There are so many ways to generate new business today: lead generators, complicated email CRMs, sales funnels capturing new leads followed by a series of emails driving them into your product ecosystem at the end.

Each of these platforms and processes are competing for your marketing dollar so that you can attract new customers. And when you are building these platforms, you are busy and feeling productive.

But is it actually the best use of your time and money? So often, we keep ourselves busy to avoid doing the things which will be more effective, albeit sometimes a little bit uncomfortable.

You have probably heard this before, but it is worth repeating. The easiest business to generate is from existing customers. I know it, you know it, but do we spend the energy on it we should? Recently I have been investing a bit more of my energy in this area and it has been quite rewarding and satisfying.

I’ve set myself some sales targets and with some advice from a friend who specialises in sales, I was reminded about this truth.

So these are the steps to generating more business the easy way:

Step 1

Generate a report from your accounting package based on customer and dollar spend over the last few years. In Xero you can select a period and how many of the those periods to compare to. I then imported this into Excel and sorted it by who had spent the most with me over this time. This means you start with the top 20 percent. The ones who are generating the most business. The valuable ones.

Step 2

Set yourself a goal of 5 -10 calls per week. So that’s only 1-2 calls per day. It’s not that difficult. But it can be the most profitable way to generate more business.

Step 3

Find a reason to get in touch. This can be tricky. You don’t want to be calling up a client to say, “Hey, we did some work together last year, do you have any work for me?” People don’t want to buy from someone who sounds desperate. So you need to connect with your customer in a friendly, confident manner. It’s okay if they know you are keeping in touch because of business, but don’t sound desperate about it.

Some ideas to consider here are:
1. Follow up on the service or product you provided them. Ask how is it is working for them. Be interested to know if they are getting value from it.

2. Share stories about other customers and what has worked for them. Pass it on to see if it might be useful.

3. Is there something you’ve seen or heard recently that might apply to their business? Knowing that you are thinking about them is a good thing, especially if it something that can help their business.

4. Are there some insights relevant to your industry that are worth sharing? As a video producer, I see more and more businesses embracing the power of video. So I rang one of my previous clients to see if they were making any changes to their communication strategy to embrace video as a more regular form of communication, given everyone else is doing it? Hopefully it gave them something to think about.

5. Is there someone you can refer to their business? If you network enough, you will meet plenty of people. Helping people connect is a great way to build a relationship.

Step 4

Keep going. Not everyone will be in the time or place to accept a call from you, so don’t get disheartened if occasionally they seem less than enthused. That’s okay, because what you will be pleased to find is that quite a few are more than happy to hear from you. I know when I receive calls from previous suppliers I respect the fact that they are being proactive, especially when it can be scary to make such calls.

Step 5

Use the phone and don’t resort to email. Ask yourself, are you more likely to engage with someone you know who calls you or with someone who emails you. Email is easy to dismiss. Making phone calls takes confidence and people respect confident people. Even if you don’t feel confident, you will be respected for faking it until you make it :)

Next time you are playing with some complex sales funnel platform, ask yourself if this will build your business, or whether it’s distracting you from making calls which are more likely to generate more business. Sometimes, the easy money is right in front of you!

Unless you have been stranded on a deserted island for the past few years, you would know that Facebook is like the “Godfather” of social media, with Australians interacting with the platform more than any other site on the Internet. If your business isn’t on Facebook yet, you really are missing out.

Facebook has given the term “marketing” a whole new meaning to business owners. Which other media channel in the world right now can target millions and aim at the exact demographic you wish to have direct communication with?

Whether you are a service or product based business, big or small, businesses are successfully using Facebook for online sales, brand exposure, communicating with new and existing customers, building loyalty and capturing emails to generate leads and converting them into actual sales.

The trick is increasing sales
for your business by increasing the interaction between your brand and customers through your Facebook page – so having users click, like, share and comment regularly.

But, the million dollar question is, how do you do this?

