Branding, services, promotions, products, pricing, prints, blogs, advertising, research, and social media -- all of this is marketing. With all the marketing options, it can be difficult for small businesses to know what to do. Marketing is a concentrated effort to push your brand across various platforms and hopes that enough makes it through to your customer. Here are seven simple steps to help you market your small business:
1. Get organized. Getting an organized plan is the first step in any marketing effort. Start with brainstorming, create themes and action items. Create an elevator pitch: What can you tell people about your business, products, and services in 30 seconds or less that keeps them interested and wanting more? Get customer input early. Try hosting a soft opening or invitation-only event to get kinks worked out.
2. Get a website. In today's technology-based world, the first thing a potential customer or employee does is Google your business. You need a website to show authenticity and to offer information. Be sure your website is mobile-friendly and search engine optimized.
3. Leverage social media. Social media can be a powerful way to promote your business and reach your target audience in organic and paid ways. Here are 6 Proven Ways To Drive Sales With Social Media.
4. Set up and claim your business online. Information about your business will be on the internet. Wouldn't you rather proactively control what people read or see about your business when they Google it? Search different browsers to see what information you see about your company and then claim or create a listing for your business.
5. Use Google AdWords. Try utilizing Google AdWords to target the types of products or services you offer specifically. Remember to focus on the quality of a few keywords instead of choosing too many. AdWords are great for targeting specific geographic locations and give you the ability to control your budget.
6. Create local awareness and establish a network. Join chambers, business associations, community groups, etc. Get your name out there while also being a good community steward (sponsor sporting events or nonprofit events). Give away promotional items with your business name, logo, and contact info. T-shirts are a great example of free walking advertisements for your business.
7. Offer coupons or free products/services. Create loyalty. A happy customer will come back and will refer their friends. Create a buzz with brand ambassadors. These can be family and friends who help promote your products or services.
More than anything, focus on consistent, repetitive branding. Many marketing professionals believe in the "rule of seven," meaning people need to hear or see your message at least seven times before taking any action. In today's world of constant connectivity, you must make sure you're seen and heard. The most common reason people do not buy your product is that they do not know about it yet.