Do you sometimes feel like one of those street mimes when it comes to marketing your small business? You know, the ones who act like they are caught in a box and can’t think of any way to get out. They keep doing the same thing over and over again, all to no avail, until the people who might be interested in what they are doing simply get tired and walk away.
If you have been using the same marketing tactics for your small business, you might be caught in a similar kind of invisible box. Try as you might, it just feels like you are getting nowhere. Well, grab onto that invisible rope and start pulling yourself out of the box by thinking about these ideas to change your marketing plans and bring in more customers:
1. Personalization: According to Virtual Incentives, 56% of survey respondents reported that receiving a personalized incentive would improve their impression of a brand or company, but only 40% said that they had ever received a personalized item. Saturn gave out personalized travel mugs to new car buyers, coffee shops write the customer’s name on the cup, and bakeries make cookies with names written on them in frosting. Think of one way you can personalize your product or service to make it special to your customers. It doesn’t have to be a big expensive item; something as simple as a personalized thank you note can often do the trick in our cold, impersonal world.
2. Focus and Track: It is often called shotgun versus rifle marketing. Shotgun means sending out a variety of messages in different media to try to hit the widest possible audience of potential customers. While the appeal seems good, your company might end up looking like a small fish in a big pond because you don’t have the time or money to make enough impressions that can motivate an action. Instead of trying to build out too many marketing strategies at once, choose one and do it very well. Decide that you will be skilled at Twitter, and track your results to see how well you are doing before adding in Facebook or LinkedIn.
3. Create a Customer Database and Use It: How many times have you provided an email address or street address to a company you did business with, and then never heard from them again? Do you do the same in your own business? It is crucial to keep a customer database, but then you also have to make sure you use it. Occasionally send out mail with special offers only available to current customers. Run an occasional email or Facebook sale where only those who are signed up receive the offer.
4. Review Your Reviews: Google your business every so often to see whether it has a positive online presence. If you provide a specific service, make sure you ask your customers to provide referrals, testimonials and reviews. Provide links to sites like Yelp, Angie’s, TripAdvisor, or local review pages and ask happy customers to post their thoughts. Put positive comments on your social media and website pages, and ask if you can include them in advertising.
5. Get Engaged: No, you don’t have to “marry” your customers, but you do want them to be engaged with you. Ask them to post videos or selfies of themselves using your product or service. Create a contest with a small prize for the most creative idea, and then promote the contest and the winner on your website, social media, and local media outlets to build a wider audience.
The best marketing idea for a small business entrepreneur is to simply take advantage of the fact that you are a small business. Get to know your customers better than any big business possibly could, and then use that knowledge to your advantage. Say “thank you” for the business, and let your customers know how much you appreciate their trust in you. Start thinking outside the box, and make a statement that separates your business from its competitors and brings in more customers.