I saw this and thought of you...
Most of you probably know all this but it's always handy to have it summarised on one page.
CHEAP MARKETING TIPS
Advocates. About one in 20 of your customers will freely recommend you, without prompting. The question is, do you know who your advocates are? Always try to discover how enquirers and new customers have found you. This information will help you to find out how your marketing is working. It will also tell you if someone has recommended you. If you can find that someone, ensure that you thank them for their kindness.
Alliances. Form alliances with non-competing enterprises, which serve the same market as you. You can then refer customers to each other and embark on co-operative marketing programmes.
Education. Whenever and wherever you can -- educate prospects
and customers. Tell them, in detail, why your products or services are so good. You may be surprised at how grateful they are for clear, thoughtful, well presented information. Educate staff who interact with customers. Nothing is as off-putting to potential customers as staring ignorance in the face. This must have happened to you. You know how frustrating it is when you actually want to buy something, but the sales person is so uninformed that you go off in a huff. Continually educate yourself about sales and marketing best practice. Look around and see how others effectively market themselves.
Use email. Email is a great way of keeping in touch with
prospects and customers. Try using bulk email handling software which allows you to insert your contacts' first and last names in separate fields. This means you can start each email with someone's first name -- a nice personal touch. Every month, email something interesting or useful to a list of contacts. Do this well and they probably won't mind if you also send them special offers, say once a month. Ensure you're familiar with the Data Protection Act before you start (call Enterprise for a jargon-free version of the rules: 020 8652 8678).
Follow-up a sale. Once someone has bought something from you for the first time, thank them for their custom. Then ask them if they're happy to receive further information from you, and keep communicating with them. Remember, it costs five times as much to sell to a stranger as it does to an existing customer.
Have a marketing plan. This should be a stand-alone document, which supports your business plan. It should contain your marketing objectives and strategy. It should also include: market research; competitive analysis; segmentation strategy; positioning and differentiation strategy; information on products; price; place and promotion (the famous 'Four Ps' of marketing); and measurement processes. Oh yes, and there must be a marketing budget in there too! Ideally, this will include Budget, Actual and Difference figures (or BAD marketing numbers).
Press relations. There's nothing quite like getting your name in the media, is there? Start thinking about the stories, information and news which readers, viewers and listeners will be interested in. You can then start sending out press releases, making good contacts with journalists and organising interviews.
Network. Take every opportunity to network. You need to develop a brief 'pitch', which describes and positions your enterprise. Ensure that you have plenty of business cards. (Do you have anything nifty and informative about your company, product or service printed on the reverse of your cards?) Develop your listening skills. Find out how you can help the people you meet. Don't oversell yourself. Always follow up each new contact.
Word of mouth. You will find that more and more people out there will start talking positively about your enterprise if:
you are delivering a great product and service
you are clear about your market positioning
you have educated your team and your customers
you communicate with customers after each sale.
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