Defining Your Marketing Strategy

marketing strategy

Before you can define your marketing strategy, you must understand exactly what a marketing strategy is.

Simply put, a marketing strategy is a plan structured around the resources available to you to promote and grow your business, targeted to your defined ideal client.

So now that you have this definition, review the following list to measure the current status of your marketing strategy and consider where it could go by integrating a structured marketing strategy in the future promotion of your business.

The top dozen questions to define your marketing strategy:

1. First of all, what is it about your business that you are passionate about? Reflect back on what motivated you to start your company.

2. What is it that you provide to your target market in ways that differ from your competitors?

3. Just like people, businesses have – or should have – a personality. What is the dominant trait in your business that you want your customers to identify?

4. What does your ideal client look like? This, really should have been identified when you were planning your business. After all, you can’t be everything to everyone, and if you haven’t defined your client by now, your business is probably flailing.

5. You’ve heard about the “elevator speech”. What is yours? Come up with a simple 10-word message that defines, explains and excites prospects about your business.

6. How does your target market become aware of your business? Within this question, you should be able to identify where and how you can best reach your target audience.

7. How do you build trust? People do business with those they like, no, and trust. What are you doing that will build trust to your target market, assuring them that you are the best person to do business with.

8. How is your cash flow? Be realistic. If you aren’t honest with yourself about your cash resources, you can’t be realistic about what you can achieve. If you are in a position that you have assets but require interim assistance was financing projects, what revenue sources are available to help you grow your business?

9. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. By walking a mile in your clients’ shoes, you can define and refine the customer experience. Happy client not only becomes a repeat client, but also becomes a source for referrals by becoming an advocate for your business.

10. Once you have defined where you want to goal, what gaps in resources do you face? None of us are experts at everything. Define what you can do and either assign tasks to someone else in your organization in their area of expertise, or outsource to a professional.

11. Do you require partnerships with others in order to achieve your goals? In some cases, it makes sense to partner with complementary business professionals to keep costs down, share resources, and benefit.

12. Finally, now that you’ve answered all of these questions, what does the result of implementing this strategy look like? If you see any holes in the results, review the list again and refine your strategy further.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

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Market Your Business Without Breaking The Bank

don't break the bank

As a small business owner or an entrepreneur, you have to closely guard your cash flow to be successful.

But guarding the purse strings is not the same as refusing to spend your cash appropriately to build your business.

The important thing is to be strategic with your spending and make sure that your investments pay off.  You don’t have to blow the budget to make a big impact. In fact, there are lots of ways to market your business $400 or less, assuming you are willing to put in a bit of sweat equity.

Here are six easy to implement and inexpensive marketing strategies:

1. Do your market research. I’ve repeated numerous times just how important it is to research your market. The more time you invest and the more you refine your ideal client, the better you can focus your marketing efforts and target them to the appropriate audience. Also be sure to check out what your competitors are doing. Be strategic. Don’t try to compete with big players with an established brand, but analyze your field to see where weaknesses or gaps exist in the marketplace and take advantage of these.

2. Use email to your advantage. There are many email marketing platforms out there that offer free accounts up to a certain limit of subscribers or emails per month. And if you purchase a plan through an email marketing provider they are generally very inexpensive. Email marketing is a tactic that works. Many studies have proven that email is the preferred channel for clients and prospects to receive communications. But remember that nobody likes spam. There are rules in place that specify how you can legally prospect for business. Be sure that you are coloring in the lines.

3. Timing is everything. Most consumers search for a product or service online. Ensure that prospects who land on your website can access the information that they need to make a buying decision quickly and efficiently. Nearly all new websites are already optimized for mobile devices, but if you have an older same be sure that you have a mobile ready version available. Remember that nearly half of all browsing is now done on mobile devices.

4. Make sure you can be found. As noted above, most consumers go online to research products and services prior to making a purchase. As a small business owner or entrepreneur, make sure that you do keyword research and appropriately integrate search engine optimization (SEO) into the content of your site. Used appropriately, SEO can result in favorable SERP, or search engine result placement, in organic search results. When searching online, few people bother to look beyond the second page of results, so be sure that you are able to be found.

