A Marketing Pro’s Secret to Long-term Business Success

On this episode of Proposify Biz Chat, I’m joined by Mark Fortune, a former corporate vice president who started his own business four years ago. As a 20 year veteran of sales/marketing operations and leadership at companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500’s, he now helps small businesses with their lead generation and marketing. He’s an author, a Duct Tape Marketing consultant, and is the president and owner of Fortune Marketing Inc. I’m talking with him today about setting your business up for long-term success.


What it’s about

Businesses that have long-term success are the ones that have planned for it. Whether you’ve just started your own business, or are starting to scale, Mark breaks down some key strategies he uses to help clients market their businesses.

In this interview, Mark talks about why you need to think strategy before tactics, how to create a referral system that delivers leads more consistently, and the importance of customer personas.


Strategy before tactics

Businesses can sometimes get caught up in tactics when they really need to back up and decide whythey need that tactic; what is the goal behind it?

To create tactics that work for your company, you need to know the strategy behind them first. Always think strategy before tactics.

An example of a strategy might be to target more customers to bring them into your pipeline. Think of the strategy like a goal. Once you have a goal in mind, you need to break down all the pieces of the proverbial puzzle to make that goal happen. These are your tactics.

Build a system over time to guarantee consistent results. If you plan things out, you’ll have a lot more time to do other things for your business.

Create a system for lead referrals

Referrals can be a source of some of your best leads, but most people see them as happy accidents since they don’t know when or where they’re coming from. Because the ‘when’ and ‘where’ are unknown, it’s not a consistent, reliant way to gain new business.

Since word-of-mouth is often the best lead source for most small business owners, capitalize on it by creating a system that asks for referrals or generates leads. Referral-based marketing can be anything from a lead-magnet to a reward system for clients who refer new business to you.

This can help you identify who’s sending new customers your way so you can build a relationship with them. Set aside a few hours each week to check in with partners who have made referrals to see how things are going for them.

While this is more like reputation management, good reputation is good business. Staying in touch with referrers will encourage more new business your way.

Find your ideal client

It’s critical to any business to understand who it is you’re trying to serve. If you don’t, you’ll end up chasing every piece of business that has a cheque.

It’s not just about understanding your customers, either. You need to understand who your idealcustomer is, and the differences they see in your product or service compared to your competition. If potential customers think that the only difference is price and not in the value you bring to your niche, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

To find your ideal client, talk to your customers. Do a phone interview, learn what it is they like about your product or service, and the value you bring them. This information can help you understand where you stand competitively in the industry and be the foundation for creating customer personas.

"You can’t be everything to everybody, so set some targets, and go after that."

Don’t be afraid to turn down customers

Handing out discounts at the drop of a hat can be a slippery slope, and doesn’t create consistency for your clients. If you’re offering your most valuable and popular product at a discounted rate all the time, you’re setting yourself up for churn.

To generate longer lifetime value and lower your churn rate, consider creating a 14, 30, or 90 day trial of your product; enough that you can bring customers into your pipeline and give them a sense of how your product will work for them before they purchase it in full.

If a customer isn’t willing to commit to your product without a discount, have the guts to tell them you don’t need their business.

“Your knees will knock the first time you turn a customer down on the basis of price, but sometimes you have to tell them you don’t need their business because not all customers are profitable.” — Mark Fortune

Show notes

Local Lead Generation book

Duct Tape Marketing

Paul Roetzer Point Pricing

Biz Chat guest Mark Fortune quote "your knees will knock the first time you turn down a customer based on price"

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