While small business may be the backbone of America, startups are often built with little more than a shoe string budget and passion. You’ve bitten the bullet and followed your dream, but now what? How do you get customers in through the door? How do people find you?
In today’s technologically fast passed society, there are many advocates of leading a digital only marketing campaign. To those people I say you’re missing out on the many benefits that print advertising and marketing can bring. No matter what your industry is, small businesses can experience larger gains by blending the old and the new, the online and the offline approach. Print is alive and kicking and we’re here to show you how your business can use print and online media for faster results.
Finding Your Audience and Your Customer Base
As a small business owner, your main objective is to find your customer base. Depending upon the nature of your business, you may be looking at very narrow categories. When you don’t have a lot of money to spend, you don’t have the luxury of being able to cast a wide net and seeing what you can catch. You have to make your marketing dollars count and use targeted strategies to obtain clientele. Below are some great ideas to attract new customers.
Print business cards
Yes, business cards are still a staple of business. Whether your business is service based or product based, you want people to know where to find you. Print up business cards and distribute them confidently. Put your card in contest bowls, pin them on the local wall at your coffee house, leave them at the yoga studio, attend networking mixers and pass them out. You want to spread the word about your business and what better way than a lasting physical reminder of where people can find you?
Join social media
I know, social media is a huge mystery to many business owners. But it doesn’t have to be. Join multiple networks where your customers are likely to hang out and start posting regular content to attract interest. Advertise your social media handles in your e-mails and at your store, restaurant, or office. Place social media buttons on your website and even include your accounts’ URLs on your business cards. Get the word out that you’re available in the places where people like to congregate.
Get a favorable buzz going with public relations!
Place a press release to advertise your goods and services to the local community. Increase your placement by submitting this release to your social media. You can also target local outlets that are generally not on the online PR distribution lists like local community magazines and papers online. And don’t forget to send your PR off to local real estate agents. These people love to be able to tell their clients about great businesses in the areas they’re selling and they often maintain blogs that will write about your business. Get creative and get the word out about your business!
Wrap your store/ car with custom printed graphic advertising
You see them everywhere – the mobile pet vans, real estate agents’ cars, detailers, florists, you name it. And the odds are you’ve been curious enough to Google that business when you got home because you liked the advertising. Consider a car door magnet or a wrap at your store an advertising investment for your business. How many people do you think you drive by daily? Are you located in a busy area? Imagine all the foot traffic you’ll reach with this advertising.
Start content marketing
The internet runs on content marketing ideas, so it’s no surprise the businesses that publish more content tend to attract more attention. Try creating a video to put on YouTube, pictures to update your Facebook or Twitter, a weekly blog to keep customers updated on new sales, specials, or deals. It’s time to get creative! Reach out to your community in a variety of networks to increase your customer base.
Ask existing customers to review you online
There are lots of high quality review sites online where real consumers publish reviews about businesses. If you think your customer enjoyed their experience, ask them to write about it online to tell other customers. Consumers use these sites often as methods for discovering new businesses and as a means of evaluation. By having accounts here, you won’t miss out on potentially millions of internet viewers.
Publish a newsletter
Use your website or even sign in books in store to collect email addresses of interested customers. Distribute a colorful and informative monthly newsletter to those listed via email. To increase your reach, print a stack of these up and have them available in store for your customers. Remind your customers of the great specials, new products, and enhanced services they can expect in the coming month.
The Key is Consistency
I know it may be discouraging at first, but once you start to see the gains, you’ll be glad you’ve tried these strategies.. Consumers hang out in a variety of places – online, offline, and you want to reach them wherever you can find them. Don’t limit yourself to only one style of marketing or you may find you’re excluding many valuable customers. Often, it is the relationships that businesses build with customers offline that support and enhance online marketing efforts. Both are symbiotic, not mutually exclusive. Try these techniques today and see how many new customers you can attract!
Steve Mehr is the CEO of WebShark360 (http://webshark360.com) , a full service attorney marketing agency. Based out of Irvine, Ca, Steve and his talented team offers attorneys critical marketing tools to gain new business now. As an attorney and an attorney marketer, Steve understands how attorneys market like no other. When he’s not working hard for his clients, Steve spends time with his wife and his 2 beautiful children.