Whatever the size of your business, now is the time to really market yourself. Marketing is so important right now – we are living in a very competitive environment, new products and services are constantly being developed and all businesses need to make sure they are up with, and preferably, ahead of the competition.
Many businesses put marketing barriers up: I don’t have time, customer service comes first, I have family commitments and that’s not what I do! If you have a clear focus that you want to grow your business then you need to make some time to action your plans. Here’s what the most successful businesses do:
1 . Get focus – set targets for growth over the next 12, 24 and 36 months.
2. Appoint a full time or part time marketing person or create some time to do the marketing yourself. It’s not going to happen by itself!
3. Get a marketing plan to meet your growth objectives. Ask yourself:
- What do we need to do to keep our existing customers coming back?
- How do we sell them additional products and/or services?
- How do we get them to buy more often from us?
- How do we get them to refer us new customers?
- What do we need to do to let potential customers know we exist and that we have products/services they may like?
- How do we differentiate ourselves from similar businesses?
- Have we got a database of existing and potential customers? If we have, sending letters, emails and offers becomes a lot easier
4. Write down your plan – then decide how you are going to action it. How are you going to do it? What marketing materials do you need?
5. Gather your marketing materials together:
- Develop a brochure of products / services information
- Keep up to date information on your website
- Consider letters, postcards and emails
6. Adopt a distribution plan. Decide when and how you will let existing and potential customers know you are here and what offers and products /services you have.
7. Manage Feedback – review how effective your marketing activities have been. Be flexible and be prepared to try out different ways of marketing.
In conclusion, if you want to grow your business, invest in your marketing activities. Create time or hire someone to make it happen. Remember: wishful thinking is not an option!