Thursday, 23 December 2010

Top Tips to Try Before Hiring a Marketing Agency

If you have a small business that is just getting started, there are a few things you can do before you retain the services of a marketing agency to help you in the marketing arena. With a few right moves, you can get started on a positive note with a basic game plan set in place before turning to a professional firm for additional guidance.

Define your Customer and Communicate Effectively
Don't fall into the new business trap of not knowing who your customers are. It is important to identify your target market through effective due diligence such as market research and the ability to fulfil a particular need that may not be totally taken care of by your competitors. It is important that you find a way to stand out from your competitors such as superior customer service.

Brainstorm on paper to ensure you are projecting the right message to your potential customers. A marketing agency will often have new businesses do a SWOT analysis, evaluating their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threat factors that might impede business operations.

Spell Out Benefits and Features of your Products and Services
It is important that you present the most pleasing features of your products and services. However, it is equally important to support those features by advertising the benefits the customers will reap if they use your products over a competitor's. Why would your products and services be better?

Follow-through is an additional feature of promoting your business. Once you have attracted a potential customer to use your product or service, speak with them about their needs and how you can meet those needs. Even if you cannot close the sale immediately, it is important to follow-through by calling or emailing them. This action shows that you care about them as a customer and illustrates that by going with your company, customer service will be excellent. Follow-ups are the key to sales conversions down the line as well as positive word of mouth to new, potential clients.

Maintain Marketing Momentum
It is important to structure your marketing budget in such a way as to keep your company brand name in the public eye year round. Many new businesses have a huge marketing push only to run out of advertising dollars before year end and then experience stagnant sales. For this reason, internet marketing can be helpful through the use of blogging, banner ads, website-only specials and email marketing to existing customers about special sales.

While you can definitely succeed without the help of a marketing agency, it is important to allocate a portion of your budget to hiring one, even if it is to just check where you are in relation to promotions, advertising and industry placement. Having a marketing professional assess your business and present suggestions for improvement is important to your overall, long-term success.

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