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Small Business Is About Relationships - Articles Surfing

Some small businesses believe that business is only about making money'the sale is all that matters. Making money and sales are important'no money, no business'however; the relationships you build with your customers influence future sales. And it's a fact that a second sale from an existing customer costs less to achieve than a first time sale to a new customer. The relationships your small business forges are essential for future growth.

I Know Relationships Are Important, So What?

Every time you communicate with your current or potential customers, you are building your brand and your relationship. Your marketing is your "face" to the public. Use of aggressive "sales-only" marketing methods can negatively affect your brand and the relationship you have with your customers.

Too much snail mail & spam can also be negative factors in building your customer relationship. This doesn't mean you shouldn't send mail or e-mail, but you need to balance your efforts. You also need to know your customers and provide valuable information and or 'deals' that customers will appreciate.

Some Effective Marketing Ideas To Help Build Customer Relationships

Here are some ways you can effectively market your small business while positively building your brand and reinforcing relationships:

-Traditional Newsletters

Newsletters are an easy way to keep your small business name in front of your customers while not only building the relationship, but also establishing your business as the 'expert.' Newsletters can be big or small, long or short; but they MUST be valuable'make sure to include information your customers need and want.

-Postcard Marketing

Another quick way to keep yourself on your customer's radar is using postcards. They're an inexpensive yet effective way to share brief snippets of information, or pass along 'deals.

-"Thank You" Events

You can never say thank you too many times. One great way to thank your customers is to have an open house of sorts. Depending on what your small business does, you can tailor the event to what your small business is best at, just be creative.

-Writing/Providing Information

--Association Newsletters

There is an association for every industry, hobby or area of interest. Many of them publish newsletters and are always willing to accept content'so write an article and submit it, it's a way to get your name out there and it's free.

--Speaking at Conferences or Events

From association meetings to community events, there are many opportunities available if you're willing to get up and speak. Just look for an event that fits your area of expertise and volunteer. Event organizers are always open to new speakers, especially if they're inexpensive.

--Press Releases

Press releases offer another opportunity for free publicity for your small business. If you figure out a way to use press releases on a regular basis, you will gain a steady stream of free press.

--Local Newspapers/publications

If you see a news piece that is in about a topic your small business is known for and you have something to say, write a letter to the editor. By becoming vocal in your community you will become known as the expert in that area and it will reinforce your image to current customers (and your relationship).

- Traditional Advertising Methods

Advertising in newspapers, trade magazines and on the radio are also ways to keep your name in front of customers and potential customers. Advertising is meant to support the 'brand' that you've already established as well as get your name in front of people, so it is a good way to help reinforce existing relationships. It is however, the least effective way to establish your small business as knowledgeable because it is paid for.

Don't Just Sell, Build Future Sales

As you work to gain more customers and sales, building your small business, remember to nurture the customer relationship. Focus on ways to continually meet their needs and provide value with every marketing effort. People do business with those they trust; by focusing on customer value, your small business is building a foundation for a long-lasting and mutually profitable relationship.

Submitted by:

Kelly Biedny

Kelly Biedny is the owner of Kleobell Creative Business Solutions, http://www.kleobell.com. Her areas of expertise include branding/image development, communication/marketing, web development and project management. For more information about creating an effective website for your small business, check out http://www.kleobell.com/library/.



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