SCORE ExpertAnswers

Marketing Essentials for Small Business
with SCORE Mentor Michael Scotto
Expert Advice for Small Business Owners

Small business marketing is more than just well-placed ads, a catchy business name and logo, and other tactics. It’s also knowledge—understanding what your business does, who it serves, and what it takes to make those customers happy while also remaining profitable.

Drawing on nearly a half-century in retail marketing, SCORE Mentor Michael Scotto has assisted small businesses with taking the “madness” out of marketing efforts and creating processes that work. In this month’s ExpertAnswers, Michael discusses the marketing essentials that every small business needs.
Q: Some entrepreneurs may feel an Internet-oriented marketing strategy is all they need. Is that ever true?
A: In most cases, never. Too many small business start-ups, particularly those that have little to no funds for marketing, believe they can achieve great heights using only social networking techniques and guerilla marketing strategies. Although these tools have their place in the overall marketing plan, they require a great deal of time and effort to implement, and a certain amount of creativity and skill to be somewhat effective. Unfortunately most new entrepreneurs do not have this skill level or work effort. Successful promotional strategies require a balanced approach.
Q: Referrals are always important to a small business’s growth. What are some ways for encouraging existing customers to help generate new ones?
A: We all too often take good customers for granted. This special group needs attention, and we should always find ways to communicate with them via newsletters, e-mails, questionnaires, special recognition events, or telephone contact, to name a few. I have even recommended using snail mail to send out a letter of appreciation. This “ancient” form of communication usually stands out in today’s impersonal environment of texting and e-mailing.

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