Advertising is totally unnecessary. Unless you plan to make money. But where do you start? This list of little marketing tips is where you begin.
If you’ve finally realized that advertising really does affect you and everyone you know, you’re ready for another truth about it. And here it is: Advertising isn’t just about making money: if you want more interest, if you want more awareness, if you want more funding, you need to advertise — with logos, websites, ads, and brochures.
But there are so many things to think about when you’re considering putting your enterprise “out there”. These tips will help you figure out what needs doing first. And they can give you some solid direction when you approach your committee, your board, or your partner about spending money on communications — wisely.
Little marketing tips #1: Identify your ideal client.
Knowing whom you want to talk to helps you figure out what you need to tell them.
Think like that ideal client.
While you’re imagining whom you want to talk to, think about what would be their problems with what you’re selling? Is it too expensive? Too far to drive? Too new? Think about how you can reduce your potential customer’s risk. A money back guarantee? Free delivery? A free tip sheet?
Determine your core message to tell the ideal client.
What do you really do for people anyway? This can be a differentiator. And communicating to your market how you’re different is vital. Without a differentiator, you’re just another supplier. Without a differentiator, you’re reduced to grubbing with everyone else for the lowest price.
There are all kinds of ways to stand out from the crowd. Have you been in business for 50 years? Do you have a distinctive process that your competitors don’t have? Do you have an amazing guarantee?
Now that you’ve got a differentiator, see if you can build it into your logo.
Get a logo and use it consistently.
Nothing says “amateur” faster than having more than one visual style. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that different visual looks makes you appear more creative — because this isn’t about being creative; it’s about being remembered and respected.
Recognize that it takes time to grow customers.
Right now most of your future customers haven’t even heard of you, so you need to grow people who don’t know about you into people who do know about you.
You then take these prospects, gain their trust, and turn some of them into customers.
You take customers who buy just a bit and turn them into customers who buy more and more.
If you think you’re going to get a bunch of customers with a single ad, and you’ve never advertised before, you’re going to be disappointed. You need to be in this for the long haul.
For goodness’ sake, get a website.
A website isn’t just “nice to have”. A website puts your business on the map, and consequently it makes you a player. It shows you’re serious.
And while you’re online, communicate with people using your website’s email address.
Nothing says you’re a dabbler like a business email ending in “@yahoo.com”. (Unless you are Yahoo.com.) Websites give people another place to check you out, another place for them to move from being unaware of you, to becoming aware, to becoming a prospect, to becoming a customer, to becoming a repeat customer.
The last of the little marketing tips: Commit to promotion with a calendar and a budget.
Start putting aside money on a regular basis to promote your business. Here’s some especially relevant Small Business Administration advice about how much you should be putting aside for marketing. You’ve heard that it takes X dollars to create a new customer? Where do you think the X dollars comes from? It comes from your monthly commitment to put away money to … get customers!