So you have your business location, your office is nicely designed, employees have been hired, your website is in place, and your credit card machine is functional. It’s time to tell the world to come buy your stuff.
Of course, this certainly isn’t the easiest step of starting a small business, but it is easily the most important. You have to consider the whims of your market, the quality of your offering, whether or not it meets their needs and stay abreast of the offerings of potential competitors.
The Internet Is the Great Marketing Equalizer
A discussion about marketing wouldn’t be complete without discussing the internet, so let’s just start there. The Internet makes is easier to get the word out about a small business. Decades ago, small businesses had to rely on word of mouth marketing around town to get orders. Now there are countless methods of getting the word out about your business from state to state and country to country.
Thanks to online press release services and social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Digg, and Buzz, you have the ability to reach all sorts of markets that only large corporations had access to in the past.
Here are just a few ideas (many inexpensive; some free) for how to get the word out about your small business online (more will be addressed specifically on our Blog)
– write an interesting press release for your new small company
– start a strong social media platform on Twitter or Facebook
– offer free products, services and merchandise to influencers
– write blog posts and articles to educate consumers and lead them to your website
– pay for content distribution services
– buy affordable ads on relevant websites and blogs in your niche
– setup up an affiliate program to get others to sell your products and services for you
The list goes on and on.
Methods of Attracting Customers for Local Businesses
If you’re a local business, online review sites are also practical way to attract customers to your business. Sites like Yelp.com give consumers a fairly comprehensive look at a business so that they can make an informed decision about whether to support it. But there are other traditional methods of attracting attention to your local business:
– order business cards and spread them around your town
– car door magnets advertising your website or business phone number
– hiring a sales person to go out and find potential customers on your behalf
– buying a leads list so that you can make sales calls
– passing or posting flyers
– establishing a sales promotion, like coupons distributed throughout your community
– placing ads in local papers
– billboard, print, radio, and television
Creating a Marketing Plan for Your Small Business
There are 4 Ps of marketing – product, place, price and promotion. These are all considerations that go into marketing your company effectively. Before you explore these 4 Ps you have to ask yourself this question:
What’s the Target Market?
– What do they like do?
– Where do they prefer to shop or hang out?
– What are their needs and desires?
– What messages do they want to hear? What tone and language do they relate to?
Then you can start answering these questions related to the 4Ps:
– Is your product or service been crafted for their specific needs?
– How will they respond to your product or service?
– Where and how are these customers likely to buy your product or service?
– Do you need a physical location to sell this product or service?
– Will you sell the offering online, offline or both? And how?
– What price is my target audience willing to pay for this item?
– What is the optimal price that will net the most sales/net profit?
– What promotional methods would best reach my target market?
Attracting customers to your new small business is easier when you have a clear cut plan in place. Take the time out to learn more about marketing your business and keeping customers interested so that they come back time and time again.