Marketing is all about building a presence, name recognition and
credibility through various methods. Here are nine things you can do to
get a new business off the ground.
Just as investments are only a part of a financial plan, a marketing
plan is only part of your business plan. Marketing is the means and
methods that get your name out to the public; advertising is only a part
of marketing. Initially, you should have a plan for at least the first
year of operations on a month-by-month basis. With a new business, your
marketing is about building a presence, name recognition, and credibility
through various methods.
Have a logo, business cards, letterhead, and a brochure designed and
professionally printed. Steer clear of perforated, self-printed business
cards. Image is important and you don't want clients thinking you were up
late the night before printing your business cards.
Send a press release to all newspapers (local dailies and weeklies)
in your area announcing the opening of your new business. If you've got a
niche, stress it. Keep the press release short, double-space it, and make
sure it's grammatically correct. A typo in a press release is like cutting
your own throat.
Web site. Have it professionally done and make it an extension
of your advertising and print materials. Prospective clients should be
able to go to your site for more information than what they see in your
print ads or get from your brochure. Revisit your website regularly to
update and improve it. You don't need a counter on a website, but make
sure your web hosting company provides a means for you to check traffic so
you can monitor your marketing efforts.
Get your name in the paper. Write letters to the editor and send out
regular press releases that include a professional press photo (readers
love to associate a face with the name they're reading about). If you are
do something new, such as publish a newsletter for clients, join a board
or professional organization or volunteer, use it as a tool to communicate
with the press.
Advertise in your local or regional newspapers. Here's the key to
successful advertising: size isn't everything--frequency is. Don't place
the biggest ad you can afford if you can only afford to run it for two
months. That won't do it. While in real estate, it's location, location,
location, in advertising, it's repeat, repeat, repeat. Of course, your
message has to solve a problem for the consumer or invite them to call
you, but it should be regular. Always use your web address in your
newspaper ads and remember point three above: your website is there to
give more information. Advertising doesn't have to be display ads; simple
classified ads are also effective as long as they are repetitive.
Join the Chamber of Commerce and go to meetings, luncheons, and
fundraisers. Meet the business community and let them know what you do.
Networking is your best advertising.
Volunteer to join the library board, the arts council, or the school
board. Get involved and get your name out there. It's the best way to meet
Compile a list of centers of influence and send them quarterly
newsletters or problem-solving tools.
Write articles and send them to business editors. Business journals
are often looking for usable articles. If you can write, do it. You'll get
your name in the paper as a credible source, which is a lot more
beneficial than any size ad you can pay for. Even with an aggressive and
comprehensive marketing strategy, it will probably take two to three years
to build a business from scratch, but it will be worth it!
2003 by Robin Vaccai-Yess. Robin is a Certified Financial Plannerô and a Certified
Divorce Planner. She is the founder of Center for Financial Wellness,
Inc., a fee-only financial planning and advisory services firm based in
New Paltz, New York.