Two Steps to More Effective Marketing

To the small business owner, marketing can seem like a huge expense, with unpredictable results. However, if you contact the right people with the right information your marketing activities will not fail. It can be that simple!

1) Targeting: no message will work if it is sent to the wrong person!

Before planning any communication, ask yourself the following:

  • Who are your customers? What are they like? What do they do?
  • Would you talk to them in their homes or at work?
  • How many new customers do you need (for instance one long-term client, or 100 one-time purchasers)?
  • What is your new customer worth to you in the long-term?

Answers to questions like these will help you decide how to best reach your prospects, and what you are willing to pay for each new client.

For instance, if you run a bookkeeping service, a great ad on the local radio is an expensive way reach a lot of people who are not in business. A local business publication, or a mailing would be much more effective.

Mailing and telemarketing lists are available based on almost any targeting criteria, or maybe you can make your own list. An up-scale landscaper in Calgary has generated a great deal of work by hand delivering leaflets to carefully selected houses.
The point is, that once you analyze who and where your ideal client is, you can plan how to reach them most effectively.

2) Creative Treatment. Remember these important rules:

  • First impressions count. Visually, your piece must stand out from the advertising clutter.
  • Your headline must shout out a single, clear benefit.
  • Short is not always sweetest. If your message is correctly targeted, and if your copy is unfailingly interesting and relevant, it helps to provide as much information as possible.
  • When laying out text, highlight important points visually. Use italics, underlining, and text boxes to emphasize your benefits.
  • Use the word ‘you’ often, particularly in relation to tangible benefits.

If using the mail, use every piece to sell. Remember, the envelope must compel the recipient to open it.

Demand a response! Even a brilliant message is easily forgotten, so use incentives to encourage immediate response. Then you can take responsibility for on-going communication and you can also track the effectiveness of your marketing activities.

Finally, consider outsourcing if you are not confident of your expertise: many printers offer design and copywriting services for work that they will be producing; freelance marketing consultants, graphic designers and copywriters can help you produce a cost-effective and persuasive campaign.

Unfortunately, marketing will always be one of the ultimate ‘Catch 22s’. It is one of the first expenses to be cut when cash-flow is tight, and yet it is during these times that a successful marketing campaign is most helpful. Implementing the above rules will help you to produce and distribute effective marketing materials at the lowest possible cost.

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