Small business owners often ask “Do I really need Marketing?” The answer of course is absolutely yes! In fact, as a small business owner you need to market yourself more than the bigger brands that have already established awareness and familiarity with their products and services. But how do you do this on a tight budget? When do you find the time to market your business when you’re doing inventory, payroll, selling and servicing? Take a breath and relax. It’s not complicated and it won’t break the bank either. You will need to spend some time getting started, but once you do you’ll find the positive results to be energizing and encouraging. And when you begin to see favorable results based on your early efforts, this momentum will make adding an additional Marketing tactic here or there so much easier. So what can you do to get started Marketing your business?
Here are 3 simple steps to introduce some basic Marketing tactics for your business.
- Set up a LinkedIn profile for yourself. Set aside 30 minutes to get started. You’ll need to write a short summary of what you do and what makes you special. It’s important to highlight your “specialty”. If you deliver outstanding service before, during, and after the sale explain how you do it in a brief statement or two. Be bold but don’t mislead. Be clear, concise and to the point. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Make sure to also include your photo on your LinkedIn profile. This is an absolute MUST regardless of how much you dislike pictures of yourself. Get over it. It’s been proven that people are more likely to read, click, or pursue an interest when there is a personal picture accompanying the profile.
- Recognize customer milestones. Most small businesses really know their customers. Use that knowledge to your advantage. Recognize birthdays, anniversary’s and key milestones. Word of mouth is the best advertising you’ve got and paying that extra bit of attention to your customers will help create strong advocates for your business. People spend an average of 3.2 hours per day on social media, and with 1.1 billion Facebook users it’s likely you’re getting talked about already. Make sure you’re included in that conversation. Satisfied customers will talk, and the power of social media will only expedite your message getting out to new prospective customers.
- Networking. Most people associate networking with Sales but it’s really a Marketing function. What’s the difference? Think of Marketing as all the activities required to create the opportunity to sell. It’s all the front end work. Studying your market, knowing your competition, pricing correctly, creating a strong and compelling value proposition. Sales is just that…taking that lead that’s been created from your Marketing efforts and turning it into a revenue generating customer. So think of networking as an outbound Marketing effort. You need to identify which functions to attend, who to talk to, what to say, how to follow up. Networking is critical for small business owners.
These are 3 simple steps to get started Marketing your business. I will dive deeper into each of these steps in future blogs. In the mean time, check out the Small Business Administration website for some additional Marketing tactics.