Anyone who has run their own business will tell you that promoting the business to prospective clients is essential to gaining any sort of momentum, but when it comes to business marketing, methods of promotion vary.
In terms of finding and approaching prospective clients, some of the most common methods include:
Word-of-mouth: The simplest approach to marketing a business is by word-of-mouth. Ask your family and friends to tell people they know that you are in business. Word-of-mouth marketing is also effectively achieved through networking at events, so be sure to join relevant business associations, from local groups to those specific to your type of organization.
The personal approach: Is approaching a prospective client directly a useful or even appropriate way to market your business? A simple phone call or e-mail can grab someone’s attention, but you do need to limit this type of communication in order not to anger prospective clients. Aggressive marketing is a definite no, and an over-the-top approach is something that can ruin the reputation of a business, a reputation that can be hard to recover.
Traditional media: In many markets, traditional media remains strong and taking an advertisement out in a local newspaper can be a great way of getting your message out to large numbers of prospective clients, especially if your business is one that would appeal to the general public.
Online: The Internet has become an increasingly important part of the marketing mix and it is easy to see how Internet marketing would appeal to businesses, with its combination of low costs and global reach. It is important to remember, however, that Internet marketing needs to be approached professionally. Having a website is all well and good, but it needs to be kept up to date and it needs to be capable of ranking highly in search results. That means effective search engine optimization using the right key words and phrases and ensuring your site is mobile compatible for the growing number of smartphone and tablet users. Do not overlook social media, but ensure also that you have researched the social media platforms that your prospective clients use.
Once you have grabbed the attention of a prospective client, you should not assume that the job of promoting your business to them is done. You may want to meet with the client, or they may want to meet with you, to discuss in-depth what you can offer. In such a setting, having brochure and presentation materials showcasing your company is a great way of presenting a clear and concise message that immediately grabs the prospective client’s attention.
It is critical to remember that a successful marketing message requires consistent corporate branding – in other words, you can tailor your message to appeal to different customer groups but the overall message must remain the same. If the core identity of a business is compromised, that business can quickly start to lose a sense of what it is and what it does best. So, with whatever marketing medium you are using – Internet, word-of-mouth or poster printing – use the same core message and stick with it.
How you market your business to clients depends on your budget and the methods you employ, but whatever the method, a clear message is vital.