Intro: Top 7 Small Business Marketing Ideas for Businesses
Starting a small business is tough.
Working up the nerve to leave a secure job, convincing a bank to extend a business loan, and putting in the overtime to get to the opening day can all be exhausting endeavors.
But then you have the next big chore: getting customers in the door, and that requires small business marketing.
Figuring out how to market a small business is not impossible, but it certainly isn’t easy. Coming up with small business marketing strategies can be an exhausting task on top of handling the day-to-day operations of your business.
Image Source: Small Business Marketing Ideas for Businesses
Marketing a small business is not the same as marketing a large company. While there may be a smaller beast to advertise, figuring out how to market your small business is not just about coming up with an appealing campaign – it’s about figuring out how to afford any kind of marketing as well.
This article will provide 10 marketing ideas for small business owners. These marketing tips for small business owners will cover how to get word out and customers in the door by using cost-effective marketing strategies for small business owners.
While financial resources and budget are important variables to consider when figuring out how to market your small business, they should not be an excuse to completely rule out small business marketing ideas.
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In fact, these creative small business marketing tips are the best marketing strategies for small business owners on a budget.
1. Talk to People and Conduct a Survey
The key to small business marketing is showing your potential customers that your business can fulfill a need they have. So take the time to ask them. Just because you are not a large company does not mean you cannot conduct a survey.
It can be an informal survey on a sheet of paper that customers fill out on their way out of the store.
If you want to further incentivize people to try the survey, offer a small discount as compensation. Sometimes, your existing customers are the best people to look to for marketing ideas for a small business because they are the ones who know what they want.
This research is crucial to developing marketing strategies for a small business. You need an overall picture of who your main customers are and what they want.
Additionally, this snapshot of your customer base will allow you to come up with tactics that are in line with small business marketing strategies. You do not want your advertising to be all over the place; it needs a focus.
To get to the individuals who are not yet customers, you can use online questionnaire tools to invite people on social media to answer some questions for a discount code. Knowledge is power, and market research is a solid foundation for marketing strategies for small business owners.
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2. Embrace Social Media Marketing
This is one of the biggest mistakes small businesses make when coming up with marketing ideas for a small business: they refuse to use social media. Social media is the new television, and everyone is there.
If you think your website is advanced enough for your digital marketing strategy, you can forget it.
Social media is where people go to be influenced, to share their purchases and experiences, and to express themselves. If your small business does not have a social media presence, it might as well be non-existent.
Social media marketing strategies for small business need to figure out what their distinct message is. Simply throwing social media on your list of marketing ideas for a small business is not enough.
You need to decide what message you are putting out there, or else your company’s Facebook page and tweets are going to get lost in the sea of other social media posts out there.
Step 1: Figure out what you want to say.
Marketing strategies for small business owners need to put serious thought into the messaging: what they want to say and what image of themselves they want consumers to get.
A vegan cupcake store may be all about health or maybe it is all about being socially-conscious individuals. A baby clothes store may be about supporting women and embracing femininity.
These may sound like obvious points to make when designing small business marketing strategies, but explicitly stating what your business is about will help you decide what to tweet, what not to share, and what is relevant for your company’s social media platforms.
Step 2: Find the social networking platform that works best.
When you are first coming up with social media marketing ideas for a small business, it can be tempting to simply sign your company up for every social media platform: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. You go on and on until your small business marketing is just too much for you to handle.
This can get overwhelming fast. And it may hurt you in marketing your small business more than it helps you. How? By stretching you too thin and leaving you with a lot of inactive accounts. It may sound superficial, but people do judge the legitimacy of a business based on its online presence.
How can you combat this when designing and implementing your small business marketing strategy? Unless you have extra money in your budget for a dedicated social media assistant, pick only a few platforms that are best-suited for your business.
As a foundation, make yourself a Facebook page since it is well-suited for both text and image posts. After that, look at your small business marketing strategy and ask yourself what you are trying to emphasize.
If you are a clothing company, your clientele is looks-based and, as a result, will want visuals of the merchandise. If you are offering professional services related to information services, perhaps Twitter is a better place to focus where you can share blog posts and useful articles.
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Step 3: Dedicate the necessary amount of time.
A social media small business marketing strategy requires time and energy. It is not one of those “set it and forget it” marketing ideas for a small business. You will need to keep it up to date, keep it relevant, and ensure that it is engaging. One helpful way to keep the ideas rolling is to come up with a content calendar that accounts for upcoming events, seasons or promotions.
Image Source: Leverage Marketing Tips for a Small Business
By incorporating a content calendar into your digital marketing strategies for a small business, you will not miss out on marketable events or feel exhausted by the need to constantly come up with ideas. Instead, you can plan ahead and feel prepared by mapping out your social media presence in advance.
