When you start looking for ideas to market your small business, it can seem like every suggestion you can find is targeted towards a business that’s much bigger than yours. It’s probably going to be some time before you’re taking out subway ads, or buying full page spreads in major national periodicals, after all.
So what can you do, as a small business, to get your name out there and build your business?
Invest in your customers
Assuming that you’re already offering the best product that you can, the next important step is to invest in your customers. Give them the best service that they can imagine. Make sure that they’re both surprised and delighted at how well you treat them, both during their purchase and afterwards. You’ll both create repeat customers, and encourage them to recommend you to their friends and family, which will build business.
Use social media to your advantage
The name of the game these days in online marketing is, without question, content marketing. By generating important, relevant content, you keep customers coming back to your website, and by offering content that they want to share with their friends, you expand your potential audience. There is no topic so boring that you can’t generate content around it. If you’re not sure how to move forward, hire a freelance writer to manage your blog for you. You’ll be surprised and pleased at the results you’ll get!
Make your marketing dollars work
When your marketing budget is small, it’s important to watch it very carefully and analyze what’s working and what Isn’t. If you’re paying for ads on other websites, for example, but not seeing enough clickthrough to generate income, then you need to assess: is your ad in the right place? Is it pulling customers in and encourage them to click? How’s your landing page?
If you’ve been doing these things on your own, and they’re just not working out for you, it may be time to get an expert opinion.
Encourage your customers to leave a review
There is a fine line to walk when encouraging customers to leave a review. Some customers hate to be badgered, and let’s be honest, everyone wants a review of their product out there these days. After all, reviews make a real difference when it comes to customers making decisions.
So how do you increase your chances of customers leaving reviews?
- Make it easy for them. Provide a link to the website you want them to review you on (your Facebook business page, perhaps, or Yelp, or a local targeted website).
- Be honest about the time commitment. Don’t say “it’ll just take a minute” if you know that it’ll take twenty minutes to complete the sign up process, for example.
- Be specific. Don’t say “review us online!” when you mean “review us on Yelp!” This is where links help as well.
Create graphic content
Don’t limit yourself to the written word; informative and creative infographics are visually interesting, easy to digest, and share very well. Instruction videos can be a virtual goldmine of content sharing, and can create a huge audience fascinated by your product. Production values don’t have to be Hollywood ready, but do invest in a good microphone; nothing kills a video faster than not being able to hear the speaker.
Partner with community organizations
From nonprofits to other businesses, work together to create a better environment for business. Concepts such as “show your purchase receipt from my store at their store to get a discount” can help to build a local community of businesses that support each other and work together. Similarly, supporting a local nonprofit’s events can be a great way to expose your business name to a wider audience and increase awareness of your brand while giving back to the community.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because you don’t have a 7 digit marketing budget, there’s nothing you can do to support your business. Marketing and branding are the cornerstones of business success, and if you can work them together to create a cohesive whole, you’re more likely to find success for your business over time.