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Donna DeCarolis

Founding Dean of the Close School of Entrepreneurship of Drexel University

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Promoting Your Business

May 09, 2016

A strong and compelling elevator pitch creates interest and should generate a “Tell me more" response.

Perfect Your Pitch

A strong and compelling elevator pitch creates interest and if delivered correctly, should generate a response such as, “Tell me more.” A lot has been written about what to include or not include in an elevator pitch.

There are basically a few elements that are fundamental: stating the problem, describing your solution, defining market size and the target market you expect to reach, the competition, why your product is better, and the quality of your team.

Here are some other things to keep in mind:

  • Remember that you might very well be pitching to different audiences – customers, suppliers, partners and investors. You might want to consider crafting slightly different versions of the elevator pitch, emphasizing different dimensions, depending on whom you are targeting.
  • It is good practice to have a prototype or mock up of the product or service. A visual facilitates a better understanding of your offering, particularly if it might be technologically complex.
  • Finally, as you create your elevator pitch, keep in mind that simple is best – as if you were explaining to a young child or perhaps your great grandmother.
  • And rehearse – to get that pitch…perfect.

Create Packages

Service businesses can be a hard sell. You are promising to do something for your customer and that something is an intangible. So this certainly carries a degree of risk for them.

One way to make the buying process easier is to package your services to accommodate customers’ various needs. For example, instead of charging an hourly rate, try packaging together services that are project-specific.

You can offer programs based on time, like three- or six-month packages at different price points. But you need to show them the value of longer programs and the differing results of various packages. This has the benefit of getting the client to commit to longer terms, and upfront payments also help your cash flow.

Also consider upgrading existing services to a premium level. By creating levels for your clients you give them choice without much complication – they choose level one, two or three. You can also include something “free” with various packages and levels.

By creating packages that cater to your customers' varying needs and budgets, you can sell more and keep your customers engaged.

Get Social and Physical

Social media is an impactful way to reach a wide range of customers, particularly for small businesses with a physical retail presence who may have limited advertising budgets. Social media reaches more people for less money than print advertising. And seven out of ten consumers say they are more likely to shop at a local business if its information is available on social media.

While social media talks about your product or service, it isn’t as engaging as having customers physically visit. Take social media one step further. Combine the virtual world with event marketing. Put some of your marketing budget into hosting an event. Promoting an event on social media, and not just your product or service, may drive physical traffic into your store. The types of events are numerous: educational, charitable, games, contests, samplings. Once people are in your store, you can drive sales and generate more goodwill in the community. You might also consider offering discounts to those customers who tweet about the event while they are there. And you can also get email addresses from those attending to continue to promote your business.

Employ Content Marketing

Content marketing is a technique for creating and distributing valuable and consistent content to attract a clearly defined customer segment. The objective is to drive customer actions such as: talking about your products online, “liking” you on Facebook – or even downloading a coupon – great for small business because it doesn’t have to be fancy, just feasible.

Content marketing involves:

First: Creating the content – which is king. Insightful copy is a large net to pull in customers. The better the copy, the larger the net. Place keywords you want to “own” correctly in your copy to help expand the net.

Second: Finding the right distribution channel. Facebook is not best for every company. Instagram is great for retail; a visual app that can help your products shine. Consulting? Try LinkedIn, where you can establish yourself as a thought leader.

Finally, what’s the point of excellent content if you’re not tracking it? Use Google Analytics and other platforms to see what works. Track those likes, comments and shares, too. Then, use this data to inform your next blast.

Remember, while content is king, it’s up to you to show the world your kingdom.

Master the Art of Networking

Networking is about making connections and building mutually beneficial relationships. Meeting the right people is a catalyst for your career and your company. Relationships provide access to information, opportunities, financial resources, and much more. Getting the most from networking events involves a bit of serious work – if you want to develop good connections.

Before the event, do some homework. If you can find out who is attending, search for those you want to meet. Learn something about them or their company so when you approach, it is easier to engage a conversation. This is a strategic move that will help you get the most out of a networking event.

Focus on the quality of connections you make, not the quantity. Leaving with a stack of business cards but no meaningful connections is a waste. It is more beneficial to have a few good conversations that provide opportunity for follow up.

Give as much as you get. Make introductions and share information before you try to find ways to benefit yourself. And remember, eating and drinking are not your main goal. Use your left hand for food, and make sure the right hand is available for greeting.

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