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Marketing Tips

© 2014 Katherine Williams. All rights reserved.

Chicago, Illinois 60615 (773) 405-5916

Eight Small Business Marketing Strategies

It would be great if every small business could attract customers and make sales through word-of-mouth advertising alone.  But, no matter how established or first-rate a business might be, it has to be promoted to secure new customers and retain existing ones. The following strategies can help you successfully promote your business.

  1. Develop a marketing plan.

A marketing plan makes it possible to analyze the internal and external factors that affect your business and your ability to promote it . It also provides the opportunity to clearly define your target market and develop the mix of promotional activities that are most appropriate for your business.

Although there are a number of different ways to structure a marketing plan, common elements include the following: executive summary, mission statement, company analysis, description of target market, competitive analysis, overview of products or services, analysis of the external environment (i.e., economic, social, technological, etc.), marketing campaign goals, marketing budget, and conclusion.

  1. Develop an Internet marketing strategy.

Because of its wide reach, marketing via the Internet can open the door to a steady stream of customers. Creating a web site loaded with keyword rich, high-quality content that is relevant to your target market will attract visitors and motivate them to return.  Giving away free information such as e-books or white papers provides a means for gathering contact information that can be used for direct mail or email campaigns.  

  1. Spend time marketing everyday.

Marketing has to be ongoing.  If you are not putting your business in the presence of your target market on a continuous basis, your competition will woo your customers away from you and corner the market on new customers.

  1. Deliver excellence consistently.

If customers or prospective customers do not believe they are valued, they will go to your competitors.  Offering superior products or services and customer care during every customer interaction will show them just how valued they really are.  Even the rare, relatively minor mistake can drive customers away, especially if your industry is brimming over with competitors.  Furthermore, some customers will dwell on one bad experience and tell others about it.  Therefore, we must be diligent in creating a welcoming, supportive environment for our customers.

  1. Portray a confident image.

Every employee or representative of your business must strive to portray confidence during every encounter with customers or potential customers.  Confidence is about showing genuine interest in customers and listening to their needs.  It requires presenting in-depth knowledge about the product or service and clearly communicating the benefits to the customer.  And it involves effectively addressing customers’ apprehension or concerns.

  1. Develop a brand.

Creating a brand is not just for multi-billion dollar corporations like Disney, Target, and Boeing. Even if your marketing budget is small, you can create a brand that your target market will recognize and respond to.  One of the most important aspects of building a brand is to communicate your business’ value to your target market.  For instance, Target sells goods at discount prices.  But it markets itself as a retailer that satisfies needs, simplifies lives, and provides solutions by offering well-designed products in an easy-to-navigate and pleasant shopping environment.

  1. Develop a referral program.

Receiving referrals via satisfied customers is one of the best ways to acquire new business. It’s free advertising that carries a lot of weight.  But satisfied and loyal customers may not think to tell others about your business.  A well-organized referral program that offers incentives to customers for bringing you new business will motivate them to recommend your business to others.

To be successful, a referral program must offer customers something of real value, be well-publicized, and promptly deliver on its promise.

  1. Engage in public relations.

Engaging in public relations involves building positive relationships with customers and prospective customers.  It is a way for businesses to attract attention and establish strong reputations.  Public relations activities include sending press releases to media, speaking at events, sponsoring community events, and writing articles that provide bylines.  

These are just some of the marketing strategies that can help your small business grow and thrive.  The key is to develop a plan and work on it consistently while giving yourself permission to make mistakes and change what is not working.

Copyright 2009 Katherine Williams. All rights reserved.