There are many tools and techniques that will be useful to you when communicating with the outside world. Think about these tools as another type of mix, let us call it the promotions mix! Again, you will balance and blend these approaches to suit your business’ needs best.
Ask yourself ‘why?’ are you trying to communicate with your customers, and what are you trying to say? The whole purpose behind promoting your small business is to persuade your customers that your product or service has value to them, and more importantly to build long-term relationships with customers. How you do this is down to you.
There will be some trial and error, and unfortunately you may invest in some promotions which deliver less than you invest. You will learn from your mistakes and develop effective promotional tools that suit you and your customers best.
Which promotions work best for you?
How do you select the best approach? There are a number of factors that you need to take into account when selecting the best way to promote your products or services. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
Cost. Of course if you have bottomless pockets you can do plenty of promotion. Therefore, you need to look at what are expected returns based upon your communications. Don’t overspend! Look for ways that you can get your messages across by spending as little as possible. That’s just good business.
Your target market. The promotional tool that you select should be the most suitable one for your target market. For example, if you have a local business, then the local advertising will be better; that would include local newspapers, local Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, local billboards, local sponsorship, and any approach which will directly hit your potential customers.
Availability of communications. Not all promotional tools will be available to you. Their may not be a local radio station in your area for example. A particular keyword in relation to Pay-Per-Click may be too expensive simply because your competitors are willing to pay more for it. More on this later.
Look for innovation. Always think to yourself, how can I get some really effective marketing promotion by spending as little as possible? It might be as simple as sponsoring a local junior football team. You could send some very targeted e-mails to opinion leaders in your area that might have an interest in your product or service, and they might blog about your product. It is the role of the small businessperson or entrepreneur to look for ways of networking and maximising big bangs for small bucks.
Offline tools for promoting your small business
- Personal selling
- Sales promotion
- Public relations
- Trade fairs and exhibitions
With all small businesses personal selling is likely to be an underpinning marketing tool. Personal selling will be used for every stage of the marketing process for your product or services, from the early days when you are sounding-out others about your new ideas, right up until the product is withdrawn and replaced by new one.
Don’t be afraid of personal selling! Anyone can learn it, and there are many tools and techniques that can be used to make sure that you get to a sale. Let’s have a look at a typical personal selling process that you can use today to sell your product or services to your customers.
The idea is that you match the benefits of your product, service or solution to the specific needs of your customers, and remember that you want to build a long-standing relationship. That might mean that you do not sell today, but you sell many products and services in the future as you nurture the relationship and maintain a dialogue with your clients.