Marketing Secrets That Save Marketing Dollars

Every business needs to market themselves.  However, all too often, businesses are intimidated by it or don’t feel they can justify the cost.  As a business owner, I know it is hard to purchase a couple hundred dollar ad and not have the phone start ringing as soon as the paper hits the newsstands. But marketing is a long term investment in your business’s success.    Here are a few tips to help you make your marketing dollar work harder for you.

Tip One - Hire a Professional
If you do not feel comfortable creating and following through with a marketing campaign, or perhaps your writing skills are not your strong point, hire a professional. Though this will be an additional cost, it will ensure that your marketing campaign runs smoothly and is consistent. And consistency is the name of the game when it comes to marketing.  

Tip Two - Keep it Simple
Keep in mind that people do not read ads, they skim them until something catches their eye. A well written three-line ad, that effectively uses white space, will attract attention on a page that is full of wordy ads.  Use a catchy slogan that will stop the reader in his tracks and encourage him to learn more. Some of my favorites are - "We like to strip" for a wood stripping company, or an electrologist used "Are you feeling hairy?". As a teenager my favorite t-shirt was from Naked Furniture and it read "Have you gone naked lately?"

Tip Three - Advertise to your Target Market
As a small company, with a limited budget, you can’t be everything to everyone. You must concentrate on your targeted niche market. If you do not know who your target market is, or you have not developed your niche, then I recommend starting here.

Tip Four - Develop a Marketing Plan and Stick To It
Planning not only saves you money, but it also becomes a road map to success. By developing and using a marketing plan, it ensures that every ad or direct mail piece you use will fit into your overall marketing strategy. Do some research and determine how your target market makes buying decisions. Don’t assume you know their thoughts and buying habits... record the success and failure of each marketing piece. A well planned and executed marketing plan will be the difference between spending money on marketing or investing in your company’s growth.   

Tip Five - Think Creatively  
Don’t be a copycat. Not that you can’t borrow someone’s idea, just don’t regurgitate it. Remember the first time you heard of a "sports bar and grill"? You thought "Hey, that is a unique idea!" Today, when you hear about a sports bar, you think "not another one". Marketing can be the same way. If you see your competition having a 50% off sale, your first impulse is to also have a 50% off sale. Well, don’t. The best way to beat your competition is to be different from them and stand out. Perhaps run a "secret sale" where people have to pop a balloon to see how much they save.

Tip Six - Know Your "USP"
Your "USP" is your Unique Selling Proposition. This is an essential part of your marketing campaign and how you present your product/service to your market. This is the one benefit that makes you stand out from your competition. Your competition may be cheaper, but you offer a one year warranty. Or they may have a larger inventory, but you deliver free of charge. Whatever your "USP" is, be sure you are promoting it. If you don’t tell your clients you have it, they will not know. The worst thing to hear from a client is "I didn’t know you do that".

May 1, 2006

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