How do I improve the marketing of my business?

Q. I have a great business, but I’m struggling to get the message across. How do I improve the marketing of my business to generate more enquiries?
A. You may have the greatest service/product in the world, but unless you shout about it you’ll never achieve your true potential. Struggling to get the message across is a common problem for many companies and it’s this issue that kicks-off our eight-step plan to improving your business, as discussed in last week’s dilemma.
Step one is PR and marketing – how do I get people to know about my business? Start by asking yourself three questions: who am I talking to? What am I saying? And, how am I telling people? Answering these questions will help to identify any gaps, tease out mixed messages, and open up new routes to market.
Who’s your target audience? Knowing who your customer is and identifying potential customers guarantees that your message is not being wasted. Once you’ve built up a profile of your customer you can work out what they read, who influences them and where they go. A plan of action will now start to emerge.
What are you telling your customers? Talk to everyone in the business about what your core functions are and the key benefits that you provide. Agree on a strong set of messages and make sure that everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet.
How are you getting these messages across to people? Once you know who you need to talk to and what it is you’re saying, the final piece in the jigsaw is getting that message out in the open. There are many ways to communicate with your audience – the key is a drip, drip effect of positive news stories that will help to build up brand loyalty and enhance your credibility. Building up strong relationships with local, regional, trade and national media, is a great way of communicating with your customers. Also, consider bold and punchy direct mailers that showcase what you’ve done for other clients. Other effective ways to get in front of the right people includes: networking groups, sponsoring events and establishing third party link-ups. Getting into bed with organisations that already have brand recognition in your field is a sure-fire way of winning your customers’ respect.
These three questions will help to build up a strong action plan to conquer the first hurdle in the sales and marketing process. Next week, step two: advertising – which publications and websites will get my business in front of the right audience?

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