If there’s one thing that no small business can live without, it’s an effective marketing strategy. Your customers aren’t going to find you without one, and without customers, you don’t have a business.
Contrary to popular belief, small business marketing doesn’t need to be an incredibly complicated affair. There’s no shortage of proven marketing strategies out there and there’s very little reward for trying to reinvent the wheel.
Here are eight simple tips for getting your companies name out there. How many are you currently utilizing?
Utilize Free Marketing Techniques
The first rule of small business marketing is to take full advantage of free marketing techniques.
- Your business should be signed up to all major social media websites.
- Your business should be active on all major social media accounts.
- Barter with neighboring businesses for advertising/customer referrals.
- Promote word of mouth marketing by over delivering for all customers.
Get Your Website in Order
Your website is available to customers 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. What exactly is it saying about your business? If you haven’t already done so, invest in a high quality design and some top notch content. It’s 2013 and this is no longer optional.
Next there’s the small matter of traffic, the old “build it and they will come” adage is no longer true. If you want people to find you, you need to proactively attract them to your website. Look into both PPC advertising and SEO techniques.
Think About Starting a Blog
If your target demographic is even remotely internet savvy, think about starting a business blog. Here are a few tips:
- A business blog should be hosted on the same domain as your website.
- It must be updated on a regular basis.
- Posts should be relevant to both your business and its industry.
- Above all else, a business blog must be entertaining i.e. no sales pitches.
Reward Customer Loyalty
Multiple studies have shown that retaining an existing customer is five times cheaper than attracting a new one. In other words, promoting customer loyalty should be at the very top of your list of priorities.
The easiest way to encourage repeat business is to simply offer discounts on future purchases. From a free cup of coffee for every six purchased, to a twenty percent discount on future purchases, this is a strategy that just about any business can implement.
Always be Networking
As a small business owner, you should be networking at every opportunity.
- Sign up to all relevant communities on LinkedIn.
- Never leave the house without business cards.
- Get involved in community charities/events.
- Ask your family and friends to spread the word about your business.
Seek Out Customer Testimonials
Seek out customer testimonials and publish them on your website and social media accounts. Collecting testimonials doesn’t cost you a penny but they are highly effective when it comes to increasing a potential customers trust in your company.
If you don’t want to ask for testimonials directly, put up a sign asking your customers to rate your business on Yelp.com. It’s also well worth including a link to your Yelp.com page on your website.
Start a Monthly Newsletter
Email marketing is well known for being one of the most cost effective marketing techniques. Obviously, the first thing that you are going to need is some email addresses. Ask your customers, social media followers and website visitors.
Once you’ve built up a reasonably large database of willing recipients, start sending out a brief monthly newsletter that includes your latest products and promotions.
Know What Works
Finally, there’s the small matter of tracking. It’s essential for you to understand exactly where your customers are coming from. Otherwise how are you going to judge the cost effectiveness of your individual campaigns? Here are a few tips.
- Monitor your website and blog traffic. Is it a result of SEO or PPC?
- How often are people using your reward cards?
- Use different coupon codes for different marketing campaigns. Keep track of how often each one is used.
- Ask all customers, online and in store, how they found you.
- Switch things up occasionally and monitor the difference.