Nine Simple Marketing Tips
for New Business Owners

by Robin Vaccai-Yess  

Marketing is all about building a presence, name recognition and credibility through various methods. Here are nine things you can do to get a new business off the ground.

Just as investments are only a part of a financial plan, a marketing plan is only part of your business plan. Marketing is the means and methods that get your name out to the public; advertising is only a part of marketing. Initially, you should have a plan for at least the first year of operations on a month-by-month basis. With a new business, your marketing is about building a presence, name recognition, and credibility through various methods. 

1. Have a logo, business cards, letterhead, and a brochure designed and professionally printed. Steer clear of perforated, self-printed business cards. Image is important and you don't want clients thinking you were up late the night before printing your business cards.

2. Send a press release to all newspapers (local dailies and weeklies) in your area announcing the opening of your new business. If you've got a niche, stress it. Keep the press release short, double-space it, and make sure it's grammatically correct. A typo in a press release is like cutting your own throat.

3. Get a Web site. Have it professionally done and make it an extension of your advertising and print materials. Prospective clients should be able to go to your site for more information than what they see in your print ads or get from your brochure. Revisit your website regularly to update and improve it. You don't need a counter on a website, but make sure your web hosting company provides a means for you to check traffic so you can monitor your marketing efforts.

4. Get your name in the paper. Write letters to the editor and send out regular press releases that include a professional press photo (readers love to associate a face with the name they're reading about). If you are do something new, such as publish a newsletter for clients, join a board or professional organization or volunteer, use it as a tool to communicate with the press.

5. Advertise in your local or regional newspapers. Here's the key to successful advertising: size isn't everything--frequency is. Don't place the biggest ad you can afford if you can only afford to run it for two months. That won't do it. While in real estate, it's location, location, location, in advertising, it's repeat, repeat, repeat. Of course, your message has to solve a problem for the consumer or invite them to call you, but it should be regular. Always use your web address in your newspaper ads and remember point three above: your website is there to give more information. Advertising doesn't have to be display ads; simple classified ads are also effective as long as they are repetitive.

6. Join the Chamber of Commerce and go to meetings, luncheons, and fundraisers. Meet the business community and let them know what you do. Networking is your best advertising.

7. Volunteer to join the library board, the arts council, or the school board. Get involved and get your name out there. It's the best way to meet people.

8. Compile a list of centers of influence and send them quarterly newsletters or problem-solving tools.

9. Write articles and send them to business editors. Business journals are often looking for usable articles. If you can write, do it. You'll get your name in the paper as a credible source, which is a lot more beneficial than any size ad you can pay for. Even with an aggressive and comprehensive marketing strategy, it will probably take two to three years to build a business from scratch, but it will be worth it!

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© 2003 by Robin Vaccai-Yess. Robin is a Certified Financial Plannerô and a Certified Divorce Planner. She is the founder of Center for Financial Wellness, Inc., a fee-only financial planning and advisory services firm based in New Paltz, New York.

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