Marketing should be a key part of every company’s business strategy if they want to be successful. After all, it does not matter how good your products or services are if no one knows about them! Yet the idea of coming up with a marketing plan can be intimidating, especially if you are a new or small business. In this ever-changing world with so many varied types of companies and industries, there is no blueprint you can follow that will guarantees you success. That is why the best tactic is often to try out a number of different marketing techniques and see which ones work best for your specific business and audience. Here are nine ideas to get you started.
You almost certainly already know that having a website is vital for your business, but you might not yet be using yours to your full advantage. One cheap and cheerful form of marketing to try on your site is setting up a blog. The important part is that you do not just phone it in – each post should be well written, interesting, and helpful to your customers. For example, if you run a coffee shop you could blog about the different types of coffee roasts, brewing methods, or how to make latte art. This is a great way to drive traffic to your site organically and show your company’s expertise in its area.
2. Promotional products and apparel
Brand awareness is a key part of marketing, and one effective way to achieve this is by working with a branding agency to create a custom range of promotional products and clothing. Nowadays you can have your logo put on everything from travel cups and water bottles to socks, hats, and hoodies. Depending on your business and the products you choose, you could either sell these online or in your physical premises or give them away to loyal clients.
3. Email newsletter
One of the marketing techniques that has been shown time and time again to give one of the best returns on investment is email. By setting up a newsletter, you can contact your customers directly with everything from special discounts and loyalty programs to news on your latest products and services. To be effective, try making your emails as personalized as possible and do not be too pushy. Offering a one-off discount code to those who subscribe can be a good way to boost the number of people signing up.
4. Social media
Like it or not, social media is a crucial part of almost any business’s marketing strategy. This is especially true if you are hoping to attract the attention of younger customers. Due to its more informal nature, social media can be a great way to engage directly with your audience through interactive features and let your company’s unique personality and voice shine through. Authenticity is key, so be honest and be yourself. You do not have to be active on all sites either – find out which ones are most popular with your customers and focus your attention on those.
Video has quickly become one of the more popular marketing strategies over the last couple of years. It does take a bit more effort to get right, so this is one to attempt if you have the technology and skills to do it well. For those who are interested, the options for what you can do with video are surprisingly varied. Depending on what suits your business and industry, you could try making videos introducing your products, guides on how to use them, behind-the-scenes tours of your premises, or staff introductions. You can then post these directly on your site, or on social media.
The audio market is another area that has enjoyed huge success, with a 2020 survey finding that 37% of Americans had listened to a podcast in the past month. Appearing as a guest on an established podcast in your industry can therefore be a fantastic way to reach a vast number of people. If you are technically skilled and have the right setup, you could even consider starting your own podcast. Do not go into this lightly though – to be successful you will need a top-quality, genuinely interesting show that puts out new episodes regularly.
7. Local SEO
Local SEO, or local search engine optimization, is a strategy for helping to ensure that your business appears high up in local search results for your area. This is particularly important if your business has a physical store, restaurant, or other premises that you are trying to attract customers to. An effective way to boost yours is to optimize your Google My Business listing – a free tool that enables you to provide a wide range of accurate information about your company to appear in Google searches for your local area. This includes images, opening hours, contact details, and even links to make reservations if appropriate.
8. Discount codes
Everyone loves a bargain, so why not take advantage of that by using discount codes to encourage new or repeat custom? You can try all sorts of different strategies, from a discount on first orders to a loyalty program that rewards return shoppers. Other ideas include personalized codes on people’s birthdays or offers that aim to boost the amount of money customers spend (e.g. get 10% off if you spend over $50, or buy two get one free deal). You can email these directly to your mailing list or advertise them on flyers.
9. Partnerships with local businesses
Depending on the type of company you run and where you are located, working together with other local businesses can be a great way to help each other drum up customs. You can team up with companies who are not direct competitors to offer referral discount schemes, advertise on each other’s premises, mention each other in your newsletters, or even run an event together. If it is successful, you can repeat this with many other local businesses, or set up a network. This tactic works best for local, independent companies located in the same area, and is often popular among customers because it demonstrates a cooperative attitude.