If you have not done marketing in the past, it is not as easy as one would think! As a small business owner, one of the biggest challenges in keeping your doors open is to find prospective clients to actually walk through your doors first!
Marketing professionals have experiences that span years and come from exposure to initiatives that work, don’t work, industry mentors, variety in services and solutions and much more. Hard to compete with that!
Fact is, you need to understand who you are first. Who are you, what you sell, who you sell to and why are you selling it? Simply write your list and identify your strength and weaknesses. Once you have done that, you can work out what you need to promote and who you need to promote it to.
As a small business, you tend to only be visible to your local area and local audience. The first place you need to start is your base. Whether you are a shop, an office or a showroom or a services business, you need to ensure your are seen as a professional outfit.
1. Your base – You must ensure that you are well presented. That means that your environment is clean, clutter free and welcoming. This does not tend to cost a great deal, it just takes a but of organisation and self-awareness. Sometimes a coat of paint changes everything. As a young professional, I was taught that a clutter free desk leads to a clutter free mind! Presentation in Sales is everything. Once you have captured your audience, it is up to you to keep it.
2. Location – Way finding – Is your business easy to find? If people cannot find you, people cannot buy from you!
a. Online search – Online presence is essential in today’s world. If you do not have the resources, the knowledge or the budget to get online, call your local Yellow Pages representatives to at least get your Business Listing Visible under the correct Category (You’re an electrician, place an advert in the Yellow Pages under Electricians) It is proven that Yellow Pages is the largest Google Partner in Australia and one of the most reputable source for finding professionals in your local area.
b. Signage – A small or large sign outside your base is important for people to find you. Even a large number at times makes a world of difference.
c. Flags and Banners – Lead customers to your business by using authorised areas where you can fly your flags or banners
3. Word of mouth – Even if today’s technology obsessed world, word of mouth at local area levels is still the best form of marketing. If people talk about you, people will come to you. A simple principle really! Talk to people about your services, service your customers properly by meeting and exceeding their expectations, and by attending local community meets to get people to meet you and see you for your good nature and the services or solutions you offer.
4. Stationery – Office stationery which include Business Cards, letterheads and notepads or pens are a cost effective way to get your brand out there. Do not just rely on “electronic” invoices and information as people do not have the same brand recall as something the held in their hands. It is all about brand recall. When you are online, you are bombarded by tens and hundreds of brands and products and your brand recall is minimized. A business Card speaks a thousand words as people can put a face to the name on the card. Stationery is a must for any small business. It details who you are, where you are and what you do and it is rather competitive. In today’s world, your local print professionals are link to all the local businesses and have solid networks of people but can also produce a small stationery kit to get you started for under $500.
5. Local Area Mail Marketing – 2,000 pamphlets can cost as low as $150.00. A letterbox drop can easily be done with your family or friends in your spare time. It is very economical and immediately increases your presences in your local area.
6. Car Signage – You may not be able to afford the full $5,000 car wrap but you can potentially have 2 car magnets for $100… This $100 will return you thousands… Every time you get in your car and you drive somewhere, people will see your brand, may be even recognise you too. If they do, you know your magnets are working.
7. Outdoor Media – Vinyl banners are a very effective way of getting your brand, products or services recognised. People use sports grounds, unused fences along main strips, overhead bridges, old buildings and more… Make use of places where you can post your brand up. If you have to or are unsure, check with your local council.
There you have it… You do not have to be a “marketing professional” with years of experience. Simply stick to the basics and increase your marketing spend as you increase your profit margins and financial returns and you will have a very successful business in your local area that is recognised for years to come.