Top 7 Ways To Market Your Small Business
By John Kerr
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There are countless ways to market a business, but small businesses have the unique challenge of establishing themselves among both large and small competitors, usually with limited resources. Small businesses can make a lasting impression with current and potential customers by implementing a strategic yet simple marketing plan that includes the following components.
- Positioning: The first and most important step in your marketing campaign is determining what your product or service does and for whom it is best suited. To position your product or service correctly, you will have the greatest chance for success when you:
- Identify your competitors.
- Determine how your competitors are perceived and evaluated.
- Determine your competitors' position.
- Analyze your potential customers' habits, lifestyles and motivations.
- Position your product or service to fill a need that your competitors have not identified or served as well as you can.
- Image: A sharp and consistent image is one of the characteristics separating successful and unsuccessful companies. By creating a favorable emotional response in your clients' or customers' minds, your image can lend credibility, set you apart from others and give your company a polished, professional look.
- Targeting: Targeting your market and understanding your potential customers is one of the most important aspects of keeping your business alive. Defining your audience is the first step, but you must also determine the best communication strategies to reach your audience. Focus on getting to know your customers and tailoring your messages to fit their needs and interests.
- Promotions: The foundation of a powerful promotion lies in understanding what your customers want. A proven promotions tactic is promising and delivering something beneficial to your customers, such as a gift, savings, useful information or any other advantage that fits the image and style of your company. To increase the impact of your promotions even further, don't forget to consider what your competition is doing, the timeliness of your offer and the image you've created for your company.
- Frequency: Marketing experts believe that to be effective, your message needs to be seen at least three times. The first exposure tells prospective customers who you are and what you're offering; the second exposure lets them analyze the benefits of your product or service; and the third message becomes a reminder to call, to order or to visit your business.
- Communication: The greatest challenge for most companies is not whether to communicate, but determining what to say and how to say it. In any written communication, begin with a strong statement to focus your readers' attention. Keep your message clear and straightforward. Most importantly, emphasize how your product or service can help solve your customers' problems or improve their lives.
- Service: When asked the most important characteristics of quality service, customers consistently list reliability, courtesy and promptness. Never overlook an opportunity to let your customers know you appreciate them. High quality customer service is one of the most cost effective ways to retain regular customers and attract new ones.
John Kerr, managing director for PaperDirect, has more than 16 years of management experience. He is responsible for strategic direction and implementation of all programs within PaperDirect. www.paperdirect.com
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Article Submitted On: October 06, 2000