You Should Be In the List Building Business

What business are you in? Answer that question to yourself. What business are you in? If you’re like most, you’ll say something like mortgage broker, dentist, restaurateur, coach, chiropractor etc.

If you answer was something like this, I’d say you’re wrong. (Hang in here with me; I’ll get to the point in just one minute.) If you’ve been reading my tips, newsletter or have heard me speak you may be saying to yourself, “I’m not falling for that one Travis, I know I’m in the Marketing Business.” To that I say you’re closer, but still not quite there.

You’re in the list building business.

There is nothing more valuable to your business than a list of names and contact information of your most targeted prospects and clients. You want to capture names and market to them continuously. As my Marketing mentor Dan Kennedy says, “Till they buy or die.”

So how do you build your list? Through lead generation marketing, of course. You’re essentially getting permission to market and sell to your ideal prospect or client, over and over again. How great is that!

I’m a big fan of lead generation marketing. Lead generation marketing is the ultimate ‘pull’ marketing strategy. It allows people who are interested in your product or service to pull information for themselves about you and your business, rather than the usually ‘push’ marketing that you usually see. Almost all “Madison Avenue” marketing is push marketing.

What you need for prospects to ‘pull’ information from you is great bait, or a lead generation magnet. This is something that you’re prospects request from you. They come in many forms, but the most typical is free information about your niche. They can include:

White Papers
Free Reports, such as: “The 7 Questions You Must Ask…” “9 Secrets They Don’t Want You to Know About…”
Free Recorded Messages
And other types of gifts appropriate for your niche.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that the more desirable your ‘bait” is, the better response you’ll get. With almost all marketing, you’re severely limited with the amount of information you can send or use in a cost effective manner. How much can you possibly say in a 30 second TV or radio spot, a yellow pages ad (even in a full page ad), a billboard, or a postcard?

With lead generation marketing, you’re able to move your client or prospect to another media in which you have more cost effective means to tell your story. You can move them from offline to online, and vice versa, move them to an audio CD, DVD, print and just about any other type of media.

One very popular technique I’m seeing a lot is to send an inexpensive postcard, and lead them to a personalized website, or PURL, which has, theoretically speaking, unlimited space.

You also have the ability to spend more money per prospect. Let’s take our PURL example from above. You send your client to a unique web page that is only for them, and you’re able to track it. You know this person is at least slightly interested in whatever you’re offering.

Now, you’ve ‘shrunk your universe’ to only include those people who visited their unique webpage. They obviously have an interest in what you’re selling, and you can spend more per qualified lead, and actually end up spending less overall in the campaign. This would be a great time to send them clutter busting 3D Mail!

Mailing Lists – Helping Businesses Be Successful

Every business wants to be successful, especially in tougher economic times when paying great employees and attracting new customers can be challenging. Businesses, just like people, don’t like to waste their time and money. They want to be able to reach the consumers who would be most likely to buy their product or service and let them know about their company, customer service, and upcoming specials or events. Mailing lists are a valuable marketing tool because they aid in this process and help businesses have successful marketing campaigns.

Mailing lists filter through individuals and businesses unlikely to buy the company’s product or service, enabling them to direct their efforts effectively by relying on useful demographic information such as the age, gender, property value and spending habits of various consumers. These characteristics can be filtered to create a specific mailing list that matches each specific situation and business need. Imagine the ease of having a list crafted with these desirable addresses and contacts and mailing out the company’s newest ads, postcards, magnets, coupons, and other promotional products to interested consumers.

There are consumers in every company’s local area that would buy a given product or service if they just knew about it. Mailing lists help businesses contact these people. Additionally there are loyal customers who would be interested in learning more about a company’s latest products, services, and deals. Mailing lists are useful in contacting these people and businesses. They are a worthwhile investment that saves time and will likely create greater profit.

Listing a Business For Sale

Listing your business for sale is an experience that most business owners are unprepared for. Too many small business owners liken the experience of selling a business to that of selling a piece of property. Any experienced business broker can tell you differently though. This article will touch on some of the key factors that suggest a prudent move is to properly plan before you list your business for sale.

Business Performance Needs to Show Improvement
If your business has been stagnating and the profitability declining then a buyer may not be very interested in purchasing it. Spend the months (or years) it takes to show a prosperous and growing company. If sales are on the decline determine why. Perhaps you must refocus your sales efforts or add new products to your mix. If your margins are retreating then examine all of your expenses to determine if there are any savings that can be realized.

Get Your Financial Information in Order
Spend the time and money it takes to have accountant prepared financial statements. Do not look at this exercise as an added expense but, rather, an investment. When it comes time to sell your business then you will have better luck with the buyers and they will have greater traction with the bank when they go for the acquisition financing.

Documenting Processes Takes Time
A business where the success is dependent largely on one person has what is referred to as key person risk. These are businesses where the enterprise will suffer if the key person walks away from the company. These types of organizations sell at a discount since a buyer may have challenges to transferring the company goodwill to themselves after the sale. Try to eliminate this situation if it applies to your company. Document procedures and train your customers that there are other people and resources in the business that they can turn to.

Get Machinery Up to Date
Keep track of all of your equipment maintenance. Repair or replace broken or obsolete equipment. If you would not be interested in buying it ask yourself if a prospective purchaser would?

Clean Out Unsalable Inventory
Go through your inventory and so a thorough count to get an accurate amount. If you have obsolete or inventory that is damaged or unsalable then dispose of it.

Tax and Legal Planning
Talk to your professionals to get proper tax guidance before you list. The way you structure your business for sale may have a large impact on your net tax payable after the sale. Also work with your attorney. If you have any legal issues pending such as lawsuits or employee disputes then try to have them resolved before you list.

These are but a few factors to consider before you actually start the process of selling your company. There are certainly more, as every business is unique. Work with a business broker and other professionals to talk about the things you can do immediately that will help pave the way to a successful sale.