The business news is depressing and whilst the economic news may be demoralising it is essential to consider the fact that money is still being spent somewhere! As some big name companies fight for survival small and medium sized companies must be acutely aware that the marketplace is shrinking. Sadly some companies become inward looking whereas others are taking the opportunity to review their existing marketing and business strategies to secure their futures.
In terms of the Internet, sales figures have seen persistent growth compared to the High Street demonstrating a continuing and growing confidence in the Internet as a way of sourcing products and services. Marketing is the key and it is vital to be seen and remembered so that your business can make the most of any opportunities that do present themselves. Here are a few tips or considerations that might help:
- Is your logo and brand strong? You want to be remembered so make it happen.
- Does your website reflect your current products and service? An upgraded site is a worthwhile investment if it brings in more sales! (Return on investment)
- Does your website function in such a way that compliments the way you do business? By reviewing how your internal systems relate to your website you may be able to develop integrated solutions or set up additional reporting that will help save duplication and therefore save you time and money!
- Are you pro-active in your marketing activities? Pay-per-Click activities can kick start your enquiries and social networking can help with viral marketing (blogs/youtube and facebook are fast becoming working business tools)
- Do you make the most of potential business coming through your door already? Don’t assume that customers know what other services you offer-tell them (cross-sell/up-sell)
Internet marketing can prove challenging and expensive but also a vital tool for getting your website in front of the right people. If you are selling products, either to the end user (retail) or to the trade (wholesale) then don’t under estimate the power of the Internet, but also don’t assume that success is guaranteed.
Marketing holds the key for sustaining business and developing future sales growth so rather than view new leaflets or websites as a cost consider what messages they can carry and to how many people you can influence and inform. Recent adverts on our local radio station Trent FM have included some major car dealers and companies promoting their websites. The value of advertising even when times are hard will keep your brand in the spotlight.
Other ways to market yourself include:
- Networking! Join a local networking group to help create awareness of your products or services. Join a BNI group for example for regular breakfast meetings or perhaps attend or exhibit at a local event by your local Chamber of Commerce or Business Link.
- Advertising! Consider who your local audience is and the best way to communicate with them whether that is paper based (leaflets/flyers), newpaper / magazine advertising or interactive solutions like radio advertising, television advertising or internet based advertising.
Most of all never under estimate the value of referrals and leads from customers,business partners and associates. Word of mouth will always be one of the key ways of generating more business and testimonials are the icing on the cake. So what are you waiting for. Get out there! Be seen! Do business!