The Top 10 Marketing Tools to Grow Your Business in 2004

by : Jay Lipe

Looking to grow your business? Make sure you have these marketing tools in place:

#10 A powerful tagline

In 10 words or less, a good tagline reinforces a company’s reason for being. And smaller companies will find it to be one of the hardest working tools. To get one, first boil down to a single sentence, the benefits of doing business with your company. Then, take write up a few version of this and take them to a good copywriter. After deciding upon one, marry this tagline up with your company name and logo wherever they appear.

#9 Consistent branding elements

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, a rancher would mark his cattle with an exclusive brand. This brand, depicting a unique visual image, distinguished his cattle from another rancher’s. A branding effort for a growing company works the same way. The consistent use of branding elements (i.e. name, tagline, logo, colors, fonts, and typestyles) clearly identifies your company from the competition.

#8 Search engine positioning

Today, just having a high-quality website doesn’t mean success. Having large numbers of qualified prospects visiting your site does. If you’re not spending equally on the promotion of your site through search engine positioning, then your website isn’t working hard enough. One recent client of mine who found my site through a search engine, generated a whopping 1,500%+ return on my search engine investment.

#7 Calls-to-action

It’s not enough to just rattle off your product’s features and benefits. You must go one step further by telling your reader exactly what you want her to do next. Too often marketing materials effectively present a company, then leave the next step up to the reader’s imagination. This is a missed opportunity. Instead, spell out exactly what your reader should do next. “Visit and register to win", “Call our estimating department for a free quote" or “ Email us with your suggestions" are calls-to-action that leave no doubt about what you want your reader to do next.

#6 Attention-grabbing testimonials

Buyers of your product or service-especially first-time buyers-have reservations about doing business with you. Will your product deliver? Will you answer your phones? Will you be around next month? Written testimonials from your satisfied customers, scattered throughout your materials and website, smooth over buyer fears.

#5 Key messages

Remember back in English class how we were taught to write down a paper’s thesis before we wrote the paper? This thesis statement was the argument you wanted to assert-the central point of the paper. Think of your company’s key messages as the thesis statements for your marketing.

The next time you have to write copy for your brochure or website, identify the three most important things that distinguish your company from the rest. Then, write your copy so that these three ideas come through loud and clear.

#4 Results-oriented metrics

Can you imagine a doctor examining a patient without a thermometer? Yet this is precisely how many growing businesses approach their marketing analytics. Without metrics to track the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, decisions are just…guesses. Develop two or three key metrics (i.e. # of new leads per month, cost per inquiry, or sales calls per month) that measure the true health of your business’ marketing.

#3 Ongoing customer communication

Your customers have invested a lot in your company already; time, money and emotional energy to name just a few. Keep in frequent touch with them and they’ll shower your business with repeat purchases, referrals and positive word-of-mouth. Use catch-up phone calls, email blasts or personalized letters to keep customers abreast of new products, promotions or just plain news.

#2 A marketing plan

The cornerstone to any successful marketing effort is a marketing plan. A good one lays the groundwork for action by covering the “whys" behind each task. It also helps break down a seemingly daunting effort into a series of more manageable chunks. And when the phones stop ringing, it gives you something to go back to. You’ll never again ask “What should we do now?"

#1 A process for implementing your plan

Developing a marketing plan is only half the battle. Without a concerted effort to implement the plan, your marketing effort will fail. To avoid this common marketing mistake, use weekly project updates and quarterly checkpoint meetings to ensure your plan is successfully implemented.

Don’t forget that proper implementation also hinges on having the right person in place. Who is this person? In three words-a project manager. Without a deadline driven, nuts-and-bolts type at the helm of your roll out, you’ll drift like a rudderless ship.