7 simple things you can implement in a day to make your business look bigger and more professional.

western townMarketing a small business is often about holding up a façade – you know, those false walls or buildings in the old Western movies?  We need to do what we can, with the time and resources we have, to make our small business punch above its weight – particularly in the early days of growing.

Marketing is too important to be left to the Marketing Department – David Packard

Get your stopwatch out and see if you can implement these small things in less than 8 hours.

1) Get proper business cards

I see this on a lot of sites, being the marketing snob I am these days, this one seems oh so obvious (now!)  Don’t go cheap on your business cards.  Invest in a quality design, quality stock and make sure you are proud to hand them out, even excited.

2) Create a kick-ass LinkedIn profile, for everyone in your company

More-and-more people are not only checking out your company website before they decide to do business with you, they will often also look you up.  If they Google you, what comes up?  One guaranteed way of having a positive result come up – as position number 1 or 2 in the search results – is use the best resource we found on how to make your LinkedIn profile sparkle.

3) Get some appropriate “on hold” music

Please, no Kenny G muzak!!  Put something on there that reflects your company’s personality, or better still, record some marketing messages in between/over the music so you inform your clients while they wait.

4) Record a professional voicemail message on everyone’s mobiles

Say something like:

“Hi, this is Troy from ABC, thanks for calling.  I’m unable to take your call at the moment but if you leave a message I’ll get back to you as soon as I can”

5) Remove voicemail or the IVR (Integrated Voice Recognition) system on your main number

If you use them – get humans answering each and every call.  It sends such a powerful message to your clients – that you value them.   If it’s not possible to have an admin, PA or junior answering the phone then commission a phone answering service.  We have our set like this – after 4 rings if no answers it goes to the phone overflow company.

We use one in the UK which charges about £20 a month, the first 10 messages are included then it is about £1.20 ex VAT per message after that.  We recommend 1st Response in the UK for 8.30am – 6.00pm office hours (perfect for our IT support company Lucidica in London).  There are other firms  if you want someone there 24 hours a day (spot on for our social enterprise which has the wider trading hours of 8.00am – 10.00pm Monday – Friday and 9.00am – 5.00pm Saturdays and Sundays.)

6) Get a 0800 number

It looks more professional and brings an aura of “bigness” to your little business.  We use UK2Numbers, a great little company and very affordable.  I picked up an 0800 number for one of my latest companies (The London Pub Crawl Co. – provides walks and tours around the best pubs in London) for less than £5 and had it diverted to a mobile for the first few months of the business operating.  The per minute cost was OK until we got busier, then we moved it to a landline (which had a fixed monthly cost, so not worth doing until the call volume increased.)

7a) Use a damn footer

<RANT>Oh, this gets my goat.  A client had a go at me some years ago in London when we didn’t have footers in my emails, and now I know what he was on about.  When I need to call someone or get some other details that should be in their footer – and they don’t have a footer – I waste time, I get frustrated, I might decide not to call you.</RANT>

Back to the constructive stuff, this is what you should include in your footer, and in this order:

  • Your name
  • Your title
  • Your company logo (which hyperlinks to your home page)
  • A one-liner marketing announcement (new product, won a big client, celebrating a milestone or anniversary, won an award)
  • Your office address
  • Your phone (fax is old school, leave it off)
  • Your email (hyperlinked to mailto: your email address)
  • Your company URL
  • Ask them to connect to you on LinkedIn (with a hyperlink to your profile)
  • Environmental notice
  • Legal disclaimer/mumbo-jumbo

Have a look at some of the footers you see, and pick from the ones you like.  See the Lucidica example below.

7b) Implement server-side signatures/footers

The best one I’ve found is Exclaimer.  It is a brilliant tool and a Marketing Managers’ dream – consistency across email footers/signatures.  They are easy to set up and manage, and if you need to change wording you can do it quickly.  All you have to do is write your message, include a sign-off (we allow the team member to write “King regards”, “Cheers”, “Regards” or whatever they want and the rest of the signature is put on by the server on the way out (perfect if you are replying from your mobile too!).  This is what the Lucidica which one currently looks like (you write between the square brackets below):

Lucidica email signature



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