Shhh…Don’t Tell Anyone About These Small Business Marketing Secrets!
Another year is coming to a close. I hope your small business has done well in 2018 and that you are laying the groundwork for even greater success in 2019. As an entrepreneur, you might not have access to all of the latest marketing tips and insider knowledge that the “big” guys use to gain a competitive advantage. That’s why I want to use my last business blog of 2018 to tip you off to a few marketing secrets that can really help your small business soar:
• Know Your Customers Better: In one of the great ironies of being a small business, you usually have fewer customers. But the positive side of this fact is that you have the ability to really get to know those customers a lot better than the big guys can, even with their multitudes of data files. Maybe these are people from your home town, old friends, or new neighbors – whatever the relationship may be the point is that you already have a commonality with these people. You can build on that solid foundation to create a better customer relationship. Ask them what they like about your product or service, have them tell you what improvements you can make, see if they would be willing to refer you to their friends and family, and find out what social media channels they use. Connect with them in multiple ways, and even consider using email to personally send a birthday wish or thank your friend for a purchase. A little familiarity can go a very long way.
• If Local Sells, Use It: There is a store that is making a big deal out of the fact that all of its products are made in America. They market relentlessly based on this one theme. If the big guys are your competition, make a big deal out of the fact that you are small, know your customers, and understand the local market. Create jobs locally and do business with other local small businesses. Tell your audience about your partners on your website and social media, and ask them to do the same for you. Everyone benefits by getting exposure to a whole new audience without paying any extra advertising dollars.
• Take Advantage of Local Online Marketing Opportunities: While the big guys are spreading their money all over the internet, you can concentrate on increasing your presence with local online marketing opportunities. Make sure your Google Business page is current and that your business is listed properly in all of the local review sites like Yelp! If you have a business like a restaurant or retail store, make sure your online presence is optimized to respond to local mobile and voice search queries. You want your business name to pop up when somebody asks their phone or Google to “find a _________ near me.”
• Tie In With Local Events: Does your town have a big holiday celebration, or an annual festival that everyone attends? Make sure you promote that on some way on your website. You can be a sponsor, have a link on your page, or just mention the event in your blog. When people search for the “annual light show in __________,” your business might just pop up in their results.
• Use Your Hometown Advantage: Instead of just marketing as a restaurant, market as a local restaurant or seafood restaurant in ___________. This is a direct response to the typical search forms that prospective customers use, such as “find a local restaurant” or “find a seafood restaurant in ________.” There is simply no way the big outlets can match your local marketing advantage. They have to advertise and market on a national basis, hoping it appeals to every local market where they have an outlet.
I believe that if your business is small, that doesn’t mean you have to think small. Lots of huge businesses started small and yours could be the next one. Use these small business marketing secrets to get a great start on putting together an audacious marketing plan for 2019. Good luck in the New Year!