MARKETING IDEAS FOR A SMALL BUSINESS
Marketing is very important to every business. It is one of the way a small business can grow. When good and effective marketing strategies are put in place, it increases sales which in turn increases revenue.
Marketing can be defined as the commercial processes involved in promoting and selling and distributing a product or service.
Often times, small businesses don’t have a big sum of money for marketing and they are faced with the challenge of trying to compete with big businesses that have a large budget for marketing. Hence the need for this article. This article explains how small business can market their products or services effectively with their low marketing budget. There are thousands of way a small business can market or promote their product or service, I’ll be taking you through some of them in this article.
- HAVE A WEBSITE: A website is very important for a small business so that when people search about your business or search about products or services within your vicinity, your website or webpage should be among the results. The information on your website must be clear enough, it must include your location, opening and closing hours, contact information, a clear description of your product or service.
- CREATE A BLOG: This is one of the best way to promote your product and services as a small business. Creating a blog is one of the cheapest means because it won’t cost you a dime save only your time. You might be thinking you are not good at writing, but it doesn’t really matter if you don’t know how to write. Just get someone or two people on your team who is good at writing, let them write, edit and you will publish the content for free on your blog. Some of the advantages of blogging are;
- It does not cost any money, blogging requires only your time.
- It is a good way to improve your search engine optimization if you publish quality contents because the more quality your content is, the more your content appear on search engine results page.
- Blogging also provides value to your customers in the sense that, by publishing relevant topics that are valuable to your customers, you tend to build and increase their trust in you and your product or service.
- TEAM UP WITH OTHER SMALL BUSINESS: One of the ways a small business can promote its product is to partner with other small business in the same locality. Before forming a team or partnering with a business, you must think about the type of business you want to partner with, it should be a business that complement your business, this helps you to reach relevant people that have not considered your product in the past. For example an ice cream store might team up with a pastry store. By partnering with a complementary small business in your locality or community, you tend to gain access to their customers and they also gain access to your customers. You might also want to team up with a local nonprofit making organization. You might want to be a volunteer or donate your product and services. By this way, you are adding value to the community while you are getting to know people and also making people know about your product or service.
- ASK FOR REFERRALS : This is another idea a business owner can use to market and promote his or her product or service. This idea is one of the cheapest marketing ideas because it can be used by any business. The best category of people that knows much about your product and can talk about it are your customers because they make use of it so you can ask your current satisfied customers for referrals, that is, they refer other people to your business. A very good way to increase the number of your customer referral is to organize or start a referral program. However you need to encourage your customers with something of great value if you want them to participate, for example, you can offer them discount after they have brought in a certain amount of people, you can give them free products or render service to them free of charge after a certain number of referrals are now your customers, you can also give out gifts to the customer that have the highest number of referral.
Most times, the reason this idea don’t work for small business owners is that many think that the customer is only responsible for referral, many business owners don’t contact those referred buyers and they end up losing them. As a business owner, your job is not yet over once your customers start referring people, that is when you need to work the more, you need to contact the referred customers and talk to them, ask questions from them and receive feedbacks. By this, you will be able to know what they want.
- LEVERAGE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CONNECTIONS: Many business owner don’t use their social media to promote their business and this is also one of the cheapest idea to market or promote your product or service because it gives you the opportunity to reach a large audience for a very cheap price. As a business owner, don’t just make use of social media for chatting, video calling, post some content, join relevant groups, advertise your product or service, connect with people and build relationships. LinkedIn is a very good social media network as it enables you to connect and meet with other professionals who might want to refer someone to you.
You can also run a contest on social media to increase the number of your audience.
- NETWORK: Networking is one of the marketing idea you can adopt to promote your business. As a business owner, you need to network, meet new people, you never can tell if the person you met today will be the one to take your business to the next level. One of the ways you can network and meet people is to attend events, seminars, conferences because most of these programs bring together great minds, business men and women and professionals in different fields, it will be a great opportunity for you to meet great people.
