For many small business owners, marketing efforts don’t have a sense of direction or purpose. Marketing, in fact, is almost an after-thought; an “oh yeah, we need to post social media updates” or “that’s good enough, people will find us if they want. 

If your business is well established and is the only kid on the block, so to speak, it may seem unnecessary to develop and execute a structured marketing plan. After all, everyone knows what you do and all your business is based on referrals anyway.

Wrong. 

In reality, lacklustre efforts are not good enough. Unstructured marketing is not only ineffective; it also comes across as unprofessional. And we’re guessing that you don’t want your small business to look unprofessional.

 What will happen if a competitor with a polished marketing strategy comes on the scene? That competitor will quickly scoop up all of the potential customers that you never took the opportunity to attract. 

A structured marketing strategy — even a basic one that includes these four tactics — outlines your plan and keeps you focused on always putting your best foot forward. 

Update social media regularly. You don’t need to be on every platform all the time — choose the one or ones that work best for your business and then post there frequently. Both B2B and B2C businesses benefit from regularly updating their social media pages because it’s an easy way for customers (and potential customers) to know that you’re alive and well.

Refresh your website annually. When nothing changes, you get left behind — business may drop, sales may fall, and interest in your business may wane. Refresh your website annually to reap SEO benefits, build repeat business and adjust to shifting browsing and search habits. And yes, like a book, customers are judging your website by its cover so make sure it doesn’t sport any of these turn of the century no-nos.

Streamline your look. Cut sheets, sell sheets, brochures and even proposals and invoices are all opportunities to market your business. Don’t let those opportunities go to waste with poorly executed materials.

Build a networking plan. Especially if your business is based on referrals, create a business development plan with focus. Without focus — in other words, without a goal and how to get there — it’s not a plan; it’s simply a nice idea.

If you want to make your business more valuable, more attractive to potential customers and the envy of competitors, focus on effective, professional looking marketing.

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