The way that you market your small business will depend to a large extent on what your budget is. Obviously, a very limited budget will not allow you to make use of some of the more exotic and costly strategies which a larger budget would permit, like skywriting, or a Superbowl commercial. The majority of small businesses, just by their nature, must be very careful about the way they spend money on marketing and will endeavor to get the most mileage out of every dollar spent.
If you haven’t looked into these channels yet, we recommend starting there rather than any of the below.
One thing that every small business should undertake is to create videos because these are the most effective marketing tools in the business. Every budget is capable of withstanding the expense of making videos since all you really need are a good camera and a microphone. Even most smartphone cameras are of high enough quality these days. Other than that, all you need is some imagination and a good sense of how to present your company’s brand and its products or services.
A fantastic way to showcase your expertise is through the use of work that you’ve previously done. Depending on your industry, you can do this via a white paper/case study that talks of the challenges, pain points, data and overall results of a problem your business solved. If you’ve narrowed down your niche market, this is a great way to prove your worth to prospects. Even if you haven’t narrowed down your niche market, a white paper/case study allows prospects to understand your business’s ability to solve problems and generate happy clients. As you begin to gain more experience, you can slowly build out a portfolio that prospects can view before ever contacting you. As you build out these assets, feel free to include items like custom graphics, imagery and even call out specific team members that helped the project be a success.
Even on no budget, you can do some effective marketing online. For instance, just by staying active on social media platforms, you can promote your brand and start some buzz about your company. The more you engage with potential customers, the more likely it becomes that some of them will become interested in your products or services, and then pass along that same information. The point of all this is that regardless of what your company budget is, you’ll be able to develop and use some very effective marketing strategies that will really help your small business.
When you’re just beginning to get involved with marketing your small business, the logical place to start is with what you’re already familiar with. That means using your personal connections, network groups, and online communities to get the word out about your brand and its products. Networking is one of the best ways to promote referrals, sales, and other activities that translate to business growth. It’s definitely more work than most channels but it pays off in the long run.
Some of the things you can do in this area are to get to know local business leaders, attend conferences so you can make connections, become involved in your Chamber of Commerce, and hold local business workshops or even a free training to get people in the door and have you appear as a leader in your industry. . All of these will significantly increase your visibility in the community, and some of the connections you make will be national in scope, if not international.
Just because they aren’t digital strategies doesn’t mean they can’t be effective. There can still be some tremendous benefits to advertising on television and radio, and making use of direct mail campaigns. One of the reasons these methods have been somewhat abandoned is that it’s difficult to measure their effectiveness. It’s also hard to get feedback and measure your return on investment.
Still, there are undoubtedly a significant number of potential customers reached via billboards, magazine ads, newspaper ads, and telephone marketing campaigns. These methods tend to be a bit more costly than some digital approaches, but if you have a medium-sized budget, you should consider incorporating a few of these strategies into your overall marketing approach.
The importance and the usefulness of Google My Business can hardly be overstated. Especially in the area of creating local visibility, it is absolutely essential for you to have your GMB profile fully filled out and verified so local people will know where to find you. In addition to providing your business name in a listing for local searchers, your business will be included on a map display which will pinpoint your location, so anyone can quickly find you.
With GMB, you can update your profile at any time, you can feature your services and products, you can encourage reviews to be written about your business, you can make regular posts on the profile page, and you can gain a number of insights using the detailed reports and analytics provided by GMB. When you consider that all this is absolutely free, it’s pretty much a no-brainer to include this in your overall marketing strategy.
There are very few tactics that are as effective as positive customer reviews of your business. This is true because most people place a great deal more trust in the opinions of other consumers like themselves, as opposed to buying into any sales pitch provided by a company spokesperson. This makes good sense since customer reviews are legitimate expressions of what others have already experienced by using your product, or by having related to your customer service personnel.
This is an area which you have to pay great attention to, however, if you should get a bad review, it will be important for you to address it quickly, because it will show that you care about your customers’ opinions, and it will show that you’re an active, responsive business person. Customer reviews can also point out some actual flaws in your process, or some shortcomings of your products. You should evaluate what’s being said in reviews about your business and its products, and if necessary, you should make adjustments to those products or procedures.
The way that you behave toward your customers can go a long way toward elevating your business in the minds of customers, or it can do the opposite if you don’t handle it right. When you get positive reviews, it won’t hurt to reach out to those persons, and thank them for the favorable assessment, because this too will reflect very well on your business.
As almost any good marketer knows, gaining visibility for your business and selling your products largely rests on building relationships. This includes building relationships with customers, with business associates, and with anyone else who can help to promote your brand and its products and services. There are a number of ways you can go about this, and you should try several of these tactics because all of them can eventually add up to having a powerful network of people advocating for you and your business.
Join local professional organizations and become involved in community activities so your brand becomes more visible locally. Volunteer for local charity events, sponsor a local sports team, donate branded prizes for local raffles and events, and you should definitely cross-promote your products with other local businesses. This kind of mutually beneficial activity can be extremely effective for everyone involved, and it can work just like having a bigger marketing team in-house.
You can send birthday cards to your clients to keep your brand in their minds, and you might even want to send holiday gifts to your best customers as an expression of your gratitude. You can also solicit referrals or you can give referrals yourself because all these will broaden your local exposure, and make you more of a household name among your rivals. The initial efforts you make at building relationships may seem slow to produce results, but if you stick with it, you should notice that momentum begins building, and after a while, you’ll have a lot of people all helping to promote your business – and all at no cost to yourself.
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