I am speaking on “Marketing on a Shoestring” today for a conference of 400 women entrepreneurs.

It is a revised version of my 101 Low Cost Marketing Strategies seminar that I have been giving since I started my company in 2000. In preparing my presentation, I came across 10 absolute must haves for ANY business from a marketing standpoint (accountants and lawyers out there, stand down).

Then, when I looked at the list I thought. It is so simple. Libraries full of books have been written on how to do many of these things. I will trust you to find your own path toward the best way to put these items in place, just put them in place…today!

  1. Elevator Speech. What do you do and why do I care? This falls under the entire messaging umbrella and could also include brand positioning statement, unique selling proposition, etc. Figure out what it is, find an easy to understand way to express it and be consistent.
  2. Voice mail message. Now you have what you do and why I care, voice mail is the perfect opportunity to express it. I have to admit, I hadn’t been following my own advice here, but I just changed my voice mail to reflect a clear messaging statement and call to action.
  3. Email Signature. Another opportunity to get your message across and drive traffic to your online presence. That’s right, you should include links. And please add an email signature to your cell phone if you respond to business emails from there.
  4. Business Card. I assume you have all the relevant information on your card, but if I look at it after I meet you, can I tell what you do or how it can help me? Is there a call to action? And a QR code that takes me to your non-mobile enhanced website is not what I mean.
  5. LinkedIn Profile. I speak on social media – a lot.. And I have yet to meet a business owner who should NOT have a LinkedIn Profile for themselves. It doesn’t take that much time. Be sure you complete it. The best completion checklist I’ve found is by Maisha Walker at Inc.
  6. Email List. I have yet to meet a business owner who could not benefit from an email list of their clients. In fact, I have case studies of my clients who have moved completely away from postal mail in less than 6 months after starting email marketing. Postal mail had been the business’ only form of marketing to that point. Email marketing is easy, cheap and a way to reach directly to your prospects and customers. Use a professional service like Constant Contact. (Full Disclosure: I am a Constant Contact Expert and Solution Provider)
  7. Follow Up. Have a follow up plan for your business. If you go to a networking event, don’t just throw the cards in a box or a drawer, but have a plan. Don’t automatically subscribe everyone you met to your email newsletter. Likewise, don’t send a blanket post-event email a la “it was nice to meet you”. Reach out personally to the few warm leads you met at the event. If you told them you would send them something, send it.
  8. Customer Testimonials. If you don’t have any, start collecting them right now. Call your best customers. Ask them to write a testimonial for you. If they don’t have the time, write one for them and ask them to edit as appropriate. Potential customers are far more likely to believe another one of your customers saying you are fantastic, then you saying you are fantastic. See my process for collecting customer testimonials.
  9. Thank You. Say Thank you to your customers. Whether you implement an official rewards program or send them the occasional note and/or cookie basket. Let them know you appreciate them.
  10. Belief. If you don’t believe in yourself, your prospects never will. Do what you do. Do it well and believe.

Can you think of a business marketing must have that I missed? Let me know in the comments.