Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Four Essential Marketing Tools Every Small Business Needs

By Meg Raymore, SmallPond Studio

When it comes to marketing these days, it seems all you hear about is social media, blogs, and Web 2.0. But before you start twittering or setting up your Facebook account, take a moment to make sure you have a strong foundation of marketing tools. The following are four essentials that every small business should have in its arsenal and tips on how to make the most of them.

1. Business Cards
It goes without saying that this single tiny piece of paper is essential to anyone in business, but so often its importance is overlooked. Your business card is your first chance to introduce your business to a future customer or client. Not only should your logo be prominently displayed, but the card’s design itself should also fully reflect your company’s image. Don’t just think of your card as a place to list your contact info; rather, view it as a mini billboard or advertisement for your company.

You don’t need an odd-sized, die cut, or embellished (read: expensive) card to make a statement, but you should use all of the space available to you. Don’t forget the back; use it to highlight your website or list your products or services. And don’t shy away from full-color printing. Discounted printing options are available that make double-sided, four-color cards extremely affordable.

2. Website
Every business should have a website, even if it consists of just 3 – 4 pages. In addition to providing a place to fully describe all of your products or services, a website lends a certain legitimacy and credibility to your business. Most consumers today use the web to research products and services, and many prefer to visit your website rather than picking up the phone to call you. Thus, your website should clearly and concisely describe who you are, what you are selling, and most importantly, how customers can contact you. Once you have established an online presence, you should also look at how to maximize your exposure through search engine optimization.

3. Printed Sales Piece
Whether it’s a fancy catalog, an informational tri-fold brochure, a simple rack card, or a direct mail postcard, every company should have at least one printed sales piece that describes its products or services. Get the most mileage out of your marketing dollar by creating a piece that can be used in a variety of ways. For example, a tri-fold brochure fits nicely in a counter display rack but can also be conveniently included in a standard #10 envelope for a direct mail campaign. Similarly, a direct mail postcard can also be used as a handout at a tradeshow or conference. And both are handy “leave behinds” when visiting a client.

4. Email Marketing Template
Whether you manage it in-house or employ the help of a marketing firm, email marketing is one of the easiest, most cost-efficient ways to stay in contact with your customers. Create a customizable template and establish a distribution schedule that allows you to promote new products, offers, and discounts. Once the email has been sent out be sure to track the progress of your campaign (who opened it, who unsubscribed, which links were clicked) and make refinements to your strategy.

Today more than ever, the art of marketing is complex and offers many options; however, these basic tools will give you the foundation upon which to start building toward marketing success.

Contact SmallPond Studio to get started with your essential marketing tools. E-mail us at info@smallpondstudio.com or call 530-587-5625. For more marketing tips, visit SmallPond’s blog at blog.smallpondstudio.com.


Anonymous said...

Great article, thanks. I’ve also put together an article featuring ten marketing tips for small businesses, hope you find it useful:

Ten essential marketing tips for small businesses

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