Small business Marketing Strategies
Here, Peter Hanley a 30- year long operator of small business looks at Small business Marketing Strategies and ways to help lift your business above the line.
The world has changed and we need to change with it and keep up to date on the changes.
While bricks and Mortar marketing still has basic fundamentals working for it. The Internet is different.
What has changed
All businesses previously worked around the Yellow pages book, now gone.
We promoted Snail mail as a general tool of marketing, now all but gone.
Letter Box drops got results, not anymore
Fax marketing was all the buzz but save your money
The local newspaper was an option but readership is diminishing as we speak.
This just a few of the changes over a short couple of years that are no longer viable.
What still works in the old style of marketing?
Word of mouth, referrals, Shopfront, location and good old fashion service.
Even these are sometimes doubtful. Take the experience when a Major invades your territory. You have a coffee house and Starbucks opens in the street.
A local hardware store and a Massive chain store open in the street. You will be mortally wounded if not doomed because of marketing and ease.
What still works?
Local area marketing, business presentation logo and signage, flags and flutters, exclusive product range.
Your customer list has not changed.
Your customer list is as important today as it was yesterday the only difference is what we do with it.
If you get nothing else from this page get this into your friggin head.
A customer list is a business asset. Treat it like gold.
You can write, telephone, email or SMS to obtain business cheaply and effectively. Only if you have a list in good order.
Use Excel or an expensive CRM system but just do it.
The window to your business.
It all starts with a webpage. Without a doubt the main foyer to your business.
Slick or shabby matters not as long as it states who you are, what you do and of course how and where to find you.
You can do your own (click) or pay someone else just make sure your SEO is ok
The delivery mechanism to business
Social media is designed to entice visitors to your business because you have interested, excited or coerced them to like you.
Pretty simple really, that is why you waste your time doing social media, you Jesabelle. You lure them in ready to buy your products.
I am often asked about the importance of social media to business and is it not just a whole waste of your valuable time and effort.
Social media is like a roadside sign. It achieves just enough interest to move them toward you and be ready to buy.
Which Social Media is best?
The one you choose to use, to dominate the media to become really proficient and to achieve the recognition you need. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat even Linkedin offer the same opportunities for success.
You don’t have the time to do them all so pick one to dominate your time and effort.
Saying that everyone should have at least a LinkedIn profile page with a great Picture and interesting BIO. It will serve you well over a long time.
A neglected Facebook page is nearly as bad as not having one. When people visit they soon get turned away when the last post was months past.
It takes little time to keep up to date using a system of forward messaging or scheduling.
What else other than Social media to attract business?
Be the showcase of your industry and keep up a flow of information with your own blog page. Lots of people have had great success with this, foodies and mummy bloggers are just a couple of examples.
It is relatively easy to build a following and get a flow on effect to your business.
A reward program
If these did not work at all, the major stores would not use them plus spending countless dollars on marketing them.
Open up your purse or wallet and have a look at the cards, store cards, down to coffee cards. Why do you have them? to get something for free.
I run a rewards program in Australia and was speaking with a customer recently who said he did not want to give a 10% discount away to every customer. My reply was that only a small percentage will use the cards on every purchase so you would be giving away about 3% a very manageable amount overall. Remembering also that those that use the card are coming back to you because they have a card. They are loyal customers, worth everything.
A referral program still works
Nothing new here except that you must continue to work this in the best way you can. It will vary with different businesses but the thing to remember is that people like to be recognised, it is not all about money.
My local Chiropractor, who is very well booked, still has an honour board to
name those that refer new clients. No money, no free sessions just the honour of appearing on the board. Yes, every time I visit I look for my name as I recommend a lot of new people to him.
No better way to get directly to customers than networking groups and local associations.
Promoting Via local sporting clubs with minor sponsorship also gets some attention and long-term visibility for you and your business. It might be old hat but it still works.
Email, It still works.
Even though email has been around for a long time it still works provided you follow a few basic rules. Newsletters, promotions, sales and clearances are all targeting your past customers. This is a big subject and has many rules that we won’t dig too deeply into here.
You can get new markets and keep old ones informed while picking up some sales. A really cheap form of contact that should be used consistently.
This has a small cost associated with it but that should never stop you using the media.
Results are instant, people respond quickly so you can make changes on the go. Great for announcements, invitations, reminders any number of opportunities to bring them in the door.
Using outside labour to do your marketing
A great idea and you can go local for part-time people or use a service like Fivver. It does take time and this is where you need to be organised.
With my Facebook pages as an example, I post once a week scheduling the posts over the next 7 days. During the week I log interesting articles and happenings and just transform them into products or tips I can write about.
Time about half of one hour, done.
I have tried to highlight a few areas that are cheap to operate and bring results.
With some basic planning, there is no reason you cannot be applying most of the above most of the time to bring in business.