Do you need to get more clients? Are you trying
to get your first client? Is your marketing
budget equivalent to the cost of a Happy Meal?
The following tips and techniques are not by any
means hidden secrets, but they are some of the
most overlooked ways to market a small business
1. Know your target audience.
As silly as it sounds, many small business
owners kick off a marketing campaign without
regard to whom they want to target. If you
send out a coupon for NASCAR tickets to the
first 1,000 people in the phone book, some will
undoubtedly be thrilled and will do what’s
necessary to earn the tickets (akin to dropping
1,000 mailers from an airplane — some
will hit the target). But just imagine the
response rate if you sent out the same 1,000
NASCAR ticket coupons to only those people who
attended a NASCAR event in the last year.
You’ve gone from wildly shooting to steadily
aiming your campaign, thus increasing your
response rate and decreasing your cost per
2. Publish an e-zine (or newsletter).
Publishing an e-zine or print newsletter (even as
short as a page) is a great way to keep in touch
with your customers and clients. You can
produce one online using a program such as
Constant Contact for little to no money and can even
set your e-zines up in advance using
3. Have a website and keep it updated.
All businesses, no matter your size or field, need
a website these days. You can get a domain
name for as little as $2.95/year and, using
templates, have a basic design done in a few
hours. Once your customers, clients, and
potential customers and clients have visited your
website, they will find fresh, quality content in
the form of new e-zines, articles, blog posts and
tips. This will keep them, and the search engine
spiders, coming back for more.
4. Opportunity is calling.
While not usually viewed as a marketing
technique, answering the phone and follow-up is
critical in this day and age of limited valuable
time and impersonal service. Have you ever
called someone only to not get a call-back or
sent an email and waited days for a response?
More clients and prospects become lost revenue
these days due to inadequate, or non-existent
follow-up. If you receive a phone call from a
prospective client or from an existing client, call
him back as soon as possible or, better yet,
5. Get involved online.
Find out where your target audience hangs out
and participate in those online discussion groups
and forums. Yahoo
Groups is a great place to find a wide
variety of discussion groups. Several business
owners also belong to Ryze — an online networking forum. By
consistently offering your help to
others, you will position yourself as an expert
that others will turn to when the time is right for
6. Get involved offline.
Getting involved with local organizations can
help to build your reputation as a “doer”, a “go
getter” or just a really dependable individual (all
things which will help your business). Just
remember that you are representing your
business in everything you do and act
7. Word of Mouth/Referrals.
We’ve all heard the saying that a happy
customer tells somewhere between 1 and 3
people about her experience while an unhappy
customer tells up to 12
people about hers. Keep your customers happy,
ask for feedback as to what you could do better,
and once you know they’re happy, then
ask for a referral. People generally are
willing to help those they
8. Use postcards.
Whether you are an online-only business, a brick
& mortar establishment or a hybrid, you can
effectively use postcards to market your
business. Postcards are easy to do, inexpensive
to mail and have a high readership. Many
people associate postcards with personal notes
from friends and family and don’t even think
before they turn it over to read the message.
With this method, you have already gotten into
the hands of many people that wouldn’t take the
time to open junk mail.
9. Have others do it for you or with you.
Never underestimate the power of cooperation
and reciprocal agreements. Is there a vendor
that has a related, but not directly competitive,
target audience to yours? If so, form a strategic
alliance where you recommend his
products/services and he recommends yours. For
example, a movie theater and a restaurant could
share customer information and play off each
other for promotions.
While many of the above tips and techniques
will arouse the “DUH” response, it’s constantly
surprising to me how many businesses – small
and large – overlook these basic items in their
day-to-day marketing and operations.
Sandra P. Martini, the
Automatic Business Coach ™, is creator of the “9 Simple Steps to Creating an
Automatic Business” system. To learn
more about this step-by-step program for small business success, and to receive
her FREE “5 Simple Steps to Putting Your Marketing on Autopilot” e-course/audio
mini-series and how-to articles and teleseminars, please visit www.SandraMartini.com