Running a small business can be a lot of work. Whether you’re looking for moving tips or ideas on how to save money, it can be hard to generate leads and customers. Marketing is a tricky business in its own right, which is why so many people hire experts in the field to handle it. Not all small businesses have that luxury, but marketing is still essential for any businesses. This is especially true in the modern age where an online presence is almost mandatory for any business. Knowing how to market in the modern period while being able to do so are different issues, but they are the same side of the same coin.
One of the most modern ways to market is social networking. The use of social media has long become a standby of marketing strategies that lets companies interact quickly and more directly with their audiences and potential customers. There is risk in social networking, however. The use of such an interactive media allows for increased chances of miscommunication in the event of a situation that requires delicate handling. Examples include a company’s stance on a political or moral issue currently trending online.
Taking a stance on such issues will endear you to some and annoy others. How you respond to such issues is very much up to you and your marketing team. On the bright side, social networking is at its core free, so you don’t necessarily need a marketing team, though having at least a savvy writer is helpful.
It might seem old fashioned to still hand out business cards or attach them to a café billboard, but there’s a reason that business cards are still in use and high demand. That reason is that they work. Providing someone with a business can is an easy marketing strategy because it embodies you and your business quickly, efficiently, and with style. They’re especially useful for companies that are constantly on the go, like a moving company, because it helps spread the word of your small business.
The biggest downside to business cards is if you want them done right and professionally, they can cost a fair bit of money. A properly designed and printed business card will stand out much better than something plain, generic, or poorly printed, though. You get what you pay for, after all, so if you’re going to get business cards, it’s best to get them done right.
Know Your Target Demographics
That’s just a fancy way of saying make sure you understand who your customer base is and thus who else might be potential customers. For example, a moving company would likely market towards families looking to upscale, relocate, or expand. Targeting college students would not be very productive, unless the moving company is hiring, but that’s a separate matter. Knowing who utilizes your business and why they do so is a major part of owning and operating a business. A major benefit for small businesses is the personal touch that comes from closer contact with the customers and the business itself. That is in its own way a form of marketing, and though it can be difficult to quantify, it is one of the most powerful tools a small business has.
It’s not enough to have a good relationship with your existing customer base and an online presence, though they certainly help. Marketing requires a strategy in order to be fully effective. For example, a moving company could send out emails and post on social media during the time of year when moves are most likely. Knowing the numbers of your business as they relate to the seasons and holidays is another important aspect of small business operation. Only by having a plan to market will marketing be truly effective. Otherwise it’s a waste of time and potentially money. Remember, marketing is an investment in its own right, and thus needs to be taken seriously.
This is another older method of marketing like business cards that is still useful. Coupons and digital coupons not only make people aware of your services and products, they also provide a discount so people can better take advantage of your business. People who use coupons generally just swing by to use said coupon, but if they like what they purchase there is a chance they will return. More limited services like moving are less likely to receive return business, but coupons are still a tried and true marketing tool. Digital coupons are great because while you might have to set up the programming and design, they can be easily distributed via social networking. This makes coupons great as part of a social networking marketing strategy.
Reviews are a powerful tool for any business, but small businesses especially are made or broken by good and bad reviews. This is because, as noted previously, the close ties a small business has with its community and customer base. It can be hard to shake the stigma from bad reviews as they directly affect your community. Doing the best you can to support the local area while promoting your business is a great way to garner good reviews and ramp up business. Asking for reviews might sound like asking for a handout, but if you did a good job it makes sense you want people to know that. Conversely, if a bad review occurs, you need to everything in your power to correct the issue and made sure it doesn’t happen again. Good reviews are a powerful marketing tool, and bad reviews are a harsh lesson. Remember that.
Small business marketing is different from the marketing performed by larger companies. For one, it’s a lot more intimate, small scale, and cheaper. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to perform a proper marketing strategy, though. Utilizing social networking and other digital media can make marketing cost efficient and far reaching. The bigger companies know this, but they don’t have the added personal, community touch that small businesses do. Plenty of small businesses still rely on word of mouth and spend nothing on marketing. With a little digital knowledge and a social media presence, your business can really take off from the pack.