* Create a professional, easy-to-navigate website. Keep your site up to date with current information.
* Add photos of your products in use on your website.
* Add an auto-signature with all of your contact information on your outgoing emails.
* Create a branded business card. Make it two-sided and put something useful on the back, like a coupon.
* Give two business cards to people – one to keep, and one to give away.
* Develop a clear and memorable answer to the question “What do you do?”
* Offer a bite-sized version of your usual product/service to those who are not familiar with your work.
* List your business in free online directories. (Google Places, Yahoo, Yelp, etc.)
* Dress for success. You are a walking representation of your brand.
* Attend networking events. (Raleigh Mompreneurs, Chamber of Commerce, LinkedIn or Facebook groups, etc.)
* Send holiday cards from your business to your customers, potential customers, local businesses, and so on. (Also, consider New Year’s, Thanksgiving, Mother or Father’s Day cards…anything that is relevant and helps you stand out!)
* Write a marketing plan. Then work your plan!
* Find a complementary business to do cross-promotion beneficial to you both.
* Optimize your website with high-ranking keywords to attract search engine attention. (Research keywords using Google Adwords.)
* Upsell. Offer add-ons to customers who may need something more.
* Be a connector. Introduce people to others that may be able to help them.
* Collect testimonials from your customers and post them on your website and in your marketing materials.
* Revise your website copy to emphasize the benefits of your product/service rather than only the features.
* Host a client-appreciation party, and encourage your clients to bring a friend.
* Become active in an organization that you are passionate about.
* Call your clients just to chat or check in (no selling!)
* Ask former customers why they stopped doing business with you.
* Send hand-written thank you notes.
* Donate prizes to charity events.
* Implement referral and repeat customer programs.
* Create and tell a captivating story about your business. People love (and will remember) stories above all else.
* Add a blog to your website. Post often, and don’t be afraid to share personal photos and stories.
* Write and submit press releases for significant events.
* Write and submit articles for blogs, magazines, etc. (Articles that provide information, like how-to articles, are more likely to get picked up.
* Speak on panels relevant to your subject area.
* Send monthly or quarterly newsletters.
* Comment on blogs, Facebook, etc. (But don’t be a spammer! Make sure your comments add value to the post.)
* Teach a workshop or a class for a local organization or school.
* Create a video for your website and/or blog.
* Send articles of potential interest to clients.
* Use attention-grabbing headlines.
* Always have a call-to-action. Tell your readers exactly what you want them to do next.
* Create a community for your customers. Set up a forum or Facebook group to engage with them and for them to engage with each other.
* Follow up on your leads. (Surprisingly, up to 70% of business leads are never followed up!)
* Ask for referrals from your happy customers.
* Hold a contest or giveaway.
* Create a podcast.
* Collect email addresses by offering a free product or download.
* Offer a teleseminar or webinar.
* Write an e-book.
* Get involved in your community. Meet your neighbors, introduce yourself at community events.
* Offer a money-back guarantee.
* Imagine yourself as your customer, and walk through each step of your business process. Where can you improve? How can you make your client feel valued? How can you help make their experience be above and beyond?
* Read, read, and read. Never stop learning!
Christy Johnson, Be True Image Design