12 Steps to Marketing Your Small Business


We can all use a little help when it comes to marketing on a budget. Brian Sisco of Kwik Kopy Design and Print Centre Halifax has created a unique and helpful 12-step program designed to help you market your small business. Visit the Kwik Kopy Design and Print Centre Halifax YouTube channel often for more great advice on marketing your small business.

And better yet, subscribe to our e-newsletter so that you're the first to receive the video updates as well as exclusive offers from Kwik Kopy Design and Print Centre Halifax.

Step XII: Focus On Your Strengths

If you’ve been following our 12 Steps to Marketing Your Small Business series, you have probably ascertained that there is a lot that you can do as a small business to increase your market presence without breaking the bank. I suspect that, like me, you also appreciate that being the marketing coordinator for your small business is harder than it first appears. When you try to cut corners to save money, it often means a greater draw on other resources, namely time and energy. Well, there is a solution to both problems. Video | PDF

Step XI: Marketing B2B

A sales manager once told me that to survive in sales I needed to master the art of marketing B2B - not business-to-business, but belly-to-belly (ie. in person). I had to learn how to listen and be a consultative salesperson and that if people liked me, they would buy from me so long as I offered exceptional service at a fair and reasonable price. That is the core of our mission statement today. Video | PDF

Step X: Trans-promotional Printing

Have you ever received an invoice or a statement (transactional document) from a supplier announcing they are moving, or perhaps with a big orange sticker that indicates a special offer or promotion for the month? In Canada, our postal system charges first class lettermail rates for transactional documents and allows each envelope to weigh up to 30 grams (4 sheets of standard paper + the envelope) before charging us more, so the logic is, put as much stuff as you can in the envelope. We'll often discard anything in an envelope except the transactional document which we spend between 1 and 3 minutes reviewing. Use this document in your marketing. Find out how in Step X. Video | PDF

Step IX: Using Promotional Items

We’ve all heard the saying that it is better to give than receive, this is never truer than when it comes to promoting your business. There are literally millions of products that can be logo’d to provide a give-away opportunity that allows you to touch your customer and hopefully provide a trinket that your customer can use. The trick is to find a product that can be ordered in bulk, has wide appeal and a cost per unit that won’t break your budget. If the product can be tied to, or relates to your business, that may be a great branding opportunity as well. Video | PDF

Step VIII: E-Communications

There are many reasons why your small businesses should communicate with customers and prospects electronically and many ways to do it. There are also a number of pitfalls to consider once you decide to use e-communication as a way to market your small business. Whether your e-correspondence is a newsletter like the Kwik Kopy Halifax monthly e-newsletter, a flyer, an event notification, a blatant sales pitch, a thank-you, a reminder or follow-up, using e-mail helps to keep your business top-of-mind with your customer. Video | PDF

Step VII: Building Your Web Presence

Small businesses have always been forced to be more adaptive, more flexible and quicker to react to market changes to stay ahead of their bigger competitors. On the whole, we simply don’t have access to the funding required to create a market presence and build a widely recognized brand. Traditional advertising media is often too expensive for small businesses to provide a sustained presence across a variety of media so we pick and choose what we hope will work this year or this month. With that being said, the one area where small businesses can excel, where the playing field is a bit more level, is on-line with your web presence. Video | PDF

Step VI: Using Direct Mail

A recent survey conducted by Market Research and intelligence (MRI) looked at how people prefer to receive advertising in an attempt to understand how best to reach potential buyers. It might come as a surprise that the top two categories were “ads on paper” and “ads in mass media,” each receiving 17% for a total of 34% of consumers polled. By comparison, only 9% preferred to receive advertising through non-traditional means like cellphones, social media and product placement in movies.

Direct mail is still one of the most important mediums to attract new business and that has a lot to do with building trust. Video | PDF

Step V: Using Sponsorship to Grow Your Business

Giving to charity by writing a cheque is the most common form of philanthropy in the world and it can be as strategic as any other if care is given to picking an organization that shares your values. Sponsorship really is win/win and most charities and non-profit organizations understand that doing business with the organization that support them is a benefit to everyone. Video | PDF

Step IV: Acquiring a Good Prospect List

Many companies offer prospect lists for sale - a quick Google search for “marketing lists” returns about 55,000,000 hits - the question is, who can you trust and what information can you get?

Most list providers will offer the option of renting or buying a list, with cost running between $0.11 and $0.30 per name depending on the number of criteria specified. Buying the list could cost five times more but, depending on your intended use, it may be less expensive in the long run if you use the list three to five times.

Never has the old adage been truer: you get what you pay for. Video | PDF

Step III: Building a Retention and Referral Strategy

Fred Reichheld, author of The Ultimate Question, says one question can determine your business’s future: Would you recommend us to a friend or colleague? On average, over 80% of people answer “yes” to this question and 18% actually provide a referral. Using an online retention tool makes the process very simple and avoids the awkwardness of having to ask for the referral. The process is simple and there are lots of service providers to choose from depending on your goal. Video | PDF

Step II: Improving Your Customer Database

Database management: the act of gathering information about your customers, future, current and past.

Like many small business owners, I started trying to update my database several times over the years but never felt I made any headway and repeatedly gave up the task. Kate Groom of Starfish Consulting and former facilitator of my performance group helped me to understand that my customers represent the value of my business, and without them I have nothing but useless knowledge and assets.

With this in mind, I could no longer ignore the growing problem surrounding my database, but where to start?

The answer is obvious now: one customer at a time. Video | PDF

Step I: Using Google AdWords

Understanding how Google ranks search results is the Holy Grail of marketing and, as in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, it appears that figuring out the secret requires a special gift for numerology. Utilizing search engine marketing (SEM) through tools like Google AdWords where you purchase sponsor links that appear at the top of the search results, however, is an easy, low cost, no commitment way to increase traffic to your website. Here are a few best practices to consider when setting up your initial campaign. Video | PDF

Introduction: Meet Brian Sisco

In the opening edition of our video series, we introduce you to Brian Sisco, owner of Kwik Kopy Design and Print Centre Halifax. Brian lays out his plan going forward, including what you can expect in terms of learning and why this video series is integral to reaching new customers. Video

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