Below are some helpful Marketing and Promotional tips to assist your business, cement existing relationships and get you thinking about how to improve your bottom line!
1. Never let a day go by without engaging in at least one marketing activity. Block out at least half an hour a day – usually in the morning before your workload takes over, and try to stick to this diligently. It will make all the difference!
2. Set yourself a Marketing Plan for the year and refer to it weekly. Have it in eye-shot at all times, not tucked away in a drawer where you can forget about it!
3. Never leave home without your business cards! You never know who you will meet. Ensure they are up to date, you utilise the back and front of the card and have a full range of services on the card. Consider that if you are meeting a stranger for the first time and you leave your card with them… you want them to be able to gauge from the card in a month’s time when they are looking back at it, that they actually know what services you provide!
4. Identify your company’s image and set about to improve it if required. Ensure it reflects what you stand for and how you want to be represented in the marketplace. This extends to all business stationery, website, social media, e-newsletter, blog and any other promotional material. Ensure that all of your promotional material includes your website address, social media links and phone number.
5. Is your website up to date and easy to navigate? Does it have old information on it that isn’t relevant anymore, or even worse, so out of date that it’s obvious that no-one has updated it in a long time? Does it inform the viewer with rich content and interesting articles relevant to your industry?
A business’ website is arguably going to be your most important marketing asset. If you haven’t updated your website in the last 3 years then redesigning your website should be paramount in the near future. Technology has changed enormously in the last few years and your potential customers are accessing websites from mobile devices, tablets and iPads, so it is very important that your website is responsive to all devices and looks good when viewed from any electronic device.
6. Get your website linked! When you have quality websites linking back to you, it not only increases the organic traffic to your site, it greatly improves your chances of moving up the rankings of search engines.
7. If it is relevant to your business, get involved in Social Media to some degree. It may not be your passion but it is a very relevant way to do business with most people these days. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linked in… these are all growing areas of relationship building with your potential clients. It is not the place to do the hard sell, but creates the framework which to build confidence in your services or product, and is a small piece of the pie that is your brand.
There are around 600 million Facebook users in the world, of which spend over 700 billion minutes per month on the site. Twitter alone has over 145 million users globally, and YouTube claim over 2 billion videos are watched daily on their site. Ensure that you put social media Icons on your website, your blog, e-newsletter and email signature. The most common places to place them include the header / menu bar, sidebar, and footer. You can also incorporate ‘share this’ icons on your website to link images back to Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook.
8. Never, ever spam people with annoying marketing emails. It paints your business in a bad light and it is unethical and illegal. Your on-line advertising must be invited by the recipient. One way to generate a database of willing recipients is to include a check box on your website where the visitor gives you permission to email updates about products and services. Just collecting business cards at a networking event and then bombarding them with emails does not constitute permission to make contact. Spam emailing is never good for your corporate image.
9. Know what makes you different from your competition. What makes your services or products unique and does your company literature reflect this? You must also get to know your competition and what they are doing. Read trade publications, newspapers and research your competition’s websites to stay current.
10. Ask your clients why they have hired your business, or buy your products. Run a short survey and analyse the data. It may surprise you! And have the courage to ask former clients why they no longer do business with you. The information could be very valuable.
11. Does your company have a mission statement? Is it still relevant and visible, and do your staff reflect your business’ vision? It’s very hard for staff to live and breathe your brand if they don’t know what you are all about!
12. What is your a potential client’s first impression of you from your office premises, your reception area and your board room? If it looks tired and cluttered, clean it up and paint it NOW! Proudly display your products and move the clutter out. You have to look like you care because first impressions always count. Also address your signage, are you easy to find? Help your potential clients find you.
13. Identify a new market that your sales team may not have canvassed. Become an expert in this field and open up to a whole new niche market. You can do this by participating on online blogs, create your own blog or e-newsletter, write and e-book and promote it, or start providing webinars and seminarson the subject, to position yourself as the go-to person in that field.
14. Inspire your staff to refer business leads to you, or present their own promotional ideas. Make them feel part of the team, encourage them to share and praise them for their efforts. You don’t know what great business leads this could create and if appropriate, introduce a profit share system to really encourage your team to share their extended networks.
15. Thank your existing clients for their business. A hand written thank you note can go a long way in continuing loyalty and customer relations, and is far more personal than a quick email. Create a loyalty program to thank them with a gift or financial gain – you would have to do some market research on this to make it appropriate to your market, but could be a very valuable source of gaining more referrals quickly.
16. Publish a printed newsletter or create a regular e-newsletter for customers and new prospects, highlighting the great work your business conducts. A well written and thought out newsletter is a good way to remain at the forefront of your client’s mind.
17. Celebrate holidays, for instance Christmas time is a great time to create a corporate calendar, Christmas card or other great customised gift to further promote your business. Be original though, if everybody in your industry is using Christmas time to promote their business, create an original Easter or Halloween campaign. Stand out, be different.
18. Excite your clients with a special promotion, discount offer or competition in a clever direct mail campaign to your data base. You could even win back some old business! Consider buying a mailing list to send out your direct mail piece.
19. Get some FREE advertising, the best type! Update your press release kit and find an interesting angle, write an article for a trade magazine, the local newspaper, or your favourite blogger, and send it out.
20. Attend networking meetings, industry seminars, trade shows, and even school fund-raising nights. A casually exchanged business card followed up by a phone call the next day can lead to all kinds of business possibilities.
21. Align yourself with a charity or local not for profit organisation such as a school, and work together to host a special event or fund raiser for them. Capitalise on the publicity, the good will and extended networking possibilities while helping others.
22. Do you track your advertising? Analyse your current press ads and look at what is working and don’t repeat mistakes. Why did it succeed or fail? Was it a poorly designed ad? Was it a bad position? Did it reach your target market and was there a call to action?
23. Invest in a memorable phone number, and if you do a lot of interstate selling, obtain a 1800 or 1300 number. It takes the “small time business” out of the equation and puts you on a national and even international playing field.
24. Invest in some fantastic signage for your car and your sales team’s cars. They can be the best source of advertising and are great moving billboards for your business.
25. Obtain a stand at a Trade Show attended by your target market and put together a dynamic presentation that can be re-used. We can create the highly original, exciting and high impact signage for trade shows. Utilise the opportunity and obtain as many contact details as you can by conducting a competition with a great prize.
26. Analyse your website statistics and google analytics regularly. Know where your website leads are coming from and what is a good investment in website marketing.
27. Start every day with two cold calls from either business referrals or entrants in competitions from Trade Show events.
28. Hire a professional when a specialist job is required. Your time working on your own business is far too valuable to absorb your time on tasks that others are better at. Set your budget early so there are never any nasty surprises when you receive your invoice.
29. Do not ever sell, lend or swap your contact’s business details. Don’t even be tempted! This is classified information and has been entrusted to you. Make this clear to all who visit your website or subscribe to your newsletter.
30. Most importantly, don’t forget the very basis of business and providing a good or service. Provide excellent service, on time, on budget and with a smile. It is essential in this day and age where our customer’s are far more brand-savvy and demand consistency across every interaction with a business. What hasn’t changed is how successful this simple formula never fails to keep business returning every time!