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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

Three great ways to use the back of your business card

Face-to-face networking is still one of the best ways to make new contacts and the business card is an essential tool. Bryony Thomas of Watertight Marketing has three suggestions to make your business card work harder to help make a lasting impression

With digital print bringing down the cost of business cards, and making it easier to update your cards more regularly, it's time to think a bit more clearly about what you put on the back of yours. Could it work that little bit harder for you?

Okay, so there are some must-have items for your business card - your name, your company name, your telephone numbers, your email address, your Twitter handle and your website. Then there's that bit of personality - a photo, an image, a funky finish or shape. And, then there's how to use the reverse. Here are just three ideas for making yours into a mini-marketing tool:

1. Tell people what you do

Prepare a short piece of powerful copy that tells people what you do. You don't have long, so make it count. If you watch someone receive a card, they usually read the front and then flip over. You have about 10-20 seconds to catch their eye with something. So, keep it short and punchy. Bullet points work well. At a networking event, this can be great for structuring a short conversation. Point them to the bullet point, then tell them a little story (ideally a case study-based one) about each service or product you have listed.

2. Add a QR code that links to a testimonial video

A QR code is like a bit like a barcode. Readers are readily available for free on most smartphones. This can be used to direct people to a web destination of your choice. You could prepare a short interview with each of your key people, interspersed with testimonials about them, and pop it on YouTube (as this plays on all smartphones). Add a QR code on the reverse of your business card linking to the video for that individual. Now your business card can act as a little introduction to you, even when you're not there.

3. Promote your latest offer or download

Why not keep your print runs small and replace your cards monthly or quarterly with details of your latest offers or content? This makes a great talking point at events, and also gives people a natural next step on having received your card. Even better, why not have a few different reverses with more targeted content (by industry for example) - so you can reach for the card that is spot on for the person you're talking to.

And now, a wee note of caution on going design-crazy. A bit of personality is great but think twice about plastic, laminated, or metal cards with no white space. People at networking events often like to make a note on your card as to where they met you and what you talked about. Make it easy for people to do this, it will help them to remember you and stay in touch - which is why you gave them the card, right?

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