Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.
Marketing is a crucial element for all businesses. It’s one thing to be passionate about your business, but success relies on others sharing that passion too. Small business can suffer from a lack of marketing resources and experience. There are a number of things you can do to help compensate for resources and experience.
Educate yourself (for free)
While there are courses you can take that will improve your marketing knowledge, these can be an expense you didn’t plan to include in your business plan. The great thing about the internet is that there are a lot of marketing experts out there who not only have the necessary knowledge but are willing to share it. Take a look at some of the top marketing blogs available that share the latest and best marketing practices – you could learn a lot from them without having to pay for an expensive training course.
Marketing is something that is constantly evolving, with new techniques and case studies to learn from that can help you continue to grow. It doesn’t hurt to spend some time each week or month to look at what other businesses are doing and taking note of activities that have brought them success. This will help you to stay on top of the latest marketing trends and give you inspiration for your own strategies.
Be an opportunist
Effective marketing often relies on timing to succeed. You can boost your sales or attract more customers by planning your activities around the right times and dates – even down to the days of the week. If you run an online business, use social media over the weekend to highlight deals and offers. This is when networks tend to be quieter, but those who browse at this time will browse for longer. If you run a retail business with its own store, put your best promotions out towards the end of the week when people are more likely to hunt for bargains.
You will want to make sure you’re prepared by having enough stock and to make sure your systems are safeguarded against outages. Make sure you have on-call maintenance should your website go down, while on-site and break-fix services for all of your Zebra Technologies printers may help you to avoid closures caused by printing and labeling issues. A clear and comprehensive plan for executing promotions will help you to avoid disasters and get the most out of your marketing activity.
Be active on social media
Social media has become one of the easiest ways to tell people about your business. You can run effective social media marketing campaigns with a strategy that suits your budget, with many free tools at your disposal. This will involve learning how to use different platforms (hint: follow the norms and learn about the unspoken customs of each platform before jumping in) and find ways to listen to your audience to find out what they want. Social media can be a powerful tool when used correctly, growing your customer base and encouraging brand loyalty.
Social media is great for local businesses too. Having a presence on social media can help local people engage with your business, makes you easier to find and will allow you to develop some excellent customer relationships too. It’s important to note however that once you’ve set up an online presence, you can’t simply leave it to run itself – it requires regular input and updating to keep it relevant. Take the time to figure it all out and create an ongoing online marketing strategy to help you boost your sales. (If you want help J & A Creative can assist you in creating a content calendar to help you get started.)
Share your story
Against retail giants and large corporations, small businesses can feel largely ignored. However, the truth is that 93 percent of shoppers prefer small and local businesses as it not only helps them to support the local community but can help them to discover different and more unique products. Sharing your story as an independent retailer will resonate with customers who want to develop relationships with stores, rather than just purchase from some remote company without a connection.
Your marketing materials are a great place to share the story of your business and to take advantage of local interests and events taking place. Having a blog for your business that reveals more of your personality may also help shoppers make that connection and make them more likely to become regular customers.
Putting some more thought into your marketing activities can help your business to become better recognized and increase your sales. Make the most of the free marketing tools and resources that are out there to boost your activities and help spread the word about your business.