You have a product. You provide a service. And you are proud of what you do. So, now you’re feeling like it’s time to get some attention in order attract more clients. What’s a small business brand to do?
There’s a litany of traditional marketing choices including
- an ad in the local newspaper,
- a commercial on the local television channel,
- a 30 second spot on the radio, or
- a billboard leading commuters to your front door.
Well, before you make a high dollar and potentially ineffective marketing decision, you may need to take a strategy break. The first step to all effective marketing is the plan. You need to know a few things upfront before you put your money on the table, starting with who’s listening.
Do your clients read that paper, listen to that station, watch that channel or ride on that street? If they don’t, then put your money where your people are.
Are your clients online? Facebook fanatics? Twitter happy? Loving LinkedIn? Falling in like with Google+? You need to understand how they use the web. With 50% of the cellphone population carrying smartphones (Visual.ly), they have the internet in their pocket — as Apple puts it. If your clients are smartphone users, then you definitely need a cellphone friendly website, and possibly an app, depending on several other details.
There is no quick fix to your marketing — but it is fixable. You just need a plan that you’re willing to work. And some will need to redefine what they think smart marketing is. Advertising, for example, is not the only way to get attention. Sometimes publicity — journalists telling your story because it makes great news — can go a long way. Making that kind of shift requires you to put your money into writing press releases and building relationships, instead of buying ads.
At the end of the day your marketing strategy needs to suit your style, or you won’t get it done. It also needs to reach your target audience, or you’re wasting time. As you rev up your marketing strategy, consider the following resources and ways of thinking.
1) Business Networking
It’s time to build real-life, off-line relationships. And it’s time to do it better than you’ve ever done it. For more on this consider Dr. Ivan Misner’s Business Networking resources.
2) Internet Marketing
It’s not enough to just throw up a website. You need a presence. To do that you have to build a relationship online. For more on this check out Internet Marketing for Smart People by Brian Clark.
3) Message Design
Before you spend another dime on marketing, you have to get clear about who you’re talking to, what you want to say and what your audience needs to hear from you. For more on this strategy check out my free tools on Message Design and Website Marketing.
When it comes to marketing you have options. So do a little research and planning — and then, choose wisely.