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Top 12 Marketing Tips

07 March 2011

1. Have a marketing plan

It doesn't need to be sophisticated but should at least include: marketing/business objectives, target market, key messages, communication tactics appropriate for your target market, budget, timeline, evaluation mechanisms

Work out what marketing you want to do, when you want to do it and write an action plan - it might only be one activity a month, but make sure your marketing is regular and consistent - this way you won't be caught out during slower times.

Make sure you evaluate what you do so you can see what works and what doesn't. If your marketing is not working then look at how you can change and improve it.

· Download my simple marketing plan template

2. Know who your target market is

Your target market is the main group of potential consumers you want to sell your product or service to. It can be defined using demography (e.g. gender, age, income, education etc), geography (where people live/work), lifestyle preferences, product use or buying behaviour.

Know WHO your target market is as well as where they go to get information, so you can more precisely deliver the messages to the consumer - no point advertising in a golfing magazine if you are selling cricket bats - for example. This can save you a lot of money as you are not spending it on marketing to the wrong people.

3. Use your networks and contacts

The more people who know what you do, the more likely they are to refer business to you - so get out there and talk to people, and ask your networks to talk about you (in a good way of course!).

Get a contact book or use a database such as MS outlook, and keep the details of all the industry contacts and other people that have helped you along the way. I include everyone in mine - from university lecturers to industry colleagues and

4. Business cards

As far as I am concerned, these are the best marketing tool you can have - low cost or otherwise. Include your name, contact details, website, consider including twitter, LinkedIn, Skype, brief description of your business. Use both sides of it.

I keep business cards in all my handbags, my wallet, car and my partner's wallet and car. You never know when you might need one!

5. It's cheaper to market to your existing customers than to get new ones

Think about the work you are currently doing for your customers - now think about what else you can do for them. Can you work with them on a more permanent basis? Are there other people in their business you can work with? Can you develop a new product or service that will suit them?

Are your current clients aware of all the services/products you provide? If not, then tell them!

6. Get a website

It amazes me how many businesses don't have a website. There is really no excuse, particularly with so much free software such as Wordpress or Blogger available to start a simple site. Even a 1 page site with a brief statement about what your business is and how people can contact you is better than nothing.

Make sure you promote your website on everything include email signatures, brochures, gimmicky give-aways, business cards and anything else you can think of

7. Email marketing

Sending an email is far cheaper than posting a letter - in terms of dollars and your time. It can also generate faster responses and results.

Use your email package to store email addresses for customers and prospects and use online communication wherever appropriate - for example a regular update email, newsletter, to promote an event or to share publicity about your business etc.


8. Media and publicity

Generating your own publicity doesn't need to be hard.

Work out your story - if it is newsworthy, journos will want to talk to you. Don't call them unless you have something interesting to pitch and give them your contact details - mobile phone and email - so they can get back to you if they need more information.

Local and community newspapers/radio/tv are also always on the lookout for local interest stories.

Trade mags survive on unpaid contributors - think about a sector you want to target and think about how your business can benefit them. Pitch your ideas to the editor, and if they are interested then all you have to do is write the story. And, depending on what it is, it might work for a few different mags.

9. Say thank you!

Be sure to thank your customers, thank the people who refer business to you and thank your suppliers. A bit of gratitude can go a long way in business.

10. Social media

Social media includes blogging, micro-blogging (such as Twitter), social networking (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Bebo), wikis, social bookmarking or tagging (such as StumbleUpon and Delicious), photo sharing (such as Flickr), video sharing (such as YouTube) and virtual worlds (such as Second Life).

· Benefits of engaging in social media are:

o increase your visibility and target your niche market

o build relationships and communities by engaging in conversations with current and prospective clients and suppliers

o share business tips and find business contacts

o follow interesting people who might give you business ideas

o share and discuss business ideas and useful information including web links and photos

o show the human side of your business.

11. Use the free resources available to you

There is a massive amount of information on the web (type \"cheap marketing ideas\" into Google) and in books that can help you improve your marketing and give you new ideas.

Go to the library and check out marketing (and other business) books.

·Online useful resources are: - free weekly e-newsletter for soloists and small business - My Small Business section of Sydney Morning Herald - free subscription service that emails 'call outs' for sources from journalists and bloggers

12. Partner up

By partnering with complementary businesses you can expand your circle of influence. For example - an accounting firm could partner up with a lawyer that specialises in trusts, or a financial planner or a stockbroker.


Mel Kettle is the Principal of Mel Kettle Consulting, a boutique marketing communication agency based in Brisbane. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Tourism Management) and a Master of Business (Marketing) and has nearly 20 years experience in developing and delivering strategic marketing communication with small businesses, government, universities and not for profit.

Ph 0404 600 889


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