Monday, September 3, 2012

Three Simple Strategies for Effective Small Business Marketing

Three Simple Strategies for Effective Small Business Marketing
One of the big mistakes many business make when it comes to marketing is to think there is some big secret to effective marketing, and that once you discover it, the profits will flow. The fact is that there is no one secret to marketing, and it's really just a case of looking at it as a process. This is true of any type of business, and that includes small business with a small marketing budget. The more you market yourself, the more likely your marketing will be successful.
Just doing this will put you ahead of your competition, because most of them will put effort into marketing only when they realise the order books are empty, or that the phone isn't ringing as much as it use to. As soon as you understand you need to have a continuous marketing effort to have any real effects, you'll free yourself from the idea marketing is a one-off thing, and your profits will improve as your marketing gets into swing.
But you do need a process, and here are three ways to get that process moving.
Outline your marketing strategy. Don't just start to do stuff without thinking. The best thing you can do is have a written plan which sets out what you need to do every day, every week and every month. Some things should be done every day - perhaps mailing your email list with helpful tips - and some things may need to be done just once every few months. This can include direct mail campaigns and newspaper advertising. When you have a plan, it's much easier to keep your marketing under control.
Make sure you test. As you put your plan into action, make sure you test everything. That means using direct response marketing techniques, and seeing which types of marketing bring in the best return (the biggest number of sales and revenue) - and then using those as a basis for improvement. As soon as you stop doing stuff which doesn't make money, you instantly begin to make money, simply by cutting your losses. And the more you do of the stuff that does make money, the more money you make. Simple, but very effective.
Keep moving. Don't forget the first rule that marketing is a process. Keep on marketing, and constantly watch your returns. It can be a year or so before you get enough useful information to make a decision about what kind of marketing works best for you, but that information is pure gold in terms of improving your return on investment and bringing in more revenue.
Most business won't even do one of these three steps, and if you do all three you'll be well ahead of almost every other business out there. You don't need to spend a lot of time on this, and once you have some information about what works, the process simply becomes one of repeating what brings in the customers and the sales. In short, test, and then do more. Do this, and your business will reap some real rewards in terms of increased sales and profits.
Direct response marketing and lead generation specialist Steve Prescott is the author of Smart Business Power Marketing.
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