The category of “small business” is a huge range, depending on your industry but generally if you have 500 employees or less, you’re a part of the club.
When you’re not the biggest fish in the pond, you need to be very strategic with where your resources go, and this is especially true when it comes to your marketing.
Want to know how to market your small business?
Below, we’ve outlined five ways to successfully market your small business and get as many eyes on you as possible.
Focus on Your Community
If you’re a small business, don’t waste time trying to appeal to a national, or even international market. Your small size and local nature are incredible assets to lean into.
Who is your target customer? As a small business, it’s easy to get to know them, and find out where they spend their time and what they spend it doing. Learn all this and market accordingly.
Collaborate with Others
Look for other businesses in your area who aren’t competing with you and make arrangements to cross promote. Not only does this help build your professional network, it’s an easy way attract customers from audiences you might not have thought to look at before.
An example of this could be as simple as putting up a promotional sign for the bookstore down the road, while they have a similar sign for your coffee shop.
Invest in a Strategic Plan
All businesses face the realities of budgets, and this is especially true for small businesses. Dollars can be tight, so determining where to best allocate your funds can be challenging. As is true with most things, proper planning is the key to ensuring the success of your marketing dollars.
The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), suggests that B2B companies should spend 2 – 5% of their revenue on marketing, and B2C companies an even higher rate of 10 – 12%. For example, if your small business has a budget of $30,000, before blowing your budget on a variety of marketing initiatives that you feel would be best, we suggest investing 10 – 15% of that budget into a strategic plan.
Mapping out your marketing plan for the year will assist in ensuring that all of the marketing initiatives you invest in are the right ones for your business; this means, they are reaching the correct target audience and they are in line with your business goals and objectives. Just because a marketing tactic worked well for one business does not mean it will work effectively for yours!
Get in Touch with the Media
Do you have a new location opening or a new service or product being released? Get in touch with local media outlets. From the town newspaper to bloggers, reporters are hungry for stories.
Getting a story or two written and shared about your business can start a buzz, and it costs you absolutely nothing. It’s mutually beneficial to you and the media outlet you’ve reached out to, and you might attract new customers you might not have seen otherwise.
Ask for Referrals
Encouraging your customers to tell their friends about your business will do wonders. As effective as marketing can be, people will always trust the opinions of their friends over any advertisement.
A great thing about this method is that most people are open to giving referrals if they’re asked to. Even big corporations often ask for referrals, so you’ll never outgrow their effectiveness.
Coupons serve a couple of fantastic purposes for your small business. First, people will go out of their way, breaking their usual shopping habits to use a coupon. Second, used strategically, they can generate repeat business.
Giving a customer a coupon for a discount on a future purchase (bonus points if there’s a time limit to use it), will create a high likelihood the customer will come back.
For a look at examples of small business marketing done right, we’ve found three great companies that did fantastic jobs with getting the word out.
The small coffee shop company, based in the UK, has identified their very specific audience and use it to their advantage. Customers of Ozone Coffee are passionate about social responsibility, so the web content the company develops is educational about consumer ethics. This might seem distracting from the fact that they sell coffee, but because they’re on the pulse of their audience, it powers their brand story
The public transport company of Melbourne, Australia caught lightning in a bottle with their Dumb Ways to Die campaign. A simple game was developed where cute animated characters must complete silly challenges to avoid death, and it was accompanied by an oddly cute and macabre music video. At the very end of the experience, you find out you’ve been watching a public service announcement to stay safe around trains. This campaign stuck with so many people, it has taken a whole life of its own, going so far as even selling clothes and toys based on the game and video.
Based out of the U.S., Dollar Shave Club is a subscription company for affordable razor-blades and other shaving tools. When the company first started, they had almost no employees and a shoestring budget. Instead of holding their cards close to their chest, they invested a pretty penny in creating an absolutely phenomenal commercial that earned them over 20,000 Twitter followers, 76,000 Facebook fans and millions of YouTube views. And, most importantly, it earned them 12,000 new customers all in the span of just two days.
You now have a clear idea on how to market your small business.
Marketing is a personal journey – and you don’t have to go it alone. If you’re looking for a guiding hand in your marketing, William Joseph offers a cost-effective accelerator program to help jump-start your marketing campaign and get you off the ground in the right direction. Reach out today.