10 Tips for Marketing Your Business

Want to power up your business’s sales? Smart marketing is more important than ever these days. To boost your brand, try these 10 marketing tips.

  1. Partner up. Get together with complementary businesses in your area to jointly promote your products. For example, all the retailers in your shopping center could hold a weekend sidewalk sale. Or a pet store owner could put a dog groomer’s brochures in the store, while the groomer could give clients coupons from the store.
  2. Use limited-time offers. What works better: a coupon that expires in 2 months, or one that expires in 10 days? Studies show customers are more likely to act on deals that end sooner, rather than later—so set a time limit on your offers.
  3. Make the most of e-mail. Always capture customers’ e-mail addresses and use them to send special offers, e-newsletters and other updates about your business. (Be sure you stay on the right side of e-mail spam and privacy laws.)
  4. Hold an event. Invite clients and customers to a special event at your business, and ask them to bring a friend. For instance, a children’s toy store could host a Lego Play Day where kids can play while parents shop.
  5. Offer extras. Consumers turn to small businesses for the personal touches they can’t get elsewhere, like free gift wrap or personalized assistance. Make sure you and your staff are providing these little extras.
  6. Keep in touch. Track your customers’ birthdays and send them an e-mail, card or postcard with a special birthday offer. You can give them a discount or, better yet, a freebie (like a free entrée at your restaurant during their birthday month).
  7. Survey customers. Online survey tools let you survey customers on your Web site or by e-mail and collect and analyze the results. You can ask about your current products and services, or about ones you’re considering launching. Keep it short (5 to 15 questions) so that people are more willing to participate.
  8. Consider cable. Think you can’t afford commercials? Think again. Cable TV is a surprisingly affordable and effective way to build a local customer base. And because cable channels attract niche audiences, like homeowners or sci-fi fans, you can target your ads so you’re reaching exactly those customers you want.
  9. Target existing customers. Customers who have already bought from you are more likely to do so again. To seal the deal, contact current customers regularly by e-mail, notes or phone calls. When a customer makes a purchase, suggest related items to consider; when you deliver, include a coupon for a discount on the next purchase.
  10. Market benefits, not features. What’s the difference? A feature is something your product or service has; a benefit is how that feature benefits the customer. How can your product or service help customers save money, do something faster, feel healthier or look better? Come up with a list of at least 10 benefits, and emphasize them wherever you can

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