Simple Marketing tips and ideas
It only takes one good marketing idea, well implemented, to launch you to greater heights.
You don’t need to invest loads of money on marketing. Having the imagination to do something different from the norm, identifying and focusing on your target audience and sticking to a plan makes all the difference.
Here are some guidelines, tips and tools to get you started.
Get the basics right. Don’t jump straight in without getting the basics right first. Get the basic know-how, plan your marketing strategy, understand your target market and polish up your product.
Build a marketing plan and stick to it. Building a marketing plan specific to your business, sticking to it and applying the time and resources it needs is the common secret to success.
Put your customers first. Understand who they are, what they really want and value and what makes them tick.
Know your target market. You cannot be everything to everybody, so to create quality enquiries and get prospects to open their wallet, focus your marketing activities at the people who need and want your service or product.
Focus on short to medium term impact. Big businesses market to create name recognition and future sales. A small business can't afford to do that. Instead, design your marketing to produce sales... now. Advertising and Marketing are two different things. As a rule, only advertise if it’s targeted and you can do it frequently. Frequent marketing activity like speaking, writing, sampling, networking and email marketing may be more effective.
Set goals and targets. Marketing efforts that don’t bring in new business have no point. Know what your marketing goals are in terms of revenue, expenses, profit, number of enquiries and the all-important number of new-sales. Learn what works and what doesn’t against these targets.
Some marketing ideas
Start with your existing customers. They already know and trust you, and it is easier to get business from them than from people that have never dealt with you. Create some exclusive deals for them, announce new products and services to them first.
Actively ask your clients to refer you. Make them your agents by creating incentives for them to spread the word about you. Use testimonials- they are one of the most powerful marketing tools
Focus on relationship-building marketing strategies such as networking, building alliances with other businesses, and calling friends and people you once worked with. You’ll be surprised how many you have and their willingness to open doors for you.
Joint promotions. Work with non-competing businesses that share similar target customers. Publicise their products or services to your customers if they promote your services to their customers. Cross-promotion can be a low cost but effective approach to generating sales.
Sharpen your own online marketing skills. Learn to write blogs and how to market yourself on the social media sites.
Promote your business. Use free online directories and publish your articles on other websites with links to your site.
Engage with your community. Now more than ever, consumers are making decisions based on doing business with companies and brands that show a genuine involvement in supporting our communities and our world. Build your business into the fabric of the community in which you operate. Provide free services to a charity or fundraising event to give your brand more exposure to other stakeholders and any audience involved at the event.
Journalists love a good story, think through ways you can craft a story around yourself and/or your business. Why you started your business, any social or environmental trends that are relevant – and share it with journalists.
Some tools you’ll need
This is much more than a logo. Be clear on what your business stands for. What your promise is, the purpose of your business, the values that are represented. It represents the personality of your business and includes everything that people see, think, hear and feel about you. You’ll do yourself a favour by investing early in creating a brand identity that stands out, and that customers appreciate and can relate to.
Impactful marketing material.
Business cards, brochures, fliers, website, signage, uniforms and even your email signature speak volumes about your business, so make sure all marketing material is consistent with your brand image, professional and appealing.
It does not need to be complicated, but if you don’t embrace it, you might lose out. Keep it simple and impactful. Attract attention, keeping the look and feel consistent with your brand, and give value to those who use it. Drive immediate output through “call to action” buttons that encourage users to contact you, take up an offer, or download a product brochure or similar.
You want to communicate with your target market, so create and manage a database of past, existing and prospects. Ensure you capture this information from all your sources, including your website.