Does your nearest competitor seem to be doing better than you?
If so then they could be promoting their business differently to you. Do your promotions consist mainly of advertising and maybe leaflet drops?
You see, these traditional methods can work to some degree but true business promotion is different to traditional advertising.
I have seen business promotion described as 'the activity of informing, persuading and influencing the customers' purchase decisions'. I would say that is advertising.
No, business promotion is exactly what it states, a method of promoting your business not a means of selling your products.
What's the difference?
Selling your products is a one off affair with a hit or miss chance of your customer returning and making repeat purchases.
Business promotion, on the other hand, consists of identifying your customer, informing them of your business and products then, and this is where it is different to advertising, you ensure they remember you and your business. This last point is probably more important than making a sale, initially.
Obviously you want to make sales but on your first contact, with a customer, you want them to like you and your business and want to return to you again and again. If this means missing that initial sale then that is how it has to be.
If you feel that your product or service isn't what your prospective customer is looking for then it is far better to recommend them to another business, that can help them with their immediate requirements, rather than persuade them to buy a product from you that they do not need.
By offering advice, at a loss to you, your prospect is far more likely to remember you and eagerly return to you when they believe your services are more suited to their needs.
I digress slightly here but the point to remember is that getting new customers is difficult and can be costly. Therefore, once you have them look after and nurture them. Now back to business promotion.
Do you now see how advertising is just a method of attracting new customers whereas business promotion not only attracts new customers but also lets them know more about you, your business and how you can be a useful supplier to their needs.
So how can you correctly promote your business?
Everything that informs people about you and your business whilst at the same time conveying a good image is business promotion.
However to really make your business promotion effective you should make it stand out and offer your prospect something positive and outstanding to remember you by.
Look at Richard Branson and how he has promoted his business, Virgin.
* First he gets noticed by attempting record breaking adventures.
* Whether its a boat or a balloon his company's name appears in very large letters across the bulk of his craft.
* The activities, he takes part in, create human interest, newsworthy, stories that are covered worldwide.
* During the inevitable, pre-event and after event, interviews he is always smiling and comes across as a friendly, likeable, person.
* In addition to all this he is well known for his customer fairness and staff parties.
So, I propose you go out and get yourself a very big balloon and then...
Seriously, unless you are promoting a multi-million dollar business you needn't go quite that far. There are lessons to be learned from Richard though.
For your business promotion activities:-
* Treat yourself and your business as one. Always be recognized as the owner of your business. In this way promoting either yourself or your business brings recognition to your business.
* Participate in projects that will get you, and hence your business, noticed in a positive way. Look for events that will get news coverage, even if its just your local newspaper.
* Display your business name where ever possible but always make certain it is seen in a positive, helpful way. For instance, only display your company name on your vehicle if your vehicle is kept immaculate. A dirty car with your business name on it will do more harm than good.
* Create and maintain a personal image that will appeal to your prospective customers. An image that will include honesty, fairness and a helpful nature.
* Build friendships with all your business contacts. Help them, where ever possible, and you will be the first name they think of when talking to their contacts about your type of business or service.
* Some of your contacts may write newsletters or attend or present seminars. Just one mention of your business in one of these outlets could bring you a lot of attention. The ultimate to this is to belong to a Mastermind group of people in your industry.
In conclusion business promotion is more than just advertising and it is far more effective in the long term.
Don't look on visitors to your business as customers but as long term clients.
Look after them, treat them well and give free advice, help and even the odd, low cost, product occasionally.
You are your business and your business is you, ensure you both project an honest, fair and helpful image.
Display your business name and image where ever and when ever possible as long as it gives a positive image.
Build friendships with contacts and influential people within your industry and try to join a Mastermind group.
Finally, don't think advertising, think promotion. There's a subtle difference but it's a difference worth knowing.
Paul Knauss creates products and writes specifically for offline small business. Qualified in both International Trade & Computer Engineering his products & writings are varied and highly targeted towards helping offline small businesses. http://www.profitboostertools.com/pkbio.htm
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