How will you grow your business this year? What ideas do you have for gaining new customers and for staying ahead of the competition? Are your clients coming back for more of what your business offers?
According to a survey of small business owners by Yodle, Inc., 42 percent of respondents said their number one concern is finding new customers. Another 33 percent of those surveyed said that keeping their current customers is their main concern. Developing a simple, effective marketing strategy is a key to addressing both of those concerns.
Best Books On Marketing
Maybe it is time to change up your marketing plan. Here are five books that can help you do just that.
Hooked by Nir Eyal (2014)
Why do some great ideas flop? Why do some mediocre ideas catch on like crazy? Is there a pattern to the types of products or technologies that “hook” us? Get ready for an interesting journey as you find the answers to these and other user-psychology questions in Nir Eyal’s compelling book.
The author, who is an entrepreneur himself, describes the hook cycle many successful companies use to retain customers back without the use of aggressive marketing. Using research and his practical experience, Eyal then offers practical steps you can use to influence your customers’ behavior. He also adds a thoughtful and important chapter on ethical considerations. Fascinating stuff.
What Great Brands Do by Denise Lee Yohn (2014)
The premise of this book is that great brands are not born; they are built. Yohn discusses the specific principles brands like Nike, Apple and Zappos used to help become leaders in their industries. She uses her research and her 25 years of experience as a consultant to explain seven key branding principles. They are: 1. Great brands start inside. 2. Great brands avoid selling products. 3. Great brands ignore trends. 4. Great brands don’t chase customers. 5. Great brands don’t sweat the small stuff. 6. Great brands commit and stay committed. 7. Great brands never have to give back.
Yohn says that most traditional branding efforts create an image or “face” of the company, but that many companies fail to use a brand to shape their business approach. She gives advice for creating what she calls an integral brand strategy in which the company image and company reality are closely aligned. Yohn’s advice is as helpful to small businesses as it is for large firms.
Spin Sucks by Gini Dietrich (2014)
There are new rules to business communication. This is a guide to help you navigate the new terrain. Dietrich explains “how the lines between marketing, advertising, digital and public relations are blurring” and she gives advice on how to handle negative online comments or reviews that can be part of doing business today.
You will learn how to promote your business without the “spin” of yesteryear and how to tell the truth by using storytelling techniques. This book offers practical steps any entrepreneur can put into action to enhance his or her marketing strategy.
Permission Marketing by Seth Godin (1999)
At a time when traditional advertising and marketing focused on catching a customer’s attention with a TV commercial, a print advertisement or a telemarketing call, Seth Godin introduced a different way. This groundbreaking 1999 book, Permission Marketing, offers ideas for developing relationships with customers.
By shaping your message in such a way that the potential customer accepts it and wants to know more, you have created trust and built brand awareness, he writes. You also have increased your chances of making a sale.
Written before Purple Cow, before Linchpin and before Tribes, this book provides a clear framework for effective direct marketing in today’s message saturated world. Godin defines “permission marketing” as anticipated, personal and relevant. When you ask permission first – through a survey, a contest, a mailing list or another device – you are targeting your message to those who ask to see it. The concept makes sense and it works.
Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing by Harry Bedwith (1997)
Bedwith contends that today’s customers are not as much interested in products or features as they are in relationships, and he says no amount of marketing can make up for poor customer service. Drawing from his own experience working with Fortune 500 companies as well as his research, Bedwith offers numerous practical strategies for “selling the invisible.” Most of them will work for any type of business, large or small.
This book is a quick read, and you will find that it is one you will re-read when you need to find some new motivation or inspiration for marketing your business.