Many small business owners we have met have misconceptions about marketing. They think of marketing as doing flashy advertising with catchy pictures and some coupons in a newspaper insert or with a direct mail company. This underestimates the power of marketing and the value good marketing can bring to your small business.
The reason many small business owners do this is because of lack of time and lack of understanding of what marketing is all about. Here are 5 fundamental rules of marketing that when used properly are sure to improve your sales. In no particular order:
Great marketing without great products is a waste of money
Many small business owners spend lots of money in advertising their business to bring the customers to their doors, only to disappoint them. They come to your business with great expectations and are disappointed when your product or customer service does not meet those expectations. Make sure you get “your house in order” before spending money on marketing. Otherwise you might as well just throw away that money.
Marketing is everyone’s responsibility, not just a manager’s or owner’s
Related to the first rule above, many small businesses think that only owner or manager can do anything about marketing. It takes a village to market your business including your customers, employees and anyone else that comes in contact with you. The employees can help by providing great service and keeping customers happy, customers help by spreading word about your business and so on. Don’t lose sight of all these other aspects of business by focusing solely on advertising.
The best marketing usually doesn’t cost you anything
As we mentioned earlier marketing is everyone’s responsibility. When done properly your customers will do the marketing for you – FREE OF CHARGE!! This is commonly called word-of-mouth. If your customers like your product they will not stop talking about it in front of their friends and families. They will mention it when asked for recommendations. The best thing you can do is keep your customers happy and don’t be afraid to ask for referrals from them.
Marketing means more than just advertising
As mentioned in the opening paragraph many small business owners fall into this trap of thinking that marketing is all about flashy ads. There is more to marketing than that. Strategic marketing involves understanding your customer base, finding the target market, and tailoring your products and services to that target market. Many small business owners do not spend effort in doing these things and end up casting their net too wide. Spending time in understanding your target market and focusing on it will make your marketing dollars go further.
You cannot ignore Internet and social media marketing in these times
Internet and social media are where business happens these days. Your customers are using them for everything – from finding your business to understanding how good it is to giving their review to the world. If you are not spending effort and marketing dollars on these sites you are missing out on great opportunity to reach your customers.
Use these rules to modify your approach to marketing and you will get more bang for your buck.