Opening a small business can be a daunting task. After creating a breakthrough new service or product, setting up operations, and fundraising, there is still a major step that cannot be ignored – marketing. After all, if the customers do not show up, the business will not last long.
So what are the best methods for reaching small business clients?
First and foremost, small business owners need to figure out the company’s core message before they even think about marketing strategies. This message is what customers will remember the most about the business, so keep it clear and succinct. There should be no confusion as to what it is about and the services or product it provides. Just the same, feel free to be creative in expressing some of the company’s personality.
Effective marketing is all about knowing the customers and catering to what they want. This means keeping track of where customers go online and how they prefer to communicate. The challenge here is that there are so many marketing venues and a limited amount of funds. Some of these venues include:
1. Broadcast media (TV, radio)
2. Print media (magazines, newspapers)
3. Online (mobile, website)
4. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, blogs)
5. Fact-to-face (public relations, networking, trade shows)
6. Signage (billboards, buildings, vehicles)
7. Print collateral (fliers, brochures, business cards)
Whichever venue a business chooses for its marketing strategy, repetition is key. The company’s core message has to be seen frequently in order to have any significant impact.
Word of Mouth
Despite the wide array of marketing venues available, any long-time small business owner will say that the most effective marketing technique is word of mouth. The easiest way to get the company’s message out there is through satisfied customers who tell their friends about their experience. That said, be careful not to overestimate how well word of mouth is working for your business. Consider a loyalty program, even if it is just a punch card, to encourage customers to keep coming back.
SEM (search engine marketing) or SEO (search engine optimization) used to be something all small business owners wanted for their online presence. While the initial hype has diminished, this angle is still one of the most effective marketing techniques available. A few well-placed keywords in a company ad will help it get found among the millions of others on the Internet. Whether the ad is paid or found through an organic search, there is little involvement once it is created. This makes it an efficient method without requiring a lot of time.
Nowadays, the buzz is all about social media marketing. While it can be difficult to find the time to post every single day (or even multiple times a day), it is also cost-effective and offers ways to target specific audience demographics. Think of social media as the 21st century incarnation of the word of mouth method. The very nature of this venue encourages interaction through posting photos, videos, and comments. By engaging with customers over various outlets, the company’s message reaches numerous customers who then pass it on to their friends through their own social media pages. Basically, they do all the legwork.
With all the hype surrounding social media and online marketing, many small businesses fail to recognize that there is still a lot of power behind printed advertising materials. At the start, it is easiest to simply put together a business card. It may be small, but it plays a very important part in spreading the company’s message. Be certain it contains all relevant contact information and keep them handy at ALL times, not just in the establishment itself. Once the business becomes more established, additional print materials such as catalogs and fliers can be created for the same purpose.
Whatever the industry, these tips have been proven to help grow a business when they are consistently executed. When your business is flowing with customers and you want support in scaling your business, consider taking the first step by booking a free consultation with a Camino Financial Business Loan Specialist.