Marketing is like a personal exercise regimen. In the day to day bustle, it often gets pushed off the front burner or even falls between the cracks altogether. Here are some tips for making it an everyday priority:
1) Build a marketing tips library by getting a set of index cards and writing down one new marketing idea every day. It might come from Google Alerts, your own creativity, your competitor or a completely different source. Make capturing one marketing idea a day a habit.
2) Urge and promote referrals. If you are shy about asking for the business, you need to overcome it and get good at it. All of your employees need to become good at this. Insurance agents provide an example. Have you ever known an insurance agent who did not ask you to refer him or her to all of your friends? We think it is the first thing they learn, and it works. If you are strictly an Internet business, offer something that you will give away for a referral. Ask for a recommendation. Do not let this type of chance slip by without acting on it.
3) Hold a monthly marketing meeting with employees to go over your existing marketing plan and to ask for new marketing tips. Give a prize for the best tip of the month.
4) When you are on vacation or away on business, visit your counterparts in another city. Depending on your business, you may never compete with that other business, so the owner and you might be quite open to a discussion about what marketing ideas work, and what ideas work even better. Obviously, if you are an Internet business doing business all over the world, it would be tough to get another Internet person to spill the beans. Always visit retailers in other cities to learn what they are doing and to look at their displays. Always buy out of town newspapers when you are away, and look at the ads to discover new marketing tips. Also look at the Yellow Pages in your hotel room for ideas that have not penetrated your home market.
5) Constantly look at your pricing structure and monitor what your competition is doing.
6) Consider offering a credit card program.
7) Offer a discount program for regular clients.
8) Keep your media lists updated. If your business is using one of the Internet public relations distribution services, try to find out where your company's publicity is going. One company spent a rather large sum of money with an Internet public relations site, which boasted of thousands upon thousands of media outlets. After all was said and done, the company did a Google search and could not find its press releases listed anywhere.
9) Even if you hire a public relations person, develop your own skills in this area and then apply them. Because you know your business, you will see opportunities that the professional PR person can miss.
Information in this article was edited from a story that appeared on www.start-a-business-faq.com.
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