Saturday, 12 November 2011

Big Ideas for Small Business Marketing

In the EU, a small business is generally defined as one having fewer than 50 employees. Small businesses offer so much potential for offering a truly personal service to your customers, often at very little extra cost.

Here are some simple ways to improve your small business marketing:

Make Your Customers Feel Special

Good customer service is essential in these ultra-competitive times. Even something as simple as a hand-written ‘thank you’ note tells your customers you appreciate them. Added extras need cost no more than a few pence extra on top of your service costs, but they can add goodwill to the transaction resulting in repeat business and recommendations.

What Does Your Business Card Say About You?

Does it have a high-remembrance ‘must-keep’ factor? Most business cards are tossed away within a day or so of collecting them. What can you do to make yours stand out? What about a business card with a notepad attached? Or a card with a money-off coupon, or a discount off the next order?

Review Your Core Customer Base

It’s almost certainly a fact that 80 per cent of your business will come from 20 per cent of your customer base. But can you weed out those customers who are not making you money? Do you know what your break-even point is? Continuing to service customers who are unprofitable to your business prevents you utilizing your efforts on finding customers who are and will continue to be in the future.

You Do Have A Mailing List Don’t You?

If you have a web presence you should consider producing a newsletter and encourage your customers to sign up. Don’t think you have to produce an eight-page booklet every two weeks – when more than likely, a one or two-page document will suffice. The key is to start small. The most important thing is that you create your newsletter at regular intervals and tell your prospects when they can expect to hear from you.

Position Yourself As An Expert

The Internet provides a wealth of opportunities for business owners to connect with prospects and like-minded people through online forums and groups. For example LinkedIn currently allows you to sign up to a maximum of 50 groups. It’s not unheard of for business consultants to use these introductions for their prime source of income. Think of ways you might be able to assist others without focusing on the payback and you could be pleasantly surprised at where it leads you.

Befriend Local Media

Editorial coverage in your local newspaper or a trade publication is perceived as more credible than paid for advertising or advertorial features. It is said that the best press releases need to be ‘new-sy’ or ‘now-sy’, so if you have a fresh, interesting story to pitch to the media, either compile a press release yourself, or employ a PR expert to do it for you. If you decide to do it yourself, then split your content into paragraphs for readability and make sure your press release is no longer than one side of A4 paper (double-spaced). And make sure you include your contact details so the journalist can follow up.

There are many simple ideas you can utilize to encourage new and repeat business. Small business marketing can be both creative and cost effective and often you can bring an element of truly personal service to your communications and transactions that the ‘big boys’ struggle to do well.

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