The Basics

  • Social media is a continuous process that requires constant attentionYour FB page must be professionally branded and use the timeline cover image to make it clear what it is you do or offer.
  • Social media is a continuous process that requires constant attention. Think of it as starting a conversation with your customers and midway you go silent. Be committed and consistent every day.
  • You need a healthy number of users opting in to “like” your page. Promote your Facebook page link to all your customers, on your business card, email and website.
  • If you need to gather new “likers” – you can run a simple, low cost paid Facebook campaign where you target users (just make sure they are “likers” you’d LOVE to have as clients and fit the demographic that suits your business).
  • A word of warning – people still regard Facebook as a fun social space where they chat to friends and check out photos. So it’s not just about getting lots of hits or tacky hard sell; it’s about providing relevant and insightful information that actually keeps your customers there and talking.

Content – What, and how much?

Earlier this year, Facebook rolled out algorithm updates that have resulted in decreased visibility for business’s organic page posts. It means you really need to spend more time posting great content several times per day to cut through all the other businesses jumping on the bandwagon.

  • spend more time posting great content several times per dayPost 3-4 times per day – sounds like a lot, right? But, around 15% of your fans will see at least one of your posts per day (if even that) so increase your chances of appearing in news feeds by posting more, increasing the chances one post will get a bite.
  • Spread out your posts or schedule them (look into your insights tab to work out when your likers are online the most (morning, late afternoon or evening?)
  • Keep your posts short and sharp – 150-250 characters for optimal engagement
  • videos and You Tube clips have HUGE engagement ratesBy posting amazing content, the chances are it will be commented on, shared and liked many times – videos and You Tube clips have HUGE engagement rates and get great attention
  • Post a healthy mix of helpful information, images and useful resources that your target audience would value. This is a good driver of leads to your website and will have you perceived as trustworthy to buy from.

Paid Facebook Advertisements

With organic reach down, now is the perfect time to experiment with Facebook ads and the new revamped system is easy to use. Paid Facebook ads can appear right in a user’s newsfeed capturing a potential user to take action.

  • You can even zone in on actual suburbs Ensure before you create your advertisement, you know what your goal is – more website visits? More fan engagement? There’s now a guided format to help select your objective.
  • Take advantage of the unique targeting options – make the most of age, gender, relationship status, their workplace and job title. You can even zone in on actual suburbs if you need to attract local customers.
  • Use your audience meter, ensuring it isn’t too broad – advertisements will generally perform better when they are targeted to a few thousand people.
  • Include a clear call to action and enticing headline to encourage users to take your desired action.
  • Go crazy with your images (but remember to choose carefully). You can add up to six images at no extra cost and it’s a real clever way of testing how different images coupled with your advertisement perform
  • Have you got a healthy database of emails? You can now import your contacts (up to 5,000 names at a time) – imagine the possibilities of inviting them to your Facebook page and targeting posts to them.
  • Include a clear call to actionNeed more emails captured? Use software like LeadPages – it’s a powerful way that links with Facebook and allows you to present an offering (usually something for free like an E-Book or how-to-guide) in exchange for an email. Customers sign up and you now have their email to start communicating with them one on one, building a relationship of trust and expertise and then slowly building up to offer your products or service

Finally, as always, you’ve got to test, tweak and measure – always look at your Facebook insights to gauge how popular your posts and advertisements have been and who is actually taking notice – this data is gold to your ongoing efforts and it allows you to quickly see what you’re doing right or wrong – above all – have a little fun with it, put effort in daily, follow the tips above and you’ll be reaping the rewards in a short amount of time.

Featured image: djchuang

Danielle is offering a FREE 30min consultation to clarify your strategies and efforts and give your FB page a health check via Skype or a phone consult until 23 December 2014. Get in touch with her directly on [email protected]  or

Adanielle-grantbout Danielle Grant

Danielle Grant is the director of Creative Buzz Design + Marketing based in Sydney.  Danielle is a seasoned marketer, graphic designer and former English high school teacher and has spent the last decade in hospitality, transport and government roles which have developed her design, marketing flair, social media and communication skills.

