Marketing a business

Most people think marketing is a newspaper ad or a TV commercial. It is, but it's much more. Here's some you might not realize.

1. Ethics and honesty. If these aren't the foundation of your business, you won't be in business for long.

2. Brand. What do people think of when they think about your business? Brand is more than a name. It's the essence of what you do, such as Fed Ex is fast delivery. McDonald's is fast, consistent, but not gourment food.

3. Location. For retailers, where the business is located may be the most important marketing tool. But remember, the Internet is a "location" that impacts how you reach your customers and how they find you.

4. Hours of operation. Many customers now expect businesses to be "open" 24/7. That's why a Web site is so important. You can be open even when you are asleep.

5. Phone number. Customers expect a way to connect with your business and offering only email can be a turn off. Avoid using your personal phone number to appear more professional. Check out this resource for a separate number for your business.

6. Stationary. Yup, the paper you send - or online, the look of your e-mails - tell customers a lot about your business. Is it clean? Professional? Distinctive? See #2.