These are difficult times and starting up a small business can be difficult. However, if you are starting a small business it is important that you market it well and in a cost-effective manner.
Using one single marketing approach rarely works, so it is wise to have a combination of tools to target to your customer. Once you have used a number of marketing tools, you can seek feedback from your customers to help adapt which ones best suit your audience and are most effective.
Newsletters can be a fast effective way to market your business. It costs six times more to ‘hook’ a new customer as it does an existing one. Therefore newsletters are a good way of marketing to your past customers. You can reduce the cost of circulation by e-mailing rather than posting.
If you have a leaflet/brochure or flyer include it will all mail that you send out. If you are already posting something, it is not going to cost you more and if you are e-mailing, simply attach it to the e-mail! Simple!
Dare to be different. Analyse your competitors and find the things you think customers want but no-one is delivering. These may be hard things to do, but should really offer rewards. Your competitors are not doing them because they are difficult, but you may have just found a niche in the market! However, it could be something as simple as advertising on a postcard and sending it out to prospective customers. You might be surprised how much traffic this generates to your business.
If you are using adverts to promote your business, consider running smaller ads but more of them. This will reduce your cost and perhaps allow you to advertise in more places increasing the potential to capture a wider audience.
Create some special deals, particularly for your existing customers. As they have already used your services, they are more likely to purchase from you again. By offering them special deals or reduced rates, you can generate loyalty and return business. You can also let them know about new products before it goes to the wider market which rewards their loyalty.
Use your existing customers as ambassadors for your business. Ask them to write testimonials and in effect ‘sell’ your business and products to others. This is often the most effective way to market as potential customers tend to trust those who have already been through the system as it were. This is a cheap and effective way to market your small business.
Get involved in networking and business groups in your local area. These are a good way to cross fertilise ideas and potential for business. They also offer the opportunity to pass around your business cards.
Use the internet. Most companies sell via a website, therefore online business forums can be an excellent way to promote your small business. You can build a positive reputation and encourage traffic to your website.
Even as a small business you can support a cause such as a charity or organization. Choose a cause that you think reflects your business ethos and be vocal and proud of your support for them. You may even be able to develop a partnership with them in the longer term.
These are just a few ways to market your small business, there are many more, but these may help to guide you in the right direction.