Small Business Promotion is Key for Exposure
Having been a small business owner for more than 13 years now, I know that marketing a small business can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of running a business. However, without marketing, it’s tough to get clients or customers. Since clients and customers are what make your business profitable, it stands to reason that marketing is essential for the success and growth of a small business.
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about marketing and promoting a small business, both from trial and error and reading everything I could find on the subject. This article will summarize the top 10 small business marketing tips I have learned.
Small Business Marketing Tip No. 1 – Network, Network, Network
There is just no way around it, networking is key to marketing a small business. Who you know, who they know and who knows you and your business can make all the difference. The best advertising any business can get is word-of-mouth.
Small Business Marketing Tip No. 2 – Become an Expert
Read, study, learn and know your business and its industry better than your competition, and share that knowledge so others know. Share your expertise in your field via marketing articles, a professional Web site with information, pod or webcasts or telephone seminars so your clients or customers can see you know your stuff.
Small Business Marketing Tip No. 3 – Know your Consumer
Be your own customer, put yourself in their shoes and look at your small business like a potential client or customer would view it, and not like someone in the industry. Perhaps you’re too close to your own small business to see it the way a consumer would so ask friends, family or business associates to give you critical and honest feedback from the perspective of a client, and then use that feedback to best benefit the consumer.
Small Business Marketing Tip No. 4 – Make Time to Market
Marketing is easily one of the least favored aspects of owning a small business, and all too often, small business owners do not spend the time necessary to market their business. Marketing should be done every week, consistently, if you want new clients or customers. Set aside time every week, at least a couple of times per week, to market and promote yourself and your small business and stick to that schedule.
Small Business Marketing Tip No. 5 – Follow Up with Consumers
Once you have a customer or client, it’s easier to keep them and has repeat business from satisfied consumers than it is to attract new business. After all, you should have their contact information already and you’ve already performed quality work for them, so follow up on that. Take the time to e-mail or call former customers or clients and thank them for their business and ask if you can do anything to help them with future or current needs.
Small Business Marketing Tip No. 6 – Have a Web Presence
The Internet is a great place for additional exposure and marketing avenues, and most everyone seems to be on the Internet nowadays. People research things on the Internet before they buy or use services, and if you aren’t on the Web, you’re missing a marketing opportunity for your small business. Web hosting and design can range anywhere from very inexpensive to expensive, depending on what you purchase, but reasonable rates can be found to put up a Web presence for your small business with contact information and products or services.
Small Business Marketing Tip No. 7 – Have a Plan
Marketing can be hit or miss if you’re out trying lots of different things but not sticking with any of them consistently. Set a plan, decide what you’re going to try and then put the plan into action. After a time, look at what is working for you and what isn’t, and adjust your plan as necessary, removing those things that haven’t proven useful, and putting more work or time into those things that are.
Small Business Marketing Tip No. 8 – Start a Newsletter or Blog
Keeping your business in front of the consumer will make them remember you when they need your services or products in the future. Once you’ve made contact with a potential client or customer, offer them something free, such as signing up for an informative newsletter or blog. This can tie in with tip No. 2 of making yourself an expert in your field. This also gives you the consumer’s contact information so you can target marketing directly to the client.
Small Business Marketing Tip No. 9 – Don’t Spam or Scam
Marketing isn’t easy, as any small business owner knows, and it’s easy to fall into the scam and spam shortcuts that are offered by other ‘marketers.’ While many of these schemes do work short term to drive traffic or customers to you or your Web site, eventually, these techniques will give your business a bad name, make you look bad and will do nothing to foster a relationship with a consumer. Don’t take the quick-fix route.
Small Business Marketing Tip No. 10 – Network, Network, Network
I know! I’ve already mentioned this one, so now you’ll feel you are cheated out of 10 tips, but I cannot stress the benefit of networking enough. Join associations or groups that are specific to your field, join your local chamber of commerce, associate with people in your field. One of the biggest paying assignments I ever received for my small business came from a competitor who was too busy to accept the assignment so he referred the client to me instead. Never underestimate the value of networking.
Proper marketing takes a little time and effort, but it is absolutely essential for the growth and stability of your business. Don’t be afraid to put yourself and your business out there and be known. Paying attention to marketing and trends for your small business can make the difference between success or go back to that ‘day job.’