How-To: 10 Low-Cost Business Marketing Tips

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Marketing VOX

What was that CPM rate again?

“When marketing is continuous and targeted rather than occasional and shotgun, business gets easier,” writes co-author Joanna Krotz of the Microsoft Small Business Kit.

“If prospects have a positive view of your wares and reputation before you call or before they start shopping, you’re that much closer to nailing a sale.”

Her 10 low-cost marketing tips follow:

1. Make customers feel special. People respond to recognition. Starbucks, for example, encourages baristas to learn the names of cafe regulars. A great marketer also makes it easy for customers to reach a competent person when they need help with a product or ask questions. Adequate customer support is often your first opportunity to garner loyalty among paying clients.

2. Distribute business cards worth keeping. Real estate agents sometimes affix their photos and information to magnetic calendars; Krotz suggests distributing notepads with your tagline and contact info on every page.

3. Stop marketing to unprofitable — or break-even — customers.

4. Cultivate an electronic mailing list. In the mutable days of “new media,” it is easy to forget how effective a direct mailer or e-newsletter can be. Invite customers and clients to open your mail with special offers, analytic data or other useful information.

5. Improve visibility at trade shows and conferences. It helps to be a (friendly) regular with sticky giveaways. Be selective: trade shows can be costly.

6. Mix business with pleasure … and charity. Don’t underestimate the viral power of hosting a charity baseball game in your community.

7. Create a destination online and offline. Customers gravitate to a pleasant experience. Krotz cites the Barnes & Noble cafes as an offline example. Also consider casual gaming destinations (if relevant to your product), quiz sections (OKCupid.com comes to mind) or even user forums, where users can engage each other.

8. Become an expert in your field. Why not give advice away? As familiarity with your name grows, so too will familiarity with your associated brand. Blogging, and getting involved with a relevant blogging community, makes this easy. Encourage syndication of useful content.

9. Build relationships with local media.

10. Maintain relationships with repeat customers. It costs less to retain a client, however disgruntled or inactive, than it does to acquire a new one. Send personal messages and offer opportunities to improve their brand experience with you.

This how-to was gleaned from Melissa Data’s coverage of “10 Low-Cost Ways to Market Your Business,” written by Joanna Krotz of MSN.com. Tips were synopsized, with thoughts contributed by the editor.

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