Everybody who owns a business quickly learns that marketing is the name of the game. If you aren't getting new clients, you aren't making money, and your business will suffer. I've even seen and heard people talk about the idea that great marketing and a mediocre product beats mediocre marketing and a great product every day of the week. It's not necessarily fair, but it's a fact.
If you are a business owner, then, it's important to understand the key to effective marketing - a plan. That's right. All it takes is a plan. But it's got to be a comprehensive plan, and it's got to be followed for it to actually work. Here's an example.
I'm a criminal defense attorney. My typical client has never needed to use my services before. When they need me, they usually turn to friends, family, or the internet for help. For me, that means I need to have make sure my marketing is strong on at least two fronts - the internet, and referrals.
But it doesn't just stop there. My law firm internet marketing plan is actually broken down even more than that. There are two fronts to fight there. First, of course, is the exposure on internet search engines. This means being at the top of the organic search results (when you type something into Google for example), being at the top of the local map results, and being active in the advertising arena as well. The way I see it, the more exposure I have on the front page of Google the better.
But it doesn't just stop there. Once I get people to my website I have to get them to call me. That means I have to have the kind of information that helps them know who I am and what I can do for them, and I have to give them instructions on what to do next (referred to as a call to action).
On the referral side, it's important that I let people know I value their referral business and welcome it. It's also okay to sweeten the pot for people so that they are inclined to remember me if necessary (a discount on services or something like that). I also have put together a monthly newsletter that I send out. It has important new information, important old information, and helps to remind people that I'm out there and that if anyone needs my help I'm out here.
If you run a small business and don't have an effective marketing plan, chances are you aren't going to be in business for long. So take the time to think through what you need to do, and then execute.