Eight Small Business Marketing Strategies
It would be great if every small business could attract customers and make sales through word-of-mouth advertising
alone. But, no matter how established or first-rate our businesses might be, we must still market them to secure new
customers and retain existing ones.
tactics that fit your business, are within your budget, and connect you to your target market will help you generate new business.
Listed below are eight small business marketing strategies that you might consider.
1. Develop a marketing plan
A marketing plan is
absolutely essential for successful marketing. Developing a plan makes it possible to analyze the internal and external factors
that will affect your marketing efforts. It also provides the opportunity to clearly define your target market and develop
the mix of promotional activities that are most appropriate for your business.
Although there are a number of different ways to structure a marketing plan, common elements include the following:
executive summary, mission statement, company analysis, description of target market, competitive analysis, overview of products
or services, analysis of the external environment (i.e., economic, social, technological, etc.), marketing campaign goals,
marketing budget, and conclusion.
2. Develop an Internet
Because of its wide reach, marketing via the
Internet can open the door to a steady stream of customers. Creating a Web site loaded with keyword rich, high-quality content
that is relevant to your target market will attract visitors and motivate them to return. Giving away free information
such as e-books or white papers provides a means for gathering contact information that you can use for direct mail or e-mail
campaigns. If your budget permits, you might even consider paid advertising such as Google Adwords.
3. Spend time marketing everyday
Marketing has to be ongoing. If you are not putting your business in the presence of your target market on
a continuous basis, your competition will woo your customers away from you and corner the market on new customers. So
make sure that you are taking time out of each day to work on marketing.
4. Deliver excellence consistently
or prospective customers do not believe they are valued, they will go to your competition. Offering superior products
or services and customer care during every customer interaction will show them just how valued they really are. Customers
may take the good experiences with your business for granted because, after all, good customer service should be a given.
But, even the rare, relatively minor mistake can drive customers away, especially if your industry is brimming over with competitors.
Let’s face it, some customers will dwell on that one bad experience and tell others about it. Therefore, we must
be diligent in creating a welcoming, supportive environment for our customers.
5. Portray a confident image
Every employee or representative
of your business must strive to portray confidence during every encounter with customers or potential customers. Confidence
is about showing genuine interest in customers and listening to their needs. It requires presenting in-depth knowledge
about the product or service and clearly communicating the benefits to the customer. And it involves effectively addressing
customers’ apprehension or concerns.
6. Develop a brand
Creating a brand is not just for multi-billion dollar corporations like Disney, Target,
and Boeing. Even if your marketing budget is small, you can create a brand that your target market will recognize and
respond to. One of the most important aspects of building a brand is to communicate your business’ value to your
target market. For instance, Target sells goods at discount prices. But it markets itself as a retailer that satisfies
needs, simplifies lives, and provides solutions by offering well-designed products in an easy-to-navigate and pleasant
7. Develop a referral program
Receiving referrals via satisfied customers is one of the best ways to acquire new
business. It’s free advertising that carries a lot of weight. But satisfied and loyal customers may not
think to tell others about your business. A well-organized referral program that offers incentives to customers for
bringing you new business will motivate them to recommend your business to others.
To be successful, a referral program must offer customers something of real value, be well-publicized, and promptly
deliver on its promise.
8. Engage in public relations
Engaging in public relations involves building positive relationships with customers
and prospective customers. It is a way for businesses to attract attention and establish a reputation. Public
relations activities include sending press releases to media, speaking at events, sponsoring community events, and writing
articles that provide a byline.
These are just a few of
the marketing strategies that can help your small business grow and thrive. The key is to develop a plan and work on
it consistently while giving yourself permission to make mistakes and change what is not working.
Copyright 2009 Katherine Williams.
All rights reserved.