Small business survival depends on creating fresh awareness of your product or service. A marketing strategy that puts you in front of your prospects is key. In a supply and demand economy, it’s up to you to press consumer demand.
Here’s a challenge! Implement one new marketing idea – each week. Experts will tell you that your marketing plan does not have to be complicated or expensive, but it does require consistent activity.
You can do this without a huge investment of time or money with simple effective small business marketing ideas:
- Go social. Use social shopping sites to get your products in front of more potential buyers. Start out slow and be selective about the inventory you feature – choose products that create a buzz and reinforce your branding identity.
- Create buzz. Get everyone talking about your business. Launch a marketing campaign that falls outside what’s been done before. Make your campaign memorable and, thus, unforgettable. Distribute an unusual promotional tie-in or invite customers to a sponsored event, such as a ball game.
- Warm up to cold calls. Cold calls can be an effective sales driver for a small business. They don’t necessarily have to happen on the phone because you can drop by local stores, club, or chamber meetings.
- Develop collateral materials. Printed marketing materials still have a place in the modern business world: fliers, brochures, and postcards for direct mail and trade shows. Resist the urge to save by designing the pieces yourself; enlist the services of a skilled designer to create a professional image.
- Start blogging. Make your website visually compatible with your collateral materials. If you don’t have a blog, start to blog now. An inexpensive, high-returning online marketing strategy, a blog gives you presence and credibility while it provides customers with value-adding content. As a bonus, the constant stream of fresh content and strategic keyword usage will boost your site’s rankings in search engine optimization.
- Send regular emails. Contact established leads and customers with predictable regularity. Make sure each message contains a relevant, value-adding benefit to the recipient. To save time and money, consider leveraging the services of an email provider who can assist with template design, email deployment, and list management.
- Consider a newsletter. Customers love information, so become an instant authority. Design and email a monthly or quarterly newsletter, or use it to introduce a new product or service. Make it an e-zine, and you avoid printing and postage costs.
- Hire a copywriter. Your written content – whether it’s an email, brochure, or web page – directly reflects your business. Take the time to find a professional business writer whose style and experience is a good fit for your business.
- Be generous with discounts. With consumers pinching pennies, catering to their budget-minded sensibilities can get you far. Try sending coupons with your next mailer, or include them in a bundled coupon package. If the fit works, advertise on Groupon.
The most important thing is to be authentic. Deliver messages directly relevant to your brand or audience and don’t make promises you don’t keep, or potential buyers will move to a competitor whose campaign rings true.
Remember, small business marketing ideas will be just that – ideas – unless you take action to implement them. Don’t waste time … get started!
by Steven Schlagel