Marketing — Review of the Basics
Customer Service and Customer Relations
- Ask your clients to come back again.
- Return phone calls promptly.
- Set up an auto responder email system to easily respond to customer inquiries.
- Use voice mail system to catch after-hours phone calls. Include basic information in your outgoing messages such a business hours, location, etc.
- Record a memorable message or tip of the day on your outgoing answering machine or voice mail message.
- Ask clients what you can do the help them.
- Take clients out to a ball game, show, or another special event – just send them two tickets with a note.
- Hold a seminar at your office for clients and prospects.
- Send handwritten thank you notes.
- Send birthday cards and appropriate seasonal greetings.
- Photocopy interesting articles and send them to clients and prospects with a hand-written FYI note and your business card.
- Send a book of interest or other appropriate business gift to a client with a handwritten note.
- Create an area on your web site specifically for your customers.
- Redecorate your office or location where you meet with your clients.
Networking and Word of Mouth
- Join a Chamber of Commerce or other organization.
- Join or organize a breakfast club with other professionals (not in your field) to discuss business and network referrals.
- Mail a brochure to members of organizations to which you belong.
- Serve on a city board or commission.
- Host a holiday party.
- Hold an open house.
- Send letters to attendees after you attend a conference.
- Join a community list-serve (eMail list) on the Internet.
- Advertise during peak seasons for your business.
- Get a memorable phone number, such as 1-800-WIDGETS.
- Obtain a memorable URL and eMail address and include them on all marketing materials.
- Provide Post-Its or phone stickers pre-printed with your business contact information.
- Promote your business jointly with other professionals via cooperative direct mail.
- Advertise in an Internet specialty directory.
- Hire a professional bilingual writer who and develop an ad in another language to reach the non-English-speaking market. Place the ad in a publication that market reads, such as a Hispanic newspaper.
- Distribute advertising specialty products such as pens, mouse pads, or mugs.
- Mail bumps – send photos, samples, and other innovative items to your prospect list. (A bump is simply anything that makes the mailing envelope bulge and makes the recipient curious about what’s in the envelope!)
- Create a direct mail list of hot prospects.
- Develop ‘Opt-in” email list and send monthly newsletters.
- If applicable to your business catagory, consider non-traditional tactics such as bus backs, billboards, and popular web sites.
- Consider placing ads in your newspaper’s classified section.
- Consider a vanity automobile tag with your company name.
- Create a friendly bumper sticker for your car.
- Code your ads and keep records of results.
- Improve your building signage and directional signs inside and out.
- Invest in a neon sign to make your office or storefront window visible at night.
- Create a new or improved company logo or recolor the traditional logo.
- Sponsor and promote a contest or sweepstakes.
- Sponsor a local sports team
As a retired SBDC counselor, I know where to find business-related information — both online and IRL. In this case some of my marketing source is a SBA publication (National Women’s Business Center, Washington, D.C., 4/97). The balance is just years of experience. For individual business support with any aspect of your business contact the nearest SBA-sponsored Small Business Development Center.