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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?

Writing an advertisement - checklist

The right words in your advertising can help you attract new customers, build a strong brand identity and raise your profile. Use this checklist to help you write an effective advert, from making your message clear to grabbing attention and prompting a response.

  • Clarify the objective of your advert. For example, this could be to build awareness of your business, or to prompt an action such as an enquiry or sale.
  • Think about your target audience - which problems can you solve for them? How are they likely to want to get in touch?
  • Look at competing advertisements for businesses similar to yours. Think about what works well, and consider how you can make your advertisement stand out from the crowd.
  • Include one or two key benefits or USPs which set you apart from your rivals. These could include product features, service levels or price.
  • Decide whether to write the advertisement yourself, or whether to use a copywriter or advertising agency.
  • Write a short, attention-grabbing headline, for example, highlighting the key benefit of your product or service or asking an interesting question that makes readers want to find out more.
  • Research the best keywords and phrases so that your online advertising attracts the right customers who are interested in the sort of product or service you offer.
  • Use high-quality images to attract attention and reinforce your message.
  • Build on the headline with the main body copy. Make sure your copy backs up your claims with facts, reflects your brand identity and reinforces your USPs.
  • Address your customers directly using 'you'.
  • Use simple, clear and concise language, with paragraphs broken into easily readable points. Avoid jargon, clichés, empty claims and weak jokes.
  • Include a call to action to prompt a response; give full contact details including your website URL, social media handles, postal address and phone number.
  • Check that your advertisement grabs attention, maintains interest, stimulates desire and prompts action: AIDA.
  • Test your advert by showing it to existing customers and asking for feedback. Test different approaches online to find the wording that gets the highest response.

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