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Essential Marketing ideas for small businesses

As a small business owner, it's important to get the word out about what you do and the louder you shout the more people will know about you and your brand.

Some small business owners think they don’t need to market their businesses, as that is only for the big corporate brands, but their wrong. Actually, marketing is probably even more important for a small business and it is essential that you get your marketing strategy right.

Don’t just concentrate on one channel for marketing your business, as variety is the spice of life. There are many inexpensive ways to market your business, which will help get the word out about what you are doing.

Listed below are just some ideas which I have used. Admittedly, I have had more success with some channels than others. Every business is different, so what worked for me will probably be different for your business. Even if you just give a few of these ideas a try you will be helping to improve your customer reach and therefore your profits too.

1. Set up a Twitter account

Twitter is a great platform to shout about what you are doing and to showcase your products or services. Share pictures, competition details, offers or just talk about what you are generally doing.

By keeping up a regular online presence you will soon have people following and taking an interest. Look at getting involved in the ‘business hours’ that are on there. Basically, this is a group of people on Twitter that at a certain time each day will tweet and at the end of the tweet they add the hashtag #BizHour or #Bizitalk. This will help you get noticed by a wider business audience every day.

2. Set up a business account on Facebook

Facebook is also useful for business, but can take a while to build up a loyal following. Upload photos of your products and update your status to let customers know what you are doing. Customers expect businesses to be on Twitter and Facebook, so it helps show you are professional and willing to interact with your customer base.

3. Design a website

A website is a must these days when running a business. Most customers will use Google first and foremost to find a service or product. If you don’t have a website, you will be constantly losing out. Your website is your online shop window. Make sure your website is professional and looks good on both a computer and mobile device.

Link your social media profiles and a blog back to your website, so that people can click through from your website to get up to date information. This will help drive traffic to your site too.

4. Write a press release

Find out what your local newspaper is or relevant trade magazines and send them a press release detailing your business. You can tell them a story about how you started up, or something unique about what you do. Your business might not be cutting edge, but just make but just keep at.

5. Video Content

In today’s world video content is a great way of showing off your experience and expertise. If you are a carpenter, brewer, plumber or create any sort of product make a video about your business and try and make it informative and fun too.

6. Start writing a blog

Writing a blog is time consuming, but it is worth it for a variety of reasons. By writing articles on subjects that your business specialises in, readers will understand that you are the “go to person” if they require your business services, because you know your stuff and are in the know.

You can also use your blog to showcase your work. Let readers know about anything that has happened recently in your work life and advertise competitions or awards you have won.

The information on your blog also helps keep your website relevant and creates more content, which helps with your Google ranking and drives more traffic to your website. It can also encourage people to re-visit your website and they won’t forget about you or what your business has to offer.

7. Email marketing

Building up an email list can be time consuming, but it can also help you build up a list of your loyal customers who are genuinely interested in your products or services.

As long as you comply with the CAN -SPAM Act. This is the rules and regulations that you need to abide by when sending out emails for marketing purposes.

You can make your emails really stand out with formats from Mail Chimp. By spending a little time on designing a format and writing quality content, your email marketing can help you reach your target audience on a regular basis.

When you share news on your social media, look at writing an email on the subject too. This will then be seen by your loyal customers who are more likely to get in touch and require your services.

8. Recommendations

People are more likely to use your services if a friend recommends you. By ensuring your customers leave happy they will be more likely to share with others your business details. A good way of getting people to share your business details with a friend is to give them a little discount. Just ask where people got your details and whoever shared them gets a discount on the next time they use your services. This is a win-win situation, as you will also get repeat custom.

9. Make a memorable business card or flyer

Business cards and flyers are inexpensive to make and a great way of getting potential customers to remember your business. Hand them out at trade fairs, networking events or give to friends and family to hand out to people they know. Make sure the design stands out and try and stay clear of the free business cards, it is worth paying a little money out to get the professional finish.

10. Offer to write for a trade magazine or website

As a sole trader you will be highly knowledgeable about all areas of your business.

Take advantage of all the skills you have learnt running your business and push your expertise by writing in a trade publication. Whatever your area of expertise there is more than likely a trade magazine written about it, so get in touch with them and offer to write an article about your business.

11. Set up a charity fundraiser

What charity is close to your heart? You can look at helping them by setting up a fundraiser via your business. It could be an event that you hold where all the profits from the day go to the charity. As you are holding the event make sure your business is promoted on all marketing materials and on the day with banners etc. You could also look at giving 5% of your profits from a certain product/service to the charity of your choice. This will not only help the charity, but give you something good to promote.

12. Set up a competition

Look at giving something away or doing something for free. This always goes down well and not only gives you something to promote and content for your social media, it will get people talking about your business. If you run a shop or have premises make sure that the competition involves them coming to your premises, as once you get people though the door they are more likely to buy. If your business is website based, ensure people are forced to go to your website or read your blog before allowing them to enter the competition. You could even get them to buy your services or products to receive a code to enter, to do this though the prize needs to be good.

If you need any further advice or help with your marketing activities, please feel free to get in touch with us at Spiral Orange anytime.

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