She has a strong drive to help women in small businesses and entrepreneurs through workshops and 1:1 to re-shape their marketing efforts so it is fuss-free and low-cost. Danielle has helped business owners through the often daunting process of understanding social media and equipping them with the necessary tools to strive for more.

You can spot those who have done a marketing degree (or part thereof) a mile away – the giveaway is their use of irrelevant marketing jargon like “point of difference” and “call to action”. These words are used to fool those who don’t have a similar degree into thinking they know more then we do, but those who actually understand marketing and how it can benefit your organisation will be able to explain it without using these words. For those who haven’t done a commerce, marketing or business degree, sometimes disseminating the difference between the major forms of marketing communications can be tricky. In my post I will attempt to explain the core forms of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) without the use of spin.

So what IS marketing exactly? Well, as defined by my trusted University textbook, marketing consists of the marketing mix strategies that organisations develop to transfer value, through exchange, to their customers (Chitty, Barker, Valos, & Shrimp, 2012). Translated, it’s what you use when you want to send your customers a message about how great your organisation is and why they need to direct their consumerism-driven cravings your way to buy your product/service.

Marketing communications is a critical aspect of a company’s overall marketing mission and a major determinant of its success in a market (Chitty, Barker, Valos, & Shrimp, 2012). But you already knew that right?

So what are the major forms of marketing communications?

  1. Advertising – a form of static, mass communication in form of an image, audio or visual message. Organisations develop their message, produce it on their desired medium (this would be mail outs, TV advert, radio advert, magazine or newspaper print advert, and replicate that same message/image/visual/audio numerous times to the consumer. These are considered non-personal because the organisation is simultaneously communicating with multiple receivers (perhaps millions), rather than a specific person or a small group, and they cannot guarantee who exactly will view the advertisement, e.g. a billboard advertisement, while it can be viewed by a higher number of people, there is no guarantee that a certain target demographic will view it or respond to it. This form of marketing is useful for organisations like fast food chains where they target most demographics, thus in this case mass communication is more useful than direct marketing. Advertising is designed to accomplish communication objectives, such as creating brand awareness and additionally to influence consumer attitudes toward the brand/product/service. It is useful for brand/product awareness but its effectiveness can be fickle and there are not guarantees to be a sale conversion from advertising.
  2. Direct marketing – the use of several types of media to reach consumers and encourage them to purchase or take some form of immediate response, and unlike advertising, it’s an interactive process rather than being a one way form of communication. Database marketing is an integral part of direct marketing because it provides companies with information that allows them to profile their customers and to establish long-term relationships. An example of direct marketing would also be using sponsored advertisements on Facebook where organisations can choose the demographics of those the sponsored ad is targeted to. This tends to be a more effective method to generate sales conversion as your organisation is typically targeting those they know have a high interest in the product or service and who have a higher chance of buying.
  3. Sales promotions – this refers to all marketing activities that attempt to directly stimulate buyer action or an immediate sale. Examples of Consumer Orientated sales promotions include using price reductions, free samples, contests/sweepstakes, coupons and rebates in an effort to encourage consumers to buy. Consumer promotions are important as they offer a solution to accomplish goals that advertising by itself cannot achieve. Sales promotions can be extremely valuable, and if designed and delivered correctly, can be a great way to build year-over-year and month-over-month revenue growth.
  4. Sponsorship Marketing – the practice of promoting the interests of a company and its brand by associating the company and its brands with a specific event. This form of marketing can be extremely valuable for some organisations, and less so for others. It’s a matter of finding the right fit for the brand and the event, and essentially what that boils down to is whether or not their target demographic is interested in the event, and therefore will be exposed to the brand by association with the event, and for the event organisers, potential revenue OR assistance with supplies, promotion, equipment, staff etc.
  5. Marketing public relations (MPR) – like advertising, MPR involves non-personal brand exposure, but unlike advertising, it is not paid for. This can be a good and a VERY bad thing. When it’s good, MPR consists of favourable news items or editorial comments about an organisation’s product or services that receive free print space or broadcast time because a journalist considers the content newsworthy, however, in order to be credible, the report must remain unbiased and ‘not paid for’ by the company receiving the publicity (despite most glossy magazines who actively ignore this point). However, as the coverage or ‘PR’ is constructed without the interjection of the organisation, if the message or organisation itself if misconstrued or taken out of context could potentially be very damaging to the brand, and the public’s perception  of it, which could prove extremely costly to rectify.
  6. Personal Selling – this strategy is based on person-to-person communication, where the salesperson informs, educates and persuades prospective buyers to purchase the company’s products or services. One key advantage personal selling has over other promotional methods is that it is a two-way form of communication. Many non-personal forms of promotion, such as a radio advertisement, are inflexible, at least in the short-term, and cannot be easily adjusted to address audience questions. The interactive nature of personal selling also makes it the most effective promotional method for building relationships with customers, particularly in the business-to-business market. This is especially important for companies that either sell expensive products or sell lower cost but high volume products (i.e., buyer must purchase in large quantities) that rely heavily on customers making repeat purchases. Many people know that sales success often requires the marketer to develop and maintain strong relationships with members of the purchasing company, and personal selling can offer a great method to achieve that.
  7. Point-of-Purchase communications – this includes in-store displays, posters, signs and other materials that are designed to influence consumer buying decisions at the point of purchase. This form of marketing can be really powerful for those who are selling tangible products that aren’t too bulky and are mass produced. In order for it to be effective, the organisation must first determine where their target market shops, and if it’s online, that’s ok too, advertise on the websites your target market frequents. If your target shoppers only venture to the stores to go food shopping, place your items there or wherever it is you determine is the places your consumers frequent.

