Marketing doesn't have to cost big bucks. Find out how to keep your marketing strategies smart and cost-effective.
Small business marketing is about making your target customers aware of your products in focused, effective ways that are easy on the back pocket.
Increase positive word-of-mouth
Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most popular small business marketing options because of the credibility impartial third-party recommendations can lend a brand. Another plus is that it is usually free. Simply focus on delivering excellent customer service, actively ask clients for referrals, and make sure you get on top of any complaints or service issues as soon as you can.
Personalize the experience
Going that extra mile for a customer is a great way to spread word about your company, but rather than just entertaining a special request, bring home your efforts by showing you've paid attention and know exactly what your customers want before they ask.
Rewarding customers is a widespread and effective marketing manoeuvre for businesses of all sizes, but the rewards don't have to be big and expensive. The cost of a discount, free gift or even just the chance to participate for the chance to win a prize can go a long way.
It's easy to forget the small marketing opportunities that sometimes slip right under our noses - and branding opportunities are top of the list. Think beyond basic business cards and email signatures and get your brand out there on your vehicle, stationery, invoices, proposals and clothing - even your kids' softball uniforms if the team's looking for sponsorship.
Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook allow you to open a direct dialogue with customers. If your target market is a clearly definable social group, you can try to tap into that community via blogs, social media comments and tweets. The key is to comment or blog frequently, consistently and with subtlety, emphasizing and promoting your brand values and not just your products or services.
Become an expert
Promote yourself to the media as an authority on your sector of business. Contact journalists with story ideas, send in letters to the editor and even try your own hand at press releases related to newsworthy issues affecting your industry. Public speaking can also be an option too, and once you've established your credentials, customers seeking knowledge and expertise will start to seek you out over your competitors.
In many industries, it's all about who you know rather than what you know. For small businesses looking for a low-cost way to market, networking at the right functions, trade shows and social events can lead to referral partnerships or entrance into a network of companies that refer customers to each other.
- Talk to your CIBC business advisor, who will help you find solutions that are right for your business.
- Thinking of growing your business through marketing, check out the CIBC Guide to Business Planning to ensure you have covered all the bases as you plan to expand your business.