Marketing is Key

Original article written by Stephen Fear for the Urban Times November 2013.

Marketing your business properly is essential if you are to position it for growth.

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People often confuse marketing with selling. It is important to differentiate and understand these two flip sides of the same coin. Marketing is the function of delivering leads to your business. Selling is the function of closing the deal and receiving payment for doing so.

Marketing includes such things as, creation of your business card, stationary, advertising, social media positioning and even the way you look yourself.

Effective marketing is about being congruent in everything you do and sending out messages that all end up in the same place.

Let me give a short example of what I mean. Imagine you want to open an agency selling, or letting residential property, and consider your business plan from a marketing perspective.

Clearly people wanting to buy or rent real estate have a certain income level but it’s essential you identify where the bulk of your buyers will come from so that you can focus your marketing dollar to maximum effect. No point spending a small fortune advertising in the wrong place or developing the wrong look. Focus is key.

So having decided who your customer is the next stage is to give the business the look and feel which is most attractive to him or her.

Without delving to deeply into the subject due to limited space in this article it should be understood that understanding this important of the new business disciplines is crucial to your future success.

If your likely purchaser is a 30 year old professional looking to buy their first apartment then developing a profile for your business that appeals to that specific potential customer is essential.

Website Creation- Its worth talking to a web designer who understands your market and even considering which font might appeal, including colour.

Congruency is essential. Which colour will appeal to your customer? if you are about to invest in a high street office its worth commissioning a survey, or doing one yourself, to decide your customer profile, before and not after signing the lease. Do customers of this type walk, cycle or drive by? if they drive think about siting your office near a zebra crossing where they have more time to read anything you put in the window while waiting to move forward. Make it large enough so they can see it easily and include your logo and phone number and web address. Make sure it’s illuminated after dark.

Once you have decided on which colour to use as the dominant one, use it in all your marketing materials, use it everywhere, including cars, stationary, adverts, website, even the clothes you wear. or at least clothing accessories such as ties, scarfs or umbrellas. Decide before you spend money and not after whether the colour will look good on all your marketing materials. It might look good on your website but does it look good on your car?

Use Easy to Say Words

Another important point is to decide how you or your staff will answer the phone. Make sure the name of your business isn’t complicated to say, or too long. People generally don’t like repeating words they feel uncomfortable with so if you are marketing to people whose first language is English use a known English word, or words for your company name. Make sure that they are easy to say because this little tip will increase word of mouth recommendations.

All of this is designed to deliver the customer to your door and make them feel comfortable when they get there. In other words preparing them for your sales people so that the job of closing the sale is easier.

People like buying off people who portray an image of stability and reliability. Creating this initial feel good factor right throughout your business is vital, as is being honest and delivering on the marketing promise.

To succeed in business long term you need to be congruent in your message and its delivery.

Here are some bullet points which might help…

  1. Write out your marketing plan before you do anything else
  2. Consider which colour to use as your dominant corporate background
  3. Use a company name which is easy to say for your prospective customer base and for people who might recommend you
  4. Make sure all your marketing materials match and are congruent with your message
  5. Find a web designer who specialises in your industry and understands its nuances.
  6. Consider all angles before and not after you sign a lease for offices or shops. Is it really in the right place?

Stand outside your potential new premises, watch the crowds and think whether your customer will be walking, cycling or driving and use this information to consider whether your initial thoughts regarding the premises stand the test positively.

Marketing should always be a first thought and never an afterthought.

Original article for the Urban Times November 2013.

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