Marketing Materials. Are your marketing materials up to date? I recommend you have 20-50 physical copies of your brochures & materials on hand. Keep these at work, in your car and in your work satchel. Have a soft copy available for quick email attachment.
Business Stationery. Have a fresh look at your business stationery. Better still, ask someone you respect for their honest feedback (not your mum or best friend) on how it looks. The Black & White business name in bold italicised Times New Roman font might have been OK 8 years ago when you started but does it cut it now? Spend some money on a graphic artist updating your business cards, letterhead and with compliments slips.
Email Signatures. Review your email communication. Are your email signatures consistent across the business? Is there some message or call to action at the bottom of your footer? Offer a subscription, report or news link at the bottom of your email footers.
Email Communication. Have a critical look at the tone and style in your email communications. Is it upbeat, positive and positions you as a helpful user-friendly expert? If not, it might be time for a tone and style makeover.
Testimonials. Have you collected testimonials from your customers to share with leads and prospects? I assume these appear on your website and are available for inclusion in proposals, tenders and other promotional copy. No? Testimonials are one of the most powerful word-of-mouth marketing techniques because they are from independent, third party, real customers (read not you).
What is your Message? What is the underlying message that you wish to communicate? Check that this matches the pain or solution that your target market seek. Don't have motherhood statements about yourself opening all your marketing copy. Your target customer is interested in their needs and don't read lines like "We are one of the leading providers of blah blah blah". Try and constantly research what your customers want and need and talk to that.
Writing. Have a think about whether you should write a blog. Consider writing articles to help your customers and prospects through sharing your expertise (just like this newsletter). Articles can be posted to article submission websites that display them at no cost.
Speaking. Most business owners are positively scared witless about speaking publicly. At least consider whether you could speak to your target market on your area of expertise. Numerous organisations seek speakers to present at their events. If your business is in a niche where your target customers can easily be reached through speaking it can provide a rich vein of new business to you.
Website. Have a fresh look at your website. Does it need a haircut or a bit of a massage? Make sure it has some call to action where you offer people a taste of you for free. A report, a survey, newsletter, blog, free trial or introductory discount can all be offered on your site and all the visitor has to do is opt in by entering their email address. You are then able to communicate with them moving forward. If you write articles or a blog, you can keep a library of these in one place for people to hear your message and get to know you.
You. Last but by no means least, what about you? Hitting the Refresh button also includes taking a good hard look at yourself in a long mirror. Is the wardrobe a bit tired and needs an injection of new clothes? What about the shoes? Those animated Disney ties won't do. Hair and other personal grooming areas are worth a look. Just be honest and invest in yourself. Remember there is only one Ferrari in your business and that's you.
Darren Bourke, Business Influence, 2009. You are welcome to “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete (including the “about the author” information at the end).
Darren Bourke is a Consultant, Business Coach & Mentor who helps small & medium businesses struggling to maximise profitability, productivity, people and performance. His Free Report titled What Successful Owners of Growth Businesses Do That You Don’t, newsletter and updates are full of strategies and tips to make your business boom. Sign up now at