Ten tips for marketing your business

Remember that there is a fine line between reminding a potential customer often enough that you are there, and making a nuisance of yourself. You cannot repeat your message often enough through traditional channels such as billboards and advertising, but the closer you get to your customer’s personal space, the more careful you should be. For example, follow-up phone calls are important, but keep them short and infrequent.

6. Get a web presence

If your business already has a substantial internet presence, skip to the next point. If you are not online yet, you are making a mistake. Even if you are happy with your customer numbers at present, sooner or later your lack of internet presence will catch up with you as the world becomes increasingly wired. Google offerings such as Woza Online and sites such as Yola allow you to create amazing websites completely free of charge. Twitter and Facebook are completely free. If your problem is that you are not internet literate, do invest in some training courses. It will enrich your life as well as your business.

7. Beware the black hole of web marketing

It is extremely easy to waste you time online. Be very disciplined about the amount of time you spend updating your Twitter account, your Facebook page or your website. It is probably not a good idea to start a blog, unless you are an extraordinarily talented writer. Keep your web presence fresh and relevant, but do not overdo it.

8. Develop seasonal and special promotions

Most customers, whether consumers or trade clients, tend to purchase in cyclical or seasonal patterns. So, at the beginning of every year, it is advisable to work out a seasonal promotional calendar that is appropriate to your business. Always try to come up with unique and interesting ideas to cut through the general promotional clutter in both the trade and retail environments.

9. Unclutter your messages

Whether you are working on an advertisement, a pamphlet, a direct-sales call or a website, cut the message down to the bare essentials. Use as few words as possible, and push one special offer instead of a multitude. If you do this, you will immediately stand out from among the clutter.

10. Emphasise consistent quality

Whatever your investment in marketing, the basis of your whole effort lies in the quality of your product or service. It is not simply a case making the quality the highest in the market. An important part of your marketing strategy is to choose the right level of quality for the type of customer that you want to target, and stick to it. Do not try to sell hot dog rolls and gourmet meals from the same shop. An affordable, entry-level quality is just as valid a marketing strategy as a high-value, high-quality offering. Consistently staying on your chosen level of quality and communicating with the relevant target market is what is important.

This article was first published by Business Partners. Business Partners is a specialist risk finance company for formal small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa, and selected African countries. The company actively supports entrepreneurial growth by providing financing, specialist sectoral knowledge and added-value services for viable small and medium businesses.