You do have a marketing plan don’t you? Every business owner should have a business plan that includes a decent marketing plan, yet many don’t. Unfortunately that causes people to waste time on things that don’t work or people that can’t help them. I have five steps that should be part of everyones marketing program and these steps can even be broken down more if needed. They are not in any particular order as the branding step should be the first step.
First is cold calling or outreach, now I know what your doing no one likes cold calling so use outreach. Outreach means calling a new new business to see if they need your services, mailing out a piece that will grab their attention on your services etc. You may do this more when starting out than you would when established but it is important to do it. Just do it tactfully so you don’t come across like a telemarketing company, unless you are a telemarketing company.
Networking is probably the best part of the marketing plan but make sure the places you spend your time are worth your time. I see people at networking groups that that shouldn’t even be in the group, their target market isn’t even present. You’re not doing yourself any good in that area.
Your online presence is critical both for social media and for your website. Make sure your website is working to do what you want it to do and that you have a presence on the main social media platforms. Online is how people are searching for businesses to day and if you don’t have a website you are missing lots of business.
Existing clients and referrals are crucial to the longevity of any business, make sure you treat your existing clients like gold. Asking for referrals or giving discounts for referrals are a great way to get additional business from satisfied clients.
The last but not least is branding your business. You need to have quality materials for your business cards, a decent logo that establishes your business. Make sure everything matches so that people start to recognize your business online and offline.
Marketing is an ongoing program that constantly needs to be tweaked and tuned to be effective. The place to start however is to get the plan down, know who your target market is and the best way to reach them.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a business and leadership consultant. He specializes in business plans and marketing solutions for businesses specializing in transportation and the arts. For more information visit his website at www.outridge.ca