First Steps in Small Business Marketing

February 27, 2012 by  Filed under: Marketing 

There are a few basic rules you must follow if you want to market successfully.

  • You must be a trustworthy company.
  • You must be a better company than other companies in some way.
  • You must know who your customers are or will be.
  • You must put your business’s name out in places where those people will learn about your company.
  1. List five reasons why should someone buy from you and not from someone else (your competition)?
  2. List five ways you will tell people about your company and why it is better than other companies.
  3. List five places people you want to talk to go for information. (Special magazines? Special Newspaper? Trade Journals? Certain Websites? Certain Events or Clubs?)

Why Should Someone Buy From You?

There are many reasons why someone will buy from you. It could be a lower price, a better quality product, a special feature your company offers, the speed a service is done, the personal touch your company offers, the better warranty or guarantee, etc.

The Louisville Library offers many free services online for researching the businesses that are competing with you. Make a list of what they offer and what you offer. Find the things that you are better at than they are and make a list.

Here are some good books to read for ideas: Purple Cow by Seth Godin, The Little Big Things by Thomas Peters, The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann

How Can You Tell People About Your Company?

This is one of the most exciting, changing parts about marketing today. It used to be you would have to spend lots of money on big advertisements to tell people about your company, but not any more! There are many very cheap or completely free ways to reach new customers.

Word of Mouth is almost entirely free! You may have to have some brochures and business cards to give to people so they can share the information about your company to other people. Tell your friends and family, go to places and hand out flyers. Join business groups and talk about your company. Volunteer to help in the community. You might offer a discount to anyone who brings in a new customer to you.

Some advertisements will work, but when you are small you should not spend a lot of money on things like coupon inserts in the newspaper. Putting up fliers on local community bulletin boards is free. Talk to companies that you could partner with. An organic grocery store might partner with a restaurant that uses organic food. See if they will let you leave some brochures for people to take if they are interested. If you own a building, put up signs. Classified listings are affordable and useful for some industries.

Hold events or classes and get the word out through friends, families, emails, flyers and posters. A cleaner might do a class on cleaning-chemical safety. A day-care might hold a ‘Parent & Child Party’ where even people who are not customers are welcome to come.

Here are some good books to read for ideas: Guerilla Marketing (Fourth Edition) by Jay Levinson, Tribes by Seth Godin, The Power of Who by Bob Beaudine.

Celia Triplett is a marketer and graphic designer on a mission to simplify design and marketing for small business owners. Visit her blog at for more tips and advice on selling businesses the right way.

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