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Ideas for marketing your small business

Because small business owners have to take care of so many things in the day to day running of their business they often overlook a vital function of their business-marketing. Marketing is the lifeblood of any business. Consider this-if your customers don't know where you are or what you offer how will they know to buy from you? Marketing is what will attract your customers and keep them coming back. If you are a small business owner it is imperative that you take the time to learn all you can about small business marketing and how it applies to your company. Here are some ideas for marketing your small business-

- Determine your target market-The first thing that you need to do is determine who your target market will be. Keep in mind that there will only be a certain segment of the population who will be interested in what your small business can offer them. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you can be all things to all people. This leads to what is known as "shotgun marketing" and it is rarely effective. Instead of just shooting your marketing message and hoping for the best doing the right amount of market research is crucial. Then when you clearly define who your target market is and where you can best reach them you will know how to begin marketing your small business.
- Go online-For a small business there is perhaps no other more effective marketing solution then going online with your marketing. One of the main advantages of marketing online is that it allows small businesses with limited marketing budgets to market right next to their larger competitors. Online is marketing is highly cost effective. However, even though you won't need a lot of cash to market online you will need to have someone (or yourself), dedicated to keeping your online marketing up to date and current. If you fail to do this your target market will begin to feel like your marketing message is not important or relevant.
- Text marketing-One of the newest frontiers of marketing is known as cell phone or text marketing. However, studies show that only about 30% of companies are using this valuable source of marketing to reach their clients. This is an unfortunate mistake as text marketing has been shown to be highly effective at reaching customers wherever they are at the moment. Keep in mind, however, that it is still crucial that you send marketing message that are of value to your customers. Just like any other kind of marketing if you are simply pushing sales your customers will quickly tire of you and begin to block your messages.
- Give great customer service-One of the easiest ways to market your business is often one of the most overlooked. If you are consistent in giving great customer service your clients will begin to help you spread the word. Studies have even shown that many people return to purchase from a business not because they offer the lowest price but rather because of the high degree of customer service that they offer. You need to train everyone who works for you that customer service is their top priority. When you are offering your customers the highest levels of customer service you are creating word of mouth advertising which is highly valuable.
- Ask for referrals and recommendations-Another way to effectively market is to involve your customers. When your customers are happy with what you are providing them ask them to provide your business with referrals and recommendations. Not only can you gain valuable leads this way they can also help spread the word that your business is their pick for whatever you provide.

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