Learning Opportunities


To request your copy of the following community’s “Starting a Business Guide”, click on your county’s Chamber of Commerce logo.


 Getting the message out about your business is very important. However, planting the right message in your customers’ minds is vital. Whether your marketing budget is $5 or $5,000, this page is designed to help you think through and develop an effective marketing strategy for your business.

1. Investigate the Market

To determine whether or not your product or service will sell, you must research your market. Below are some questions to consider while conducting market research:

  • Who are my customers?
  • Where are my customers?
  • What products or services exist that are similar to my own?
  • What factors would influence the customers to choose the alternatives?
  • What makes my product/service better?
  • How is the competition reaching their customers?


How do I do that?

Pin down your customers with common methods for Market Research:

  • Conduct a survey
  • Hold a focus group
  • Ask existing customers (comment cards)
  • Internet: information on industry trends
  • Mystery shoppers
  • Use the SEEDS Center to help you find demographic information.

2. Develop Your Communication Strategy

After you have done some research, review the good and the bad. Be honest with yourself about the strengths and weaknesses of your product or service. Make sure you have a clear understanding of your short and long term goals and develop your strategies based on those goals:

Here is a helpful way to structure your strategy:

“I will market my product positioned this way in order to reach my target audience by offering these values via these distribution channels at this price, and overcoming my competition with these approaches.”

3. Use Tools Wisely

There are many tools to choose from when marketing your business. Remember to stick to your strategy and be sure that each investment is focused on achieving the goal stated above. Here are some things to keep in mind as you choose and/or develop your tools:
  • Make yourself accessible to the customer. Always give your contact information.
  • Always inform your reader/listener/etc… of what makes your product the best choice.
  • Keep your message consistent.
  • Be creative.
  • Always present yourself, your products and your promotional materials professionally.
  • Hire a professional to develop a campaign and tools if necessary. (if your budget does not allow it, add it to next year’s budget)

4. Don't Discount the Power of the Press!

Public relations tools are a free and effective way to get your message out without spending lots of money. Submit a news release to the local paper about your new product and develop a media kit to send to television stations about your unique service. There is no guarantee that your story will run, but a newsworthy event and/or product stands a chance!