To the outside world, your small business may seem miniscule to the vast sea of corporations and direct competitors. But to you, your small business is a very big deal, and part of a very big dream. In today’s ever-expanding marketplace it’s imperative to know how to set your business apart. You need to attract customers and keep them coming back because of the goods and services you provide. Businesses develop this by using key strategies in marketing and advertising and finding a balance that works for them. Maybe you’re completely new to the world of owning a business, or perhaps you need a refresher to help pick your business up out of a rut. We’re going to share some marketing tips on how to kick-start your marketing in order to flourish your small business.
A business starts with an identity. Are you a restaurant? An automotive shop? The best way to serve your customers and yourself is to know exactly what your product is, and how you can deliver. Developing a name, a logo, business card, and stationary is important. Pamphlets, brochures, magnets, and anything that is relevant to your business should be uniform – consistent in design and compel prospective customers to seek you out. Be sure to include current information on these items, such as the logo, addresses, phone number, email and website.
Build a website. Everyone who is anyone has a web presence, and chances are that your customer is too. If you don’t have the tech skills to build your own website, or the means to hire someone, many companies provide template based tools to make it very easy to create a basic website. Be sure that the website represents the look and scheme of your business. Also, be sure that it is kept updated.
Before you go any further, you should know your audience. You should determine who your customer is and what they want. Get to know their habits, it will lead you to make smart and educated decisions based on their characteristics. Take notice of things such as where they live, work and spend their free time. Once you’ve found answers to these questions, you can infiltrate where your customers spend their time and snag their attention. If you own a children’s book shop, and you find that there’s an elementary school nearby, consider purchasing bookmarks with your shop’s name on them and donating them. Or, if you run a gym or athletic gear shop and live by a park find out when they have activities and consider branding water bottles with your businesses information printed on them.
Get listed. One of the most efficient ways to be found is on the internet. Millions of people find different businesses through search engines and directories. Set up a listing for your business on Google, Bing, Yelp, White Pages, and MapQuest. Customers will be able to view your information, services, and will be able to comment on your services with a rating.
After you’ve mastered the directories, conquer social media. Social media is an amazing tool to market your business. Create business profiles and pages on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Be sure that it is kept professional and up to date. Promote your business by announcing contests, deals, and create buzz about your business. Using social media gives your business a voice and a way for your customer to connect with you.
So you’ve gained virtual friends, now it’s time to gain some real ones.
Network. Network. Then network some more. Meet other local business owners, and other competitors. There are many things you can learn from them, pay attention to their marketing strategies, what works, and what doesn’t work. Once you’ve built a relationship you may even be able to endorse and build partnerships with other small businesses nearby. Word of mouth is how many small businesses get the ball rolling. You never know where you will get a referral from, so be sure to keep alert and don’t be afraid to share your business card and tell them about your services.
Once you’ve got regulars, keep them interested. Sign up for an email marketing service, and send promotional email blasts, newsletters and special offers. Emails will entice customers to come back in to your small business. They are also a powerful tool to use when you want to conduct surveys or ask for feedback. Listening to your audience and their suggestions/recommendations can be the ticket to better sales. If it’s relevant, learn that your business is worth gifting. Provide your customers with the chance to buy gift cards. Not only gift cards, but also reward cards. These build loyalty, increase sales, and also advertise your business!
Next, get involved in the community. Then tell everyone about it. Look for organizations and associates that go hand in hand with your business’s morals and priorities. Volunteering is a great way to advertise to new potential customers and to let your existing ones know there is substance behind the business.
Last but not least, offer discounts and great deals. Who doesn’t like a discount? Offering discounts, coupons, and deals are the one way to set you apart from the competition. Advertise your discounts and daily deals through your website, email blasts, social media, blog posts, and word of mouth.
Alpha Card Services offers comprehensive business solutions for growing businesses nationwide. We offer merchant services, POS, Payroll Services, and Gift and Rewards cards. Be sure to check out our website, and find out how we can help get your business to take off!