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Successful Marketing For Small Business, Part 2
Direct mailing is another form of advertising that many small business have found success with, primarily because it allows them to offer some kind of discount. A webpage can be a very effective marketing tool if you give people a reason to visit it and if you communicate it consistently in all of your marketing materials. It needs to be on the side of your van, on your keychain, coffee mugs, business cards, everywhere. If you do direct mailings, they should say, 'Visit our website for monthly specials.'"
Whether using direct mail or an ad in the Yellow Pages, you should be consistent. It's important to not change the style or look of your ads every month. Latch on to something that you like and tie it to everything you do. While direct mailing, websites and Yellow Pages ads are all good marketing tools, small business shouldn't limit themselves solely to those avenues. Time and energy are also valuable resources. You have to not only look where you're going to put your marketing dollar, but also your marketing time. Try to do as much local PR as possible, because it's going to be word-of-mouth, referrals and getting your name in the local publications that will really build your business.
Joining the chamber of commerce is another good way to reach new customers. The chamber of commerce is a great way to network locally. When you go to a chamber of commerce event or when you register with them, the number one goal is to increase awareness about your business in the community. Also, it allows people coming into the area to find out about you through the chamber. And you get instant credibility when you register with the chamber or the Better Business Bureau..
Garnering positive media attention is a great PR move that typically costs a business nothing but time. If there's an issue, we want to be in the rolodex of the local media as the spokesperson for the industry. You should be working very hard to position your owner or manager as an authority, as a voice in whatever business you're in.
Some other ideas:
- Hand out fliers at the local church or farmers' market
- Create a summer camp with a theme
- Ask your local grocery store if you can advertise on the back of the register tape
- Approach a large corporation and offer discounts
- Partner with another business for a charity event
- Have seasonal activities like an onsite family picnic or a pancake breakfast
The key to successful marketing is not buying up ads but creating an environment where people want to be involved. In marketing, you don't need a lot of money you need great ideas. While getting involved in your community and advertising will bring more customers to your door, the biggest and best marketing tool is your current customers. Most business already offer customers a discount if they refer another friend or family member. Word-of-mouth advertising is the best advertising for any business. Small business owners can capitalize more on that if they remind customers about referral incentives. Try creating an in-house, monthly newsletter for customers. Include photos of your store and staff, upcoming events, special offers, and a referral coupon. This encourages customers to share the newsletter with friends and family. Referral rewards aren't limited to discounts on your products and services, either. You can also offer tickets to sporting events, movie passes, or gift certificates to grocery stores or restaurants. You should also give your staff rewards for referrals.
Getting customers to spread the word about your business is simple. Make sure you provide the best, caring, nurturing, professional, pleasant, courteous environment. Hire the best staff and keep them happy. If you take care of your current customers, that word will spread quicker than any dollar you can ever spend on marketing.