5. Use social media. But be strategic. Hundreds of social media sites are in existence, but there are only a small handful that are used regularly by the majority of people. When you did your research, you should have identified which of these social networks your prospects are most likely to use. Create profiles on those social networks and interact with your prospects and clients on the sites. Remember that these are places where people will post comments though, and make sure that you are interacting. You could consider making a small investment to sponsor posts on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook or twitter. All of these platforms allow you to target your ideal market as well as set a daily limit, ensuring that you do not overspend.

6. Expand your team. No, I’m not talking about hiring when you can’t afford to do so. Instead, I’m referring to the concept of creating strategic alliances. Sharing contacts and working with other businesses who can complement your offerings cannot only increase your brand awareness, but can also help you grow your business much quicker than you could on your own. Again, play fair. Make sure that the alliance works both ways.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

If you like the information you are receiving, please consider forwarding this post.

Brexit –Mistaken Marketing?


UK Votes to leave the EU.

You’d have to be living in a cave to not know this news!

Now, the purpose of this article is not to argue the merits on either side of the debate. It is not only not my place to discuss what citizens of  another country should do, but the decision has been rendered, making any argument moot in any event.

Rather, I wanted to make the point about the importance of marketing your product appropriately.

When most people think of marketing, they envision advertising. As I have repeatedly commented, the true essence of marketing is the development of a strategic approach to entice a specific, targeted audience to “purchase” what you have to sell. Advertising is merely one method undertaken to get this strategy in front of your audience.

And when I talk about what you have to sell, I don’t limit it to a product or a service. As you might know, I spent some time in federal politics several years ago. During this time, I acted as campaign manager for a period of about 18 months, leading into a federal election. I approached this role as I do any marketing campaign; in this case, my “product” was the candidate. As I said to her, we needed to approach our target audience (the constituents) and demonstrate to them why they should “purchase” her politics, rather than the politics of her opponents.

Brexit is no different.

Most pundits observing the lead-up to the referendum agree that both sides ran campaigns based on negativity. The Stay side argued that to leave the Union would result in extreme financial hardship, perhaps even a deep recession. Those in the Leave camp argued that to stay in the Union would continue to erode their wealth and their culture.

The politics of fear, in my view, created the outcome that they received; a close vote, with 52% opting to leave the Union. And now of course, there are many exclamations of regret. But democracy is what it is.  And, without any prior determination of what would constitute a win, anything more than 50% rules the day.

So let’s bring this back to the role marketing.

Perhaps both sides of this referendum misread the public. What if, instead of resorting to the politics of fear and hoping to frighten people into voting their way, the argument focused on positives.

What if those who argued to Stay spoke of the benefits of staying in the Union, rather than the doom and gloom that they predicted would happen if they left. What if they spoke of the benefits of free and open travel throughout the European Union, and the benefits of mobility rather than the negative position of financial ruin.

What if those who argued to Leave spoke to the ability to act more independently and negotiate their own trade deals, rather than focusing on the perils of open borders.

We all know that when it comes to making a decision, people like to do business with people who they like, know and trust. We also know that people make decisions primarily based on emotions. It is unfortunate that those people who are in positions of power – those we should be able to trust – have benefited over the past several years from creating a culture of fear, and have controlled decisions through what I call “the Chicken Little approach”.

Current global affairs, whether we agree with the various positions are not, are demonstrating that the pendulum is swinging the other way, and that people are fed up with the way things have been done over the past several decades. They are looking for change.  And savvy marketers would be wise to heed this call and understand the importance of reading your target audience and responding with strategies that make sense to them.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

If you like the information you are receiving, please consider forwarding this post.

Give ‘Em What They Deserve!

client experience

How do you take care of your clients and prospects?

There are many facets of running your own business that can be challenging. But one of the most important aspects is to ensure that you are giving a great client experience. After all, without customers you have no business.

You spend lots of time hiring the appropriate support staff, creating the perfect products and services for your ideal customers, developing and promoting your brand, etc.

