Word of mouth is undoubtedly one of the most effective methods of marketing. The question I therefore ask you is: are enough people talking about your business? I’ve heard many tradies, shop owners and home based business consultants say: “I didn’t go into business to spend so much time on marketing.” My message to all business owners is that promoting and marketing your business should be one of your primary responsibilities, especially if you want a good return on your investment and want to see your business flourish.
Local hairdresser, Toni Wright, who works out of the Gossips salon in Horton Street, knows all about the hard slog of marketing her business. Toni has worn out lots of shoe leather talking to people, going to events, preparing leaflets and persistently thinking of new ways to attract new clients. Working with her local Small Business Connect Advisor, Toni developed a mix of direct and creative ways to reach new customers.
Here are my five tips for bolstering your marketing efforts on a micro budget:
- Content marketing to lift your profile – This involves setting aside a little time to create interesting content to show that you are experienced in your field. This is a way to educate new and existing clients about your business. Great examples include e-mail newsletters, social media articles. If you’re an accountant for example, you could create compelling content around the things at tax time that people hate tackling most. This creates an opportunity to mention the services you offer to help people.
- Add bells and whistles to your website or Facebook – You only get a few seconds to make an impression, with website viewers throwing a few brief glances around your site before deciding whether or not they’re interested in what you’ve got to offer. With this in mind, your challenge is to add things to convert browsers to customers, like adding a video, a virtual tour of your business, or a live chat opportunity. There are marketing studies that show 68% more information is retained after watching a video compared to just reading.
- Direct marketing – Don’t be afraid to get out there and distribute leaflets, brochures, special offers and even your business card to targeted businesses or households. You can use the interesting content you have developed to remind other locals that you are still around and doing a great job. Business these days won’t survive without a digital presence but you need to keep in mind that you are also a local business and you need to get people talking about your business.
- Run your own PR campaign – put together a media release and photo to send to the local media about something new, unique or interesting happening in your business. Develop some contacts with the local media so they know who is contacting them and dedicate some time to pitching and following up your story.
- Collaborate and nurture – It might sound out-dated, but in fact, nurturing your clients and collaborating with other businesses never went out of fashion. Everyone knows it’s far cheaper to keep your current clients happy than it is to spend the time and effort making new ones. Don’t be afraid to team up with other businesses willing to support your business. The goal is to produce business for each other by reciprocal referrals and joint promotional opportunities.