April 1, 2015 Michael Bickerton
Thinking of creative ways to market your business can be quite exhausting. As a small business owner, how can you maximize your exposure without spending your whole budget? Consider some creative ways to market your business and help build your brand in ways big companies can’t – through localized marketing efforts!
Your website should be one of the most powerful marketing tools you use to promote your business. The best small businesses create websites that are filled with real content, and serve as a resource for the industry they are in. It is important that you update your website frequently by uploading blogs and other interesting content, such as relevant videos that will keep people on your site for a long period of time. Use your writing and images to your make a unique point of view and establish a unique voice for your brand.
Also, make sure that you have a clear call to action in all content. You may want to invite people to subscribe to you email list, or invite them to follow you on various social media websites.
Simply put, your website should be mobile ready. With so many people trying to access information on the go, small businesses may fall short if they don’t possess a website that is mobile friendly.
As a small business, you may want to consider customer discovery tools such as Groupon or LivingSocial. There are defined as deal-of-the-day platforms and they offer discounts on products and services. These types of platforms give you the chance to target a whole new, unexplored customer base. Even though you may incur an immediate loss in profits, a good business owner will be able to ensure a positive customer experience, potentially gaining a loyal customer or even brand advocate.
Another action to consider, as a small business owner, is to make sure that your business is signed up to platforms like Yelp and Foursquare. The point of being on these platforms is so that you can receive reviews by customers good or bad. Responding to negative reviews not only allows you a chance to change a negative experience to a positive one, but also ensures that you are aware of what people are saying about your business and your brand. Quick responses (to any comments), shows a commitment to customer service and gives you another chance at grasping a potential consumer.
Reach out through social media accounts and make sure they promote, not only your business but also the personality of your brand and what you stand for. Social media is a great way to promote your brand message, and be clear about what your business is. Most businesses nowadays at least have a Facebook or Twitter account, but why not expand to other platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, or Google+. For example, Google+ can be highly effective for your local business, as it enables special local features on Google Search. You can also use these profiles on these various platforms to join various communities that are relevant to your service or product.
Building relationships with your customers are extremely important when you are a small business owner. The key here is to think about what makes your business unique from others? What sets you apart from the rest? You can use being a small business to your advantage! Being small give you a chance to form meaningful, one-on-one relationships with your customers. Create a voice from your marketing efforts that enables you to build a personable and unique presence online. Connect with users and followers online – encourage them to start their own conversations, where you can deliver brand-focused information and content.
Think about creative ways to connect with your neighbors, and show investment in your community. Collaborate with other local businesses, especially those who aren’t direct competitors, so you can cross-promote or pair your services as part of local packages. Target local media to respond to community issues, and for publicity opportunities. Sponsor community events and use those opportunities to network with locals and other local businesses.
Once you have really gotten to know the neighborhood, you can craft your branding to directly meet the needs of the consumers (and neighbours). This demonstrates a real commitment to making your business integral to the growth of your neighborhood, ensuring you have a strong local foothold.
These tips will help you and your small business succeed in connecting with your customers, while building strong and loyal relationships with them.
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Have any other tips that will help small businesses grow? Let us know!
Michael Bickerton, Raven5 Ltd. March 2015