Many people have the dream of leaving their corporate position behind and starting their own business. However, many never reach their goal of business ownership due to the lack of a real plan. Owning a small business has many challenges…but if business owners focus on the customer and develop a cohesive marketing plan that reaches their target audience effectively, then they have nothing to worry about. How do you market a new business? It all starts with building your business by securing a customer base through the following marketing activities:
Referral Networks – Most people do not see the value of networking. It’s huge!! By getting out and mingling with companies in your area…you are building valuable relationships that will set the stage for your business. By attending local networking events, it helps build your name and relationships without spending a fortune. It’s a no brainer….networking works and should be done regularly. One relationship can bring in many new customers and referrals. Think about each person and how many people they are connected to…it’s endless. Face to face meetings are as important as social networking and needs to be part of your marketing plan for small businesses.
Cold Calling– Who wants to sit on the phone and make phone calls…not me! But guess what…it works! By being proactive and reaching out to a targeted list of companies, you are adding to your network. All it takes is one lead to turn into a customer. Prior to starting a call campaign, a script should be produced and used for all calls. You want to call with a purpose and offer something attractive to potential customers. It also helps you be creative and adapt to various questions you get from your prospects. You will be surprised with the results and how many people you end up building a relationship with. The best time to call is in the morning before people start their day. You should dedicate 1-2 hours per day on making calls and prospecting. There are also classes that offer training on how to make calls and succeed.
Inexpensive Marketing Materials – A quick flyer that explains what services/products you offer is a great way to spread the message about your small business. You can print out on your office computer and develop a nice template in Word. Again….you don’t have to spend a fortune on hiring a designing and going to a fancy printer. As long as you create a flyer that has the correct messaging for your target audience and great images…you are good. Also…a unique business card will grab attention. Use a different color or shape.
Free Press– Write a press release on your small business and send it out everywhere! Guess what…it is free! You can send to your local press list and even splurge on an online pr site. It can cost anywhere from $50 – $200 per release…but it’s worth it. It’s a great way to announce your company to the world.
Co-Marketing – Work with other small businesses to share marketing costs. You can create a direct mail campaign or print ad together. Perhaps….your services complement each other. Be creative and come up with some new offers that are out of the box. You can offer discounts and bundle your services together. Also, you can share a booth at a trade show to cut costs.
Seminars: Create a seminar series on various topics that build your credibility in the industry. You can host an event at your office or select a venue that wants to bring people into their restaurant. Schedule events after work and include your target customers. Seminars are a great way to build your network and business. It also creates a buzz about your business.
Building a business is a process that takes time and can’t be rushed. As long as you have an effective marketing plan in place, you will succeed. The time you put in today will be rewarded tomorrow. Don’t give up!
Monique Merhige is the President of Infusion Direct Marketing & Advertising, Inc. She has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola. Infusion is a marketing consulting firm that specializes in the security industry and delivers marketing solutions that include Public Relations, Direct Marketing, Branding, Collateral Development, and Social Media Marketing. Visit: www.infusiondirect.com or call 631-846-1558
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About Monique Merhige
Infusion Direct Marketing's founder Monique Merhige has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola. Monique is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Dowling College in Oakdale and Brookhaven. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and an MBA in General Management.