Marketing is often an intimidating prospect for small business owners. How do you know which marketing strategies will be the most successful for your product or service?
While some marketing campaigns are complex, there are plenty of simple, easily implemented strategies that entrepreneurs can do themselves. The possibilities include:
Offer free samples
When it comes to convincing a potential customer that your product or service is exactly what they want, there's nothing quite like firsthand experience. Identify places where your customers are likely to be, and then find a way to put a sample of your product in their hands or wow them with a demonstration. Fairs, conventions and community events are all worth considering.
Send regular emails to stay in touch
Whether it's once a week or once a month, a friendly, helpful email from you can help keep your business's name in front of your customers and other interested parties. Sending humorous messages, clever trivia or handy tips on a regular basis can be an awesome way to nurture your rapport with your customers who have signed up to get messages.
Sponsor a community event or organization
Participating in your community is a fantastic way to forge relationships and spread the word about your business. Sponsoring a sports team or a special event builds goodwill and allows you to network with both your fellow business owners and potential customers.
Use promotional giveaways to keep your brand in front of your target audience's eyes
Why do so many businesses give away ball caps, tee shirts, key rings, ink pens and other promotional items with their name or logo on them? It's because these gifts are instant advertising. They put your business's name in front of both the person who receives the item and anyone who encounters them while they are using it. As a reliable method for building and maintaining name recognition, these promotional items can be smart marketing. They can be even more effective if you can come up with an item that ties into the product or service you offer. For example, a branded fly swatter can be a clever way for pest control companies to put their name in front of people who might need their services.
Run a summer sale or offer a coupon deal for new or existing customers
Summer sales and promotions are a great way to generate more traffic. People will be on the lookout for hot sales as the summer heats up and as holidays like the Fourth of July and Labor Day roll around. It’s a good idea to discount items that make sense for the summer season. When there’s a scorcher in the forecast, celebrate the summer heat with a promotion. Just keep it simple. You don’t need tons of preparation… flyers, email blasts or even text messages to customers are a great and inexpensive way to increase awareness and revenue.
Show support for a cause
Supporting a cause you care about can be both charitable and savvy. Donating to a charity event, raffling off your product or service, or serving as a drop-off location for a community drive allows you to assist with something you care about, encourage goodwill, and get your business's name out there among both your community's movers and shakers and the general population.
Maintain an active social media presence
In today's world, social media is a must. Using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media networks can be an inexpensive and highly effective way to generate more visibility for your brand. However, it only works if you use it wisely. Make sure that you are providing fresh, reliable content that generates both interest and trust. Think of social media as a conversation with your customers. If you want to keep your audience listening, you need to stay engaged yourself.
When it comes to marketing, the bottom line is that you don't have to be a marketing professional to get the word out about your business. Utilizing a combination of these do—it-yourself tips is a great way to increase visibility and build your customer base.