3. Take Care of Your Day-One Customers
One huge mistake that businesses often make, especially when they start working on their small business marketing strategy, is forgetting about their existing customers. Working on marketing ideas for small business growth is important, but while you are doing that, do not forget the old adage, “One in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
While chasing after potential customers, be sure to continue taking care of those who have been long-time, loyal customers. This is true for a new business or a relatively established one.
Loyalty and trust are powerful motivators for people. And keep in mind that happy current customers can also play a key role in your small business marketing strategy. A happy customer is a walking advertisement. And a customer that feels loyalty to an establishment is one who is willing to spread the word to his or her personal friends and family.
4. Incentivize the Community to Check out Your Business
While digital marketing ideas for a small business are very important, particularly nowadays, there is still something to be said for the old-fashioned tactic of “get them in the door.” Hold a block party for your restaurant, a drop-in baking class for your bakery, or 5 minutes with a stylist event for your clothing store.
These cool events will provide incentive for people to check out your business. And if your small business marketing is backed up by a decent product or service, they will be more likely to come back.
You can also do this by giving back to your community. Charitable contributions go a long way towards building good will among neighbors and patrons. You can mix business and charity in your small business marketing strategy by sponsoring a local event or sports team where you provide money or goods in exchange for a spot for your company logo in all the promotional flyers, advertisements, and marketing for that event.
5. Broadcast Your Testimonials
Humility has no place in your company’s small business marketing. If people have said or are saying good things about your business, proudly and prominently display that for current and future customers to see.
People trust the opinions of others who have nothing to gain from your business’ growth. Small business marketing ideas do not have to be flashy – in the case of testimonials, the truth does not require dressing up, so long as it is put somewhere that it can be seen.
Post them on your website, include them in your promotional materials, even post videos if customers are willing to chat about their experiences. Social media users would rather watch a video than read a piece of text. Incorporating the feedback of happy customers is a critical part of your small business marketing, and you should not shy away from it.
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6. Blog About Your Company
This requires a little extra work besides just maintaining a social media presence, but if you can incorporate blog posts into your small business marketing strategy, you can really bring in business for your company at almost no cost.
Blogging about your personal passion for your work, the positive dynamic among your team, and the purpose of your company injects personality into your small business marketing strategies and is a great way to make people feel connected to what it is you are doing.
What’s more, blogging is cheap. It’s only cost comes in the form of your time, and an hour spent on a blog post could mean a handful of customers who decide to check out your store because they read about it online.
You can use the same strategy recommended for your small business marketing for social media: a content calendar. You do not need to write all of the posts in advance. Simply jot down ideas for what you would write about so that when it comes time to produce something, you do not have to worry about writer’s block.
Regular blog posts can also help boost your company website’s search engine rankings. Brush up on SEO writing, and you can incorporate commonly searched phrases in your field and organically work them into your blog posts.
If writing is not your thing, you can find a freelancer online to produce engaging articles for your customer base and improve your small business marketing.
7. Enter Your Company in Online Directories
If you cannot be bothered to put serious effort into leveraging marketing tips for a small business, the least you should do is ensure your business is listed, particularly in Google Maps. Include up-to-date info, such as your business’s phone number, address, and store hours as well as information regarding holiday hours.
Sometimes, people stumble upon a business out of desperation, and if you happen to be the one in the area when they need your service most, you may have landed yourself a long-term customer. You know the way to make them find you in that case? Be listed.
The whole purpose behind a small business marketing strategy is to find a way to make people come to you. If they already want to, but they don’t know where you are or whether you are even open, all these marketing tips for small business owners do not mean much. Listing your business with Google is easy – and it’s free.
Leverage Marketing Tips for a Small Business and Adapt Them to Your Company’s Work
Forget the best marketing tips for small business. Here’s the tip: know what your unique offering is. Sit down either on your own or with your business partner and figure out what it is your company stands for and what it offers in terms of identity and needs.
You could be a local hardware store – there is still a brand message there somewhere. Figure out what it is you do for people’s lives – whether it’s helping them build their dream place or turn a house into a home – and figure out how to convey that.
Once you can do that, then you are well on your way to knowing how to market a small business.
Lists of marketing tips for small business owners will recommend all sorts of things much like our list on marketing ideas for a small business, but, at the end of the day, it’s about what you are trying to say.
If your business does not know what it wants to say, then its social media will be a confused mess. If your business does not know what it wants to say, then any survey you give out will be unfocused.
In order to get useful answers, you have to provide useful questions, and you have to know what it is you are looking for beforehand in order to write such questions.
Determine your business’s brand story, and then use these marketing tips for small business owners to get your company where it wants to go.
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