To small business owners, the idea of marketing can often be intimidating and overwhelming. This has little to do with the concept itself, however, as it is more a result of its perception and the myths that surround it.
In fact, it may be better to forget everything that you think you know about marketing as an independent business owner, and focus on implementing simple and proven techniques to drive yourself forward.
This applies to offline and online marketing activities. Both remain crucial to your business’ long-term growth.
Online Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses
Consider the following online marketing ideas:
Embrace Audio-visual Content: While the demands of content marketing mean that viral videos are longer as impactful as they once more, the audio-visual medium provides a unique opportunity for you to promote your brand. One of the most effective and low-cost ways to access this medium is to create a podcast, which can be developed and shared socially with the minimum of fuss. Todd Schnick of Dreamland produces a regular podcast where he interviews other business-owners, and shares this as an educational resource for like-minded individuals. This is an excellent idea for anyone who wants to establish a relevant and authoritative brand identity.
Deliver Value through Technology: While being active on social media or online forums enables you to interact with customers, it means little unless you can offer genuine value through these mediums. It is crucial that you look to use technology to both inform and engage customers, and the best way to achieve this is by providing relevant answers to key questions and problems. A number of product orientated firms (including floor care brand Vax in the UK) host regular Q & A sessions for the benefits of their consumers, for example, where they field queries on specific items and more general topics where they boast expertise.
Make Blogging a Central Feature of your Outreach Campaign: If you are going to succeed in your online marketing efforts, you will need to focus on creating compelling and original content. This must underpin your entire strategy, as you use both text and imagery to engage customers and share narratives. It is therefore wise to establish an informative company blog, which should ideally updated on a daily basis and optimised for search in the same way that a website would be. The topics that you write about should be relevant to your niche and be both informative and challenging, while you could even look to solicit expert opinion from others in your industry once it has been established.
Offline Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses
Now it is time to consider offline marketing techniques, and how they can be applied to creatively expand your small business.
Attend Networking Events and Trade Shows: If you are to engage in successful offline marketing practices, it is crucial that you are proactive and attend regular networking events. If you are a product-orientated brand, it may even be worth making regular trips to trade shows, as this provides you with an excellent opportunity to market your items directly to consumers. This also helps to reach a wider demographic of consumers, particularly those who do not actively participate through social media channels and online platforms.
Give away Sample Products to Customers: In simple terms, your business relies on factors such as supply and demand and the consumer’s willingness to pay for your goods or services. This is why many companies are willing to sacrifice some of their profits when they first establish themselves, by giving away free products samples to interested and engaged customers. You can even look to be innovative and give products away through offline games and carefully organized treasure hunts, which enable customers to interact directly with the brand in a fun and meaningful way while also benefiting from a tangible reward.
Embrace Customer Service as a Marketing Opportunity: In 2012, entrepreneur Seth Godin discussed the benefits of re-evaluating customer service and considering its merits as a unique marketing opportunity. Referring to it as ‘a scalable way to delight’, it is effective as it presents brands with the chance to interact with customers when they are at their most engaged. This is particularly relevant to small business owners, as it enables them to reduce the potential cost of marketing simply by empowering their employees to deal effectively with customer issues and promote products or service in an organic way.
As a small-business owner it is important to create integrated marketing strategies that incorporate both online and offline techniques, as this helps you to maximize the reach of your brand.
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