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What is marketing all about?

Marketing is all about exposure of your business; advertising to encourage sales and growth. Good marketing should generate business opportunities. The customer needs to know who you are and what you do.

Marketing is necessary for on-going exposure of your business to encourage sales. So when you can't find the finances for that costly television campaign what can you do? Or, you discover your business isn't benefiting from that costly billboard and television campaign - what alternatives are available?

Internet Marketing

Internet marketing can be carried out by e-mail, direct internet advertising on selective sites and tele-marketing. E-mail marketing can be speculative or addressed to a selective customer base. It can be about saying hello and keeping the customer up-to-date on new products, services or offers. It can take the form of an invitation, loyalty points or credits. It's important that there is structure in the way it is carried out i.e. seasonal, monthly, quarterly, festive, new product launch, big opening, entertainment etc.

General Marketing

Internet marketing can be carried out in many ways in-conjunction with SEO including, internet advertising, television, radio, newspaper, leaflet drops, billboards, taxi cabs, public transport, exhibitions, displays, promotions agencies, etc. There are endless ways in which to advertise your business. Of major importance is to ensure people are aware of you and what you do. Persistence is a key factor as well as measuring feedback.

Customer base

Who is the customer? The customer is anyone that buys from you or anyone you supply business to. Employees are a good source of custom if your business is department stores. Also third parties in the supply chain. Good PR is vital, in-house as well as over the counter. Identifying specific customer bases requires some understanding of your product and who would benefit from that product. For example, if you own a hotel, your trade may involve holiday makers, various types of business traveller and passing trade. To market your hotel and the area you see as your niche market should be targetted, by advertising on relevant linked sites, timing is important to ensure your campaign starts early enough to catch summer business, for example. It may also be beneficial to advertise in trade magazines, brochures, news papers. Promotional items and fun nights also help with PR. Alternative and support marketing for a broader customer focus may generate more interest when business is slow.

How do you know if a campaign if successful?

Simply, if you own a shop and decide to market your business on the internet, hypothetically you should see an instant to grandual increase in customer numbers. Increased customer numbers equals opportunity. If a customer is looking for a specific product such as the products you may sell, the customer may search the internet for those products before they choose where to shop or order direct.

To gain the best insight into what works best for your type of business, feedback from your customers can be helpful. This can take the form of a simple drop down box on an enquiry form or asking the question "where did you hear about us?" over the phone. This can also be followed up with statistics from SEO. The important thing is to get the data and do something about it to maximise your selling potential. It may also be useful to take recommendations from the customer.

Importantly, the customer is almost always right and if you fail to see this it could be to the detriment of your business.

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