Marketing Your Business

Every business will need to advertise, if you don’t tell people you exist, how will they know? A great marketing plan is vital to the success of any business. You will probably have to do a little “trial and error” to determine the best methods of advertising for your particular business. Keep in mind that determining the best marketing methods is a continuous process, what works today may not work tomorrow.

Be sure to allocate the majority of your marketing dollars to the peak season(s) for your industry. However, it is a good idea to market your business all year around. The first part of this article will discuss Conventional Marketing tips and techniques and the second part will discuss Guerilla Marketing tips and techniques.

Conventional Marketing Ideas
Even in today’s Hi-tech world you sometimes need to advertise the old fashioned way. A good marketing budget should allow for a minimum of 5% of gross sales. I have identified some reliable methods to advertise your business the conventional way.

Yellow Pages
Advertising in the yellow pages usually gives you exposure on Yahoo! Yellow Page searches. It is a relatively inexpensive way to market your business.

Direct Mailers
Mailing lists for almost any demographic can be purchased via the internet. Visit info usa, Sales Genie or perform a Google search from my Home Page for “mailing list” to find companies that will sale you a list of potential customers in your area. Mailing lists can be used to send targeted ads directly to your potential customer. Direct mailers can be a little pricey if you hire someone to do the work and tedious if you do it yourself.

A great use of marketing dollars is the inserts distributed by the local newspapers. The sales people in my area are extremely easy to work with and they help you design a professional ad. Most newspapers have a minimum number of inserts (something like 10,000 homes per ad), but the unit cost is relatively low.

Money Mailer
Money Mailer is an agency that sends direct mail to homes containing packets of advertising materials from all sorts of business. The cost to use this method of marketing is relatively inexpensive, but you may get lost in the “shuffle” because there tends to be a lot of marketing material included in these packets.

Sponsor a Team
If your budget will allow, be a good neighbor and sponsor a little league team in your area. This is a great way to introduce yourself to your community while doing something good. Sponsoring a team will allow you to put your business name, address, phone, and / or website on the backs of every participant of that team. Every time they play, their parents, friends, and relatives will get a glimpse of your business in a positive image.

Business Cards
Did you order your business cards? Try VistaPrint, they have reasonable prices and you can order in smaller quantities. Here is their link:

Guerilla Marketing Ideas
The term “Guerilla Marketing” was first Coined by Jay Conrad Levinson and it is defined as unconventional marketing using little or no financial resources. Sometimes it only takes a few dollars to make a great idea go a long way. The following paragraphs will discuss some of the guerrilla marketing techniques that I have tried in the past. If any of them work for you, keep using them until they stop working. If you find ideas that work with minimum impact, tweak the idea until you get maximum impact.

Give Something Away
Everybody likes to win something. Try holding a raffle to give away a free dinner at a local restaurant. This little tactic may be enough to get a customer to try your business instead of the competition’s business. And who knows, you may be able to persuade a local restaurant to give you a free gift card as they will also benefit from the cross promotion. This is something you could try every month or every couple months.

The absolute best method of advertisement is “word of mouth” from your customers. Getting your customers to sing your praises is priceless. Try offering some sort of incentive to customers that refer their friends, relatives and peers to your business. A small gesture on your part could go a long way with your customers.

Thank You Notes
When your business ships goods to customers or invoices, try adding a hand written thank you note telling your customer how much you appreciate their business. Those types of gestures do not go un-noticed!

Press Releases
Create newsworthy press releases and distribute them to your local newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and TV stations. If you are successful in getting just one media outlet to air your press release, you will get free marketing to thousands of perspective customers. Make sure the title is catches the eye and get to the point. Writing about something good that you are doing in the community is always a great idea.

A website is a relatively cheap way to market your business and it allows potential customers to research your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A good website should be easy to navigate. It should also include information about your primary services, your hours of operation, and contact information. It would be a good idea to provide a “Feedback” Page so that visitors of your website can send you comments and questions.

Trade Shows
Trade Shows can be a little expensive, but they are a great way to reach new customers. Be sure to have plenty of marketing materials to distribute. Pens and pencils with you business name, phone, and website are always a big hit at trade shows.

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