Marketing is vital to any small-business owner

Tips For Small Business

November 09, 2008|By Stephen L. Rosenstein

What does "marketing" really mean for a small business? For you, it might include events, public relations, trade shows or advertising. But for other small businesses, it might mean different things, such as electronic newsletters, packaging, postcards and even hats, uniforms or name tags that employees wear.

Think of marketing not as a single action, but rather a combination of steps your business takes to identify, attract and retain profitable customers. Marketing is of vital importance to your business, so you want to make sure to do it right. That means preparing yourself properly before you spend money on marketing.

To prepare yourself for marketing, create a detailed profile of your ideal prospect. As you create your marketing message, aim it at that prospect and list the benefits he or she will receive. Be certain your marketing message highlights the specific knowledge and expertise you offer.

Put your marketing budget in proper perspective. You might, for example, think of marketing as your ace in the hole rather than merely a cost. Try to set a budget and a pace that lets you market continuously. Customers' memories are short, and they are bombarded with thousands of marketing messages and images daily. Your effort must be continuing or people will quickly forget.

A good place to find marketing help is MarketPower.com, a free Web site produced by the American Marketing Association. The site offers information on various topics including advertising, Internet marketing and research, strategy, public relations and items specific to small businesses.

Stephen L. Rosenstein is co-chairman of the Greater Baltimore SCORE Chapter No. 3. Call 410-962-2233 to speak to a SCORE counselor or visit www.scorebaltimore.org. To send a question to SCORE, e-mail smallbiz@baltsun.com.

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