“What can I do to market my business?”
This is the top question I get when meeting a business owner, or independent salesperson. As soon as I mention what I do for a living, inevitably people want free advice. So, I decided to put together some guidelines that helped me market my business.
- Make a List
You must know who your potential customers are. So, make a list of everyone you know, everyone you’ve done business with, buy things from, family, friends, past clients, etc. Use a spreadsheet and capture all the basic details. (name, address, city, state, zip, phone, email, relationship, and notes). Add to this list every time you meet someone new, or make a new sale. Get into the habit and never stop doing this.
- Communicate with your List
This is where most people scratch their heads. Communicating with your list is easy, but must be done effectively. This depends on what kind of business you are in. First, you want to get an email system like Outstand. I’ve loved this service ever since I found it, many years ago. Once you load all of your contacts, you create categories and just check mark them for each contact. Once you do that, you can segment your messages for any occasion. Personal holiday greetings, business proposals, announcing a new service, everything! Email is a great start, but a letter and phone call may also be good if you are in sales. Just remember that people want to be treated like….people. Not wallets with legs. So, just keep everything light and friendly.
- Get LISTED
This is where a few services come in. Yelp comes to mind. It’s a great directory listing online, with reviews. Google Business is next. Then, TopLocal.org will top it off with a dynamic local referral network and an online listing. TopLocal is not a directory. It’s a way for businesses to work with each other, per zip code, to help promote each other. The directory is just to help. The real power is the monthly guides that each member prints and distributes. It’s like warm market referrals, put into the hands of paying local customers, every single month. This can have a huge impact over time. Members will distribute tens of thousands of local business guides each year, in every active zip code.
- Get CONNECTED
Join the local Chamber of Commerce. It’s a must. There you will meet other business owners, attend functions, meet local politicians and influential people. These are colleagues from your own industry as well as others. Get active with the Chamber and volunteer.
- Treat People Right and Ask for Referrals
Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. But, you must earn it first and make it known that you value referrals from your favorite customers. Tell them you need help spreading the word about your business. Don’t wait until after the sale. Ask during the sale. Remember, people love you best while you are helping them…not after.
These are the basics and the firm foundation upon which to build your business. Do these things consistently, no matter what comes up. It helped me market my business and it can help you too.