Back in the day when homework was on my to-do list, I often got conflicting advice from my parental unit.
Mom adhered to the laid-back philosophy. She opened escape hatches by pointing out that everything didn't have to be done at the same time, that it was acceptable to do some things now and put off other things until later. Dad was the “get ‘er done” guy. Even if some projects weren't due until the end of the semester, he pushed hard for jumping in on day one and wrapping things up right now.
I took all the advice I was offered. How much advice I took from either of those doing the offering depended on the known tolerances of my teachers, whether or not social engagements might be looming on my horizon, and how closely I was being monitored for follow-up to the advice given.
Businesses get the same homework assignment every day. The assignment is to stay in business by improving sales, reaching new audiences, retaining existing clients and customers and staying ahead of the competition.
Here are some tips that may make your homework easier:
Marketing can be fun when it's done creatively and enthusiastically. But it comes to marketing, one size does not fit all media or reach all audiences. Before jumping into the deep end of the pool, share ideas to get feedback from focus groups, customers and prospects. Then adapt strategies and proceed.
Use business peers to promote your products and services. Cross-marketing is very effective and may open doors to a wide range of potential new customers. Find businesses that would benefit from your product or services and that benefit you and/or your customers and work together.
Follow up with customers after they have made a purchase. When they get a note or email thanking them for their patronage, they'll remember you the next time around. Also take this opportunity to ask how you are doing. Get their feedback while it's still fresh in their minds.
While reaching out for new customers, don't neglect existing ones or take them for granted. Use social media and your website to keep them engaged.
While using social media don't neglect other tried and true marketing tools. Success depends on a variety of delivery platforms.
Sponsor seminars and open houses. Hosting an event is a great way to gain face time with key customers and prospects. It's also a good way to keep your business front and center in the community.
Seize opportunities to increase your visibility. Publicize new hires, promote new products and showcase your business changes in the media and on your website. Keep your company's name and image in the public eye.
Become a valuable resource. Provide information and solutions for prospects and customers. Help them do things faster, easier and less expensively. Every time they return for more help, you have another opportunity to make a sale.
Anticipate change. Today's economy and rapidly changing technologies are forcing businesses to face new realities. Expect change and prepare for it. Don't wait for sales to drop off before taking action. Don't put off doing that homework assignment.
I still have a tendency to put off work that I don't consider fun or interesting. I might be tempted to take a long walk on a beautiful day, or dally over lunch with good friends. But I always hear my dad's voice in my head saying, "Don't put off until tomorrow what you could do today." Message received and noted.
Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising.
Visit www.comm-concepts.com or call 303-651-6612.