Good marketing is key to every startup, and with smart choices, it doesn't have to break the bank. Larry Mersereau, author of Stand Out! How to Position and Grow Your Business, offers these tips to jump-start your promotional campaign.
Find Realistic Prospects. Focus marketing on your most likely customers; e.g., don't run an ad in a community newspaper if only a small percentage of readers will buy. "Focus your communication on [your target customers] exclusively," says Mersereau. "That's balancing the two dimensions of reach and repetition. People have to see you over and over to get familiar with you."
Invest in Quality Marketing Materials. Print nice business cards, brochures and direct-mail pieces. Rent a highly targeted mailing list, says Mersereau, then design an inexpensive but effective postcard with your marketing message.
Use Bold Headlines. Some people mistakenly put their company name where a headline should be. "The first thing [prospective customers] see or hear is what will make them decide whether they will stop and listen to anything else," says Mersereau. "Your headline needs to be about the prospects and the benefits to them."
Be Consistent. It takes seven exposures for people to get to know you, says Mersereau, and each time your message should be the same. If your messages change all the time, prospects won't recognize you, and all your momentum will be lost.
Offer a Freebie. Your marketing should generate leads, so offer something free, like a booklet or coupon, to your most desired prospects--but make sure it's something of value and interest to them. Says Mersereau, "Make it worth their while to [take action]."