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Successful Marketing For Small Business

Updated on March 20, 2011

If you're still relying on a Yellow Pages ad to draw in new clients, you may not be reaching nearly as many customers as you could be. Many small businesses are discovering the old standbys ads and direct mail just aren't making the grade in today's competitive market. Plus the new CAN-SPAM federal regulations have put the kibosh on just wild buckshotting of emails as spamming is now a very serious offense! A fresh slant on some old marketing techniques, along with a handful of new ideas, could help your business grow.

Branding may be the marketing buzzword of the 21st century, but there's no better way to put your facility's name before the audience you're trying to attract. Simply put, branding is that little something that is unique about you. Are you the best at serving your customers? Do you have the best selection at the lowest prices? Do you have extended hours? Whatever it is, you need to identify it and spread the word.

Your brand is everything from your services to your values to your company as a whole. Branding is a value-adding process. It is the act of communicating who you are and what makes you special with consistency. Too often small business owners aren't marketing their unique selling point. They will market their logo, name and address to a target segment. But where they're missing the boat is in communicating their unique selling point to their target market. They may know what makes their business special, but do their prospects know what makes them special?

To uncover what makes your small business different, interview your existing customers to find out what brought them to you. Ask them, what is it about our business that made you choose us over other ones in the area? That is what they need to pound home in every advertising campaign they do, every mailer, the website or newsletter, because that is what will separate them from the competition.

Advertising, from simple Yellow Page ads to fancy trifold brochures, has long been the core of marketing campaigns for many small business operations. Basically, there are two types of advertising: top-of-mind awareness or image building, and immediate response. Top-of-mind awareness advertising takes patience and consistency, because the goal is for your company's name and logo to become familiar to your prospects. Immediate-response advertising involves a specific action with a specific deadline. A coupon for a free week in the next 30 days would be an example of immediate-response advertising. 

An ad in the Yellow Pages is a prime example of image-building advertising. Yellow Pages ads are good for one type of audience: one that is looking for you at that time. However, a Yellow Pages ad will keep your image your name out there. When designing a Yellow Pages ad, keep this in mind:

  • Use lots of white space with a very large phone number
  • Avoid color. It's very costly and there's no proof that it attracts business
  • Only compete against your direct competitors
  • Highlight the uniqueness of your facility

The point of the ad is to get them to call. It's not to tell the whole story. You have the opportunity to tell them the whole story on the phone. For example, if you want to be known for how well you provide post sales service, that should be in your ad. But rather than outlining how you do this, put "Call and find out more" in the ad. This will generate interest. You need to find a couple of key messages that will get people to pick up the phone. However, you also have to be true to the message. Don't say you're affordable if you're not. Don't say you're experts at something if you're not.

Successful Marketing For Small Business, Part 2

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