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Quarter 1, 2012

 

5 Easy Ways to Market Your Business

Many small business owners believe that marketing is something only big businesses can afford. That it takes a department full of strategists and experts to launch a successful marketing campaign. What they may not realize is that every time they drop off a business card, send a free promotional pen to a prospective customer, or attend a trade show, they are marketing their business. Yes, it´s best to develop a strategy — a plan of action of what you want to accomplish and how you intend to accomplish it. It´s a lot easier to do than you think. Here are a few ideas that can help you develop your marketing plan.

Have the tools you need.
Whether it´s a one-page flyer or a full-color brochure, you should be prepared to hand out, mail or deliver materials that describe your business and the products and services you offer. Good tools include business cards, catalogs, flyers, brochures, spec sheets, a list of frequently asked questions, customer testimonials and presentations.


Give something away to get potential customers.
Everybody loves to receive something for free. Motivate people to give you their email address and other contact information with a freebie. The freebie could be your monthly newsletter, a white paper or a promotional item that would be of interest to them. In return for the freebie, ask them to supply their name, email address and phone number so you can add them to your list and market to them in the future — with their permission, of course!


Use the Internet.
Having a website is almost as important as having a business card these days. And, with so many free and low-cost website hosting and design tools, there is no reason not to have one. Make sure your site has your contact information and a true representation of the products and services you provide. In addition, list your business on Google Places, free industry websites and business directories. Make sure your listing contains all the key words prospects are likely to search for and recognize.
Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are additional platforms for small business marketing. These sites are a great way to introduce your business to potential and existing customers and start building an ongoing relationship with them.

Use the media.
Think local. Find out who your local media contacts are and keep in touch. Become their expert or authoritative source. Write and submit articles related to your industry or the services you provide. Send news releases to the media about new products or services, a new employee or a small event you are participating in or hosting. Local media is always looking for regional stories and events, and what happens in your day-to-day business could be newsworthy.


Don´t neglect old but good methods.
Make use of your industry association membership and attend events to gain knowledge and to network. Volunteer to speak at these events or at local business meetings. Also join networking groups in your area. All you need is your business card and a willingness to talk about your business.
Word of mouth is an often overlooked marketing method, but one of the most valuable. If someone is happy with your product or service, ask them to tell others. Keep in regular contact with existing customers through an email newsletter, letter or visit. This is a great way to let them know what´s going on in your business and will help to keep you at the top of their minds. Small things, such as responding promptly to emails, answering the phone professionally and following through with your commitments will set you apart from the crowd. Excellent customer service can generate great (and free) word-of-mouth marketing.

The Bottom Line Is This:

You want to get the word out to customers and prospects about your business and your capabilities. Every business uses some form of marketing. By taking the time to develop effective marketing strategies that fit with the interests of your target customers, you will save time, effort and money attracting and keeping customers in the long run.
For more information on how to develop effective marketing strategies, contact your personal consultant today. To locate a Safeguard Consultant in your area, call 800-616-9492 or visit www.gosafeguard.com.  

Increase Your Advertising Effectiveness by Promoting Your Anniversary

You can spend countless hours pinpointing areas in which you stand out from your competition. By advertising your company´s anniversary — not just celebrating it — you have an advantage that your competition can´t match. Use it! Some companies find it sufficient to simply run ads that say, “We´re celebrating our 6th anniversary with a big sale!” Although this approach probably works, with a little thought and creativity you can make your anniversary year pay much bigger advertising dividends. In planning your advertising campaign, the most important point to remember is that your anniversary lasts all year long. That means you should plan more than just a few special anniversary ads. Get the most mileage out of your big event by tying the celebration in with all of your company´s advertising throughout the year. Have a professionally designed anniversary logo created and use the digital image in all your printed pieces, social marketing and online ads. This provides a visual way to tout your company´s longevity and reliability to the prospect who is about to make a buying decision. The best ads do more than just present your image. They ask for action — and “FREE” is one of the most powerful words you can use. Offer a free estimate, free copy of your anniversary newsletter, free information or free period of service. Whichever type of offer you choose, tie it to your anniversary message.  

Effective Advertising Slogans
Over the years, many successful companies have developed catchy and memorable slogans for their anniversary advertising. Below are some examples that may be helpful as a springboard for developing a theme for your anniversary advertising or a slogan for your newsletters, party invitations, sales brochures, etc.


Successful slogans get specific messages across to customers and prospects. Following are three examples of anniversary-related slogans. Use these to help develop your own message.

To introduce a new special offer: It´s our birthday, but you get the presents!

As part of an invitation to your open house or anniversary party: You´re invited to a party that took 10 years to put together.

To convey your continuing commitment to service: After 57 years, everything has changed except our service.

Or incorporate a simple phrase (examples shown below — insert your own appropriate anniversary year) to convey the ideas of longevity, dependability and tried-and-true customer service:

• We like to think of it as our 100-year guarantee!
• 30 years and still feeling brand new.
• After 60 years, we know how to make a good impression!
• Every day we live up to a promise we made 45 years ago.
• Creating action in business for 50 years.
• Some things just naturally get better with age.
• Here today … here tomorrow!
• We're 1 year old. Celebrate with us!
• A perfect 10.
• A 75-year tradition of excellence.
• 100 years of making history.
• A dynamic past. A promising future.
• Our fan club started 30 years ago.
• When you need products and services, we're here. And have been for 50 years!
• The older we get, the better we are!
 


Your Tie-In with History
Everyone is interested in nostalgia. As a result, one of the more popular themes for advertising and company brochures is to list important happenings and events from the same year your company was founded. For example, Chicago´s LaSalle National Bank ran a full-page newspaper ad with the following copy:


On November 29, 1927: Knute Rockne´s Notre Dame team plays in Soldier Field before 110,000 … Al Jolson stars in “The Jazz Singer” at the Shubert theater … Sophie Tucker stars at the Oriental … The City Council surveys the possibility of double-decker streets … Ford introduces its powerful 40-horsepower engine … LaSalle National Bank opens to provide business and personal financial services. Thank You Chicago!

These historical facts are easy to obtain and serve a twofold purpose — they emphasize how long you´ve been in business, and they entertain the reader. To obtain information about what happened the year you started in business, from sports to politics to the cinema, go online. The Internet offers access to a wealth of historical information. Other good sources include the December and January year-in-review editions of TIME®, LIFE®, BusinessWeek®, and other publications. In print or online, simply look up the year that interests you and determine which events customers might find most interesting.

Most customers want to purchase from a trusted source, and a company that´s been around for a while is more likely to be reliable and knowledgeable about their business. Advertising your anniversary is an easy way to tell them you are just what they´re looking for.

For more information on how to advertise your anniversary, click here to see the complete Guide to Planning & Promoting Your Business Anniversary.

For more articles, visit the newsletter archive.