Maximize your marketing


May 13, 2012|By BOB POOR
  • Robert A. "Bob" Poor
Robert A. "Bob" Poor

Q: We are just a month away from opening our new small business and are suddenly aware that we really need a better marketing plan, especially as it relates to targeting our customers. Can SCORE help us?

A: Good timing! For starters, we recommend that you attend the next SCORE roundtable, scheduled for Thursday from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Always Ron’s restaurant, 29 N. Burhans Blvd. in Hagerstown. This is a free event but food will be available for purchase.

The roundtable will acquaint you with some local marketing research resources available through the Washington County Free Library system. Harry Sachs, who is in charge of business and government research for the library, will work directly from a computer so participants can see exactly how to search the various databases that are available online.

This directly relates to your interest in targeting customers. SCORE mentoring will be available to assist you further with your marketing plan, at the event and as a follow-up.

If you play a sport, you know that preparation is vital for success. Ditto for marketing your business. You must be able to clearly identify what sets you apart from the competition. Without this knowledge, you cannot market yourself properly.

Your situation is one that highlights the importance of creating a detailed profile of your ideal prospects. As you create your marketing message, aim at them and list the benefits they will receive. Also, be certain your marketing message highlights the knowledge and expertise you offer.

Look for ways to make the buying process easier for your clients/customers. What roadblocks can you remove? Simplify everything; eliminate potential interruptions in the sales process and make decision making as painless as possible for your customers.

Try to set a budget and a pace that lets you market continuously. Customers’ memories are short, and they are bombarded with thousands of marketing messages and images daily. Your efforts must be ongoing or people will quickly forget.

To learn more about marketing your small business, contact SCORE, a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business mentors who provide free, confidential business mentoring and training workshops to small-business owners and those thinking about starting their own businesses.

Call the Hagerstown SCORE chapter at 301-766-2043 or go to

Robert A. “Bob” Poor is a local small-business owner/operator. He is a small-business mentor and a regular contributor to the Ask SCORE column. Questions may be emailed to him at or sent by mail in care of The Herald-Mail, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741, ATTN: Ask SCORE column.

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