Category: marketing

MAKE NETWORKING WORK FOR YOU »

by John R. Ingrisano Think of networking as mostly free, word-of-mouth, marketing.  Here are some ideas to make networking work for you: Be in touch.  Thanks to email, it’s never been easier to stay connected with clients and prospects.  Send out very, very short mini-newsletters (200 words at the most) once a month or so […]

KEY CONTACTS KEY TO BUSINESS GROWTH »

by John Ingrisano The Freestyle Entrepreneur   Building up a customer/client base can be hard work … until you get it down to a system.  One effective system is to establish half a dozen or so mutually beneficial relationships with what are known as “Centers of Influence.” These are people who can send customers your way.  […]

PAIN OR GAIN: WHAT MOTIVATES BUYERS »

by John Ingrisano The Freestyle Entrepreneur Pain or gain?  That is why people buy – always!  As Entrepreneur Dan Paulson points out in his book, Apples to Apples: How to Stand out From Your Competition, “every purchase is an emotional purchase.” Your product or service either takes away the pain (I need a car or else […]

CLUB YOU: MAKE CUSTOMERS FEEL SPECIAL »

by John Ingrisano The Freestyle Entrepreneur Want to build a loyal clientele?  Then sell “membership” in your special club.  No, you do not need an online enrollment (though airlines and hotel chains find this effective).  Nothing formal like that.  Just do like Starbucks does:  Make customers feel that, when they do business there, they are part […]

DON’T CUT CORNERS ON MARKETING »

by John Ingrisano The Freestyle Entrepreneur Smart marketing:  I just did a neat interview with one of the owners of Nutorious, a specialty nut company.  (Look for the amazing story of this zero-to-60-in-five-years Wisconsin start-up in the January 2011 issue of NEW North B2B Magazine.)  They sell high-end snack nut products, and have walked away with […]

Deliver Quality With A Touch Of Fantasy »

[The following is a guest piece by consultant Paul Rudo at rudoconsulting@gmail.com.   Enjoy. — JRI] In order to be successful in any business, you must first have a high-quality product or service. But how do you define quality? It’s simply the degree to which you meet customer needs, and the dollar-for-dollar value that you deliver. But the […]

MORE ON BUYING LOCAL »

Wow!  Did I ever get an overpriced truckload of criticism about my recent piece on buying local, on daring to point out that local businesses need to treat their local customers special.  So, let me try again. If you own a local business in a small town (or if you’re a small biz in a […]

THAT’S GREAT! SO WHAT? WHO CARES? »

Great ideas are like secrets to success: Everybody has a dozen or so, and most don’t hold up well to the TGSWWC test (short for “That’s Great!  So What?  Who Cares?”).  That’s also the mistake a lot of business owners make when it comes to their marketing.  They waste a ton of money promoting vague, […]

MORE ON COMPETING BY MAKING YOUR OWN BUSINESS RULES »

Hint:  You do not sell product, whether it’s baked beans or loans or funky nautical gifts.  If that’s the way you think, you’ll always be stuck in the center of the pack, loping along, but never breaking out to win big! Let me explain by asking a question.  What’s the difference between the various banks in […]

COMPETING IN A TOUGH ECONOMY »

                                              By John R. Ingrisano How to survive and thrive in a tough economy:  It’s not the big things; it’s not the little things.  It’s both the big things AND the little things that will make it a slam dunk. Example:  Recently, a friend needed a new alternator for her car.  I shopped it around.  […]

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE 101 »

Ask almost any biz owner, “What’s your top competitive advantage?” and you’ll most likely get a blank stare back in reply.  Worse, you might hear, “Great prices!” or “Super customer service!” or “Top quality products!”  In other words … not a clue. If that sounds like you, don’t feel bad.  Competitive advantage is one of […]

MARKETING BY VOLUNTEERING »

Want to have fun, benefit the community and build your business … all at the same time?  Get involved.  Volunteer.  Seriously.  No, this isn’t some touchy-feely community service announcement.  I’m a hard-nosed businessman.  But I also love to get away and relax every now and then and socialize, forgetting about business.  Plus, I love my little community […]

SMALL BUSINESS IDEAS: GROW SLOW »

We love to hear stories about small businesses that take off like a rocket, enjoying thousand-percent growth.  That’s all well and good, but it’s not the norm.  I appreciate wild-catters who bring in jumbo contracts and go from rags to riches in four months or less.  However, I have to confess that I’m not one […]

LEARN FROM TV COMMERCIALS »

  I’m one of those guys who does NOT change channels when a commercial comes on.  Instead, I love them.  I study them, analyze them, figure which ones work (and why) and which ones bomb (and why).  Most of all, I learn from them.  Here are two that tickle me silly:  AFLAC.  In this marketeer’s […]

Marketing Revelation & Book Recommendation »

THE MARKETING REVOLUTION IS HERE I’m a dinosaur, pushing 60 years of age.  I grew up in an age when marketing meant bending, twisting, shouting, cajoling, sex-appealing, manipulating, and pleading to get people to BUY!  BUY!  BUY!  It was a one-way message:  from the seller to the would-be buyer.  We talk.  You listen.  Any questions?  […]

Forget About Your Customers »

I know.  I know.  The customer is king.  But for a moment, consider two things:   Your customers have a need for your product.  They will buy it somewhere, either from you or from a competitor. They will buy it from you if you can demonstrate not that you’re great, but that you’re better than your […]

FRIGID FRIDAY BIZ TIP »

Two back-to-basics things you need to remember this January: Market!  Market!  Market!  Bang the drum, reminding your customers about who you and what why you are the greatest thing to happen since Al Gore invented the Internet.  This how you bring in new customers!   Marketing is especially imporant now, since the economy is showing key signs of rousing from […]

A Whimsical Offer: Call Me This Weekend »

My friends say I have no life.  Except for some fishing, spoiling my grandkids, service work with the Lions and experimental cooking with/on my friends and family, I have no major distractions. That’s because I love to work.  I have found that there is nothing more thrilling than business … both working on mine and […]

BIG-TIME MARKETING ON A SMALL-TIME BUDGET »

 “Successful people are not just those who are good at what they do, but those who are good at selling the idea that they are good at what they do.”  — Jack Gordon [This article first appeared in Corporate Report Wisconsin.]  As an SBO, my marketing budget ranges somewhere between non-existent and who-are-you-kidding?  One space ad, […]

MAKING NETWORKING WORK »

 Used to be that networking meant you joined the Rotary and golfed at the country club, got together at the meet-and-greet cocktail hour to swap business cards and, almost as an afterthought, mentioned what you do for a living to your son’s friend’s father in the bleachers at the softball game. Well, networking has grown […]