We all know how challenging it can be to run a small business.

I’ve run my own marketing company for over 11 years now and have found that finding the balance between working ‘in’ your business and working ‘on’ your business is nigh on impossible.

Every Thursday I will be offering tips, advice and examples of how people in small businesses successfully market themselves.

I’ll be highlighting the various campaigns that have worked for small businesses and those that haven’t worked so well.

Here are just 5 tips to help market your business. Come back in the ensuing weeks to learn some more.

1. Ring 20 of your current customers – ask them why they chose your product or service. What made you stand out against your competition? Then use that information to contact 20 prospects. Examples of why people choose your products or services is always the best endorsement.

2. Be passionate about what you do – the old saying ‘people buy from people they like’ is on the money. Let your customers and clients know you enjoy what you do.

3. Use customer testimonials – there’s no better way to highlight the quality of the work you do than with some case studies and customer testimonials on your website.

4. Send Birthday cards – put all your customers’ birthdays in a calendar and send them a card each year. A simple, yet effective way to show them you care.

5. Get social – set up a Twitter account and use your company branding in the background. Follow 200 people that may be interested in your business and hopefully, they too, will follow you back.

6. Know your competition – identify key competitors, know what they are doing. How do your prices compare? What do they do that is effective that you may have overlooked?

7.Start an E-newsletter – keep customers and prospects up to date with the latest news and offerings of your business, the industry and you!

8.Re-engage your staff – Ask all staff members how they would market the business. Write down the top 10 ways and put together an action plan that everyone can work on.

9.Develop a timeline – put together a 12-month timeline so you can keep track of your goals and progress.

10.Set up Google analytics – Know the strengths and weaknesses of your website. Which part of your website are people visiting? What parts are they ignoring? Which keywords are bringing people to your website?

11.Develop a feedback system – Have a system in place to gauge and then respond to customer satisfaction.

12.Reward customer referrals – whether it’s a simple thankyou note, a phone call or even a discount on their next purchase, it is important you recognise customers who refer you new business.

13.Refresh your website – When was the last time you updated your website? Your website is often the first contact point for potential customers so it needs to accurately and positively reflect on your business.

14.Form alliances – build strategic alliances with businesses that sell to the same target market as you but are not conflicting

15.Improve your branding – it doesn’t cost much to print some company stickers and put them on your car. That way you advertise all day, every day!

16.Know what you’re selling – there is a saying ‘if you try to sell everything, you will sell nothing’. Know what you are selling and focus on that.

17.Network – networking is one of the easiest and most effective ways to market your business. Identify the relevant events for your business and then build on your networks.

18.Email tag – Put a professional email tag at the bottom of all emails with the company logo, signature and sales message.

19.Start a blog – become the journalist you’ve always wanted to be. The perfect way to communicate what you’re doing or thinking with customers and prospects.

20.Join LinkedIn and Plaxo – Fill in your details, go through your database on your email and then link your blog, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks through to your LinkedIn profile.

Marketing Eye is Australia’s leading small business marketing consultancy. We provide companies in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville, the Gold Coast and Cairns with a dedicated marketing manger to manage all their marketing needs.

Every business needs a marketing eye!