1. Create quality marketing tools.
This doesn't mean you need to allot 75 percent of your budget to printing
costs, presentation slides and a Web site. But it does mean you need to put
deep thought into the cohesive image you want to present. "Sit down and
make a list of everything you're going to need each time you make contact with
a prospective customer or client, including a stationery package, brochures and
presentation tools," advises marketing expert Kim T. Gordon, president of National Marketing Federation Inc.and an Entrepreneur.com columnist. "Then, if you can't
[afford] to print it all at once, at least work with a designer and a
copywriter to create the materials so you have them on disk."
If even this sends shivers down your
bank account's spine, find creative ways to deal with it: Hire an art or
marketing student from the local university, or barter your services with other
2. Greet clients with
style. Voice mail may not seem like a
component of your marketing plan, but if a potential client calls and your kid
answers, that client will be gone before you can even technically call him a
client. So get yourself a professional voice-mail system (even the phone
company offers options) with several boxes, advises Gordon, so callers can
press "1" to hear more about your services, "2" for your
web and e-mail addresses, etc.
3. Focus as narrowly
as possible. Instead of trying to reach all the
people some of the time, narrow your target audience to highly qualified
prospects. Instead of going to seven networking groups once every two months,
go to the two groups with the best prospects every week. "Instead of
marketing to 5,000 companies, [find] several dozen highly qualified companies
and make regular contact with them," says Gordon. Call them, mail your
marketing materials, and then ask to meet. It'll save you money and time.