As a small scale business, marketing is a key tool. A unique marketing strategy will enable you to establish your brand in the minds of your customers. Your marketing efforts also help you in acquiring new customers.
But as a small scale business, you don’t have the deep pocket required to run big marketing campaigns on television, radio or newspapers. In the light of this, we are sharing nine inexpensive ways to market your small scale business.
1. Create a business card for yourself
Creating a business card is an excellent way to keep the name of your company in the minds of the people who you meet. By having a business card, you’ll help to give your a clear, resonant identity.
Business cards can also serve as a promotional tool. You can use them to promote a special offer, and as you hand them out, encourage people to check out the promotion. E.g a 15% discount code on your business card. This will not only increase brand awareness for you, it means people won’t be so eager to dump your business card in a pile of other business cards.
2. Collect email addresses of your customers
Gather email addresses of your customers. People who have done business with you will certainly like to hear from you. Collect their emails at the point of sale. Send them periodic updates on promotions, new products or services. This will make it easier for you to keep in touch with them and will also afford them the advantage of knowing more about you.
Unlike social media, it’ll be hard for people to miss your messages here. More than any other marketing method, email marketing enables you to bring customers back to your site over and over again without incurring direct marketing cost.
3. Share robust educational content
Exploit your domain expertise. Capture your unique insights in the form of a shareable content and give it out freely. For instance, if your business helps other small businesses print low-cost business cards, you could create a short ebook on “5 business card designs that’ll increase customer interest in your small business.” This sort of content can be shared on your social media outposts or your emailer.
This process will increase the number of people that gets exposed to your business.
You could also create a physical copy of this content and distribute to entrepreneurs. Also, leave it in the waiting areas of places where your target customers patronize.
To get the maximum return on investment on this, make sure your brand collaterals are strategically and non-obtrusively located with your contact details. That way, people can connect with if they want.
4. Create a referral program
Develop a methodical system to ask your existing customers to tell others about your business. Word of mouth is easily the most effective marketing strategy. Millennials (people aged between 19 – 32) ranked word-of-mouth as the number one influencer in their purchasing decisions about clothes, packaged goods and other high-value purchases.
So, create a structure where your customer wants to tell others about how good your business is. You can Incorporate referral language and reward system into your customer appreciation materials. E.g. Thank you for using our service, get 10% on your next purchase by tweeting about us.
5. Hang out where “your people” hang out.
Know your target market? Know where they hang out? You should be there to meet people. Talk, relate and be a cool person. Doing this allows you to spread the word about the services and products that you have to offer. You can also get insight into the best practices in your industry. How do customers want to be served? And how are people in the industry already serving the customers?
6. Support a community event
No doubt your industry has a community. Going back to our example of the small business producing low-cost business cards for other small businesses, your community is the group of small-scale entrepreneurs in your locality. If the local branch of SME entrepreneurs is having a gala night, you should offer to support the event. It could be in cash or kind, you decide.
By supporting community events, your business is spreading the word about your values. Your involvement will also help you get introduced to new customer segments, while positioning you as a valuable stakeholder in your industry.
7. Create tip sheets for your industry
Everybody likes reading tips. Especially because we are all so busy, we need short digestible information. So, this is a particularly good idea.
The sheet could be a simple one or two-sided piece of paper. Fill it with helpful tips from you, the expert, about the industry. E.g, “12 questions to ask when hiring for your small business.” Put your logo and business information somewhere on the sheet.
The idea of tip sheets is similar to sharing robust educational content. It’s only cheaper and requires less work. Share your tip sheet online or in physical offices spaces.
8. Send “We Miss You” notes
Review your “best customer” list and contact the ones you haven’t seen or heard from in a while. Those contacted will feel appreciated by your company. This strategy will not only remind them of your continual existence but will also draw them back to do business with you again. Make sure to personalise your message and treat every customer as an individual.
9. Get listed on a local business discovery platform
For a small scale businesses, one of the cheapest ways to market your business is getting listed on a local directory. Listing your business on a local discovery platform like VConnect.com enhances your brand image. It also improves your credibility and visibility. Keep your profile updated to get the most out of your listing.
Click here to list on VConnect.
Do you have more to add to this story? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.