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Marketing for small business is different than marketing for national or international brands, which enjoy instant name recognition. By contrast, small business marketing relies heavily on word of mouth and on building and maintaining personal relationships.

This article isn’t about finding new customers, it is about hanging on to the ones you have and building your relationship with them to sell them more. Of course if you do that well then these happy customers are likely to recommend you to friends and colleagues so you will get new customers that way.

I used to have a business which sold services to lawyers and accountants, not for them but for their clients. For about a year after I set the business up all our marketing effort was concentrated on getting a first order from our prospective customers. After that first year we stopped all marketing activity aimed at getting new customers and instead spent our time developing our existing relationships. Not only was this easier – no longer any issues of cold calling – but it was far less costly.

So what did we do? Well we simply talked to customers. My staff would each call a couple of customers every day, not to sell them anything but just to talk. They chatted about whatever was in the news and basically just “touched base”. They didn’t ever try to sell them anything.

At other times we would run simple surveys asking about the last order we filled for the customer – were they happy with it, could we have done something better. We also carried out surveys about new services we were thinking of offering – would they find this useful or (and this was more important) were there any services that they would like us to provide.

It worked. We had lots of happy customers who became friends and when I was travelling around the UK I often dropped in to see customers and say hello.

So, remember the success of small business marketing depends on building relationships. Simple really – and easier these days with blogs, social media and the like.

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4 Responses to “Small Business Marketing – Building Relationships is the Key”

  1. Sydenham Boy says:

    Great comment and info – thanx – will reblog.

  2. Leo says:

    Not much time for blogging unfortunately, Splitting my time between the Isle of Man and UK, Business and Uni. Enjoying it all though 🙂

  3. James Green says:

    Hi Leo, thought you’d gone AWOL. Nice to know you are still having a look at what I’m doing. Where are you these days? Back at university?

  4. Leo says:

    Just thought I would say Hello, Could not agree more with the above 🙂

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