Home' The Channel Magazine : August 2011 Contents National Newsagent August 2011
If you're like most
business owners, you are
facing a new financial
year with big intentions
of getting around to a
more solid approach to
But plans can fall by the wayside
quickly as the stresses of running a
business take hold, so make a resolution
to stick to your guns this year and watch
your business grow.
1. Get the fundamentals
It's vital that small businesses get their
houses in order before considering any
marketing plans for the coming year.
Make sure your business, brand and
offering are spot on. Understanding your
customers, their needs and why they
engage with your business as opposed to
your competitor's is vital, says Brendan
Fearn, head of marketing at brand
experience agency Play Communication.
"You also need to make sure you've got
a really sold brand message, which is the
crux of any small business," Fearn says.
Then sit down and write that all-
important marketing plan.
2. Improve the way
you handle customer
It might be just part of running a
business but there are plenty of examples
of businesses that don't handle customer
Handling complaints just as efficiently
as you handle positive feedback is
paramount if you want to try to salvage a
relationship with an upset customer.
Analysis from more than 400 entrants
in the 2010 Telstra Business Awards
suggests it's worth taking customer
feedback seriously, finding that 79
percent of entrants could identify their
best customers and that 64 percent of
Australian businesses frequently seek
feedback from customers.
Set up a complaints handling process
and make sure your staff are well versed
3. Don't overlook free
tools because they're free
Google is an increasingly important tool
for businesses, but there are other places
to look for support for your business
including Australia Post, says Alan Quin
from online agency, Digital Logic.
Australia Post offers direct mail
templates and a postcode profiling tool
(available here http://www.openuptomail.
com.au/), which enables you to view
the profile of a particular postcode and
get a household count. Direct mail is
effective, argues Australia Post, pointing
to a Roy Morgan Single Source survey in
2009 that found that 71.7% of addressed
promotional items received via mail were
read, kept or passed on to someone else.
While Quin is a big advocate for online
marketing, he says offline marketing is
also vital for any small business.
"A business that hasn't done any direct
mail marketing before and isn't sure
where to start can get onto Australia
Post's site and all the templates they need
are there," Quin says.
Australia Post has also launched the
Driving Business Online campaign to
help small to medium businesses get
online. As part of that it recently launched
its click-and-send service for domestic
parcels and integrated the service with
eBay, enabling small businesses to
calculate postage, create mailing labels
and book a courier to pick up the mail
That site has a number of free tools
available, including how to create a
website, how to start selling from an
existing website and how to make the
most of technology in business.
4. Create a live
experience for your brand
A live event relevant to your business
gives current and potential customers an
opportunity to engage with your business
and hopefully to become a loyal customer
in the process.
It can work well if your brand turns
up in an unexpected place. While FMCG
brand Garnier has spent a fortune in
previous years creating a pop-up brand
experience at Australian tennis events,
think smaller scale, such as setting up
a temporary stand at a local event, local
supermarket or market, depending on
your type of business and your target
But bear in mind that if you go down
that path you need to do it well, otherwise
your live event could detract from instead
of adding to your brand.
5. Become the thought
leader in your industry
Customers buy brands they trust and
one way to build trust is to become a
thought leader in your industry.
Consider launching a newsletter,
create regular direct marketing pieces
or launch a blog, which is an easy way
to get yourself published and to connect
with your customers. Using sites like
WordPress it costs nothing to go down
A blog enables you to build an online
community that can generate positive
word of mouth about your business.
Quality content will also bolster your
Google search rankings, putting you even
closer to current and potential customers.
Make sure you've got something
interesting to say and be a little thought-
provoking. If you're not a confident writer
you can hire someone to write a blog
on your behalf, but be sure to check
every post before it's launched into the
Your marketing plans for
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