However, the preparation is simply the prelude to the success of your business. Once you have laid the foundation, it is essential to capture and retain your market share in order to run a profitable business-and to stay in business!

Now, I do not believe in that old adage “the client is always right”. While the vast majority of your customers have reasonable expectations, you will always find the rarity who either believes they deserve special treatment, or will never be satisfied with what you provide no matter how hard you try. So don’t focus your time and energy on these few bad apples; instead focus on providing the best experience to the majority of your clients and you will have success.

There are three key ingredients that will help you define and deliver quality service to your clients, ensuring loyalty. Let’s break them out.

1. Provide good quality to your clients and prospects.

Okay, that’s easy to say, but what is good quality? The key factor here is for you to define what good quality means to you. How do you want your product or service to look and feel? What guarantees or warranties do you provide for your product or service? Do your employees represent you and your brand in a way that is consistent and matches your values? Do you have proper policies and procedures that are easy to understand and easy to follow?

2. Evaluate your products or services regularly.

The secret here is to continually monitor your product or service to ensure that you are delivering something of value to your clients. Consider sending an email survey to your clients on occasion, asking for feedback. Invite them to express comments or concerns they may have during delivery of your product or service. If you’re working on a project that has deliverables over time, evaluate each step of the process. Take the time to follow up personally with clients on a random basis. Make sure that you address any issues that are brought to your attention immediately. This doesn’t mean that you have to change your product or service, but ensure that the client feels that they have been heard and understands why things are done the way that they are.

3. Never underestimate the value of a testimonial or review.

Remember to ask your clients to share their experiences with your company. Nothing is as effective as a positive review or positive feedback on the experience you have provided to a client. Expressing why they prefer to do business with you, instead of one of your competitors, can be one of the most compelling reasons for new prospects to choose your business in the future. These reviews and testimonials can be provided by the written word, an audio file, or video testimonial. Think about making it a policy to send a follow-up email or make a follow-up phone call with each and every client, asking them about their experience with your business, and then asking for the testimonial. Be sure to get permission to share this information, and post it on your website, social media profiles, and any other appropriate place.

It truly doesn’t take that much effort to ensure that you are providing a quality experience for your clients. Following these three simple steps will help provide the foundation to build a client user experience policy that will give your customers that loving feeling and help you grow a successful business.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

If you like the information you are receiving, please consider forwarding this post.

What A Difference A Year Makes!


One year ago this month, I rebranded Agapi Marketing & Consulting and launched our new website.

Prior to April 2015, my website was old, not mobile responsive, and I was marketing like I had been 10 years earlier.

Some of you know that I started the new millennium by doing things a little bit differently. Although marketing was always a key part of everything that I have done, I branched out into a couple of other areas. From 2002 to 2006, I was taking advantage of the changing real estate market in Calgary and was working with the company who invested in, and then flipped, houses. I became a licensed financial planner, and focused much of my marketing on the financial services industry. From 2009 to 2013, I worked with a company that focused on taking businesses public.

And then I decided to become less dependent on individual contracts and get back to helping business owners from all verticals learn how to effectively and efficiently market and promote their companies.

But there was a bit of a learning curve involved. After being out of the marketing mainstream for many years due to focusing on individual and specific contracts, I had to rebuild my network and my reputation. At first, I tried to run my consulting business as I had prior to 2002, providing planning and fulfillment services. This proved to be a challenge; when you’re busy doing fulfillment, you can’t be taking care of the myriad of responsibilities required in the running of a business.

So I re-branded my business. I decided to focus on my core strength, which is helping people develop their strategic marketing plan. After all, without this foundation, your marketing will cost you more, be less effective, and be inconsistent.

I met and worked with business owners who could provide fulfillment services that met with my high standards. After all, if it’s not good enough for me, it’s not good enough for my clients.

I rebuilt my website and re-branded my Corporation, honing my focus to better deliver that message.

I began participating in webcasts, podcasts and interviews, and began writing articles for various publications.

I wrote a couple of books which are now sold on Amazon.

