Marketing occurs at every point someone comes in contact with your business, with the effect that businesses are marketing themselves far more than they think. Good or bad, these contact points constantly create impressions about your business to others.
As a business owner you need to be mindful of this, especially as it is often the seemingly small aspects of your business brand that creates a lasting impression. Business cards, phone manner, email signature, staff uniform and ease of sales process are just some of the small but important aspects of your business that contribute to your marketing.
The quieter time of year is perfect for taking a step back and looking at the many ways your business makes an impression and how you can improve your reputation as a constant marketer by looking after these touch points:
Who’s looking at you? Initially you need to take a look at your business through the eyes of your ideal client. Is your business visible to them? Ask yourself how your ideal client would know your business exists. If you don’t know, a marketing consultant can help you to position your business in front of the right people.
Get your name out there. Next have a look at your reputation online and in the media. Is there a buzz about your business? Is it the right kind of buzz? Consider engaging the services of a public relations (PR) agency to spread the word about your business and create a positive reputation.
Take care of the little things. Remember to take a look at everything that represents your business brand, from your voicemail message to your website and business cards. Be mindful that there may be things you overlook at first, for example, the design of your invoices.
Find the chain of communication. Look at your communication process and ensure there are deliberate steps in place to deal with enquiries and clients. Identify any roadblocks that make it hard for people to do business with you, or even obstacles that may make it difficult for clients to give you more business. Also identify any gaps in your communication and areas for improvement. Creating templates and consistent standards is a good way to start. Ensure your team understands and implements these systems (especially any new ones), and make it as systematic and easy as possible so it actually happens.
Overall, all your marketing should ensure your unique selling points and key values come across simply and clearly. It should be obvious that your business addresses the needs and/or desires of your ideal customer. Also make sure that it represents you well and caters to the preferred style of your target market, whether that’s professional and corporate, or fun and fresh.
What’s one telltale sign you notice that gives you a positive or negative impression of a business?