What are the most effective small-business marketing strategies? Which marketing strategies should you use in your small business? These are 29 marketing strategies that work well for small businesses.
Small business owners have always struggled to find the right marketing strategies. It can be difficult for small businesses to choose the best marketing channel to reach potential customers because of all the options available.
Do you blog? Do you need to be networking? What about traditional advertising? Do you want to focus on social media or traditional advertising? Text messaging How about using SEO and other digital strategies for marketing?
Your ad may not be seen by the business owner searching the internet for the best prices on printing business cards. The woman who receives a text message from a local deli at 11:15 AM telling her about the current lunch special, may not see the lunch coupons that your bagel shop sends.
Plan Your Marketing Strategy
There is no single marketing strategy that will bring in a steady flow of customers. You must employ multiple marketing strategies to keep and attract customers, regardless of whether you are selling products or services.
Below is a list of different marketing strategies. Even if your business has been around for years, pay particular attention to the top five. Markets change and it is important to assess whether the product and method you are selling matches the needs of consumers and businesses.
If you have been in business for a while and haven’t made any changes to your marketing strategies over the years then it is worth looking at the digital marketing and internet marketing options. It doesn’t matter how you found your customers, consumers and businesses today use digital media to find information about their needs and compare service providers before making a decision on which service provider to use. They should be able to find you.
1. Define your marketing goals
Before you can decide on the best business marketing strategies, you must first consider your goals. Are you looking to increase brand awareness for your company? You can be considered an expert in your field. Do you offer a new product or service that complements what you sell? Are you looking to increase your lunch-time and dinner business? Are you looking to increase your order volume (ie sell 10 items at once)?
Different goals require different strategies. A text messaging strategy might be a good option if your goal is to increase foot traffic to the bagel shop and individual sales at lunchtime. You will need a different strategy if you want to grow your catering business, or sell bulk bagels to nearby restaurants and shops.
2. Define what makes your product or service unique
You must be different from your competition to win customers. Your unique selling proposition (USP) is a key part of your marketing strategy. Customers may be attracted to your USP because of its lower cost, higher quality, availability during the day and evenings, long-term experience, and speed. Start by reviewing reviews of products and services similar to yours. Take note of the comments made by reviewers. This will help you determine your USP. Next, write down the benefits and features of your products. Then, create another list that identifies what customers are most interested or satisfied with. Your notes should be summarized in a single sentence so that people can understand why you are better than your competition.
Make a profile of your ideal client. Which type of person is most likely to buy this service today? Do not fall for the trap of thinking that everyone or every person in a particular demographic is your customer. It may be true that “everyone” can’t be reached effectively with a small budget. Either “all women over 40” is not the right target, nor are similar large demographics. It is important to narrow down your target audience and to focus on the most probable prospects you are able to reach.
You can do this by digging deeper. What is their motivation for wanting this service? What is their job role? Where do they live if it’s a consumer product? What age are they? What is their annual income? What are their other characteristics that make them a potential customer? What are their most common places to find the service? What would your ideal customer spend on a service? What would be their reorder frequency? They might ask for a referral to someone they know.
Answer those questions and then ask one more question: “Where should you be networking?” or “What should you be doing to make yourself known to the potential customer or people who can refer you?” Once you have answered these questions, take action.
4. Learn what the customer wants before you buy
Customers may not necessarily want to purchase what you are selling. They don’t want the service that you provide. They are looking for the solution to their problem or the benefit that your service offers. It’s simple, think about it. Plumbers’ customers don’t care about plumbing. They need a leaky pipe repaired. Customers of web developers don’t need a database. They want a design. Customers want a website that makes them look good, gets them found in search engines, and helps them find new customers. Ask your customers for help in determining what they are buying. Your marketing will produce better results if you focus on the benefits and solutions that customers want, rather than the product you are selling.
5. Find out the best format, time and place to reach your target audience
Once you have identified your market, think about where and when the customer would like to find out more information and/or purchase it. Ask potential customers about their experiences with your product or service. Your answers will help you determine how much effort and time you should invest in social media, networking and getting referrals. Once you have answered all the questions, take action. Place your business and promotional materials where customers are most likely to find them.
Related: How do you create marketing strategies
6. Be a trusted resource for prospects and customers
People prefer to purchase from people they trust and know. They don’t like being “sold” anything. Your prospects will trust you and your information will be helpful in making the right choice.
7. Be a media resource
Press members are always seeking authoritative sources to quote. Stay in touch with your local media via online and offline networks and subscribe to HARO for inquiries from media looking for interview subjects.
8. Create professional social media profiles
Social media presences are essential for your business and yourself on all social media channels that are used by your customers. These include LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook as well as YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and YouTube. Make sure that each profile has a link back to your website and is professional. If you meet someone and they forget your business card, they may type your name into a search engine to find you. A profile on one of the most popular social media sites will enable them to find you with the link to your site.
9. Claim your spot on Google Business or Bing Places for Business
Bing Places for Business and Google Business Listings are not just for retail outlets or fast food restaurants. Google allows you to search for any service in any location. It will then show you a list with companies that offer the same service as you are searching for. It’s possible that your profile won’t show up on the first page listing if you live in a large city. However, having a profile can give you an advantage.
10. Participate in the discussion groups on social media
If you want to be known, gain credibility or be considered an expert in your field, it can be a good idea to participate in the discussions on social media that are relevant to your customers. These discussions can help you get to know your customers better. You can find topic-specific discussion groups or groups that are specific to your product. Spend a few minutes each day reading the conversations. Pay attention to the questions people ask and listen for complaints about the goods you sell. This will help you understand what people want, rather than the features or products you are selling. You can start to make helpful comments and post useful resources by paying attention to group dynamics. You can hire a freelancer to help you or find other conversations you are interested in.
