How you market and position your business impacts how your audience perceives you. For better or for worse, the image you project needs to attract your target audience, establish your credibility and contribute to, rather than detract from, your branding efforts so that you can ultimately drive more incoming business.
Our team has had the opportunity to work on several amazing projects and have had some great clients and one of the things that we know to be true is that marketing and promoting a business can seem like a daunting task when you’re on a shoestring budget.
Below are some tips that we’ve used to help build Fresh Image PR before there was any income; so hopefully these points will help you to start thinking about ways that you too can begin to market and promote your businesses.
1) Build a product according to what people want/need
Before you begin thinking about the specific marketing tactics you want to employ, you need to know who your target audience is going to be and you need to know if that audience needs your service/product.
2) Get customer input – do market research
Once you’ve honed in on who your target audience is, interview potential customers to see what their problems are. This will help you to frame your business offerings and present potential customers with solutions or products that they would be willing to pay for. Websites such as www.surveymonkey.com are free survey generation sites that allow you to easily create and disseminate surveys online. After receiving survey feedback go through the responses and take a look at your business plans and your initial marketing strategy/ideas and confirm that your planned business messaging is what the audience really needs – if not tweak your messaging.
This is the process where you create a unique name and image for your business – your goal should be to create something that will resonate within your audiences’ mind. Once you’ve decided on a business name and logo you need to maximize that logo and place it everywhere – your email signatures, Google Places pages etc.
4) Build Strategic Partnerships and Talk About Others
Be generous – one of the best ways to promote your business is to promote others instead. It’s business karma… sometimes people reciprocate, sometimes they don’t. Either way, you are letting those who listen to you know about businesses and resources that you believe can help them and that is providing value to the recipient. If you provide value, you increase your customer loyalty, loyal customers talk about you.
5) Share Your Knowledge
If you have a Facebook or Twitter page use these pages to share tips and strategies related to your business. If you belong to a charity or community group offer to do a presentation to provide insight for free. Whatever you can do to present yourself as knowledgeable in your area will raise your business profile.
6) Promotions and Discounts
Promotions and Discounts are great for calling attention to products and services because they add extra value for the purchaser. Everyone loves a deal and offering discounts is a great way to not only market your business but also reward your customers and establish loyalty.
7) Content Marketing
Email marketing is extremely cost effective and provides an outlet for you to highlight products, sales and make announcements. The one thing to note with content marketing is to be considerate of the receiving audience – people typically only give their attention to things that they want or that directly apply to them. Just because you have a persons’ email address doesn’t mean they want to be spammed with event flyers every two weeks. Sites like www.mailchimp.com and www.constantcontact.com are a great resource and are free depending on the size of your email list.
8) Generate Publicity – Do Something Remarkable
Instead of playing it safe and sticking to what you have seen others do, do something that’s worthy of taking notice. Be unique don’t feel like you need to copy another company’s brand or advertising pattern – stand out. Host an event that is unique and offers value and that people want to attend.
9) Test your marketing ideas in small batches
Marketing is all about IDEAS – there are several “tactics” you can employ but at the core of it, promotion is all about generating ideas and executing on those ideas. Some ideas are going to work while some are not, so before placing both feet in the water with one set idea, test out your ideas in small batches.
10) Be authentic – you are your brand
The key to everything both as a business person and as an individual is to be yourself. One of the main reasons why I think Fresh Image PR has made it to the five year mark is primarily driven because I’ve always authentically been Samantha – what you see is what you get. As cliché as it sounds people pay attention and consistency is appreciated and people will gravitate towards you and your business because of this – be consistently you and go from there.
NOTE: THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY SAMANTHA WHITTAKER FOR AND FIRST PUBLISHED BY PINNACLE MEDIA GROUP (CAYMAN ISLANDS) FOR USE IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 2014 SMALL BUSINESS EXPO SUPPLEMENT