Consider the ways you communicate with your customers.

Ensure you have enough budget.

When putting together your business plan set aside 5-10% of your budget for promotion.

Before you do any promotion make sure your house is in order.

Create a marketing plan clearly setting out your objectives and what you are going to do to achieve them.  Know how your customers will first make contact with your company and ensure these touch-points express the brand values. Ensure your staff are well trained and know what is expected of them. Spend as much money on your website as you can afford, take professional advice and test it. Promoting your business can be expensive and having attracted a prospective customer to your website/store/office you don’t want to put them off with poor first impressions.

Advertising is gambling.

John Wanamaker, a US merchant back in the 19th century famously said, ‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”  Never spend more promoting your company than you are prepared to lose. Web based analytics make it easier to understand your customers which it turn can reduce the risk of loss and increase your return on investment.

Choose your medium.

Choose your medium to fit your audience, target area and budget. Research your chosen media to ensure that you are hitting as many people in your target audience as possible for your allocated budget. Do not try and invest in everything. Choose a limited number of media and do them well rather than spreading yourself thin over many. Ensure any creative work fits in with the medium used and is targeted towards your desired audience.

Press Releases are a free way of getting messages to an audience.

Take into consideration that media companies can receive hundreds of press releases every day. Ensure the content of press releases is both newsworthy and engaging to get noticed.

Advertising messages should be simple, direct and form an emotional connection with the audience.

They should reflect your brand values and be consistent with all other marketing activity. Advertising messages fall into two categories:

  • Strategic – these are messages that are generic in nature and inform the audience of a product and its benefits. There is no immediacy or call to action.
  • Tactical – these messages are highly targeted to a specific audience, have a clear call to action and contain a compelling reason to buy immediately.
Any printed materials should be to the highest quality you can afford.

The cheaper the feel of a handout or brochure, the more likely they will be thrown away. Don’t be tempted to use all the space. Word heavy printed materials put people off reading them.

Responsibly collect email addresses and send engaging newsletters.

As well as selling your products within your newsletters, make sure there is enough other content to give people a reason to open them. Use an email distributor rather than sending emails direct to avoid spamming blocks.

Sign up to your competitor’s newsletters to see how they are communicating with their customers and learn from what they do.

Invoices, receipts etc.

Remember that all the paperwork you provide for others can be utilised to reinforce your brand messages.