The effectiveness of IMC involves using different types of communication medium and in order for it to be beneficial to your organisation, one must understand the brands’ marketing environment, target market, their behaviours in order to integrate the assorted communication media to effectively influence the consumer’s decision making. Hopefully this article has provided you with a quick rundown on the basics of marketing, which might allow you to better understand what is being talked about at the next meeting on marketing.

My advice, go for the mixed bag, select the lollies appropriate for you and your product or service, don’t select only one kind of lolly and make sure you understand your customers’ tastes before you invest in ANY lolly assortment, make sure they complement one another!

Charlotte Caruso

Charlotte Caruso is an energetic and emerging force currently taking on media industry, and she has not allowed her age or busy family hold her back.

Charlotte originally launched her university career by studying Media, Journalism and PR at Murdoch University, before deciding that media wasn’t really her thing, as the thought of having some editor tell her what was “news” and the notion to be restricted by what she could cover was not the career for her.

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Charlotte has gained valuable business knowledge from her International Business Studies (Major in Chinese Business) and from working her way up from temp receptionist to company administrator of an International conglomerate by age 18, where she regularly travelled overseas, presenting to boards and directors of multinational firms in Malaysia. Additionally Charlotte gained invaluable business knowledge by working alongside Executive Director Mark V. Caruso of Allied Gold Limited, whereby Mr. Caruso mentored her and provided her with key insight into the international corporate world.

However, Charlotte’s thirst for knowledge and strong desire to inform and educate those around her about important matters seemed to have caught up with her when in 2011, exacerbated by the standards of radio content in Western Australia, she founded PuggleFM, an online radio station for families. PuggleFM streams music internationally, has an impressive international following and currently 11 podcast channels, covering a wide range of topics for parents, all of which are available on iTunes. Since its 2011 inception, PuggleFM has experienced impressive growth, and has witnessed a 100% growth in website hits since its July 2012 launch.

Charlotte also formed the Incorporated NFP organization, Puggle Pals and IMPACT (Invested Members Protecting All Children Together) which was established to provide important educational and health messages to the public, and support those emerging talent who are similarly dedicated in doing so, by establishing the Puggle Potential Awards in 2013, for young, aspirant journalists committed to the same goals as Puggle Pals Inc.

In February 2013, Charlotte was a finalist in the Australian Excellence Awards – Women in Business division, as well as being nominated for Telstra Women Awards, and is a regular contributor for award winning business blog Leaders in Heels.[/toggle_simple]

Credit image: cuorhome