Edited by Wb4dwd, Teresa, Sedition, BR and 9 others
Most small businesses are formed by people who are very good at what they do. However, this is only half of the equation that produces success for a small business. Understanding business is the other half. Marketing is the most important business aspect of any small company. Too many small businesses think they will prosper on nothing more than word of mouth.
Understand what you do. What makes your business special? What is unique, different, important? Be able to clearly answer the question, “Why should I choose to turn my money over to your business when there are so many other choices.” Remember that business is all about serving others. They are the only ones who will put money in your bank account. The more a business is about serving others and the less it is about you and your needs the better it will work.
Understand your customer. Customers are the focal point of your business. Who are they? What motivates them? Are they rich or poor? Educated or not? Where are they? Create a mental image of a customer you would like to serve and use this image when you are creating marketing campaigns. Make sure that you direct you message to this customer and not to some general population. Really try to connect with people.
Attract new customers. There are many ways to do this. Depending on who your customer is, some methods will work better than others. Once you understand who your customer is you will better be able to identify where he is to be found. The better you can focus and direct your marketing efforts to those people most likely to actually pay for what you do the better it will work. Some different media that may be useful to you:
- Direct Mail
- Newspaper and Magazine
- Yellow Pages
- Signs and Billboards
- Pay Per Click
- Vehicle Wrap
Get more customers. Once you have a few customers that like what you have to offer, enlist them to help you. This is known as acquiring customers by referral. Most happy customers will gladly tell others about you, but most of the time they will not think about it unless you give them a reason or incentive. If you find ways to reward or recognize your customers for sending you new customers, they will do so more frequently and with greater zeal.
- Give them a reward for each referral.
- Praise or otherwise recognize their help.
- Provide incentives for them to continue referring others.
Keep your customers. A customer is like a prized possession. Do not forget about your customers. Everyone loves attention and has a need to know that others care about them. There are many ways to keep in touch with your customers.
- Mail A Newsletter
- Fax A Brochure
- Use email to communicate
- Use the telephone
- Remember their birthday
- Send them holiday cards (especially offbeat holidays like Thanksgiving)
Do proper follow-up using auto-responders
Free recorded messages are a great way to educate and keep in touch with your customers