Sometimes itâ€™s easy to get carried away with the latest trends in marketing and promotion because theyâ€™re made to sound so charismatic.
While, new trends like Mobile Social Networking, Guerilla Experience Marketing and Facebook Advertising are all demonstrating huge potential for those looking for adventure at the â€˜bleeding edgeâ€™, when you get down to it, really great marketing is about using every opportunity you have to positively present your business to the world.
So weâ€™ve pulled back the covers to take a look at some fundamentals. Weâ€™ve put aside the high-tech gizmos and tools for the moment to bring you 7 of the most timeless and often over-looked promotional strategies you can quickly apply to your business â€“ if youâ€™re not already.
After hours answering machine message.
People who phone your business are already interested in you, so if theyâ€™ve just missed you make sure your answering machine gives them some useful information. Whether the person that rang is an existing customer or not make sure that you cover all bases by letting them know what you do, when youâ€™re open and what other options area available to them right now. Can they ring a mobile, look at your website or leave a message?
Promote your charity connections
Rather than sending a cheque and hanging the framed certificate on a wall, run a fund-raising event for your favourite charity. Involving the charity gives them an opportunity to cultivate relationships with your customers and it provides you with assistance to spread the word through their marketing channels and networks.
Fill in the blank spots
Use the blank side or white space on invoices, statements, receipts and other stationery to do some more selling and build your referral network. Add a â€˜quick order formâ€™ to a blank space that allows customers to purchase gifts on behalf of their friends and family. Simply allow them to address, tick a box and fax to buy a product that you then send as a gift. When you send the gift, you can include a catalogue, brochure or letter along with a message from your customer.
Keep your details up to date
There are many online directories (websites that list business contact details for free) that will have your business details listed to help their website look well supported and full of useful information. Even though you arenâ€™t paying for them to do this for you, make sure that these websites have the correct contact details for your business. Often these online directory websites are categorised differently to your website by the search engines, so people could be finding out about your business in some unexpected ways. Having the extra exposure of these websites is only helpful to you if they have the right information.
Make your achievements known
Most businesses now have associations and industry bodies that issue certificates and awards for merit and various types of achievement. Instead of framing it and sticking on a wall somewhere, ask the people giving you the award to put something about you and it on their website or in their newsletter. In fact, you could even write the copy and provide them with a photo of you and the award to help make this an easy decision for them. Put details of the award on your website too and if itâ€™s prestigious, consider putting it on your stationery, business cards and advertisements.
Get a logo on your back
The sports and fitness industry provides one of the ultimate examples of using uniforms with logos. Just take a look at what motor racing teams and drivers wear â€“ Formula 1, World Rally Championship and V8 Supercars.
These are extreme examples of uniforms with logos and this approach may not suit all businesses; so adapting the idea to suit the image of your business is all it takes. Being an identifiable ambassador for your business also makes it easy for customers to recognize you. And if your leisure activities allow it, why not wear a t-shirt that promotes your business next time youâ€™re out and about.
The elevator pitch for all
As an entrepreneur youâ€™re no doubt aware of the value of an elevator pitch (a 30 second long rehearsed description about your business, service or product that you tell others). Your employees on the other hand probably donâ€™t.
In modern business terminology the elevator pitch is also called a â€˜scriptâ€™ and is a great way of ensuring that everyone in your business is telling the world the same story. And your story is told in a glowing and easy to understand description of why they should do business with you. Use an elevator pitch in recorded messages, such as voicemail, and ask your employees to modify it to suit them. Have them use it whenever theyâ€™re asked about what they do.
As the beginning of a new financial year draws closer, youâ€™re probably already starting to think about marketing budgets and strategies. So why not take a look at whatâ€™s going on in your business and see if there are opportunities for improving some of your fundamental promotional activities.
The new media trends have demonstrated some very real and exciting potential for business. What theyâ€™ve also shown is that itâ€™s when businesses have their fundamentals right that they get great returns out of everything they do.
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