Running a small business is exciting and rewarding. Entrepreneurs wear many hats in a day, and often take on new responsibilities in addition to performing the duties of the business itself. Marketing is an essential part of a small business that business owners often find challenging. Implement simple online and offline marketing strategies without the expense of a marketing and advertising firm to attract new customers and increase your sales.
Local Business Promotion
When a business targets a local market, in-person promotion is extremely effective. Real estate agents, landscape companies and contracting professionals know that face-to-face marketing works. They make the rounds of local neighborhoods and knock on doors to meet their potential clients. Other in-person marketing techniques include manning a booth at local trade shows, speaking at local events, and even standing on a street corner to pass out free brochures, coupons, or samples of your products to those passing by. Incorporate one or two local offline marketing methods into your overall strategy. Experiment to find a technique you are comfortable using and one that results in new customers and sales.
Your Business Website
Today’s businesses require a website for online marketing. Include information about your business’s location, hours of operation, contact information and services provided. Additional pages can include tutorials, case studies, detailed descriptions of parts or services, and even a blog. Choose your content carefully to reflect your business as well as to optimize the site for the search engines. Your business website can only be an effective part of your marketing strategy if online users find it based on what they are searching for. Select several keyword phrases that you want to rank well for, and work on building your site to achieve that. Add new blog posts at least twice a week to keep your site current.
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Social Media Marketing
Use free social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest to market your small business. Set up a Facebook Fan page, and offer incentives such as coupons when online users “Like” your page. Update your social media posts regularly to show that your business is active and busy. Try a social media dashboard to manage your posting schedule. Display social media badges on your home page and invite readers to follow you on their social media platform of choice. Categorize tweets, pins and status updates on Facebook by using hashtags or keywords.
Small businesses thrive when they are the first choice for potential customers and clients searching for experts in their field. Marketing your own experience and that of your staff members is a key method of solidifying your reputation as a leader in your field. Promote your expertise locally and in wider venues by offering to write a column in a regional or trade newspaper or journal, and speaking at regional or state-wide conferences. Connect with television, print and radio media personalities, and let them know of your accessibility to provide quotes or answer questions for relevant news stories.
Satisfied Customer Referrals
Keeping customers satisfied is one of the least expensive and most effective marketing strategies for small businesses. Encourage word-of-mouth referral by rewarding customers with a free gift or discount on future work. Use a tag-line in your email signature as well as on your business card to remind clients that the highest compliment they can give is to refer friends, family members and co-workers to you. Make it easy for online readers to share your blog posts, articles and images with others by including share buttons for social media platforms.
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