Marketing Activities

First of all at the risk repeating myself (again!) whatever marketing activities you undertake you need to do them regularly and repetitively.

You also need to give your potential customers lots of different ways to find out about you.

Detailed below is a list of marketing activities that can help local businesses. (This is not meant to be exhaustive – there are always more ideas and new ways to develop your business.)

…and remember the idea is not just to leap in and start doing a multitude of different things. You need to follow on from reviewing your business, thinking about what you want to say and to whom and then implement a range of marketing activities that will help you achieve this.

Disclaimer!

In case anyone doesn’t know I should say that my “proper” business is local magazine advertising but I always try to offer objective advice. I have built The Magazine Connection and Coffee and Connect over the last nine years through a range of different marketing tactics and the comments below are based on my real life experience.

Contact List
This is the lifeblood of your business so before you start anything new in the way of marketing get organised and set up a system for managing your contacts – customers (past and present), prospects, people who are interested in what you have to say, networking contacts etc (but ask permission if you want to e-mail them). This information needs to be managed correctly – you might start with a spreadsheet but there are some great online CRM packages out there with reasonable monthly fees. I use Capsule (and no I am not an “affiliate” or on commission) I mention it because it is great.

Newsletters – of the e-mail variety
Once you have your list organised start using it by sending out regular newsletters – just like this Coffee and Connect e-mail. Providing people with useful/interesting content enhances your credibility and they will read it and start to remember you.

Newsletter – of the posted letter variety
But remember, not everyone is permanently switched on to the electronic world 24/7! So why not try writing to people as well – yes it takes time but you will stand out by being different.

Local Magazine Advertising
Advertising in local magazines gives you the chance to tell local readers – your potential customers – about your business on a regular and repetitive basis. Time and again readers tell me they read their magazine, they keep it and they use it to find local businesses.

Mailshots
Yes mailings can still work but you need to get your message right, target the correct people and most importantly follow up – perhaps with a phone call.

Telemarketing
No I don’t mean phoning up lots of random people and hoping one of them will buy from you. Do your research and if you think you can help someone phone them up, introduce yourself and explain briefly how you can help their business. (This is how I got my fab magazine designer – Phil cold called me!)

Pull Up Banners
Great for catching the eye at exhibitions but remember to keep your visual branding consistent i.e. so that your business cards, adverts, banners, etc are all obviously from you.

Websites
Potential customers will often check you out via your website before they make contact so your website needs to look professional and appropriate for the industry you operate in. Content should be regularly updated – make sure you can do this yourself. If you want to be found via Google then you need to get your SEO right.

Leaflets / Postcards
A multitude of uses – to give out at networking meetings, exhibitions and distribute door to door (by the way I can do this for you along with my magazines). Leaflets are especially good for promoting a special offer or event.

Twitter / Facebook / Linked In
Take time to understand each of these different forms of social media and who uses what – are they your potential customers? Remember; using social media for business is different to personal use and you also need to make regular contributions. Personally I like Twitter and have used it to build awareness of Coffee and Connect.

Blogs
Blogging is a great way to demonstrate knowledge and expertise but again you need to blog regularly – as with all things online, time gaps are very obvious!

Sign Written Cars, A Boards, Postcards on Notice Boards/Newsagents Windows, Personalised Clothing etc
As I mentioned at the beginning I am talking about local businesses and there is still very much a place for all these more traditional ways of getting your name out to the local community. They just give local people even more opportunities to see your name …and start to remember you.

Give-Aways
Who doesn’t love a give-away – my personal favourites are notepads to keep by the phone!

Business Networking
A great way to let people know about your business and to build up your own network of contacts who know you and understand your business.

Finally though as I always say, the most important aspect of any plan is implementation, so sit down, organise your plan and make it happen!

 

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