Taking a small company from the startup phase to booming business levels is no small feat. There are plenty of challenges facing small business owners, and plenty of reasons why half of all small businesses fail within the first five years.
With all of the difficulties facing small businesses and all the roles that small-business owners must play, it’s no wonder that some entrepreneurs discover that the marketing that they can find the time and money to do, does not quite produce the results they had hoped for.
After all, not only are they the marketing department, they are also the sales team, the accountant, the loss prevention specialist… the list goes on. So what are some creative ways for small business owners to get the word out about their businesses?
Get Involved in the Community
This might seem like a time consuming proposition, but it does not necessarily need to be. Small business owners who maintain a brick and mortar store can bring the community to them. Try hosting an event. Hire local musicians to play an in-store show, or use the retail space for an art opening. Bring in speakers on subjects that are related to the business. Host classes that help customers make the most out of your products.
For businesses that don’t maintain a physical location, there are other ways to create a sense of community around a brand. Some businesses have brought in more clients by making how-to videos, building a fanbase with a blog, or creating a website that fosters a sense of community among like-minded individuals.
Find Ways to Stand Out
Following the pack by copying the competition’s strategy might get you some business, but those who create truly memorable brands are the iconoclasts, the ones willing to go out on a limb and do something different. Instead of aping the tried and true, business owners who want to stand out should always be thinking of what the competition is not doing.
Being the first to carry a hot new product, or the only business of its type on a popular social networking site, can provide a business with a sizable competitive advantage.
Business owners should also think about what makes their businesses unique, and use those points to their advantage. Does your company carry only locally made goods? Say so. Does your company use a proprietary process that no one else has? Let your customers know. Whatever you can think of that sets your business apart from the competition is a good place to start.
Use New Tech to Your Advantage
Don’t be a technophobe. Technology is a boon for small businesses. It levels the playing field in ways that would have been unimaginable 10 years ago, and gives small businesses access to a wider range of prospects than they have ever had before. Not only should businesses have an easy-to-use website, but all of their social media marketing efforts should be fully integrated with it. They should all present a unified message.
Content from the website should be easy to share via social media. This can greatly increase the brand’s exposure by making it easy for the business’s biggest fans to spread the word to their friends.
Above all, make your business mobile-friendly. The website should be optimized for mobile browsers, and those who take advantage of the fact that most of their customers are always connected have the potential to reap great rewards. For example, discounts can be offered to customers who check in at a business via their mobile devices, or who sign up for text updates.