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How do you grab people’s attention, arouse their interest, trigger their desire, and motivate them to take action? Answer that four-part question correctly and you’ve identified the secret to achieving tremendous sales and marketing success in your chosen business or field. To complicate matters, however, the potential answers are as numerous and multi-faceted as the growing number of niche markets, products and services, and marketing trends in our culture. While not all inclusive, the following list of priorities and small business marketing tips can help put your small business on a faster track to growth.

Marketing Tips #1: Gain Customer Confidence. Customer indecisiveness, skepticism, indifference, or confusion are among the top sales killers in the business world. It’s up to you to project an image of experience, quality, dependability, excellent customer service, and/or value to your prospective customers in order to win their confidence. If you haven’t clearly communicated the advantages and solid reasons for them to do business with you, then they’ll be hesitant to commit, and the sale will go to your competitor.

Marketing Tips #2: Penetrate awareness of your target audience by using some form of integrated marketing. In other words, the more ways the public hears about you, the better your chances are for achieving brand recognition, credibility, and greater market share. Effective marketing is partly the result of exposing your target group to your name and your selling points (unique selling proposition) as often as possible(frequency), in as many ways as possible, and as cost-effectively as possible.

Marketing Tips #3: Enthusiasm, in both print and in person, is contagious (and I’m not talking about using multiple exclamation points after sentences!!! That detracts from your credibility.) If you deeply believe in your products, services, your company, and yourself, then your prospects will pick up on that passionate attitude and feel confident and optimistic about doing business with you.

Marketing Tips #4: Purchasing is an emotional decision. Instill in your prospects good feelings about your company, your business relationship with them, and how you can improve their lives or solve their problem. Accomplishing that is at least as important in the sales process as focusing attention on product features and benefits.

Marketing Tips #5: Dispel distrust. Gain customer confidence and overcome potential feelings of distrust by offering written guarantees of satisfaction, customer testimonials, references, and by joining respected and well-known professional organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau, Chambers of Commerce, and industry associations.

Marketing Tips #6: Impose a deadline. Counteract one of the biggest obstacles to closing a sale known to mankind: procrastination. To overcome the natural human tendency to deliberate, postpone, and delay, it’s often necessary to inject a sense of urgency into your ads, sales presentations, and marketing messages. Whether supplies are limited or prices are going up at the end of the month, some prospects need to have a deadline or an incentive to motivate them to take action now.

Marketing Tips #7: Create a business marketing plan to identify and capitalize on your strengths and opportunities. Your strategic plan should also take into account factors such as your weaknesses (and possible remedies), external threats (competition, economic factors, etc.), your marketing mix strategy (products/services, promotional goals, pricing strategy, and distribution decisions), media strategy, sales and expense budgets, and target market analysis (know your customers).

This Marketing Contributed Content article was written by Joel Sussman on 5/31/2006

Joel Sussman has been a journalist, public relations specialist, proposal writer, and editor for 23 years. In 2000, he created an online resource and newsletter for business owners, called Marketing Survival Kit. To receive free weekly marketing tips, send a blank email to Marketing Survival Kit Newsletter