Elementary marketing tips for any business

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of the things we’re supposed to know already. So here are some basic marketing tips applicable to any business, in case you’ve forgotten or neglected the simple things.

Begin with the basics

Most companies will need some type of catalog, brochure, or sell sheet. Something that you can hand to prospects when they want to know more about what you do or offer. This piece generally also serves as an overview after your meeting. Make sure you have something but avoid the trap of trying to cram everything into a single piece. Marketing isn’t one and done, it’s a process.

Get Online

Build a website. It could be a simple one-page site that simply provides an outline of what you do and gives your address and phone number. But being online is imperative. A website is the center of most marketing today - since it’s the easiest to update and keep current. It’s the rare individual who doesn’t check a website before, during, or after they speak with you. So consider having a website a crucial part of your marketing mix.

Always ask for emails

It doesn’t matter what your business is… if you interact with a customer, get their email. Too often we sit with a client and they want to start sending emails to customers and prospects and we’ll ask if they have email addresses - inevitably they’ll say no. There’s virtually no business that can’t benefit from some type of email marketing, so it’s imperative that you collect email addresses. Be prepared, collect emails even if you think you’ll never need them.

Create a target customer

Frequently, one of the first steps we undertake with new clients, is we create a composite example of their target customer. A typical demographic profile reads something like this: married, female, age 25 to 45, middle-class, median household income of $60-100K. But this is impersonal, so we find it helpful to change the concept into someone relatable - we’ll create a persona that can be identified with. We’ll create Sally, our married mother of two, living in the suburbs, she’s 35, college educated, drops the kids at school & daycare, works, and then shuffles the kids to activities in the evening.

We’ve just made an abstract concept more personable. It’s easier to think…what would Sally like? Instead of asking what would our married, middle-class female, age 25 to 45, with a median household income of $60-100K want? We then examine what Sally’s day would consist of to see how we can reach her. Do you know someone like Sally that might buy from you? Then examine how you’d reach others like them.

Budget first

After we’ve embodied the target customer, and determined how we might reach her, we then work up a budget and schedule. Your budget often limits your options. Traditional print and media advertising is expensive and is dropping in its effectiveness. New options may provide more bang for the buck. Consider local online advertising, participating in social media (carefully), or local cable advertising. Get creative, but keep your message consistent and on target.

Market consistently

Thomas Edison’s old adage “invention is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” can be applied to marketing as well. It’s far too easy to slack or abandon marketing when you’re busy or when budgets are tight - but these are the times when it’s most important to continue marketing. The rule of thumb, it takes seven impressions before you connect with a prospect at the right time - so make sure your message and marketing is hitting them regularly and frequently.

May 05, 2009

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