Marketing is a crucial part of every business. It helps you get the word out and let people know that you exist. But more importantly, it helps you tell people why they should buy your products or services and what makes you unique. Marketing also gives business owners the opportunity to present their products in a creative way that makes a long lasting impression.
Often times, the difference between a successful business and a struggling one is marketing. But there are so many strategies that people often get confused and start to rely only on the good old TV or radio commercials. While this is a quick way to reach an audience, it might not be very effective and could also burn a whole in your wallet at the same time. Here are some of the best marketing ideas for smaller business:
- Be unique
This might not seem like a marketing strategy but it is. It is the very first step you need to take in order to be successful with your advertising later. If you're business is not unique and if you offer something your competitors are already selling, your marketing efforts will most certainly be futile. In other words you will have no leverage.
Chances are that you won't think of anything that hasn't already been done before, but that's quite alright. The important thing is to focus on offering something you competitors are not. This could be exceptional customer service or one of a kind deal for first time customers for example. It also helps to have a catchy slogan that people will easily remember after hearing it a couple of times.
- Email marketing
Email marketing is inexpensive and truly effective. While sending emails to random people is never a good idea (and maybe even illegal depending on where you live), asking your customers to sign up for your newsletters is recommended. There are amazing online tools which will help you keep a list of your subscribers and track the success of your campaigns. A popular service for managing email marketing campaigns is MailChimp.
Contests are a great way to encourage people to do something. For example, you can go for a Facebook contest where you encourage people to share something, like your fan page, recommend it to their friends or do something else and give a prize to the winner at the end of the month. You'd be surprised to see that it almost doesn't matter how small or inexpensive the prize is. You will still get plenty of participants because participating only takes a few minutes.
Contests can also be offline. If you have a restaurant for example, you can ask people to write their own recipe on a piece of paper and put it in a box. Award the authors of the best recipes with gift cards or discounts and compile all submitted entries in a cookbook which you can later sell.
- Leaflet distribution
Leaflet distribution is a very old way of marketing which can be extremely effective. The reason why many people avoid it, however, is the uncertainty that all of their leaflets will be put to good use and not just thrown away somewhere. Nowadays, however, it is possible to know for sure that all your leaflets have been received by potential customers. There are professional companies who track their employees via GPS and will actually return all the leaflets that haven't been used.
Another advantage here is the price. If you find the right leaflet distribution team, you will be offered free design when you order printing and distribution services and we all know that design can cost more than printing and distribution together.
These 4 strategies are only scratching the surface when it comes to marketing, but they are truly effective. They don't require a huge budget and are great for small businesses who want to start off on the right foot.