A solid marketing effort can cover a lot of ground
Perceived by lots of business people to mean simply promotion and advertising, marketing actually covers everything from company culture and positioning, new business and product development, advertising and promotion, public relations, and arguably all of the sales functions as well. It's the process by which a company decides what it will sell, to whom, when and how, and then does it. Good marketing continually targets new customers while appealing to your repeat clients. Here are some tips to get you started.
Name recognition is a powerful tool
Your name and logo should be on your stationery, business cards, brochures, flyers, postcards, Web site, and newsletters, as well as on any print advertising.
Know your market
Who are you targeting? What do you want to communicate? What does your research reveal about your market? Who are your competitors? Why would a customer prefer your product or service over that of your competitors?
Use the Web
A Web site that is informative and easy to use should motivate people to want to learn more or act. Include testimonials from your clients. Some popular online companies include reviews from their customers.
|I would like to learn more|
Don’t be afraid to reach out! Your entrepreneurial story might be one your local newspaper could tell. If you’re just starting out, think about a press release announcing your new business. If you’re already in business, think about a press release when your company creates a new product, develops a new service or achieves an exciting business goal.
You can also be your own media source with regular updates or an electronic company newsletter sent to your clients. To build loyalty, offer incentives that will prompt action! It could be a coupon offering a discount on your customers’ next visit or purchase. It might be a free initial consultation. The important thing is to motivate them to act.
Reaching customers through advertising
When it comes to advertising, there are lots of options. It is important to first consider who you are trying to reach and why. Then consider which form of advertising most closely fits those needs. Then shop around and determine whether the money spent would be a good return on your investment.
Whatever type of advertising you choose, remember frequency and follow-up are important. People need to see or hear a message many times if it’s going to stick! Then follow up. For instance, if you’ve done direct-mail marketing with promotional incentives, place a personal call to recipients to see if they are interested in learning more.
And, remember, nothing is more basic than good old-fashioned word of mouth! If you consistently provide your clients with good customer service and reliability, you’ll find yourself with a loyal customer who passes the word along.
Interested in learning more? Our Community Partner WESST Corp offers a sales and marketing training program called MARKETLINK, aimed at helping entrepreneurs take their business to the next level.