from $300,000 to $450,000 per year, your marketing budget is $6,000 and you have no major plans for marketing, then how are you going to achieve that growth?

Although some advisors say that their business grows by referrals only, what do they do to generate those referrals? Perhaps they provide exceptional service, which costs money and may be defined as an excellent communication program. Well, guess what, their dynamic communication program is part of their marketing strategy. What is your ideal marketing mix?

8. Once you have decided on what you are going to do in the next year, break it down into a monthly marketing calendar. Decide which months you are going to do what.

9. Decide on costs and put annual and monthly costs down on paper. At this point, make sure that you can afford your program. If you cannot, consider the consequences of borrowing to invest into your business. That is solely your decision. I remember once when I first started in the business, I borrowed money on a credit card to attend a conference. I didn’t think I could afford to go, but after I returned, I realized I couldn’t afford not to. I learned that I was investing in myself and not just spending money on my business.

10. Put the plan into a working document. Share it with other executives, managers and your staff. Then, commit to completing it, revisiting it on a monthly basis and measuring the results.

Bonus Tip

The simpler your marketing plan, the easier it will be to complete successfully. The marketing plan should be easy to execute once you have put enough thought and effort into it. The most challenging part of your marketing plan may be time and timing.

For example, I know several financial advisors who start a marketing plan only to stop after a few months because they are too busy. The plan depends on a constant time commitment to complete. If you plan in advance and schedule times and dates and pay in advance, then you are committed. However, don’t put your marketing eggs into one basket. Have multiple marketing ideas in different avenues working for you simultaneously.

Each quarter, I take one day to review the success of the marketing plan, look at future ideas that I may implement into my plan and set a course of action for the quarter. I also write a mini-marketing plan for the quarter. That way, I can review it with my team and plan the next quarter’s marketing events and ideas in advance.

Another key element of your marketing plan is to look back and look forward. First, look back to what marketing worked for you and what didn’t work. Then, project a vision of how you want to position yourself in your marketing messages. For instance, I manage retirement assets, so my title is not Financial Planner. Rather, it is Retirement-Planning Specialist. Positioning means determining exactly what niche you’re intending to fill. I live in a retirement community, so it is natural to work in that niche.

Finally, if you’re happy with and expect average service, then that is what you are probably giving. But if you expect world-class service, then bring that element to your business. The Ritz Carlton motto is this: “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” Look to first-class organizations with a high degree of service and attention to detail, and implement that type of philosophy into your business. This will help your marketing efforts when thinking about attracting new clients.

About the Author

Grant Hicks, president of Hicks Financial, is one of Canada’s leading authorities on marketing. He is a dynamic and entertaining speaker with an amazing ability to motivate audiences to achieve more. He co-authored Guerrilla Marketing for Financial Advisors with Jay Conrad Levinson for Trafford Publishing in 2003.

Copyright© 2016, Grant W. Hicks. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at [email protected].

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