Marketing - again? Harping away at the concept is just not enough for some people. Change is big, scary and time consuming. What small business owner has the time or energy for that?
This could not be farther from the truth. Marketing is just code for good business techniques. In fact, under closer inspection, many small business operators are probably marketing without even knowing it.
The foundations of marketing are simple- so just keep it that way!
Start by showing up. Presence at trade shows, training seminars, community events and even that chatty neighbours barbeque can spin into business.
Prospecting can happen in the most unexpected places. Don't underestimate the power of a good old-fashioned handshake or the value of putting a face to a name.
Personalise whenever and wherever you can. Thank you cards virtually cost nothing and can be slipped in with invoices, contracts and other correspondence.
Business cards are like the autopilot of marketing strategies.
Make sure they contain current info and avoid looking outdated or dull. Consider an element of whimsy or fun, in order to stand out IF that's consistent with your brand.
It is more common these days to have an email address than a home phone number, which is convenient for small business owners.
Start gathering an email list by asking clients to submit for contests, subscriptions or offer alerts. Be choosy and value your client's trust – never spam them with junk.
Many small business owners are innately experts in something- it is usually what led them out on the entrepreneurial limb. Delve into your expertise and share it.
Articles, online or in print, attract customers who may be seeking similar information. An article on how to reupholster an armchair may direct clients in to a fabric store. Catch the drift?
Being simple does not mean being stupid. A quick rundown of the most common marketing mistakes to be avoided:
- Having all of your eggs in one basket. Mixing media channels is a marketing must.
- Being a Do-It-Yourself marketer. Always consider professional advice.
- Going with your 'gut'. Business is a science and must be treated accordingly.
- Doing what the competition is doing. Standing out requires originality.
- Thinking you 'exposed enough'. It is never enough!
Foundations of simplicity are what support a successful business in the long run. See, pretty simple right?