Marketing doesn’t begin with advertising, nor end with optimising your website for search engines. Everything your business does will contribute to the image your customers see, and to their interpretation of your brand, and ultimately affect whether your potential client becomes a paying client.
For instance, we’ve seen instances where successful businesses come under wide scale scrutiny for any number of reasons, from scandal amongst employees, to complaints about non-PC management, or due to businesses ignoring their Corporate Social Responsibility or employing workers in foreign countries in poor conditions; the company ends up having to get a business answering service in for the phones so that employees can’t be caught saying something wrong during the PR clean up that ensues!
In addition to avoiding dishonest or unfair perceptions of you, you also need to give clients the impression that you are trustworthy, professional, and experienced. From choosing to run your premises in a shared office with a shared reception desk, so that you fulfil the requirements of looking professional, to working at home but opting then to use a telephone answering service to give the same impression remotely.
For small businesses, there are number of tricks to ensure your business appears reliable and professional, such as ensuring your email addresses are not just @gmail or @hotmail etc, rather, set them up with your business domain.
You need to make sure you have an online presence, websites can be hosted relatively easily using modern platforms such as wordpress. Increasing your reach also becomes a lot easier with the use of social media, from Facebook and twitter, to LinkedIn and Google+.
Efficiency is also important, ensure that there are staff or virtual support systems for call answering so that people aren’t required to leave a message; only 10% of people will actually leave a message, leaving 90% of people whose business you may lose if you don’t answer calls, nor respond to enquiries in a timely fashion.
In summary, try to think of all the points of contact that potential or existing customers or clients may have with your business, and try and ascertain the problem areas, in order to improve your image and therefore to boost your success rates.