11. Create a content marketing plan
A content marketing strategy is necessary if your product or service is something customers research before buying. If you want to be recognized as an expert in your field, the same applies.
Writing articles about the service you offer is one of the strategies you will use. Most likely, you’ll want to answer questions customers have during each stage of their buying process. You can publish some articles to your site, and others to other sites that will reach your audience. Include a “about the author” resource box and a link to your site in every article. For more information on article marketing, see Article Marketing Do’s & Don’ts. These articles will make you and your company more well-known and establish your credibility. This content marketing strategy can also be implemented using white papers, giveaways to create leads, and infographics.
12. Flyers and brochures can be printed
Even though digital marketing is important, print marketing still matters. If you are allowed, print flyers and brochures. To create your own templates, you can download free templates from Microsoft and HP. You can print small quantities of product sheets or flyers on your color printer. Use high quality paper, something heavier than regular copier paper. If you are certain that you will need 100 or more copies, you can compare the cost to have them printed with the cost of printing your own. You should allow enough time for the printing to arrive.
13. Participate in local business associations by volunteering to speak
Speaking at business events or local meetings can help you reach your goals in marketing. Businesses often require interesting speakers to bring members to their meetings. While your talk should cover a specific area of your expertise, it should also be relevant to the audience’s information needs and the problems they are trying to solve.
14. Send in your proposals for speaking at industry group conferences
Speakers are needed at all levels: national, regional, and local. Submit proposals to speak at these events if you are an expert in your area. You may be able to speak on a panel if you don’t have much experience. Make sure you promote your participation on the panel and link to any video or other promos the conference planner has made.
15. Ask for referrals and recommendations
Always be looking for ways to encourage friends and customers to recommend you. These recommendations can bring you ready-to-buy clients to your door, customers who trust you because of the recommendation and are thus easier to purchase from. While some referrals and recommendations happen naturally, you can increase your referrals by actively acquiring them.
16. Refer business to other businesses within your network
Referring others is just as important as getting them. People will recommend people they like and businesspeople often like those who send them business.
17. You can co-market your business to another business
You can make arrangements with another company that has the same customer base as you, but that sells a different product. Send each other coupons, share mailings, and refer business to each other.
18. Tweet, mention and link to articles and posts of other people
By helping other people find great content, you can create interesting content and establish yourself as an authority on social media. It’s not only a great way to provide quality content for your followers but it’s also a great way to make new friends on social media, grow your network, and get your specialty known.
19. Send regular informational mailings to your email list by creating an email list
People who have requested to be included on your mailing list must be included. A newsletter signup box is a great way to encourage people to sign up for your mailing list.
20. Networking is a proactive activity
Join networking groups but don’t stop there. Make sure you attend all of them regularly. You should choose the ones that will attract you and then try a few leads groups. Referrals are the best source of business for most small service businesses. Referrals are the best source of business for most small service businesses. The more you participate in and see groups regularly, the more likely it is that you will be remembered by members who ask you for a referral.
21. Postcard mailings are a great option
Postcard mailings can be a great way to keep in touch with existing customers and potential customers. You never know when someone will need you, so make sure to keep in touch. Regular mailings will help you keep your name current.
22. Refer to others
Ask existing clients if they know of anyone who might be interested in your services. Also, think about who other professionals you may know that could recommend you to them. Talk to electricians and remodelers, plumbers and tile layers. Talk to web designers or ad agencies if you’re a graphic designer about referring work.
23. Call potential prospects by picking up the phone
Cold calling can be difficult and you need to be able deal with rejection. It does work. This article will help you make cold calls more enjoyable if you’re afraid to try it.
24. Canvas neighborhoods
If you offer services to homeowners, knock on the doors and speak to your neighbors. Handouts and door hangers are good to have with you. You may be able to get more sales from neighbors who are often curious about a homeowner’s work.
25. Don’t be too quick to discourage tire kickers
It can be difficult to decide where to draw the line when people keep asking questions, even if they don’t intend to buy. But sometimes those questions are used to assess your business and gain information.
26. Publicize your website
It’s amazing to me that there are still businesses without a website. A few months back, I attended a Chamber of Commerce meeting and was introduced to a man who claimed to be a copywriter. I asked him for a business card. His card did not include his website so I requested his URL. Amazingly, the man who tried to convince me that he could write web copy didn’t actually have one.
You need a website regardless of how much you social media network or how much you do in-person networking. Prospects will want to see examples of your work and get more information. If you are a consultant or expert, they may also want to read what you have written about your field. Your website can be controlled by you. It is impossible to control the ads that appear next to your posts, or what the rules of social media sites are.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a web designer if you are unable to afford it. Make sure your website is listed in all sales literature, business cards, member directories, and other places you can find listings.
27. A fully functional website
Another thing that I find remarkable is the number small businesses who join local business networking organizations and have their non-working websites listed within the group’s membership directory. Sometimes it is because the directory listing was published with an error in the domain name. It is often that the domain name was abandoned by the owner of the domain or the company never set up the website. Do not let this happen to you. Register the domain name by yourself, not letting the web developer. Also, ensure that your credit card information is up-to-date with the domain registrar. To ensure that there are no typos in your directory listing, double-check it after it has been published. To ensure that you haven’t left any links to empty pages or “under construction” pages on your website, make sure to check each page.
28. Be creative
Sometimes, you have to think outside of the box in order to find the best marketing strategy to your small business. You might be able to grow your business by targeting a different audience or an entirely different industry. Perhaps you want a fresh look or a different angle to promote your business. These creative ideas will help you find a strategy that works.
29. Marketing shouldn’t be stopped
It’s tempting to stop doing all the marketing and networking once business is coming in regularly. This is a mistake. To keep your business coming back, you must market constantly.