Somewhere, a small business owner is banging his head against his desk in frustration. Why, you ask? Marketing. Advertising. Public Relations. Facebook. LinkedIn. Reach. Frequency. Effectiveness. These words, and a few choice others, are swirling around and around in his mind; a relentless tornado of buzz words. He doesn’t have the resources a larger corporation has. All he wants to focus on is delivering an outstanding product and service.
Finding just the right proportion of marketing “ingredients” is absolutely critical for small business owners. Unlike their larger counterparts, they are not able to hire massive teams of experts and spend millions on a 30 second commercial. While it seems the odds are stacked against the “smaller guys,” they are actually at a huge advantage. They stand for quality, consistency, and community.
Here are a handful of basic staples that belong in any marketing plan – large or small:
Direct mail: You can save time and money by narrowing down a specific target audience. Make your mail stand out by hand writing addresses and using real postage stamps. If the recipient doesn’t feel you put thought or effort into mailing your piece, they won’t put thought or effort into reading it.
Telemarketing: Call recent customers to check in and make sure all their needs were met. Remember something unique about each person, to show you truly value them. A personal phone call doesn’t have to be a nuisance if you, or your staff, don’t treat it as a nuisance.
E-mail: Here is your chance to reach those busy clients who may not want to chat on the phone. Personalize the message as much as you possibly can. Keep your message brief and to the point, and always include links so they can explore freely at their leisure.
Online social networking: Just as with any relationship, you cannot just rush into any social media outlet and expect too much too soon. Engage people with thoughtful posts, pictures, or links that they will find interesting or helpful. Monitor their comments, and respond to them as much as possible.
For the frustrated business owner who feels overwhelmed and understaffed — enlist the help of family and friends to start. Perhaps hire a virtual assistant, or a part time staff member. The key is to find the right recipe for your company’s marketing success.
Photo by pixgood.