For a small business owner, positioning the business a stone’s throw from the target audience, where it is more likely to be seen, exposed, or discovered is the general aim of its marketing efforts, the finish line of every marketing flowchart. When you offer a product or service that an individual cannot, in their right mind, refuse or find anywhere else, you stand a great chance to achieve the most favorable effect—a sale.
The power of digital media as a top trending marketing tool is fast being recognized by small businesses and is being used extensively for this purpose. Budget-conscious business owners favor social media marketing since it demands more time than financial costs to execute—and time is something small business owners have a lot of.
However, even with the immense popularity of digital media marketing, traditional marketing still brings home the bacon when it comes to capturing leads and sales. So it is important for any small business owner to get the right mix of traditional and digital marketing strategies to implement in its marketing plans. For this reason, we have made a useful checklist that small businesses can use as a road map in its marketing efforts of building the business from scratch.
Whether you are a startup or an established business, it is important to have some kind of written marketing plan. It does not have to be an extensive posh-looking document but can be as simple as a few lines or paragraphs of ideas scribbled over a notepad or piece of paper.
The important thing is to have some sort of tangible basis or reference to a plan where you can go back and check or reflect on the progress at which you have so far had in connection to the general plan.
In today’s marketing scene, being seen or found (whether physically or over the Web) is essential for every business. This is no truer or more evident for small businesses as compared to large and well-known brands.
Your business needs to be found to be able to gain a respectable following. And in order to be found, literally and figuratively, your business needs to be seen. Your presence needs to be felt not only locally and physically but also in the virtual space. The following are some time-tested ways to go about achieving that.
Major businesses all have one. You should too. A logo is a short but descriptive image of what your company or business represents. Think about what you want your customers to be reminded of when they think of your business.
A powerful and effective business logo does not have to be complex in design. Today’s minimalist designs for modern logos provide for effective and interestingly easy to remember logos and branding. Be creative or hire an artist to incorporate your ideas into your branding. A well-designed logo or branding is worth all the tax dollars you are paying for it.
They are often overlooked but as simple as they appear, they often provide a lasting impression to any recipient it is sent to.
Also, it is important to incorporate your contact information into your email signatures so interested parties can easily access your information after being enticed by your email. Make it easy for them to find you. That is the whole point.
They are handy and can be given out during different events or expos. Another great way of setting up the image of your business.
Carefully crafted business cards also provide instant interest in your company and consequently your product or service.
Not everyone goes out and gets to see all the advertising on the streets, billboards, and corners but apparently, everybody updates their Facebook pages hourly, daily, or weekly. Access to the Internet has been made easier with all the smartphones coming out of the tech market.
So take advantage and be found where most if not all individuals congregate—the Web. Open up multiple social media accounts but always have only one media platform where all accounts may be linked and could be easily updated.
Another overlooked item for marketing is your product packaging design. Stickers and tapes are affordable ways to market your product.
They are cost-effective and budget-friendly items that also help get your branding across to an audience.
Creating content targeted for a specific customer market helps in directing focus to your product. In this way, you are also educating your customer for that particular market, priming them for you to introduce your product that would answer the issue you have just pointed out to your customers.
By doing so, you are not only educating them but setting up the perfect scenario to introduce the best viable option to solve the situation.
By having useful and engaging content, it is next important to have constant communication with your customers. By creating a blog or introducing a comments section to your social media platform, you are able to elicit opinions, thoughts, and ideas of the consumers.
This is particularly useful in gathering information about your customers through feedback methods (such as feedback questionnaire), the market, and their behaviors in correlation with each other. This would then provide you with inspiration in coming up with unique solutions to issues or comments being presented.
While there are a lot of alternate options being presented today, email remains to be one of the most cost-effective methods of marketing in this planet. (We have begun sending out messages into outer space in the recent years. No idea on the effectivity there. At least cosmically or inter-planetary.) In the United States alone, email marketing accounts for 4,000% for return of investments for business. Not bad for a simple one-page email, right?
Here are a few suggestions on what your emails might contain:
Email marketing for profits is an important tool, especially in educating your customers. Providing them with content that they can actually use helps in getting them to be more welcoming upon receipt of emails and other materials from your company rather than placing the email immediately into trash or labeling them as spam.
More people are being connected to the Internet as we speak; whole businesses are being run over the Internet. Businesses must make it a point to be found online where there are many consumers looking for something.
Online directories are one of the many ways for a business to be found over the Web. Other alternatives such as Google Maps helps consumers find your location even better by integrating landmarks and actual street views.
People searching for products over the net always look for reviews of a product before actually purchasing the product. Herein lies the role of the customer testimonial. Consumers now not only look to fill in their need. They want something that gives value for their money and what you have that the competitors are not offering.
By placing and featuring reviews of previous customers who have purchased your product and have gained positive feedback from, others will be more convinced in purchasing your product. Testimonials act as one of the baits or lures in getting a customer to “bite” on your product. It is still generally up to you to exhaust the prey and reel in the cash.
Customer reviews are critical to making a website effective. They provide the authenticity and the trust factor that would make any potential customer want to buy from you. Customer reviews also increase your chances to be seen as most potential customers almost always immediately revert to customer reviews and feedback.
Oftentimes, your presence online is not enough to develop customer relationships and brand recognition. It always helps to take up your coat, polish your boots, and have a stroll out into the living world. It is important for potential customers to meet you and get to know your business. Developing local market strategy such as participation in local events help build your customer base and reputation. Attend conventions and other special events like local festivals or farmer’s markets.
Additionally, you can get booths at expos or trade shows to further promote your business. These events are particularly good opportunities for you to hand out those business brochures and business cards. You can also opt to sponsor for contests or small charities to gain additional recognition. There are a myriad of other options to choose from in coming up with any event which can help you in turn generate more leads. All you need is a little creativity and some of your time.
There are a lot of other marketing ideas that can be applied to your small business but these are the most basic ones without having to get into the details and complexity of a plan.
What is more important is knowing what your target market is and how your product addresses the need. Marketing only provides you with tools to generate interest and get your product or service found. Your product or company has to stand up to all the buzz and hype that you have created with your marketing. If you indeed have a good product, then the product itself will do the rest of the job of marketing for you.
A good product always markets itself, while all efforts in marketing are brought to naught if your product does not live up to the expectations that you have set or promised.