A year ago I started doing marketing consulting. Now I receive phone calls or e-mails daily asking questions on everything from “Is this a good idea?” to “Can you help me understand this contract” to “Help! I’m stuck. What should I do next?”
My favorite question, however, is “What’s the one thing I should focus my marketing efforts on right now?” I always know it’s going to be a longer phone call when I get that question because there is no “one thing” you should be doing right now to market your business. There are several things. I picked my 9 favorite (in no particular order) as a starting point for you to use.
Are you asking your current clients to refer their friends and family to you? One easy way to do this is to give each client two business cards and explain one is for them to keep and the other is for them to pass on to a friend.
2. Use Newsletters
E-Newsletters are an affordable way to keep in-touch with your clients. Collect e-mail addresses at check-in and at events. Just make sure when you collect the e-mail addresses that there is a statement on the form that by giving you their e-mail address, the person also gives you permission to e-mail them.
3. Knock on Doors
Going Business to Business to tell other people about the services your offer is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to grow awareness about your business. It is also a great way to grow your prospect list for new clients.
4. Get Free Publicity
Your chances of getting a press release published greatly increase when you master two things:
1. Make friends with the editor
The 11 most important words to get any press release published are: “Are you the person I should send this press release to?”
2. Submit lots of press releases.
My goal is to submit at least one press release a month. The key is to ensure the press release is truly a great story idea, not just a promotional pitch for your business.
5. Improve Your On-Line Presence
The majority of websites do it all wrong, and they fail to capture their fair share of people searching the internet daily for the services/products you provide. From optimizing your website to understanding pay per click campaigns and social media, on-line marketing is worth taking the time to understand and do right.
6. Give Back to Local Schools
If you’re like a lot of small businesses, your marketing plan is probably aimed at women . One way to get information into their hands is through the local school system. By volunteering at the school as a speaker or classroom helper, you can often send home information with the students. Schools may also agree to send information home as part of a supply packet for the kids (i.e. pencils, rulers, and a handout).
7. Join or Create Your Own Leads Group
If you offer B2B services, you’ll need a way to find out when new businesses are coming into town, when people change jobs, and perhaps when new construction is happening. One way to do this is by joining or creating a “Leads Group”. The key is to finding the right professionals to team up with for your weekly meetings. My leads group has account executives from radio, television, and newspaper, along with one realtor, one hospice marketer, one staffing agency representative, and various other professionals who join us from time-to-time to share new leads.
8. Send a Hand Written Thank You
Following any meeting with someone where you have spent more than 30 minutes, take the time to send them a hand written thank-you card that is personalized. I can count on one hand the number of hand written thank you cards I have received over the past 5 years from business associates. I’m sure most of the people I have sent those cards to can say the same thing. Hand written thank you notes are an easy way today to stand out from your competition.
9. Be a Joiner
People do business with friends. The more organizations and clubs you are a part of, the more friends you’ll have the opportunity to make. By making yourself known, either through local organizations or just by being an active member of your community, people tend to ask, “What is it that you do?”
Adding to Your Marketing Toolbox
You can’t build a house with only a hammer. To the same degree, you can’t build a successful marketing campaign for your business using only one tool. And just as you can’t use a hammer to successfully turn a screw, you can’t use one marketing tactic to solve everything. Each tool in marketing is designed to perform a certain task. These 9 tools are a great starting point for your marketing plan.