I ran across this article today that everyone who owns a small business should read. It’s by Barbara Findlay Schenck who wrote “Small Business Marketing for Dummies” and it has a lot of good advice for anyone thinking about promoting their small business.
She offers some specific ideas that make a lot of sense. I’ll cover a few here with my comments.
1. Have a goal.
Know what you want to accomplish before you start planning your marketing. You need to know where you’re going if you want to have any hope of getting there!
2. Know who you’re marketing to.
Identify who you want to reach so you can use appropriate media to reach them. I would add that you should keep each marketing message simple and directed toward one group. Too many people try to use one small ad to reach different groups. They end up diluting their message and exposure so much that it becomes ineffective.
3. Fix your business before you start promoting it.
If you have any problems wth your product or service, quality, delivery, etc, do not begin any new marketing. Good marketing will only hasten the demise of a bad business. It’s like a grocer spending a lot of money to sell rotten apples. What’s the point?
4. Offer bonuses or freebies to help customers remember you.
If your business sells a low cost high volume product or service (like a drycleaner, restaurant, etc) give your customers a little extra to remember you. In the article mentioned above she tells about a drycleaner who gives people a free cup of coffee when they drop off their clothes. People love it and they probably tell their friends so the free word of mouth advertising more than pays for the coffee.
5. Thank you notes may be old fashioned but they are still appreciated.
It’s so rare these days to get a thank you note yet it really takes very little time. I have to believe every one you send makes an impact. Try it for a month or two and see what happens. If nothing else, remember, you’re adding a little sunshine to someone’s day.
There are more good ideas in the article. Take a look and then pick a couple to implement this week. Let me know how it works for you!