These days, it takes grit to open up a small business and acumen to pave its success. The first challenge for any new business is spreading brand awareness when starting from scratch. Once your business has secured an audience and place in the market, the next task is finding out how to woo new customers and perpetuate the growth of your brand’s reach. Increasing sales and generating leads is the very pulse of marketing. Though marketing might appear as a mountain to any small business owner, there are plenty of ways to manage this endeavor so that it becomes a mole hill. The five following tips will guide your small business to a cohesive marketing strategy that is easy to implement and expand.
No. 1: Prioritize customer and client reviews. In 2017, 92 percent of consumers read online reviews, and 40 percent of them formed an opinion about a business after reading 1 to 3 reviews. With this in mind, your small business will want to make it easy for patrons to share their experience and feedback. Start off by claiming your brand’s Yelp page. As the owner, you will want to respond to both positive and negative reviews to show any potential consumers that you are dedicated to quality service as well as going above and beyond for the squeaky wheel that needs a little grease. Next, find a way to incorporate your positive testimonials on your website. Your business can dedicate a separate page for reviews or include a gallery towards the footer of your homepage. To go even further, consider publishing an especially stellar review on your brand’s social media platforms. In this case, the testimonial should be overlaid over a high-res photo (to captivate your followers) and remain consistent with your brand’s image.
No. 2: Portray your brand as fresh and modern with social media. There are a vast number of ways for your small business to utilize social media marketing. To start off with, you should ensure that all account and contact information including your business’ website, address, hours of operation, logo, and photos are all up to date. If any of these details change (or anything else a potential customer might like to know), you should update your profile accordingly. Social media presents the perfect opportunity for your brand to directly communicate with its audience. This is why it will also be necessary for you to continually post content related to your business and industry. This content does not need to be 100% and wholly yours, either. Though you do want to post a fair amount of original content, your business can also repost articles that pertain to your target audience’s interests and concerns, as well as famous quotes branded with your business’ logo. When posting on social media for your business, you will want to steer the conversation towards yourself (owner) and the business itself, your customers, and your industry. Consider dabbling with paid social media content to boost your business’ profile or especially engaging posts.
No. 3: Develop local marketing tactics. Whether you operate a brick and mortar store or primarily sell products/services online, it will be crucial for your brand to be visible at local events. Depending on what your small business offers, you can rent a table or booth at expos, flea markets, farmer’s markets, local festivals and fairs, or special interest events. Seeking out potential customers in this proactive manner gives your brand the opportunity to expand its audience and generate new leads on the spot. Even if someone doesn’t make a purchase at your booth, offer them a free brochure or business card. You can even arrange a contest that prompts passersby to sign up for your email newsletter. No matter the method, you will want to foster the new potential customers gained from these local events.
No. 4: Focus on expertise. Another way to improve your small business’ overall marketing strategy is by positioning your brand as a local expert in your industry. Something like expertise is a long-term endeavor but can have a huge payoff for your business. Some ideas for exercising your brand’s expertise include keeping a consistent blog on your business’ website, speaking at local events or meetings, participating in a chamber of commerce, as well as reaching out to public libraries and other local organizations to get involved with their programs. Press releases are also a great way to build your reputation as an expert and give your small business the chance to be recognized by local (sometimes even national) journalists and publications. From business announcements to events, press release subject matter can also take the form of tips or advice that are relevant to your industry and audience.
No. 5: Clarify your small business’ unique value proposition (UVP). Most likely, your small business does not exist in a vacuum and will face competition. Although it might seem basic, it is important that you sit down and write out what sets you apart from the competitors in your industry. Then, you will want to pinpoint your target market(s) and conduct research. To single out the unique benefit you are offering consumers, you will need to determine the specific problem you are solving for them and how. Once you narrow your small business’ focus to who it’s targeting, why consumers should want its product/service, and how best to reach these target consumers, creating a consistent marketing plan will become streamlined if not seamless.