Market Like You Mean It: Top Tips

Posted on June 17, 2010

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  • The time to market your business is now. Don’t get too comfortable. Ignoring marketing until it is crunch time is a critical error. Continue to evaluate your position and aim for the next level. The best time to market is when things are good so that you don’t experience a lull and require emergency attention.
  • Talk to your customers as much as possible. Think about the successful businesses you frequent. How do they reach their customers? How can you emulate them? Send regular informative emails or newsletters. Offer services that make you stand out from the competition.
  • Survey your customers. This can be as simple as informally asking your existing customers what was best and worst about your service. Don’t shy away from bad news. This may provide surprising insights. Negative feedback is simply an opportunity for growth.
  • Always think in terms of customer benefits. How can you make their lives better?
  • Keep an eye on market trends. For example, customer expectations are escalating. This means customer service—and publicizing excellent customer service—is crucial. We are also a wired generation and we live in a 24-7-365 culture. Customers continue to expect more and you can market conveniences to tap into this desire.
  • Don’t worry about being perfect. Perfection may prevent you from sending that press release or making a speech to a local organization. Instead do your best. Your goal is to move forward. Learn from your mistakes and use them to grow your business.
  • Avoid reducing marketing budgets when times are tough. This is your key connection to your customer. Your programs need not be expensive. Review what you can do in-house or at low cost.
  • Don’t ignore public relations. An effective public relations campaign can dramatically increase your exposure with little relative cost. Just think about how much a full-page ad would cost as opposed to a full-page article. External validation also lends credibility. It is always better to have an impartial source saying good things about you.
  • Be careful not to focus on one area to the exclusion of all others. Good marketing is balanced marketing. Use all the tools you have on hand: public relations, promotions, advertising (print, online), direct mail, websites, email, etc.
  • Don’t try to do everything on your own. Growth requires the ability to delegate. Take time out to envision your firm’s controlled growth. Hire before you are overwhelmed. Consider contracting out to other experts (accounting, public relations, etc.) when it makes sense.