A small business is generally an individually owned business organized for personal profit and is not a dominant stakeholder in its industry. The exact legal definition of a small business in terms of the number of employees and average sales volume varies in different countries and for various sectors.
Small businesses face several challenges to stay afloat amidst all the competition by the big players in a market. The best way to take your business toward success is promotion. It is vital to get the word out about your small business; you need to continually market your business for it to generate a consistent income. Moreover, a small business is often limited by its finances and marketing staff in pursuing their marketing needs. As a small business owner, you must understand the importance of promoting your business despite being confined to a tight budget.
Businesses around the world, both large and small, rely on promotional giveaways to give them exposure. A corporate gift pen, with your company’s name or a t-shirt with your logo, can spread the word about your business in ways and areas that cannot be reached by regular advertising.
Some of the main challenges involved in the promotion of your small business are defining your target markets, getting customers to return to you, getting referrals, increasing sales, finding resources for marketing and developing an efficient marketing plan. You need to overcome all these challenges staying within the limited budget you’ve set aside for marketing and promotion. I am going to share with you some useful tips that will help you promote your small business most effectively:
1) Define Your Target Audience:
This has to be your first goal when you set out to devise an efficient marketing strategy to promote your business. You need to define your target audience so that you can channel all your energies toward capturing their attention. So, ask yourself these basic questions: Who is your target audience? Where can you find them? Pen down a description of your ideal customer on a piece of paper. Further, refine this description with opinions from your team. Now that you have conceptualized your perfect customer, it will help you tailor your marketing message accordingly to make it more relevant and proficient. Every time you are creating promotional messages, keep this customer profile in mind to be able to communicate with your potential customers more effectively.
2) Increase Repeat Business:
Fulfilling the expectations of your customers is the bare minimum you need to accomplish to stay in business. Complete customer satisfaction should be your primary goal, and you should work hard to achieve it. Once you have satisfied a customer, it increases the chances of them returning to you in the future. You need to provide them with a reason to come back. You can achieve it by surpassing their expectation with your service or product packaging. However, make sure you only employ services of a professional printing and packaging company like MK Advertising for this purpose. Also, try setting up unique deals for their second visit: design a discount coupon, provide exclusive perks to returning customers, or simply offer gifts to those who come back for your services. You also need to stay in contact with your customers and maintain a healthy relationship through email or newsletter marketing. Both these marketing strategies can be either really effective or extremely annoying in today’s digital world, depending on the frequency of the emails/newsletters you send. Many customers complain about companies showering their email inboxes with unnecessary promotional emails. To make it a success, you need to make your correspondence meaningful and non-repetitive.
3) Use Social Media Tools:
Regardless of the market segment you target, it’s safe to assume that a majority of your potential clients have access to social media. Using social media can get your business noticed in today’s highly competitive markets. Select the most popular social media channels in your country to promote your business through, and understand their working. There are several guides, tips, and tutorials available online, which can provide you with step-by-step guidance regarding the use of these channels for promoting your business. Some key rules should be:
- Engage customers by posting regularly
- Stay in touch with your media personnel
- Ask for feedback from customers
Social media is among the most effective and affordable options available to small business owners for promoting their businesses. Put some efforts into learning how to leverage it to the best of your advantage.
4) Build Your Brand:
Building a brand name and logo is very important for increasing the revenue of your business. Big businesses hire professionals and spend a lot of money on advertisements for image and brand building. However, you can undertake the task of brand building for your small business yourself. Initiate periodic marketing campaigns through creatively composed limited time offers. The offers must be engaging for all your customers to generate favorable word of mouth from them. These promotional campaigns should be focused on getting a positive response from customers to increase revenue while simultaneously building your brand’s reputation and name.
5) Create a Long-Term Marketing Plan:
It is essential to develop a long-term marketing plan for your small business that would function well on its own, allowing you to focus on other business objectives. There are some resources available on the internet for this purpose. Alternatively, you can hire a marketing professional to help you devise a suitable plan for you. A marketing plan involves determining your marketing goals as well as strategies to help you achieve them. It also suggests methods for tracking your progress and testing the effectiveness of the applied procedures. These methods help you tailor your marketing strategies and goals constantly to keep up with the changing marketing needs of your business. A marketing plan saves you the cost of implementing random marketing ideas, which may not even work for your business.
Business promotion and marketing processes continuously evolve. All businesses have to market themselves consistently to thrive, but small ventures need to put in some extra effort to get noticed. There will be several hurdles and obstacles along your way as a small business owner. You can beat the odds here by having a focused, well-planned, and organized approach to promoting your business. While you are putting all your efforts into getting your business noticed, remember the words of Milton Hershey:
“Give them QUALITY. That’s the best kind of advertising.”