We’re here with practical marketing information for your business.

A marketing strategy tells you what to say, how to say it and who to say it to in order to make more sales. Our guide to the basics.

How to market your business online - from your website to social networking, advertising, search engine optimisation, email marketing and more.

The basics you need to know about raising your business profile through advertising, and how to make sure your campaigns are successful.

Focusing on taking care of your existing customers could be much better for your bottom line than chasing new business. The basics of customer care.

No business can survive without selling. Our overview of planning your sales strategy and recruiting, training and managing sales staff.

Get the basics right - our quick guide to the main types of market research and how to get the information you need no matter what your budget.

Direct marketing is ideal for small businesses as it's highly targeted, cost-effective and simple to DIY. Our guide to how to get started.

Start here - find out how attending and displaying at exhibitions and events can benefit your business, and learn how to build your network.

PR

The basic things you need to know about PR for your business, building relationships with the media and managing the impact of publicity.

Media advertising

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time. Advertising can increase awareness of what your business offers, help you find new customers and boost your sales.

Planning your ad campaign

Successful advertising starts with knowing your target customers.

A clear picture of exactly who you are trying to reach is vital to your advertising strategy. Established businesses can use their customer knowledge to look for similar, profitable targets. New businesses may rely on market research to help identify the most promising market segments. Advertising works best when you can identify publications or other media that reach your target audience cost-effectively.

Your advertising campaign needs specific, well-defined goals. For example, you could advertise a clearance sale to make room for new stock, or you might run a series of ads to support the launch of a new product. Longer-term goals can include building awareness of your products and services or strengthening your brand.

Before committing yourself to advertising, you should consider other ways of promoting your business. Direct mail, door-to-door leafleting and PR are all options. In any case, you should think about how your advertising ties in with your other promotional activities, such asonline marketing. Make sure you're ready to respond to any increase in enquiries or sales prompted by your adverts.

Effective advertising

A successful ad will be tailored to the audience you are addressing, the media you are advertising in and the goals you are trying to achieve. If you follow a few key rules, writing an effective advertisement is straightforward. Alternatively, you can use an advertising agency, or a freelance copywriter to help.

Bear in mind that timing can be an important part of a successful advertising campaign. You usually need to repeat your ads regularly to achieve long-term objectives such as raising awareness of your company.

Finally, make sure you measure the effectiveness of your advertising. When you get an enquiry or make a sale, ask the customer how they heard of you. Keep track of the responses each ad generates: a campaign that yields a small number of high-value sales is far more cost-effective than one that prompts lots of enquiries that come to nothing.

Understanding which messages and which media work best will help you ensure that your next advertising campaign is even more successful.

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