In business, whether you are a start up or established, you can’t keep still. Marketing is essential for making sure people know what you do, what you can offer, and even that you exist at all. Some methods work better than others, depending upon the industry, your product/service and the customer type. The following is a broad summary of some of the major ways of promoting your business.
A traditional way of advertising and very passive is to advertise in local papers, with a more focussed and community based approach being seen with the rise in popularity and number of village magazines.
Although the effectiveness of directories like Yellow Pages and Thomson Local have diminished with the advent of the internet (see below), they still maintain the medium.
Papers are often looking for local stories that will fill pages, and if you’ve got an interesting story, it may be worth dropping them a line to see if they want to cover it. To get a better perspective on PR as an important form of communication, please see our recent guest blog.
Many businesses swear by networking, as although it can be hard work at identifying and selling to a relatively small number of people, it can be effective as it creates an environment to build a personal relationship.
There are many formal networking events that exist, one of the more well known ones being through the Chamber of Commerce, but don’t ignore the informal opportunities that may exist on the school run or in the pub.
Although direct mail has had a bad press with ‘junk mail’, it is still a valid way of contacting a large number of potential customers. It is largely a numbers game, and to be effective it should be followed up with a telephone call. Direct mailing has also developed with the advent of email marketing.
This can mean a lot of leg work – literally! – but can be a more targeted way of promoting your business to selected households.
A referral system can be highly effective as it works on the basis that happy customers are likely to refer your business, and the hard work of showing what a good service/product you have has already been done. For details of our referral scheme, please see here:
Finally, in line with people’s changing buying habits, most businesses have some sort of presence on the internet. In addition to websites and blogs, the advent of forums and social media has created an environment to build a following and help market your business.
This is obviously a beginner’s guide, but it is important to continually think and refresh the way that your business is marketed, as part of your marketing strategy. Times and attitudes change, and something that may have traditionally been effective may need revamping or changing in order to either keep the momentum going or to create impact.
If anyone has any comments or would like to expand on the success of a particular method in the marketing of their business, please let us know below.