If you want to attract potential customers and keep your current patrons, you need to market your business. People need to be aware of your brand for you to grow your customer base. To gain customers, you need to advertise and promote your business in a number of ways. But as a small business owner, you might be strapped for cash from time to time. You need inexpensive and effective small business marketing ideas.
Marketing tips for small business
Before a small business’s customer following can truly take off, you need to have a marketing plan in place that details your target audience, how often you will actively market, and types of marketing strategies you plan to carry out.
Jamie Izaks, President of All Points Public Relations, says:
Nothing is more important than understanding your audience. With limited budgets and resources, small business owners must first hone in on their target and then develop every other aspect of marketing around that target. The messaging, design and distribution channel are all a reflection of the customers being targeted.
The zero-based budgeting process that many small business owners use, requires a very high chance of marketing ROI, and careful target marketing is one way to achieve that. Take a look at these marketing tips for small business.
1. Use social media
One of your major marketing resources as a small business is social media. Social media is a popular form of online marketing for small business that you can leverage for free. Set up different social media accounts for your company, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
You can use social media for finding potential customers, or marketing to existing customers. The more you post on your business’s social pages, the more people will learn about your brand.
If you engage with customers on social media, you can ask them to leave reviews and post pictures of your products for a discount. Make sure you reply to customers who have questions, comments, or concerns. You will gain more attention from potential customers and show your current customers you value their input.
These social media marketing tips for small businesses barely scratch the surface. Experiment with different small business promotion ideas on social media to see what works for your company.
2. Create a website
Do you know why small businesses need a website? A website helps draw potential customers to your business. Individuals surfing the internet for certain products can end up finding your products or services and improving your bottom line in business.
There are countless customizations that you can make for your site, but what makes a website effective?
Your business website should have your company’s name, information about your products or services, address, store hours, contact information, mission statement, and logo, among other things. That way, people know exactly who you are, what you sell, and what your company represents.
When it comes to marketing your small business, you might need a few more things on your business website. Consider starting a small business blog. A blog can provide tips, show you’re an expert in your industry, and introduce people to what your business offers. You could also include reviews on your website. People want to know what customers have to say about your products or services.
3. Plan an event
Planning an event is a great way to market your business and bring in new customers. Here are a few event marketing ideas for small business to get you started.
Team up with a local community event, or bring people into your business to celebrate milestones. Whatever you do, make sure you are part of your local community.
You can set up at a community festival and provide free samples, coupons, or information on what your business offers. That way, people will start associating you with being involved in your community.
If you host an event at your business, also offer free samples, coupons, and information. One event you can participate in is Small Business Saturday, which takes place yearly on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Small Business Saturday is a nationwide holiday that promotes small businesses within communities.
4. Team up with another business
Learn how to market a small business in cooperation with a complementary partner. Team up with a non-competing business in your neighborhood. By doing this, you both have the opportunity to gain customers.
For example, you own a sandwich shop and decide to partner up with a neighboring ice cream parlor. When customers purchase a sandwich, you can give them a coupon to the ice cream parlor. And, the ice cream parlor can give their customers coupons to your sandwich shop.
Teaming up with another business puts both of you on the radar of potential customers. And, it encourages customers to go to both businesses.
5. Put business information on everything
When you’re starting a new business or marketing your current one, getting your brand out there is everything. Make sure your company name, logo, and contact information is on everything you do. Include it on your business’s front window, website, invoices, and any paperwork you send out.
6. Send emails
One marketing technique you should be doing is sending emails. The emails should include upcoming promotions, coupons, and any news in your business. You can promote events and sales with an email marketing strategy.
In order to send emails, you need to gather a client list. When a customer makes a purchase, ask them for their email address. That way, you can send them discounts and let them know about promotions.
You can also set up your small business website to give people on your website something of value in exchange for their email address. If your business has a blog, you can send them your new articles each week.
For example, you own a coffee shop. You send the people on your email list a 25% off coupon to use within the next month. Another day, you send them an informational email letting them know that you now offer coconut, almond, and soy milk as dairy-alternative options.
7. Incentive programs
Try creating a ‘refer-a-friend’ program where your current customers receive a discount on a future purchase if they refer a friend. That way, you gain a new customer while giving your current customer something of value.
Let’s say you operate a rental car company. Someone new comes in to borrow a rental car because of a referral from one of your current customers. Give the current customer a voucher good for $50 off their next two-day or more rental.
Marketing for small business: why it matters
As a small business owner, you know you need to come up with ways to keep customers coming back to your company and attract new customers. Marketing for small business can be inexpensive and attention grabbing.
Use the tips discussed in this article to help you come up with a personalized marketing plan for your small business. Play around with different ideas to find out what works for you and what doesn’t.