Marketing involves the process of finding the best way to inform consumers about a businesses product or service. Advertising is a part of this process, and is a necessary element for both big and small businesses.
Unfortunately, for a small business, their budget does not extend as far as a bigger company, so the obvious methods of advertising, such as media campaigns via television or radio, or simply out of reach. Instead a small business needs to be more creative with their approach. From giving out shopping bags with printed logos to handing out flyers on a street corner, there are many different marketing avenues for a small business to explore.
1. Get your name out there
The most important thing is for a small business to get their business name circulating. If television and radio ads are too expensive there are other methods of informing consumers about products. Print ads are effective and can vary greatly in price to suit any budget.
From advertising in the local newspaper, in magazines or taking out an ad in the local directory, most small businesses will pay for some sort of printed advertisement. It is important to make sure that your name and contact details are on every piece of correspondence leaving your company.
Have invoices printed with your business details, send out written correspondence on company letterhead and get envelopes to match. Stickers and stamps are great and should be put on the outside of all out going mail as people will read this first. Postcards are an effective marketing tool, and being bigger than a business card are more noticeable but are small enough for people to easily to take one and keep. The more attractive your postcard the more likely someone is to hang on to it.
2. Be creative
A small business needs to use more than one method of advertising for their marketing to be successful. There is no single method that works for every business so it is often a matter of trial and error, so make sure you ask for feedback from existing clients.
For a small business without the marketing budget of a big company being creative with your advertising can often be the key to success. Try using a buddy system to market your products. Team up with a business selling a complimentary product and when you send out a brochure or flyer include one of theirs. They will then do the same for you and as a result your name will reach a much larger audience. Try sending out a newsletter to existing clients to keep them informed of sales or new products. It has been shown that it costs more to advertise to new potential customers than to existing ones, so work on gaining repeat sales. If a mail out is too expensive then use email to send out your newsletter to those who subscribe to your website.
The Internet is a powerful marketing tool, so make sure your business has a website. Many people shop exclusively online nowadays and your business could even offer online sales. Social networking sites are becoming great ways to advertise for free, as well as keep in contact with your clients, which makes your business more approachable, shows customers the face behind the product, and can help increase sales.