• Makheni Zonneveld

#8 A comprehensive marketing strategy for your small business

This post is part of the free Q & A Future Readiness service. If you have not yet subscribed, please click here or watch the 4-minute video on the homepage of makheni.com. Please click here for previous blogs in the series.

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This is a continuation of a series. To see the first in this series please click here.

Dear Makheni

Like everyone else I would like to start by thanking you for this service and for the book you recommend some time back. I have just finished reading it and I am wondering why such an amazing book is free. Like you, I am a speaker and trainer. Although you do not know me, you are one of the people who inspired me to follow this path. I have written a book that is thus far well received. I sell it at my speaking engagements and workshops. I am looking forward to more tips on how to expand the market for the book beyond my speaking engagements. Sam from Johannesburg. (Not his real name)

Dear Sam

The last time I said that today we would continue with two aspects of driving traffic, namely, giving away a free portion of your book and blogging.

Before we look into that I would like to make a remark on what I said about recommendations the last time: That you should not hesitate to ask for recommendations form your clients. A day or so thereafter I saw on the news that a driving school was paying learners who had passed the driving test €20 to give a positive recommendation. Of course I was not talking about such unethical practices. Clients should not get paid or offered any other incentive to give a recommendation but there is nothing wrong with asking. People generally find it easier to complain than to give a compliment and if they give you a verbal compliment there is nothing wrong with asking them state it in writing or even on video.

Do you remember the VAV model?

Anyone who has been following this series knows that there are things I repeat like a stuck record. One of them is the importance of values - non-negotiable ethical standards. I will continue to emphasise the importance of values because they are crucial no matter what your business is. Integrity is everything - in both personal and professional life. You have undoubtedly heard the advice that has been doing the rounds for some time - that all you have to do is be seen as an expert. I hope you will remain authentic and not take that advice. Whether you blog or use any media to promote your services, do not try to look like an expert without being one. You should be and expert and then be seen as one.

Why give away part of my product?

I get this question a lot from owners of small businesses, especially and those who sell intangible products. You should do it for the same reason that businesses give away samples of their tangible products: To give prospective clients an opportunity to experience products before committing. Of course we all know that there are people who just grab any sample they get with no intention to buy and that's okay. We can't change that so we should not even waste time and energy on that.

I will use your book as an example. You have a physical book. You can decide to give away an extract of your book in order to give prospects a taste of what value they will get out of the book. I know that the advice that is given all the time is that you should give away your first chapter. Please do not follow that advice. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making the first chapter of your book a sample but the reason should not be that it is the first chapter. The reason for making any part of your book a sample is that it should be a taste that will give the reader an appetite for more.

This also has nothing to do with what you like most or your favourite part of the book or your favourite topic. It's not about you - it's about the reader. This is where comprehensive strategy comes in. You have already decided who your target audience is so you should decided which part of the book would address what is important to them. Which part of your book answers their questions best and solves their problems best. When they realise that you have real solutions they will order your book.

The part that you give for free does not have to be a full chapter but you should always give real value and not just a gimmick. Talking about real value, you stated that you are wondering why the book I keep recommending is free. The writer gives away the best book on marketing strategy for free because that is not his main product - it is a sample of his main product which is the software that makes it super easy to implement your marketing strategy. He knows that after reading this book you will realise that his all-inclusive software is the best out there and that it costs less than putting different pieces of software together.

I wonder if you realise that the blog you are reading right now is a free sample of the coaching services that I offer. People ask me why I invest time in a free service. They get surprised when I tell them that I get paying coaching clients out of this time investment - that's the name of the game. Anyone who is still in the dark ages here, for the link to the free book that Sam referred to, please click here.

You do not always have to offer a free sample as a first step. You can start the list-building step by offering a good product at an irresistibly low price and then upselling to your main product. Upsell means when after a selling a low cost item you induce the buyer to purchase more expensive products and/or upgrades and/or add-ons. The initial offer should be really irresistible. If the prospect does not buy your more expensive item you can downsell to them by putting a button with another irresistible offer of a low cost item close to where the person rejects the offer. The idea is to not let the person leave without any purchase because that would be a wasted opportunity.

Always keep in mind that this all starts with list building. To collect email addresses, you send the sample as an ebook whether your whole book is a e-book or a physical book. In that case you only ask for name and email address. According to privacy laws you may not ask for personal details that you do not need so if you are going to email an e-book you should not ask for a telephone number or a postal or physical address. Even if it were not for the privacy laws asking for unnecessary details will be an unnecessary barrier. Remember, laws and restrictions are the minimum - they exist to protect the public from those who do not have good values. The ideal is to be guided by our own values.

Now the nuts and bolts

  • Before you get started everything should be ready.

  • The sample e-book should be ready.

  • The book you are selling should be ready.

  • If you want to sell the physical book the logistics should be ready - you should have an automated system of sending books directly as soon as the orders get in.

  • You can even start very small without an automated system just sending the books manually. You can save yourself a lot of trouble by starting with only the e-book version of your book before getting into the logistics of sending tangible products to a global market.

  • Next time we will continue with the infrastructure that will support the two main objectives: 1. driving traffic to the link to the free sample and 2. driving conversions. It is all well and good to have a good offer like a good sample or a good blog but if no one gets to hear about that you might as well lie on the couch and do nothing. These are not a marketing strategy but small aspects of it.

What next?

Decide which which part of your product you would like to make a free sample.

If you have not yet ordered the free online marketing book that Sam referred to in his question, please click here.

If you have not yet taken advantage of my 'Pay what you want' book offer please click here.

Remember, this year every day is Black Friday here. This year I turn 20 so you get all the gifts - just click here.

Till next week

Makheni your Future Readiness Coach

Face2Face and Online Coaching

These coaching service do not form part of the free service

  • Coaching for sole proprietors and owners of small businesses - take your business to the next level or start a business the right way

  • Leadership coaching - executive and operational level of leadership

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  • Personal effectiveness

To request more info on these services please click here.

Makheni Zonneveld has extensive experience in helping organisations, teams, individuals and entrepreneurs with real transformation. She employs these communications tools: Online and face2face coaching, speaking, training, storytelling and writing.

To enquire on her services or join the mailing list of this free service simply click here: http://www.makheni.com/contact

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