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New Year's Day has traditionally been a time for reflection on the past year and the setting of goals for the upcoming year. As you go through your goal setting process, I thought I'd share some sage advice for small business owners.
Effective Marketing is the Key to Success
You could have the best product or service around, but unless you find an efficient way to spread the word, you'll starve. On the other hand, with the right marketing programs, even a relatively bland product (such as bottled water) could be a big success.
So, with so many methods of marketing a business, here are a few tips that may help;
Have a Game Plan
Start by taking a look at what marketing worked for you last year and simply do more of it. However, recognize that consumer behavior (and thus, the business environment) is constantly changing, so you need to be willing to adapt and try new methods.
One of the best definitions of marketing that I've ever heard is that it's the RIGHT message to the RIGHT market segment using the RIGHT method.
What that means is that there's no "one-size-fits-all" method. Every business wants to highlight its unique/competitive advantages so it needs to experiment with some new forms of marketing until you find the formula that works for your unique situation.
The great Zig Ziglar once said "All I know is if you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting. If you want to have different results, you need to try something new."
Commit to try at least one new method of marketing this year.
Utilize Technology or Outsourced Skills
Technology has leveled the playing field so small businesses can look larger than they actually are. "Drag & drop" software programs have made it easier than ever to create your own brochure, basic website, blog or newsletter. However, if you either don't have the time (or interest) in doing it yourself, there's lots of locally based talent sources that can do it for you (at very reasonable cost).
If you'd like access to my personal list of trusted marketing resources, give me a call or click on this hidden "insiders" link on my website. CLick Here
Don't Overlook Your Existing Customers
I'll bet that when you hear the word "marketing" you immediately think of new customers. Studies have shown that it costs 6 times as much to market to a NEW customer as it does to market to an existing customer. Look for ways to stay "top-of-mind" with your existing customers so they're aware of all the products and services you offer.
Look at absolutely every "touchpoint" in which your prospect or customer sees or interacts with your business. Look to reinforce your "brand" or message at every contact.
A classic example of managing every touchpoint is a longtime customer of mine, Dr. Jerry Simon of Dental Care of Stamford. He pays attention to every branding opportunity; from bus shelter signs, welcoming parking lot signs, new products/offerings in the elevator, before & after videos and testimonials, framed reprints of articles written about his business all the way to courtesy bottles of branded bottled water in the reception area. He truly "gets" marketing, and his practice has consistently expanded over the 13 years I've worked with him.
So, in summary;
Have a plan
Try something new
Don't overlook your existing customer base
Pay attention to the details
Develop a marketing mindset and you'll start to see opportunities that were always there but went unrecognized because you weren't tuned-in to them.
Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season & a Healthy New Year!