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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

Simple steps to give your business a professional image

We all want our businesses to come across as professional as possible. At the end of the day, people don't want to work for, work with, or (perhaps most importantly) purchase products from a company that looks unreliable or unprofessional. You want to be taken seriously. The right image can help to boost interest in your business and, more importantly, your profits.

There are endless things you can do to boost your business' image. But for now, here are a few options that could prove particularly useful for you!

Get a business address

If your business is based at home, it's important to have your own business address. When most small businesses start up, they simply use their home address as the business address and progress from there. But, you want to maintain some privacy (all business addresses are publicly available) and to give people the impression you have commercial premises, even if you don't. There are plenty of sites out there that sell business addresses you can register your business to!

A business phone and email address

Many entrepreneurs use their own phone and email address for correspondence when they start out. But as your business begins to grow, it's important you have a separate, professional means of contact. This isn't only for the sake of looking more professional to customers, but it is also for your own sake. You don't want your personal inbox overflowing with business correspondence. It's best to keep these two areas of your life relatively separate.

A domain name

Many business owners try to save money by using free platforms to host their site. This would be okay if you didn't have to have the provider's tag in your domain name (for example, "yourshop.wordpress.com"). Professional businesses almost always buy their own domain names. It gives off an air of professionalism, reliability and trustworthiness. So, look into purchasing the rights to a domain name associated with your brand. Generally, you will have to renew each year, but the costs are relatively low, and it will make a big difference to consumer perception of your brand.

Quality web hosting

Your website should be responsive and load as quickly as possible at all times. You want any updates and changes you make to your site to almost be immediate. This is where quality web hosting comes in. Use services like Hosting.co.uk, where you will benefit from round-the-clock customer support and the assistance of specialists and professionals should you run into any trouble.

Professional web design

Web design is a skill that takes training and practice. It's unlikely you'll be able to create a high quality web page by following a few video tutorials. Instead, bring in the professionals. A proper web designer will be able to create the perfect page. They may require the help of a web developer to ensure everything functions fully and a UX ("user experience") designer to make sure the site is easy to use and navigate too!

Professional product photography

Another task that businesses try to take on themselves is product photography. Sure, smartphone cameras are getting better with every release and you can get some pretty great pictures with them. But they're never going to stand up to the work of a professional product photographer. They will have access to high quality cameras, lighting and other equipment paired with the specialist skill and knowledge it takes to actually get the perfect shot. This is an investment. Remember that when you sell online, your photos are all your customers have to judge a product on. You want them to be the best of the best to convert sales effectively.

A dedicated meeting room

If you operate from professional, commercial premises, it's a good idea to have a dedicated meeting room. Chances are that at some point you're going to want to host meetings. It could be an interview with potential staff members, meetings with collaborators or potential partners or an important meeting with potential investors. Not only does having a dedicated meeting room look great, but it's practical too. It provides you with a space where you can discuss matters - open or private - without distraction and without others being able to listen in to any potentially confidential information.

A company car

Branded company cars don't only give your business a professional edge - they're also a great means of advertising! Think of how many different people one car will pass on just one journey. Tens, hundreds, thousands or more will be exposed to your company's name and branding as you pass them by.

Business cards

You never know when you might meet someone who could benefit you and your business. A simple chat at a bar could see you land the client of your dreams if luck is on your side. Of course, when exchanging details with others, you want to seem professional. You don't want to haphazardly scribble down your contact details on a napkin, spare piece of paper or something else that can be easily lost. Make sure you always have a professional-looking business card on hand. It should look good and contain all the contact information someone might need.

These are just a few suggestions that can help your company carve out a truly professional image and reputation. The more professional your company and brand seems the more likely people are to trust you - whether that's as a partner or as a supplier! Implement the steps outlined above into your business practice and you should see the benefits in next to no time!

Copyright 2020. Article was made possible by site supporter Jeremy Bowler

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