Small businesses don’t need big budgets to market themselves effectively. Here are some of the most impactful marketing activities you can engage in as a small business.
What are you currently doing to market your small business? Whether you are a solopreneur, a local mom/pop shop, or part of a franchise, one thing holds true for every business: if people don’t know you exist, they can’t buy what you’re selling.
Here’s a fun fact: As of 2016, 90% of potential customers looked at online reviews before giving companies their business. As we continue to go digital, that number is only going to rise, so the importance of creating positive customer experiences and curating online reviews is not to be underestimated. But the classics shouldn’t be ignored, either. Below are five tips on how businesses can successfully market themselves.
THE MANY FACES OF SOCIAL MEDIA
The list of social media sites seems to grow every day, but when it comes to building a credible social presence where your business can be rated and reviewed, the big players are still Google, Facebook, and Yelp!. Twitter is an equally helpful social media platform that can help you build connections with customers, but does not currently have rating system for your followers to share their brand experience of your company.
Beyond reviews and ratings, Facebook has among the most advanced set of social media marketing tools that allow you target any specific audience you want. In all cases, it is crucial to actively monitor these sites and regularly engage in the conversations going on with your customers, both satisfied and not.
There are so many ways to utilize campy, cost effective videos in small business marketing. YouTube, another social media site that has been around for over a decade, has grown rapidly over those 10+ years.
In recent years, YouTube, Facebook, and other social media sites rolled out a live video feature, and a lot of people love it. With the live feature, businesses can advertise and broadcast events to their customers in real-time and really connect with the millennial market that values supporting real people behind the business over flashy advertising campaigns. Always remember to be real and transparent when possible.
Today, nearly every person in developed countries around the world carries a smartphone. What better way to reach customers than through a product that they use every day? There are many services available now that have the technology to do text-message (SMS) marketing to people who opt in to get your messages.
If you are wanting to get in the hands of potential customers that might not already be on your text messaging list, it is important to have a mobile-friendly website for them to easily get more information about your business.
Much like the above-mentioned mobile lists for text messaging, email marketing is an incredibly popular form of marketing and still considered to be the most effective channel there is. Part of what makes email so effective is how widespread this form of communication is. Unlike the many different social media channels people may or may not choose to participate in, email is the preferred method of communication and transfer of data in the workplace, making it a more universal destination to send your marketing campaigns. This information medium also allows you to give your customers more detailed information about specific products or events than a text message or a social media post.
DON’T FORGET THE LOCALS
Never underestimate the power of connecting with other local business owners. Something as simple as a flyer or a business card at the front desk or in the window of another local business means more eyes on your company’s name and information. Chances are, if the business owner is willing to advertise your business within his or hers, he or she will probably give out some good word-of-mouth for your business, too.
Going mobile and online with advertising is extremely important, but it is also wildly worth it to remember the classics like making connections with other business owners and helping one another out. If you want ideas for how you can meet up with local business owners like yourself to network, try visiting your local chamber of commerce and see what kind of events are coming up. Who knows? You might even decide it is worth it to become a member yourself.
BONUS TIP: CUSTOMER SERVICE AS A MARKETING TOOL
Customer service is all too often overlooked as one of the most effective marketing tools a small business has. This is precisely how you win customers over and get them to post positive reviews of your brand online. The trouble here is, with today’s constantly connected world and instant gratification, most customers want to be able to connect with a business whenever it is most convenient for them. And a lot of times that is outside of their normal hours of operation. Fortunately, with professional small business answering services that offer affordable call center solutions around the clock, you can open up your phone hours to 24/7/365 and become known as one of the easiest companies to do business with. Now that’s a reputation worth marketing!
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