As a small business owner, you have to deal with the reality of a limited advertising and marketing budget, at least in the first few months to years of getting the company up and running. Even well-established small businesses may not have the ability to hire consultants and marketing firms to run their campaigns, but they can still use effective marketing tips that are going to complement a larger advertising campaign.
Below you will find a list of simple yet practical marketing tips for small business owners. The more of these tips you incorporate into your business, the better the results of your branding and marketing campaigns will be.
Keep in mind that marketing and branding are different, but they are all part of getting recognized. If you don’t have branding in place then customers are not going to associate your marketing campaign with your business. Only through developing a strong brand and marketing program will you optimize your growth potential.
Simple Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners
Let’s start with the simple and move to the more complex or involved options. There really are a significant number of these simple and very low-cost options that will help in all aspects of marketing and branding.
- Company uniforms – for many small businesses, including service companies, repair companies, shops, restaurants and even retail outlets, company uniforms of some form are a great branding option. Consider something simple like a specific color of slacks and a specific color of shirt. The shirts can be printed or embroidered with the company brand or logo and the company website. In this way, employees and managers are all advertising and marketing for you on and off the job.
- Start a referral program – this is also an easy option for an online business or an actual physical business. With this type of program, which can be done online with software to make tracking and referral awards simple and automatic, existing customers receive a reward or an incentive for referring a new client or customer. Typically with this type of program, the referred customer has to make a purchase for the referral reward to be provided.
- Start a blog – this is a great opportunity to share information with people through content marketing. This is all about promoting interesting, relevant and timely content that your current customers and your potential new customers are interested in reading. It is absolutely essential not to use this as a hard sell type of tool or people simply will stop reading. Instead, this allows you to position yourself as a resource and a trusted expert, and then you can market your products and services on the sales and product pages. Put links in your content articles that connect keywords with your sales pages, but do it very sparingly.
- Go for infographics – infographics, or charts and graphics that use images to represent key components of a difficult concept, can be a great addition to any website. They are also a top idea for promoting your products or services at trade shows or exhibits, just have them made into poster or background sized displays that are sure to grab attention and pique curiosity. Consider also having these same infographics on your giveaway items along with your company name, phone number and website.
From here, there are slightly more complex marketing tips for small business owners to consider. These can be used in addition to the basic ideas, but they all build on branding, image and creating a niche for your company in the mind of your target audience.
- Online Interest and Contests – it is actually very simple to set up a contest on Facebook, and you ask people to take photos, write a poem or a song, and send them to your site. Just make sure that the contest has to include a prominent display of your product as well as your branding.
- Partner with related businesses – consider approaching small businesses in your area that sells a product or service that is related to yours, but not in competition for the same clients. This will bring in new customers for both of you, and by sharing the costs of advertising, you can literally double your exposure for half the price.
- Radio spots – having your own radio spot, even just for a half an hour once a week, provides you with free advertising for your experience as well as your business. Call in shows, how to discussions, advice, handyman ideas or anything related to your business are all good focus topics.
The above ideas are all helpful marketing tips for small business owners in any geographic location. Remember, be creative and look for marketing opportunities even if they aren’t traditional, you may just start the next small business marketing trend.