Marketing your business is an ongoing endeavor. Although there is no ‘one size fits all’ marketing strategies for small businesses, there are some universal methods and approaches that can be quite beneficial for dedicated entrepreneurs with little money to spend. Detailed below are several ways to market your small business that will surely stay within your company’s marketing budget.
1. What Not to Do
This might seem counterintuitive, but before placing your company on the radar, establish what marketing methods deviate from your brand’s vision. Oftentimes small business owners get caught up in the latest marketing trends and lose sight of the company vision. What works for one company does not work for another; be sure to identify how you will cater to your costumers before launching head-first into marketing’s deep abyss.
2. The Elevator Pitch: Describe Your Company in Less Than 1 Minute
Marketing does not confine itself to office walls or text on a screen — it’s everywhere, just like your business should be. A successful elevator pitch is brief and sparks another’s interest in the company or organization. Whether you’re out networking or taking an Uber from one meeting to the next, you should be ready to succinctly describe your company when asked “what do you do for a living?” Below are three simple steps to execute a successful elevator pitch, but if you’d like a thorough step-by-step guide, refer to this article.
- After a brief sentence describing your company, explain the benefits and contributions your company offers to others.
- Detail your expertise including, but not limited to, recognized folks or brands you’ve worked with, unique skills your company offers, how your company’s approach to service differs from its competitors.
- Practice your pitch until it comes naturally. To avoid sounding like you’re reading lines from a script, practice your elevator pitch solo until it becomes second nature.
- If time permits, offer the person your business card — you’ll never know if someone knows someone who knows someone who needs your services.
3. Speaking of Networking…
Networking is perhaps one of the most vital aspects of getting a brand’s name recognized and increasing business referrals. Reportedly, more than half of small business owners get their biggest boost in business from referrals. Below are three simple steps you can take to begin networking.
- Get Local: choose 2 events in your area to attend weekly. Ideally, these events would be in-line with your demographic or line of work, but if that’s not the case, a fundraiser, seminar, a museum gathering or a local happy hour can also work wonders. Fellow small business owners are probably attending these same events, significantly increasing the chances of you finding an opportunity for synergy or a partnership that will benefit your business.
- Partnerships: view other local small businesses in your area as your allies, and think of ways in which you can offer a helping hand. Building and strengthening partnerships with surrounding small businesses will work to help drive business to both parties. For example, if you own a gym and a yoga studio opens up nearby, offer a joint membership with discounts to both studios. Similarly, if you own a store with goods, offer customer discounts to your neighbor’s hair salon or a restaurant nearby.
- Touch base 24-hours later: don’t be afraid to follow-up with the potential client you met at a networking event. The best way to do this is via email where you can mention the conversation and your delight in meeting him/her as well as offer your services for a near future. Even if the potential client is not interested at the moment, you will have left a lasting and professional first impression while remaining on their radar.
4. Networking = Relationships
Establishing strong relationships with current and potential customers is crucial. Whether you’re asking for a referral or building your marketing list, keeping your clients updated on what your company has accomplished can only work in your favor. Here’s are three easy steps:
- Email newsletters: gather all the emails and business cards lingering around your office and insert them all into a spreadsheet. After you’ve created a thorough client list, create a newsletter distribution calendar detailing what information you’ll be sending out (i.e. new accomplishments, celebratory dates, motivational words, anything pertinent to your brand) and when you’ll be sending it out (establish specific dates for each topic to help keep your schedule on track). Newsletters need not be complicated, there are plenty of free newsletter templates online — such as this one — that will not offset the marketing budget.
- Join the Social Network: build a presence online. Networking sites are ideal to attract new customers while simultaneously establishing your brand’s vision and mission for potential clients to see. If you need assistance building a strong social media presence, refer to the article “15 Social Media Hacks for Small Business Owners” or “7 Simple Ways Facebook Boosts Your Business”.
5. Give Them Something to Talk About
Your company has something unique to offer and everyone should be made aware. There are multiple ways to create buzz around your business that don’t involve expensive public relations agencies or spending thousands of dollars in marketing collateral. Old school methods work just as well, especially on a low budget, and offer a good ROI. Here are three of the best tactics to create buzz around your business.
- Offer a complimentary consultation, service or product. If folks have the opportunity to see what your company can offer, chances are they will come back for more. If you’re selling a product, offer them a free sample. If it’s a service you’re providing, offer a complimentary consultation for potential clients and be sure to detail how you’ll be able to meet their needs at the end of your meeting.
- Offer coupons for newcomers. Whether it’s a Groupon offer or an internal coupon for walk-ins, folks love a good discount. This method is successful in expanding customer base and to generate return business. For example, if you give a customer a coupon for their next visit, chances are they will be using it in the near future.
- Connect to journalists in your area. These days it’s easy to find local journalists on social media. Reach out to them from your company’s social media channels to introduce yourself or pitch your company, or offer them a complimentary service. Chances are, if they see value in what your company offers, they will make sure the local community is aware. Additionally, subscribe to Help A Reporter Out (HARO), a database where reporters send out queries and entrepreneurs or small businesses can pitch their services.