How to Market Your Small Business Successfully


The most important part of your business is your customers, the people who buy your product or service. The purpose of a business is to make a profit, and profit results from creating, keeping, and serving customers in a cost-effective way. All suc­cessful businesses, whether large or small, have an intense fo­cus on customers. Successful business owners are interested in what their customers want and on how they can satisfy them. They continually look for ways to provide better customer ser­vice. Remember: You want your company to help your custom­ers solve their problems, achieve their goals, or satisfy their needs. To accomplish this, you have to act as a consultant for your customers and position yourself as a problem solver.

In America 80 percent of business lost by companies is not the result of high prices but of poor service and apathy after the sale. Such losses can become very expensive and, in many cases, put a company out of business. It costs a company more money to market to new prospects than it does to existing customers. Building a loyal customer base should be the primary focus of how you do business, because it is your customers who will keep you in business.

Before you can think about keeping customers, however, you have to reach prospects and turn them into customers. To do this you have to look at some unwritten rules for marketing success.

1. Forget conventional wisdom that says you need a lot of money to succeed. Many successful American businesses have been built with very little money. Instead of thinking you have to spend money on expensive newspaper, maga­zine, radio, and TV ads, concentrate on constantly improv­ing your products or services and on alternative, low-cost marketing techniques to attract more prospects.

2. Ask yourself why someone would want to buy your prod­uct or service rather than a competitor’s. Determine ex­actly what it is that makes your product or service differ­ent and better. For example, it could be your price, quality, service, expertise, hours, or location. If you don’t offer a distinction between your product and your competition’s, create one. To succeed you have to look for an unfilled market niche or need and fill it. Once you find the right niche, pinpoint your prospects and select the best ways to reach them.

3. Identify exactly who is most likely to purchase your prod­uct or service. The more you know about your prime pros­pects the easier it will be to market to them. To obtain this information, form a detailed profile of your prime pros­pects. Develop a list of about a dozen things you need to know about them. For example, you should know their age, sex, marital status, occupation, education, location, income levels, and favorite hobbies, books, and media. You also need to know how your product or service will benefit prospects. Many businesses fail in their first year because of limited market research. Don’t you be one of them.

4. Identify your big benefit. Prospects will ask, “What’s in it for me?” whether you hear them or not. Review the fea­ture that distinguishes your product or service from your competitor’s. This is also known as your Unique Selling Proposition, or USP Build all your marketing around your USP.

5. Vigorously promote to your prime prospects. Target your prime prospects with enticing and persuasive sales mes­sages.

6. Follow your marketing plan. Your marketing must be a consistent promotional program. If something is not work­ing well, test similar ideas. But your basic marketing ideas, identity, and messages must be consistent with the mar­ket plan you have developed.

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About the Author: Marie Mayle is a contributor to the MegaHowTo team, writer, and entrepreneur based in California USA. She holds a degree in Business Administration. She loves to write about business and finance issues and how to tackle them.

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