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B&B Marketing Rules-of-Thumb

August 10, 2008

by Kit Cassingham

Marketing is the general activity of getting the word out about your B&B. Marketing plans are too often overlooked as people develop their bed and breakfasts. You want a marketing mix of internet, brochure, advertising, and great customer service in your marketing strategy. Here are a few simple rules or guidelines to help you in your marketing.

Do you know the marketing rules-of-thumb (RT) that will help you promote your B&B? I don't know if these are official rules or guidelines, but they are pearls of wisdom I've picked up through the years and called my Marketing Rules-of-Thumb. You'll find a marketing mix of advertising and design pointers in my RT that you can use as you want.

  • Advertising
    • know your area, its attractions, people....
    • pay attention to timing, it's important
    • repetition is vital
    • use many tools and avenues at once
Budget 5­-7.5 percent of your projected income to your marketing plan, especially for your first year. And maybe even as much as 10 percent the first year. Because of the internet, marketing budgets can be can cut to as low as 5 percent -- if you effectively get your web site promoted.

If you are a powerful marketer and know how to get free promotion, you may be able to use the smaller budget amounts and still gain a well known brand. Charlie and Deedy Marble, the original owners of The Governor's Inn in Ludlow, VT, were able to get lots of free publicity. For example, they gave travel books to their local library, getting press coverage from both the Boston Globe and the New York Times, as part of their brand that they were committed to education. That kind of publicity can go far in building your reputation and connecting you to your niche market.

  • Logo
    • keep it simple and clear
    • make it compatible with your purpose
    • be sure it is reproducible in black and white
    • pay attention to size, proportion, and orientation
    • should say stability and responsibility
    • design for today and the future for various uses and applications (aprons, hats, towels, robes, amenities, stationery, furniture, signs, pens, mugs, labels, water bottles, luggage tags....)

You should pay attention to the logo's size and proportion during the design phase. Take note of its legibility when reduced and enlarged -- does it still look as good as the original design size, and does it still have the impact you are looking for?

There's quite a bit more to marketing than these simples rules-of-thumb, but these are quick and easy rules to work with as you develop your brochure, website and marketing campaign in general.

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