One of the biggest concerns small business owners have is how they’re going to attract and retain customers. The good news is that a well-planned marketing strategy can go a long way in securing a long-term future for your business. As there are many different forms of marketing at a variety of costs, it can be challenging to know which tactics will prove to be the most successful and are worth investing in.
It would be a good idea to start browsing through your competitive market to investigate the marketing strategies they have been. If there are any gaps, you could potentially fill them to control a small portion of the consumer market. The main concept of any marketing campaign is to make people aware that your brand exists and encourage them to make a purchase, Once you have found your key strategies, your business will start to turn over a substantial profit.
In this guide, we’re going to provide a useful guide on some of the best marketing ideas for small business owners.
1. Develop a customer referral program
Word-of-mouth is one of the most successful ways of gaining a faithful customer base – and there’s a valid reason for it. According to a study, 92% of consumers trust the verdict of friends and family members when they buy from a business. Therefore, you should always aim to make a good impression when it comes to delivering customer service and product quality.
Although you cannot control what is being said about your business, there are ways you can encourage people to spread the word. A customer referral program is an ideal way for customers to mention your business to those in their social circles. You may be in a position to offer something for free, a discount, or another small reward for their generosity. Not only will it serve you well to have consumers talking positively about your business, but your tiny act of kindness will show gratitude to customers.
2. Send out customer surveys
A customer survey is a valuable way to find out useful information about your customer base and what they expect from your business. What’s more, it also reminds customers that you exist when an overcrowded market can make you feel like a small fish in a vast pond.
Getting this helpful feedback will steer you in the right direction on where to make the necessary changes to various aspects of your business. Customers will also feel valued, as they have been asked for their humble opinion on how your business could improve.
It would be well worth enrolling in a data analytics course to gain awareness of how to make the best use of feedback. The data obtained from the surveys will assess customer behavior patterns and determine the areas you should be focusing on and where improvements need to be made. Emerson College offers an online course that teaches students these crucial data and digital marketing skills, so they are equipped with the basics of managing their own campaigns.
3. Send email newsletters
Email marketing is a great way to capture the attention of an already interested audience. Over some time, this form of marketing can build on customer relationships and encourage subscribers to take the leap of faith and make their first purchase.
It isn’t as simple as sending out emails to those in your contact list, though. Before you are legally able to contact consumers, you’ll need to ask for their permission. One of the most common ways to ensure this is to include a pop-up newsletter invitation on your website home page where consumers can enter their details by choice. Again, you may need to offer incentives such as a gift or discount to encourage consumers that your email newsletter is worth signing up to.
4. Support a charity
Supporting a charity is an excellent way for a business to promote themselves to a whole new audience while raising funds for a worthy cause. Consumers are more likely to gain trust from companies that take time out of their busy schedules to support a charity, as it shows the more human side to the brand.
Blogging is a powerful marketing tool for small and large businesses alike. It’s one of the most effective ways to develop brand awareness and provide relevant and helpful content for your target audience. According to a study, 82% of businesses claim that blogging has boosted their website leads and overall sales, so it’s worth being aware of the benefits that blogging can provide, as follows:
Boosts search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo favor innovative and relevant content, so blogs have the power to push your website to the top of search engine results. When businesses regularly post blogs, search engines have new content to index, which creates more links for potential customers to find you when browsing online.
Establishes business as an industry leader
Regardless of how unknown your business may be, if your blogs provide relevant and trustworthy content, consumers will discover that your business is an expert in the industry. Over some time, regular well-written blogs will ensure your website becomes a go-to platform when consumers require some help and advice on topics in your industry.
Creates opportunities for sharing
As briefly mentioned, blogging is one of the most valuable ways to share your website content with a broader audience. By adding social buttons to your blog, visitors have the option to share posts they find interesting to their own followers.
6. Get on YouTube
YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the U.S.A, so it would be a huge mistake to leave this global video site out of your marketing campaign. Although many have the pipe dream of becoming a YouTube sensation overnight, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s not impossible, providing you publish the right content for your target audience and create a professional edit.
‘How-to’ videos are one of the best ways for businesses to expose themselves to viewers who may never have come across the brand before. This platform allows you to share expert knowledge, which forwards the impression that you’re a leader in the field.
It also allows you to demonstrate products while carrying out tutorials. For example, beauty brands could shoot a make-up tutorial and talk through their product range to complete the look. Once uploaded to the site, you are then able to share the video across a variety of platforms such as social media (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) and the company blog as an extra way of widening the reach.
7. Plan a webinar or workshop
If you believe you have significant expertise in your industry, why not show off what you know to others? Reaching out to clients and consumers with a webinar demonstrates your industry skills and knowledge.
Try not to make the topics of conversation too focused on what your business can offer, but instead, take a generalized approach to the discussion or workshop that will help them achieve something in their everyday life.
Create a spider diagram with all the topic areas you can confidently speak about and would feel comfortable teaching others. Once you get started, you’ll find that there are a whole host of topic areas you have a good understanding of that may never have crossed your mind previously.
8. Coupons, incentives, and giveaways
Everyone loves a bargain, and one way to get your business noticed is to offer coupon codes on your e-commerce site. Studies have shown that people will try to use a coupon because they believe they’re getting a good deal. By offering this incentive regularly, you’ll continue to draw interest to your business and potentially encourage return visits if the customer is satisfied with the experience.
Similarly, giveaways are another useful marketing strategy that generates interest around your brand. However, do be aware that there are laws to abide by regarding freebies.
As well as promoting your talents, there’s nothing wrong with championing the work of other businesses – providing they’re not competitors. Your professional and personal connections can play a significant part in helping to grow your business.
Other businesses may be willing to advertise your company to their clients if you offer something they don’t, or even act as a form of mentorship in areas where you need the most support. In some cases, networking may open opportunities to collaborate with other companies and potentially gain exposure to their customer base.
Talking to other professionals face-to-face at an industry event would be the best way of making connections, as you’ll be in the appropriate environment to promote your company. However, you could break the ice by contacting other attendees before the event, so that when you arrive, you will already have made a head start in developing critical professional relationships.
We hope this guide has given you some useful strategies to integrate into your marketing campaign.