Small companies usually operate on a shoestring marketing budget. They do not have the luxury of hiring professional expertise or purchasing big ads in popular magazines. For this reason, their marketing efforts must be very focused and disciplined to gain the greatest benefit.
The importance of branding cannot be underestimated. A distinctive brand strategy builds reputation and recognition, provides information and educations and promotes differentiation. Effective marketing requires message repetitiveness, with some experts claiming it takes six to seven “touches” before a prospect will purchase. Independent of the exact number, you will need to invest in several methods of communication in order for your marketing efforts to be effective. Given the tight budgets inherent in a small company, it is extremely important that you invest your marketing dollars wisely.
For this reason it makes sense to own your surrounding market first, which can be achieved by focusing on a specific geography usually located within a defined area of the company location. Too often over zealous companies try to target a larger market than they can effectively reach given the marketing budget. Even if you are internet based, you still must gain marketing exposure in order to attract buyers. This cost money and may require the purchase of traditional marketing such as ads and billboards in addition to the internet presence.
Solicit feedback from customers, as they are a great source of information. Learn why they buy from you as they may identify a benefit you had not considered. I recall a survey for my company where I asked the open-ended question, “Why do you do business with us?” When I received the returned surveys, I noted that several clients had written words that said, “You are easy to work with”. This was fascinating, as I would have never considered this a benefit–it was simply an inherent characteristic of the people and had become the company culture. I immediately revised the talk track to include this concept, as I realized it was a competitive advantage that I had not considered.
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Lori educates and inspires entrepreneurs. Her company Business Simply Put provides information, advice and tools to succeed in business. Whether you are starting a company or growing an existing business, these tools will define your pathway to success. For more information visit www.BusinessSimplyPut.com or send an email to [email protected]. She loves to hear from inspired entrepreneurs!