- CRAFT AN ELEVATOR PITCH: As a business owner, you should market or promote your products or services wherever you find yourself, hence the need for a compelling and convincing elevator pitch. It takes less than 60 seconds for you to get to the floor you are going when you use an elevator, no matter how tall the building is. Pitch simply means to present yourself and your idea to somebody or a group of people. So elevator pitch means to present your business idea or yourself to somebody or a group of people in some seconds. It can also be described as selling yourself, your idea or your business, convincing them about your idea or business. Research has shown that the average attention span of an adult is about six to eight seconds. Wow!! Amazing, isn’t it? That’s all the time you have to grab somebody’s attention or else they won’t be interested in anything you want to say again. That is why you need to invest your time to draft a killer elevator pitch that is compelling and convincing.
- VOLUNTEER TO GIVE A SPEECH: Many organizations are in search of qualified and well informed experts who can present to their team, however, many business owners hate public speaking. But the fact is that you don’t have to be a professional speaker, once you have the right information that your audience need, you are good to go. Volunteer to speak on different occasion because with that you are improving yourself and you have the opportunity to market your products or services wherever you are being called to speak.
- KEEP AND BUILD RELATIONSHIPS: It is a thing to start a relationship, it is another thing entirely to build a relationship. This is one of the marketing ideas that a small business can adopt. It is more easy to get a new customer than to keep an old one. That is why it is always important to maintain a strong relationship with your customers. One of the ways to do this is to imbibe an email marketing culture. Ask all your customers for their email address when they come to your office or store and send them mails about your products and services. Make sure the email is captivating, helpful and informative that the customer would always look forward to receiving. Email marketing is a very effective tool for reaching new and old customers no matter where they are. One of the interesting thing about email marketing is that it requires minimal cost and can reach many people no matter their destination within a short period of time. It also provides the highest return on investment
- OFFER COUPONS: A coupon is a negotiable certificate that can be detached and redeemed as needed. It is a very good way for a small business to attract new customers. This method have been proven successful in expanding customer base because many businesses go out of their way to use it. It also maintain customer loyalty to a business, for example, if I give a customer a coupon for a discount to use for future purchase, the probability that the customer will come back is very high.
- HOST AN EVENT OR SEMINAR: This is another great marketing idea, many people might not know about your product or service, some might not even know about your business at all. You can market or promote your product and service by organizing an event, class, or seminar where you educate people about your product and service. The event, class or seminar will be a form of advertising your product or service and you can use the opportunity to give away your product or offer free service. Don’t be afraid to give out your product or offer free service because in today’s economy, especially in this part of the world, people prefer to purchase something they have tasted or experienced before so this is an avenue to attract new customers to your business.
- APPLY ONLINE FOR BUSINESS AWARDS: There are many awards by many industries that you can apply for online, provided you meet some certain criteria. Go online, check out for these awards and their criteria, apply for the one that your business meets the criteria. One of the benefits of these awards is that when your business gets awarded by different organization, you gain new exposure online and it helps to expose your business to new audience and many will get to know about your business.
- SEARCH FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO GUEST BLOG: We have discussed earlier on how creating a blog or blogging on your own site is one of the cheapest marketing ideas but do you know that you can blog on other sites, this will help to bring in more traffic to your brand, and the most interesting part of this is that it is free of charge. The only thing that is required of you is to spend time to research about the guest blogging opportunities and writing an article of good quality for the guest blog.
Guest blogging simply involves you or someone from your company writing an article or blog post and have it published on a reputable, relevant and well known site. The importance of this is that it helps you reach new audience because you are publishing in a new place your own content already published on your site or blog with a link that refers them back to your site. With this you tend to attract a lot of audience that have not been exposed to your brand before, especially if your article is quality.
The ideas above are just few out of the many marketing ideas a small business owner can adopt to promote his or her business.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Damilola Babatunde has a great passion for writing. She write articles on starting a business, how small business owners can grow their business e.t.c and many small business owners have really benefitted from her write ups.