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Cost-Effective Ways to Market Your Business Cost-Effective Ways to Market Your Business

11 Feb, 2009 By: Janet Holian imageSource

Cost-Effective Ways to Market Your Business Cost-Effective Ways to Market Your Business

Your customers are your livelihood.  You need them to buy your products and
use your services on a regular basis. They know who you are, but do they think
of you when the need arises?  How can you market your company without breaking
the bank?  This step-by-step guide will help you grow your business through
marketing in a cost-effective manner.

Define Yourself

The first step is to determine your brand.  A brand is the identity of your
organization.  It is what people think of when they see your company name.  No
one element makes up a brand. It’s a patchwork of multiple factors, some
tangible and some not, that tell your customers what you stand for and the type
of products or services they will receive when doing business with you. 
Whatever you do, define your brand and ensure its conveyed in all materials.

Second, develop a powerful logo.  The logo of your company is often the first
thing someone sees.  Do not take it for granted.  It should communicate the
values of your company—strong, dedicated, customer focused, etc.—and be on all
of your marketing and branding materials.

The third step is to design and print your marketing materials including
business cards, letterhead, brochures, note cards and post cards. Consistency is
key and all materials should have the same look and feel. Don’t underestimate
the power of the business card when determining which products to incorporate
into your marketing plan.  It is often the first thing someone sees when you
meet them for the first time and they are you when you aren’t there. Make sure
your business cards are high-quality, full-color and make an immediate impact. 
Use the back side of the business card for a map to your office or special
coupon to drive more sales.  If you leave the back of your business card blank,
it’s a lost marketing opportunity.

Promote Yourself

Once you know who you are as a company and what you want to convey, now it’s
time to promote yourself.  This should be done in several ways. Stay in front of
your customers every day and look for cost-effective options with staying
power.  Business card magnets are a great way to ensure that your customers will
place your business and contact information in a frequently viewed location like
the refrigerator. Also consider other giveaways listing your company name and
contact information.  The more you can stay top of mind, the better off you will

It is also important to go the extra mile and distribute your contact
information anywhere you can.  Design bright, colorful postcards that can be
posted on bulletin boards all around town or handed out at tradeshows,
conventions or networking events.  Consider vertical cards to stand out from the
crowd.  Include eye-catching photos or illustrations related to your business
and include discounts to encourage people to respond. Good email campaigns are
one thing, but printed cards leave a lasting impression.

In addition to posting cards, design a direct marketing campaign to existing
customers that makes an impact.  Align your campaign with your brand and look
for high-impact, full-color postcards that inform customers of your latest
successes or upcoming sales.  The design of the cards is important so in this
instance, also consider vertical cards instead of horizontal ones to stand out. 
The frequency of the communication is important.  Mail your customer base twice
a month for the best response.  If you have time, identify an excellent list
broker and locate lists that make sense for your business.  Direct marketing to
potential customers can also be an effective way to grow sales.

Build Your Business

Now that you have customers, it is important to use them to build your
business. To accomplish this, customers must feel appreciated. Let’s face it,
there’s no substitute for a handwritten note. They are inexpensive and have a
strong impact.  Sending handwritten cards to key customers

for special sales or discounts is very effective.  Handwritten thank you
notes are also appreciated and make a lasting impression because they show that
you go the extra mile.

Also, don’t forget the holidays. Holiday cards are an important way to let
your customers know that you appreciate them.  Pick high-quality,
cost-effective, color cards.  Make sure your logo and company messaging are
integrated into the cards. Consider sending cards for Thanksgiving or customer
birthdays to stand out from the crowd.  If your business is seasonal or
cultural, use holiday cards to celebrate related holidays like St. Patrick’s Day
or the beginning of summer.

While handwritten communication really enables you to stand out, do not
forget to communicate with your customers via email in addition to regular
mail.  Match your e-signature to your business card with unique e-business
cards—electronic versions of your business cards that are included in every

And finally, encourage referrals.  Your customers are your best sales force
and getting them to speak for you is extremely effective.  Encourage customers
to forward contact information via email or in person.  This is an excellent way
to increase your customer base. Consider a referral program that offers a
discount or entrance into a contest to anyone who refers a successful sale. 

No matter your budget, these simple tips will enable you to keep your
company’s name in front of your customers and get your name in front of new
customers to directly impact your bottom line for years to come.

Janet Holian is President of VistaPrint Europe, a leading online supplier
of high-quality graphic design services and customized printed products to small
businesses and consumers.  For more ideas on making your small business look
professional, visit www.vistaprint.com.

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