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Year 2000

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 Start-up flow chart: Attracting customers.
Marketing tips.

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How will you attract customers?

Promoting your business.

Your customers can only buy from you if they know that you exist!
You will need to 'educate your market' about your products / services.

Top tips.

Don't Give Up.

Selling your products or services is a tough job. Don't get dispirited by countless refusals and let downs by potential customers. Very often people are too polite to say 'no' when they are not interested in your business proposals. Being 'led up the garden path' is just another aspect of sales and, if you have researched your market properly, you will soon find buyers.

Vanity.

Becoming a 'household name' is a nice thought, but you are not going to achieve such heights, in the short term, unless you spend vast quantities of cash! Set your goals on shifting products or services first, becoming an 'industry name' second, then have a crack at sponsoring the Olympics after you've got yourself a few bob in the bank.

When you are deciding on the biggest words to have on your advert, web site, mail drop etc. try to avoid the urge to make them your name / company name. In a magazine ad, for example, the 'headline' should grab the reader's attention. A few words in a, slightly smaller, 'sub-headline' should convince the reader that it is worth reading on. Then, the smaller, 'main body of text' can be used to get your message across. Take a look at any magazine article for inspiration. You'll also notice that showing a graphic/photo 'draws the eye' too.

Deadlines.

What ever method of promotion that you are using, always aim to stimulate an immediate action. An advert is far more effective if it has some kind of deadline or 'incentive to act now' before the customer loses interest. e.g. 'Sale Ends Bank Holiday Monday' or 'Free Gift If You Book Now'.

Reputation.

Your customers are your most cost-effective advertisers. If they are pleased with your products / services they would be the first to recommend you to their peers. They are even more efficient messengers if they are displeased.

Be sure to present a good image at all times; i.e. your premises, personal appearance, vehicles, stationery etc.  

 

Methods of Marketing.

Direct Mail and Leaflet Drops.

There are many firms that can supply mailing lists. Always try to ascertain how they were compiled, this factor will have a huge impact on response. This is a relatively low-cost method of marketing but don't expect to reap more than 2 or 3% response. Please don't, however, get seduced by the idea of sending billions of random, unsolicited 'spam' emails to everyone in the world. In my opinion, it indicates that the advertiser is desperate and untrustworthy. If that doesn't stop you, you should understand that spamming is likely to get your brand and products blacklisted forever, so it will have a negative impact on your future turnover.

Advertising- a bottomless pit.

Don't go overboard with your advertising budget. The more you can identify your market, the more you will be able to target potential customers directly. Any money spent on promoting your product / service to the wrong people will be wasted. Advertising agencies are generally not cost-efficient until you are spending big bucks.

Demonstrations, Seminars and Conferences.

Invite potential customers to a working lunch and a demonstration of your product or concept. This is a very effective method of personally educating your prospects and customers about your services. It's also a great way of finding out who is really serious about doing business with you. Many hotels are geared up for these types of business seminars and can provide a package to suit your requirements. The Jarvis Group, for instance, have over 500 conference rooms available throughout the UK.

Exhibitions.

Most industries have one or two major exhibitions in the year. They are often expensive but can be a way to make contact with a vast quantity of potential customers, in a short time and under one roof. The visitors often travel miles and make a lot of effort to attend, thus qualifying themselves as 'high quality leads'. Many exhibitions sell a mailing list of visitors, a good method of targeting a prime market on a budget. Find suitable shows to exhibit your products and services.

Public Relations.

Informing the media about your business activities, charity donations, and other newsworthy events can sometimes produce high levels of impact with very a minimal outlay. There are no guarantees, it's a bit like throwing mud against a wall and seeing what sticks, but there are ways that you can improve your chances. Try to be realistic about what makes a good news story. Sending interesting pictures with your press releases can sometimes help. Why not call us, the startinbusiness website, to find out how to send in a press release about your new business and how you hope to change the World. We always like to publish good stories about business start-ups. It's inspirational.

Appearing on the Telly.

For years, we have been helping new business people make contact with TV documentary makers looking to film business people whilst they start-up their business, find out which programmes are looking for a subject like you.

Direct Sales.

Telesales and Door-to-Door sales give you more control over your market than other methods of promotion. A team of sales people, in constant contact with customers and decision makers, is also a great research tool. Learn from their experience and adapt your products / services to suit. If you are going to be phoning potential customers using cold-calling or fax broadcast methods, make sure that your business telephone system is technically capable of identifying and barring calls to those households or sole traders who have signed up to the Telephone Preference Service or Fax Preference Service. You could face big fines if one of you slip up on this one!

The Internet.

Wow! This is a big topic. What did we do before the Net came along, eh?

Use the internet to make the most of your existing client base, attract customers and actively seek new customers (without using spam).

The net has revolutionised most aspects of business and life. It has opened up the World market to the smallest of businesses and sparked a revolution in business practices. It has taken a just few years to mature into something that, in the year 2000, a vast swath of people couldn't even imagine.

Gone are the days when you would ask your mate to post up a 'few web pages' to get your business an 'obligatory internet presence'.

Internet users expect far more from a web site these days and designing (even simple) sites has become far more complex.

So, if you don't have the necessary skills to to meet the demands of your visitors, you should be looking for some expert help from true professionals. Otherwise, your web site could be more of an embarrassing 'white elephant' than an asset.

A Word on Spam
Don't send any unsolicited emails to anyone. It is NOT good for business. Technology has advanced to curb spam. So, once you have sent one email to a potential customer that THEY regard as spam, it is likely that any other emails you send to them in the future will simply be diverted into their 'spam bucket' and will never see the light of day. This issue is also worth noting when choosing a domain name. Pick a name that hasn't been 'dragged through the mud' and blacklisted by the world's spam filters.

Think hard about how the internet can play a part in all aspects of your business' processes.

Those busineses that have, so far, under-estimated the power of internet are fading fast. If you haven't got a web presence yet......get one.

 




Further Information

Understanding the power of words
Advice on promotional copy writing by Lesley Ann Marston, Freelance Writer



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