Is your local business not making the kind of money it deserves? Well, you may not have wads of cash to spend on hefty marketing right away, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t effective ways to get your brand out there. Promoting a business is an ongoing challenge for small business owners.
Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for years, these 7 proven advertising and marketing strategies will help your business find new customers without spending a fortune.
1. Set up your free listing with Google Business
First and the foremost thing you can do with your business is list it on Google.
Old promotional techniques like word of mouth promoting, radio promoting, print ads or direct mailing are quite old-school.
When people use the internet to search for something, they always ‘Google’ it. Registering your business with Google allows it to be found more easily. Try to include as much information about yourself as you can, like, your address, phone number, opening hours, store location, link to the website, etc. Add pictures and also list yourself on Google Places so that you show up on Google Maps.
Once this is set, customers will be able to write reviews for others to see and add photos about your business. This can be a game-changer for you and your business. As estimated, around 94% of customers will use a business with a 4-star rating.
2. Start blogging
A blog not only helps your company get its name out through followers but is a way to connect with your consumers more directly. But remember that one of the major keys of blogging is to keep your stream updated as frequently as you can. A dormant, abandoned blog is worth nothing. You don’t have to be a professional writer to add a blog. Just write information your customers will find helpful at different stages of the buying cycle or provide tips and hints on using what you sell. Try to understand the basic principles of SEO to attract more traffic and more followers to increase profits.
3. Join a local group
Remain active in the community of local businessmen by joining local groups like the Chamber of Commerce. This way, you can keep others well informed about your business, incentives, offers, and so on. Your business also might come in handy during a host of events where you can provide your services. That’s the whole idea behind joining these groups; the businesses look out for one another and always try to support local brands.
4. Run contests
Running contests is a great way to get people thrilled about your business. Use the medium of online platforms like the official website of your social media accounts for this purpose. For running contests, encourage user-generated content, for example, you can ask your customers to write reviews for you and then pick a winner based on the most liked review or most well-written review. This can tremendously enhance your social media following because more and more people will be talking about you. Remember to give out amazing incentives to attract as many people as possible.
5. Verify your information on Yelp
More than 90% of customers make a purchase after viewing a business on Yelp or other listing websites. You must make sure all your information, such as your store hours, phone number, address, and the website is accurate on Yelp. It’s in your best interest to keep your information updated on Yelp to increase your business credibility.
6. Implement a customer loyalty program
Get a list of your regular customers and carve out a customer loyalty program for them. This way, you wouldn’t have to worry about getting new customers, you can just get your existing customers to spend more. Your customer’s loyalty program should focus on;
- Increasing purchase frequency, and
- Increasing average purchase amount
More than 82% of consumers are more likely to shop at stores with customer loyalty programs. Your customer loyalty program could be as simple as a membership card, heavy discounts on every tenth purchase, and so on.
7. Increase your social media presence
Social media isn’t just a tool to gain exposure—it has now become a necessary time investment for every business to make. You can tie in ads and offers on your Facebook page and have a direct channel with your customers on Twitter. Networking on LinkedIn, both at the personal and company level, can be another way to help your startup. Establish an active presence on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter and LinkedIn to reach out better to your audience. At present, only 43% of small businesses share their content on social media platforms which should be much higher.
Setting up your local business can be overwhelming at first, but you need to continually update yourself because you can’t afford to fall behind in the competition. Some strategies might work for you, and some might not. Don’t lose face as no two businesses are the same.
Every business requires its unique and a solid business plan, but the above ten pointers are actually quite generic and will provide you with the perfect head start, no matter what type of business you plan to do.