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  1. #1

    Default The Importance of Marketing for Small Businesses

    To be successful in marketing means having a marketing plan. Large companies have plans with hundreds of pages; small companies can get by with just a few sheets.

    Now of course we all know that plans can often go wrong. How can you possibly know what's going to happen 12 months or five years from now? Why spend time on a plan that might go wrong, isn`t it just a waste of time? If you don't plan, you're doomed, and an inaccurate plan is far better than no plan at all.

    Marketing covers a lot of areas

    Market research, for instance, can help to provide relevant data that will help solve marketing problems a business will encounter. In the start-up phase this is essential. Conducting thorough market surveys is the foundation of any successful business. In fact, strategies such as market segmentation (identifying specific segments within a market) and product differentiation (creating an identity for your product or service that separates it from your competitors') would be impossible to develop without market research.

    Here are just some ways to make contact with potential or existing clients:

    Direct marketing

    This means any unsolicited contact your business makes with existing or potential customers in order to generate sales or raise awareness.

    It's usually most cost-effective form of marketing. Direct mail,leaflet drops, telemarketing and email marketing - they all allow the accurate targetting of your customers.

    But, to get the response rates you want and ensure you do not contact individuals who have decided they do not want to receive direct marketing mailings you must prepare very carefully..

    Your database

    It`s far easier and cheaper to sell to existing customers than finding new ones. That's why your customer database is one of your most valuable assets.

    What information does your database currently hold? A list of customer contacts is a start - but more specific information about their needs and interests makes your marketing more effective. This data might include:

    * ordering behaviour - dates, frequency and timing of orders
    * order types - type and quantity of goods or services ordered and their value
    * your total annual sales - the margin on these sales and their payment history
    * distribution details - postcode, type of area (eg urban or rural)
    * personal profile of individual consumers - age, gender and details of their lifestyle or socio-economic status

    Getting the right information is essential in targeting your campaign. With the right software you can use your data to send mailings to groups with specific characteristics - men aged between 18 and 22 who live within a three-mile radius of your shop, for example.

    But remember that data-protection and electronic communication laws cover how you hold and use information about customers and potential customers and how you contact them.
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  2. #2
    rabble Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TeamPlayer View Post
    data-protection and electronic communication laws cover how you hold and use information about customers and potential customers and how you contact them.
    Do you have any specific resources which define those laws regarding data protection and electronic communication? Which does one need to conform with? Those of the specific local you live in? The specific local of the recepient? Both? Are there different national and international laws?

    I know that for email campaigns one would ethically use a double opt-in.
    Yet I receive hundreds of emails from solicitors I have never ( far as I know ) opted into.

    Can one compete against unethical email ( spammers ) without becoming one yourself?

  3. #3

    Default

    Good questions!

    In the UK the Information Commissioner's Office provide a lot of useful information about emails and other forms of marketing as far as the law is concerned.

    You might find some of these extracts will help answer your questions. If not, you can do additional research via the site.

    http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_organisati...marketing.aspx

    If you're planning a marketing campaign, you'll have to comply with a number of regulations. Some of these apply to unsolicited electronic messages sent by telephone, fax, email or text, while others apply to marketing material sent by post.

    Electronic mail marketing

    The most important thing to remember is that you can only carry out unsolicited electronic marketing if the person you're targeting has given you their permission.

    However, there is an exception to this rule. Known as the 'soft opt-in' it applies if the following conditions are met;

    * where you've obtained a person's details in the course of a sale or negotiations for a sale of a product or service;
    * where the messages are only marketing similiar products or services; and
    * where the person is given a simple opportunity to refuse marketing when their details are collected, and if they don't opt out at this point, are given a simple way to do so in future messages

    When you send an electronic marketing message, you must tell the recipient who you are and provide a valid contact address
    Next-

    Postal marketing

    Postal marketing - more commonly known as 'junk mail' - can form an important part of any organisation's overall marketing strategy. From simple flyers and response forms to competition entries and interactive CDs, postal campaigns can generate important new leads and business.

    However, as with electronic marketing, if the person or organisation you're targeting asks to be taken off your mailing list, you must comply with their request. There are no exceptions to this rule, and if you fail to comply, they can apply to the courts for an order against you under section 11 of the Data Protection Act.
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  4. #4

    Default

    Thank you very much! It's very important to know how to keep your business respectable in every way.

  5. Default

    Thank you for such a knowledgeable article. You have mentioned good points here, i agree with every point of yours.
    Database is a sort of backbone of a business, as you said existing clients could give us maximum business in flow. Existing clients are someone for whom you do not need to work on building reputation. The main marketing with them is to let them know about your new products and services.
    Because of past reputation, they can easily opt for you.

  6. Default

    Thanks for this. Marketing for small businesses has become a lot more important, especially with the larger companies dominating the scene, it has become a lot harder to get exposure.

  7. #7

    Default

    Let's not forget about SEO in your marketing plan. It's part of the mix now since competition being so fierce on the web.With other traditional ads only mentioning your website, search engine optimization is actually directing your customers to your website, leading to more traffic, and, ultimately, resulting in more sales.

  8. #8
    elizabethtus Guest

    Default

    The important of marketing for small business is to understand your customers needs and develop a plan that surrounds those needs. Let's face it anyone that has a business has a desire to grow their business. The most effective way to grow and expand your business is by focusing on organic growth.In this there is possibility of less loss and more profit.

  9. Default

    Yeah elizabethtus, proper plan of execution is more important than anything else in this regard.

  10. Default

    Nice post....

    this is very helpful info.




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