We asked Ryan what small business owners can do to grow their business when they are on no-budget or a tight budget. Here are the tips he shared…
How can I make working with me (as a coach/entrepreneur) an easy yes for prospects?
Well, no matter what industry you are in, people want to make sure that they are going to get the most from investing in you that they can so the first thing would be to look at who your ideal client is (the people you help the most) and really get to know them and what they need, that way you are already a much more attractive prospect. Secondly I would look at adding a lot of value to your services; lots of great extras like follow up support, e-products, recordings of calls etc. Add as much value as you can to people and solve their problems and you are automatically an easy yes.
What is the best way to use social media for building my brand?
Social media is a branch of the tree, without being the tree itself, if that makes sense? A lot of clients seem to get frustrated with social media and I always say that the first thing you need to realize is which form of social media works for your brand and potential customers and the second thing is to realize that social media should largely reflect what your brand is doing in person, not just online.
What advice would you give to business owners who want to market on a budget?
Ideally, a budget is great for marketing but it certainly doesn’t have to hold you back if you don’t have one.
The key here is to focus on activities that don’t cost you money. Inviting local journalists down for a review doesn’t cost anything, filming you tube videos doesn’t need a budget and neither does engaging with your local community. I actually have two coaching programs that teach marketing strategies that don’t require a budget at all. It’s far more empowering to do it yourself anyway!
With so many people trying to get customers attention, how can I (and my business) stand out in a crowded market?
It starts with clarity, getting really clear on who your ideal clients or customers and then getting really specific about your brand and what is represents, once you know those two things and market yourself to your ideal customers instead of just anyone, you will actually stand out naturally.
Going above and beyond the competition is also a really great strategy for standing out and of course, making sure the right people know about you.
Something I teach in my coaching program is that you need to make promotion a priority, really make it something that you commit to and take action on.
I have an event coming up, how can I get people to attend?
Start promoting it as early as possible is the first thing. Then I would suggest getting a team of people to promote it for you whether that be friends, family or just colleagues, but you want to reach as many people as you can as early as possible. Id also suggest contacting event press and getting it listed before and then invite them down to do a review or follow up piece.
How can people with little experience in marketing, get their business featured in the media?
The key here, as with most things, is confidence and commitment. It’s always ideal to get a professional to do something for you but you don’t need to. I got my business featured in 3 different countries (check out my press page on my website to see) last month by contacting journalists.
Focus on building connections with relevant publications. Invite them down for a review, send them samples and engage with them. If you provide them with material for great stories. They’ll love you.
What are the best ways to automate ones marketing?
There are lots of ways, and It’s a great thing to do as it saves you lots of time and energy to be focusing on either servicing existing clients, or growing your business to attract new ones.
Websites like tweetdeck.com allow you to automate your social media posts while programs like Infusionsoft (www.infusionsoft.com) is a great tool to automate your email marketing and creates a sales funnel that you don’t need to be present for (aside from answering any questions!)
How ever you are automating your marketing, make sure that you are available to answer questions and comments though as consumers love the personal touch.
What advice would you give to people who want to really step things up with their business?
One of the first things I do with new clients is help them get really clear on what they want and are working towards, once we know where they are going, that’s when things can really begin to move. The next thing is to look at everything you are putting off doing. In my coaching program I call it making a “procrastination list” just write down everything you are avoiding doing and take massive action towards it, you’ll see growth quicker than ever before.
What advice would you give to people who experience “tire kickers” people who seem to ask a lot of questions but never seem to buy anything?
We all get them, it happens to most people I know, Including myself!
The thing to do is point them towards your free material, your blogs, articles or marketing material and then suggest they read through it and arrange a chat if they want to move forward.
Once you have spoken with them and explained your rates or procedures etc, just leave it to them. If they keep coming back and asking for more of your time, simply explain that you are more than happy to go into those things once you are working together or they make a purchase.
If you indulge them too much it makes you look desperate.
Another piece of advice is to pre qualify clients with a questionnaire or survey so you can pre determine whether they are ideal clients or not.
How much content should I give away for free to get new clients?
It depends what business you are in. If you are a coach or a consultant then taster sessions along with your blogs and articles can be extremely beneficial in growing your business.
If you sell products then certainly let people try then but I don’t suggest indulging people who just want freebies. It goes back to what I was saying earlier, about knowing when to draw the line. I always tell my clients that it’s best to tell them why and what, but without the how, that way if they are serious about working with you, they will invest.
If you sell cars for example, you would let someone take a ride but you certainly wouldn’t let them borrow the car! It’s about respecting yourself and your time and also marketing yourself as a problem solver to the right people.
Ryan James lock is a business coach, writer and entrepreneur based between Ibiza and London. In 2012 he became the founder of www.beingyourownpublicist.com a business coaching program for small business owners and creative professionals who want to raise their profile and grow their business. To check out Ryan’s products and programs for your business go to www.beingyourownpublicist.com
As well as coaching private clients, Ryan also writes for several publications in the US and UK and doe sa weekly coaching podcast in London. His Face Book Page is www.facebook.com/