Marketing: noun \ˈmär-kə-tiŋ\

: the activities that are involved in making people aware of a company’s products, making sure that the products are available to be bought, etc. (courtesy Mirriam-Webster)

Here’s a beginning list of essential marketing tools.

1. Business cards. These are strong silent sales people and traffic directors. When you have a well designed, easy to read and information savvy card, you’re putting forth an excellent impression of your brand. Include: First & last name of person, direct phone number with area code, direct email and website. If you’re a brick and mortar, you must include legible full street address with zip code. Not including information makes your customers work harder to find you – make it easy.

2. Website. It’s critical to have a webpage, if not a multi-page website. In today’s world, it’s not optional to have one – you must. It’s where the world goes for information. It needs to properly communicate what you do, who you are and what you offer. Bringing you to market is what the site is doing – the market is global and the first impression is tantamount to success.

3. Vehicle graphics. If you drive a vehicle and the business would be well represented on a moving marketing tool, do it. Professionally created and applied decals – even magnets – can be excellent marketing tools. WEB routinely gets stopped at rest stops, pictures are snapped by passing vehicles on the passenger side, and the questions are steady and constant when we are parked, parking or anywhere close to the vehicles we drive. Incredible return on investment here.

Where's your marketing showing up?

Where’s your marketing showing up?

Worth considering though not necessarily necessary.

1. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…etc. Choose the best tools for you by researching which tools do what, how they fit with your mission and then engage. Or not. The key is to choose what works for you.

2. Phone book listing. Take a hard look at what the modern phone book and directories are used for and who uses them. If they still fit the mission and sales goals of your entity, by all means. If they don’t, don’t.

3. Program listings. How many times do you get solicited to “take advantage of this incredible opportunity” to be in someone’s program? Think about these hard before deciding: sometimes it’s a feel-good donation type marketing piece, sometimes it’s not a fit so graciously pass. Don’t fall for the “exposure” line – exposure gives you frost bite or sunburn, but not necessarily business.

A few tips and pointers.

1. Solicitations. If solicited, as the solicitor how much they know about your business or organization. If they’ve done even cursory homework, then they merit attention. Those who want something from you and haven’t done a lick of investigation – don’t bother. If they want something from you they should take the time to look into the fit. Sales of every kind means matching two pieces of the pie together, knowledgeably.

2. Sleep on every offer. You should be able to think and consider every offer, if you wish, at least a day. High pressure is great for a fire hose, it’s not good for decision-making. If the solicitor says they “must know right now!”, pass. You both need to think about things in advance.

3. Advance protocol. Institute a 30 day in advance request period (or 60 day or 4 month….whatever suits you). All requests can be directed to a streamlined and appropriate process if well designed and communication is strong. Making people think ahead is a strong attractant for the ‘right’ people, and a good deterrent for the ones who don’t have their act together.

Be fearless in changing directions too. WEB recently discontinued Facebook as it wasn’t the fit to drive the brand forward to the clients we’re interested in serving. We use twitter with much success as it fits better with our goals and strategy.  It’s a relief of time and undue pressure to not use something that was not as useful as we wanted it to be for our purposes.

Marketing is bringing you and your company to market. It’s about impression, communication, and tools. Consider, research, and use the tools that fit your mission and vision, strategy and tactics. Doing so is smart marketing.

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