Marketing ideas for small businesses

Simple Strategies to help your bottom line

As a small business, it is vital that you establish a form of communication with the world around you so that you can build up your brand/business. Yet, for many small businesses marketing is neglected or the person convinces him or herself that word of mouth is enough to build up the business. And while it is true that word of mouth does play a part in the success of a business, marketing is the lifeblood of growth. If you are too busy running your business or don´t have the skills, hire an agency or a freelancer with the skills you need. This can be a great way to get fresh ideas and expertise at a reasonable cost.

What exactly is a marketing campaign?

Marketing a business is not just allocating money to pay per click ads, advertising in magazines or newspapers, printed flyers and posters. That is a part of it, but that is not the fundamental definition of marketing. Per the Business Dictionary, marketing is the management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer. It is based upon 4 concepts:

  1. Development and identification of a product
  2. Price determination
  3. Target audience/distribution
  4. Promotional Strategy

Most businesses will have one and two determined already. Promotional strategy and being in touch with the target audience tends to be the area where most people need help.

Have a mobile friendly site

Due to the fact that most adults use social media as the avenue in which to obtain information about local businesses and products, it is vital that a business have a website which is mobile friendly. Online search engines are based on what is known as the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). Google has determined that sites which have a mobile friendly version of their desktop static page are more appropriate for the front page (and honestly, who looks past page 2 or 3). There are many ways in which you can test your site for mobile friendliness. However, the best method which I have found is to simply go o google’s mobile friendly test site and input your URL. Once the test is completed and you get a “Page is mobile-friendly” result, ensure that you click the Submit to Google button to make it searchable.

Submit your site information to Search engines

There are three main search engines which people use. These are Google, Bing, and Yahoo. MSN is also used but less so. In order for your site to be seen and thereby increase your customer base, you need to show up in the SERPs. To do this simply type “submit website to (desired search engine)” and you should get a link to do so. There are, again, several sites which provide this service for free. Nowadays search engines are very sophisticated and if you have links to your website coming from well established websites you will automatically be discovered and indexed even if you do nothing else.

Build up your local presence with a Google Business Listing information page

This is free and only takes a small portion of your time to complete. Consider it as a yellow page on the internet. The key to inputting your information is to remain consistent. Even if you have multiple phone numbers for your business, you want to only use the primary one. This will keep any engine from thinking you are trying to cheat the system and marking you as Spam.

Marketing Strategies outside of the internet

While the internet is a great source to build up your product and brand awareness, you still have to market to the local public. Small businesses need to have a community presence in order to survive. Depending upon your geographical location, there are several ways you can market your services. Here are a few suggestions to get a good reputation in the community:

  • If you are a bakery, donate loaves to the local homeless shelter
  • Sponsor a sports team (generally they put your business’s name on the jersey which is great for marketing).
  • Offer Free Wi-FI for customers
  • Offer classes to teach some of the basics of your trade. For example if you are a supply store you could have a class on how to measure and cut lumber.

The point is that your marketing must cater to the world around you as well as to the global community. Take some time to look at the businesses in your community. Which businesses are the most successful, which are the ones which are less known or have a poor reputation? Does local advertisement run through the radio or mainly on television?

Print your marketing material with a plan

Finally, when you couple your online marketing plan with a strategic printing marketing plan, you are more apt to have success. I have seen too many times a business just print out 1000 flyers or so and hand them out like candy at a parade. This is a poor marketing strategy. It is a hit-and-miss campaign. When you print materials for your business ask yourself who is your target audience. Then ask what that target audience craves. Ensure that on your printed media you have references to your social media marketing.

Refer a friend discounts

Loyalty is perhaps one of the greatest marketing strategies which you can have. If you can gain loyal customers, they will advocate your business for you. Build up a loyalty program or discounts for references to help increase your customer base.

Be creative and be active

As you can see there are several strategies for marketing. Make your business an active business. Get involved locally, build up your presence socially as well as on the global search engines, and your business is sure to see an increase.

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