This section contains 13 commandments for your business marketing. However, don’t just read these commandments only once. Set a specific time each quarter to review them with your senior staff. Decide which ones are in place and which need more work, and then take the necessary steps to follow up.
- Thou shall know thy target customer. You’ll spend your advertising and direct-mail dollars wisely if you know exactly who you’re going after and you use the correct media. Be constantly searching for new ways to reach your target market.
- Thou shall provide excellent purchase follow-up. Whether they’re in your store, at a sales call, or on the phone,
make your customers feel like the important people they really are. Make sure customers are pleased with their purchase and resolve any problems promptly.
- Thou shall know what thy competitors are doing. Shop their stores, surf their websites, watch their ads, and get
on their direct-mail list, and you won’t be surprised later. Find a way to provide better products or services than they are.
- Thou shall go after free publicity often. You can always think of something new or different to send a press release for—do it monthly. Write articles for or give speeches to your target market.
- Thou shall deliver more than thou promises. Surprise
your customers and prospects by giving something extra— faster delivery, free refills, faster quotes, free upgrades, a small gift, and so on. It breeds loyalty, repeat business, referrals, and long-term customers.
- Thou shall use a website and email. If you’re not a computer whiz, learn the basics so you can communicate in today’s Internet world. Computers are here to stay, so get with it and get a website that promotes your business.
- Thou shall reward customer loyalty. Your repeat customers will keep you in business and make you grow. Show them you care and that you need them with rewards and discounts. Compile a preferred customer list so you know who these customers are by name.
- Thou shall use advertising and direct mail religiously. People won’t remember your ad or mailings from three months ago; you need to remind them again and again. Spend the majority of your budget with prospects where you get the best results or the most responses.
- Thou shall test, test, test. The ad or direct-mail pieces you used last time may need to be changed, and your mailing list needs to be refined. Always monitor responses, and change your copy often so it doesn’t get stale or boring.
- Thou shall always look for new products and new markets. Expand your prospect base and sell more products
to your existing customers. Keep looking; they’re out there! Check the Thomas Register and computer directories and search by category. Attend industry tradeshows regularly to see new products when they are first available.
- Thou shall ask for referrals. If you don’t ask, you probably won’t get them. Your current customers are great sources of new business. Ask for written testimonials you can use with other prospects and name-drop often.
- Thou shall provide outstanding customer service. Develop a relationship with your customers—know their names, their likes, and their dislikes. Demand excellent service from your employees and survey your customers to make sure they’re satisfied.
- Thou shall review the previous 12 commandments. Review these commandments monthly or weekly to remind yourself how to build your business. Many of these rules are forgotten or overlooked if they are not visible all the time. Make a list on your computer, print it out, frame it, and hang it in your office and break room.
You can probably think of several more commandments that pertain to your specific business. Have brainstorming meetings with your employees to come up with methods to provide new products and better ways to serve your customers. Discuss them with your associates and your accountant. Goals are difficult to reach without a plan that works in your business. Make a list of goals, frame them, and hang them where you and your employees can see them.