Effectively marketing your business is essential to increasing your business’s profitability. Marketing enables you to attract new customers, regain the interest of existing ones and establish yourself as a competitor in the marketplace.
Although many businesses spend thousands of dollars hiring others to market their products or services, we’d like to explore alternative ways to market your business through our “do-it-yourself” marketing series. Doing things yourself is a cost-effective way to drive profits to your business, add a personal touch and make you a more well-rounded business owner.
One the first areas of do-it-yourself marketing that any business can take advantage of is creating, printing and distributing your own marketing materials.
There are many inexpensive desktop publishing products out there (some you already own) such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Systems, that will allow you to use template-based programs to design professional looking letters, flyers, business cards, brochures and newsletters. These marketing materials can be printed right from your desktop and help you attain additional exposure for your business.
Like Microsoft and Adobe, printer manufactures such as Hewlett Packard (HP), also provide do-it-yourself tutorials and tips on their Web sites or through software that can teach you to design and print your own marketing materials.
Several software and printer companies may provide you with a free in-house marketing starter kit on CD or via download with the purchase of their products. These CDs usually include 100’s of design templates, step-by-step instructions, sample items, stock photos, etc.
Desktop publishing is just one example of how you can market your business on your own. There are also many online methods that will allow you to get the word out about your business at a very minimal cost.
Submitting your business’s information to online directories, such as the Google Local Business Center, is one way to help potential clients find your business when in search for a specific product or service. Many of these directories are free and only require a few simple steps to advertise your business.
Squidoo.com reports that more than 640 local business searches are processed on the Internet every 60 seconds. Your business could be among those numbers. People will not or can not patronize your business if they don’t know you exist. Being listed is a simple way of letting consumers know “we are here,” and doesn’t take very much effort on your part.
The Internet also provides small-business owners with the opportunity to launch their own professional e-mail-based advertising campaigns. Through template-based sites such as www.icontact.com or www.constantcontact.com you can create and distribute your own e-mail advertisements (or e-blasts) for informational or promotional purposes. You can also use these sites to distribute electronic versions of the flyers, newsletters, brochures or marketing letters you create through desktop publishing.
Many of these sites offer tips and tutorials to guide you along the way and can also be beneficial by providing you with the option to purchase potential sales leads. Customer surveys, performance trackers and contact list management are a few other perks that come along with these services. Advertising through e-mail is an efficient and effective way to reach a specific target group or to even keep your existing customers up-to-date on your current products and promotions.
There are many small-business owners who have become quite profitable by using “do-it-yourself” methods. After a few years of using these techniques some businesses have become million dollar enterprises. By investing just a little time and a few dollars here and there you have the power to drive more clientele to your business without breaking the bank.
Watch this space for more on our series of profitable do-it-yourself solutions.