I developed and built out my corporate, as well as my personal social profiles on twitter Facebook and LinkedIn.

I began providing our “Expert Interview Series” to our newsletter subscribers.

And I got over my intimidation and fear of the camera, launched a YouTube channel and began posting videos.

And the result?

The response has been great! More and more people are watching my YouTube videos and connecting on my social profiles. My web statistics show that people are not only engaging with, but are expecting my twice-weekly posts. People are spending time on my website; approximately 10% of all visitors to my site are spending a minimum of an hour there. I have successfully built a following, authority, and a solid group of experts to assist me with fulfilling the needs of my clients.

So thanks for being a part of my phenomenal growth over the past year. It has been an experience – and sometimes a frustration – but always fun and always a privilege.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

If you like the information you are receiving, please consider forwarding this post.

Why You Need To Network!

importance of networking

If you aren’t networking, you are losing ground!

The concept of networking can be intimidating to some people.  Indeed, many of us believe that networking can be difficult and time consuming.  It can be thought of as an unpleasant chore.

But think of it as a means to reach out and communicate with people you like.  Building your network in a genuine way not only provides the opportunity to interact with folks you share interests with, but also allows you to expand your reach and your circle of influence exponentially.

Frank Thomas and I discussed this issue on an episode of the Small Business Tips Show in late December last year.  You may have seen the webcast, but today we are offering the audio so you can ‘take it and go.’

Listen to our discussion about networking here, or connect to the podcast.


Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

If you like the information you are receiving, please consider forwarding this post.

The Importance Of Networking

the importance of networking

Do you know the importance of networking?

Ok, if so how many of you are networking for your business?

We all know that we should be networking. Not only does it expand our circle of influence, but it also allows us an opportunity to share our expertise with others.

Networking does not have to be difficult or time consuming. There is a fine art to developing this skill. Once you realize that it is nothing more than simply meeting with others and exchanging knowledge, you will on the road to being successful in your small business ventures.

And, believe it or not, it can actually be fun!

Join us in this episode of The Small Business Tips Show and listen as we discuss the importance of networking and ways to accomplish this for your small business!

Watch our video broadcast here, or watch on YouTube.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

If you like the information you are receiving, please consider forwarding this post.

Marketing In Everyday Life!

Marketing makes the world go round

Marketing makes the world go ‘round!

Today, I’m going  to address the perception of marketing. When the word “marketing” is used, most people immediately think of advertising. And, as I continually point out, advertising is merely one part of a complete marketing strategy.

But stop and think for just a minute. We all market different things every single day. When we meet someone for the first time, we are always trying to put our best foot forward and make the best impression possible. The same applies when we’re having discussions with our friends and family members; we use various strategies to promote our point of view.

And that, folks, is marketing! Read more

Using Offline Marketing As A Strategy For Your Business – Integration



So far in our series, we have talked about what offline marketing is, why you would want to use it, and what types of offline marketing you can choose from. Today, we discuss how to integrate offline marketing with online strategies to get the most for your marketing efforts.

Offline and online marketing methods can actually support each other in ways that create a broader reach. Watch our video to see how that works. Read more

When Marketing Wears A Cowboy Hat…

Calgary stampede

It’s that time of year!

For those of you who don’t know, I am a proud Calgarian.

Calgary, Alberta is world-renowned for 3 major things: hosting the 1988 Winter Olympics, its Oil and Gas industry, and the Calgary Stampede.

Well, today marks the fifth day of the 2015 Calgary Exhibition & Stampede.

This article isn’t intended to be an advertisement for the Stampede, but it’s a great example of how marketing can wear a different hat.

For those of you who are not familiar, this is an annual event that celebrates the tradition of ‘the old west’. It lasts for 10 days, and during this time, business activities slow to a crawl – at least in the downtown area.

Calgary is also well-known for knowing how to throw a good party, and that proves true every year during this event.

This is the time of year when Boardrooms take a backseat to Bars and Barns!  Business folks drop their power suits for western wear, including cowboy hats, casting aside the worry of developing ‘hat-hair’. Read more