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Did you that every time that every time you drop off a business card, give a promotional pen to a prospective customer, or attend a trade show, you are marketing your business? Yes, it’s best to develop a strategy — a plan of action of what you want to accomplish and how you intend to accomplish it. It’s a lot easier to do than you think. Here are a few ideas that can help you develop your marketing plan.

Have the tools you need. Whether it’s a one-page flyer or a full-color brochure, you should be prepared to hand out, mail or deliver materials that describe your business and the products and services you offer. Good tools include business cards, catalogs, flyers, brochures just to give a few examples.

Give something away to get potential customers. Everybody loves to receive something for free. Motivate people to give you their email address and other contact information with a freebie. The freebie could be your monthly newsletter, a white paper or a promotional item that would be of interest to them. In return for the freebie, ask them to supply their name, email address and phone number so you can add them to your list and market to them in the future — with their permission, of course!

Use the Internet. Having a website is almost as important as having a business card these days. Make sure your site has your contact information and a true representation of the products and services you provide. In addition, list your business on Google Places, free industry websites and business directories. Make sure your listing contains all the key words prospects are likely to search for and recognize.

Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are additional platforms for small business marketing. These sites are a great way to introduce your business to potential and existing customers and start building an ongoing relationship with them.

Use the media. Think local. Find out who your local media contacts are and keep in touch. Become their expert or authoritative source. Write and submit articles related to your industry or the services you provide. Send news releases to the media about new products or services, a new employee or a small event you are participating in or hosting. Local media is always looking for regional stories and events, and what happens in your day-to-day business could be newsworthy.

Don’t neglect old but good methods. Make use of your industry association membership and attend events to gain knowledge and to network. Volunteer to speak at these events or at local business meetings. Also join networking groups in your area. All you need is your business card and a willingness to talk about your business.

Word of mouth is an often overlooked marketing method, but one of the most valuable. If someone is happy with your product or service, ask them to tell others.

Keep in regular contact with existing customers through an email newsletter, letter or visit. This is a great way to let them know what’s going on in your business and will help to keep you at the top of their minds.

Small things, such as responding promptly to emails, answering the phone professionally and following through with your commitments will set you apart from the crowd. Excellent customer service can generate great (and free) word-of-mouth marketing.

The Bottom Line Is This:
You want to get the word out to customers and prospects about your business and your capabilities. Every business uses some form of marketing. MultiGraphic Marketing can help develop effective marketing strategies that fit with the interests of your target customers, you will save time, effort and money attracting and keeping customers in the long run.

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