Hopefully you’ve had some time to digest my first article on this topic, 5 Marketing Strategies for New Small Businesses. There, I share five steps for starting a marketing strategy: build your brand, research your target audience, network and connect with your community, set a social media strategy, and build a website. Now, it’s time to take your marketing to the next level.
At this point in your journey, your marketing budget should be more established, allowing you flexibility to pursue additional marketing efforts. If you aren’t sure what your marketing budget should be, the U.S. Small Business Administration suggests that 7-8% of profits should go towards marketing.
Below are five additional ways to enhance your marketing strategy as a small business.
1. Capitalize on Low Hanging Fruit
Capitalizing on low hanging fruit includes printed collateral (flyers, direct mail pieces, brochures, etc.), email marketing, non-paid (organic) social media, and paid search (Google or Bing ads). You can amplify these tactics by expanding your reach and/or budget. Additionally, consider refreshing the content of these items to make them more relevant and attractive. Once potential customers see the same advertising materials over and over, they can lose interest or overlook it. New imagery or content is like a shiny penny that attracts their eye.
To create your own marketing material at no or low-cost, use Canva, Fiverr, Vista Print, or other resources on the web that provide templated options or individuals who can design items for you. However, keep in mind that this strategy is oftentimes counterproductive. These websites may not provide the necessary design skills, and the individuals working on your materials may not be familiar with your business and may provide something that is off-strategy and off-brand. Additionally, because these resources use templates, other businesses may also be utilizing the same designs.
2. Cross-Promote with Other Local Businesses
Align yourself with other local businesses. Hopefully you have been networking and have an idea of what type of business would be a good partner. It is best to find a business who has similar customers as your target audience.
Target audience characteristics include:
- Geographic location
- Age and/or generation (Baby Boomer, Millennial, etc.)
- Household income
You can get very creative in cross-promotions or keep it simple. A simple tactic would be offering flyers or products for sale at your place of business and asking the other business to reciprocate. Businesses may also be open to allowing you to advertise at their brick-and-mortar without wanting anything in return, so it never hurts to ask!
Social media is another great way to cross-promote your business. Your blog or social media channels can demonstrate how a brand’s product or service pairs well with yours. You can also link to their website or social media pages, making your business visible to their customers and followers.
3. Co-Host Events with Other Businesses
Capitalize on relationships you’ve built with other business owners by co-hosting events. This is can be a lot more time intensive and costly than just cross-promotion efforts, but it can be very effective. By co-hosting an event, their clients may become your clients. Get creative with the types of events you host. Think outside the box to engage potential new customers.
Co-hosting events also helps with additional visibility. Both businesses can promote the event online, getting more eyeballs on your website and more followers on social media.
4. Utilize Public Relations
This term gets thrown around a lot, and yet, a lot of business do not truly understand what it is, and therefore do not utilize this tactic properly. To understand the difference between advertising and Public Relations (PR), check out our article PR & Advertising: Differences & Similarities.
PR is not just something that businesses need for crisis communications, or when something goes awry. It can be a proactive form of marketing that benefits your business by bringing awareness to your product or service. PR professionals can provide event support, write press releases, event advisories, for announcements, and work with the media for on-site visits or in-studio appearances.
5. Hire Social Media Influencers
In our digital age, social media is critical, and usage continues to grow rapidly. According to an August 2017 Global Digital Statshot from We Are Social and Hootsuite, 40% of the world’s population is on social media.
Social media influencer has become a common term in the business and advertising world. Now more than ever, it is a good time to start exploring the use of influencers to achieve your marketing goals and objectives.
Influencer Marketing hub defines social media influencers as “an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience.”
Partnering with a social media influencer does require some time and effort to coordinate. You want to look at who their followers are to make sure they are your target audience as well, consider whether their style or voice is reflective of your business and customers, and review how much engagement the influencer gets on their posts. You want to partner with influencers that will create additional engagement for your brand. You may need to pay an influencer, so consider how much you are willing to spend. It is also possible you can do a barter system where you trade an influencer product for their online endorsement.
When researching potential partners, consider their response time and reliability. There are a lot of individuals out there call themselves influencers just to get free products and services, but do not follow through. Review their social media pages and contact other business they have worked with to find out if they delivered on their promise.
You now have even more ideas in your back pocket to help market your business. So many tactics exist, but it is important to take baby steps. As a small business owner, you have a lot to consider and do to run a business. However, marketing is a critical component of a successful business. Always remember that everything you do should tie into your overall business goals and objectives.