As a blogger for www.bizequity.com, I’ve written a lot about small businesses and what they need to do to get their brand into the marketplace. Marketing a small business can be challenging. It also is the subject of a lot of debate. Why? Because if you’re the owner of a small business, you may not feel that spending money on marketing actually generates value. You may want, instead, to focus on investments directly related to your property and equipment, hoping that location and word of mouth will do its thing.
This is a mistake. Small businesses should be aggressive in terms of marketing, and they should make use of multiple media platforms. Let’s go through a few techniques that a small business can engage to increase its profile.
Let’s say you own a pizza shop. You want potential consumers to believe that they come in there and receive a value. Entice them by offering a coupon. Without a doubt, consumers have been trained to respond to coupons. One of the most effective ways to do this is to buy some advertising in a local newspaper and offer a coupon that can be cut from the ad itself. You can also check to see if you can include a coupon on the back of register tapes at local supermarkets, or maybe in one of those special mailers that include a bunch of coupons from local businesses in a single envelope.
Giving away free promotional materials with the purchase of a certain price point of pizza pies not only can entice a customer to spend, but it also offers the opportunity for free advertising. Maybe a pizza shop would offer a free tee shirt with the purchase of two large pizzas. The tee shirt would, naturally, have the joint’s name and logo featured prominently on the shirt. In fact, giving away clothing items might really work in recessionary times. As the economy further slides to the downside, people are looking to cut costs; they are also looking to get things for free. Giving away clothing items such as shirts and baseball caps becomes not just a fun novelty — there actually is an angle of practicality to it. A cash-strapped mom might enjoy receiving shirts for her children and perceive it as an efficient way to both eat and add to the family’s wardrobe. And don’t forget that you could throw the pizza joint’s logo on such practical items as calendars, notebooks, pens, etc. The usual suspects, to be sure, but I don’t think every business owner fully grasps the value of such publicity.
Don’t just focus on pizzas — make sure you work on commercials, too. Not enough small business owners take advantage of the relatively inexpensive desktop technology that is available today to film a quality TV spot that can be placed on a local cable platform. Believe it or not, local cable companies will offer you the opportunity to advertise on major channels. And for a reasonable price. Remember to be humorous in your piece, and perhaps be willing to write out smart scripts that, as an example, might spoof pop-cultural icons. Maybe it’s Halloween season, and you want to take advantage of that. Maybe you could do a takeoff of the horror movie series “Saw” and have it involve pizza. If you know that series, then I’m sure you’d agree that the comedic possibilities are endless! (I can imagine it now: a couple of victims are trying to get out of one of the killer’s traps, only to be distracted by Pizza Shop X’s delicious pies.) Or, you might spoof Charlie Brown and create a Great Pizza to rival the Great Pumpkin. Similar stuff could be done for Christmas, Fourth of July, etc.
Besides using the local paper, you need to get out there and network. A pizza-shop owner must be his own best advertisement. He can join local clubs, become involved in school functions, volunteer at local charities, etc. Becoming known about town is one of the best ways to get your brand in the minds of city denizens. Also, if you’re willing, starting up a show on local cable access might get your face and your business out there. Technically, you cannot directly advertise on local cable access, but it nevertheless will allow you the opportunity to indirectly mention your business.
It doesn’t just stop at those few suggestions. Our hypothetical pizza shop would want to buy space in high school yearbooks, sponsor local events such as concerts by resident bands, engage radio advertising, etc. A small business must inculcate Medical practice website design services for great of their business, which helps in maintaining relationship strong between customer and service provider. Itself into every single thread of the community fabric. And it must do so in as creative a fashion as conceivable. The important point is to market, market, market…and take advantage of the current times, since buying spots on platforms such as newspapers and radio are dirt cheap. Remember that the mindshare surrounding your business can latch on to any competing concept. Since many business owners who are starting out oftentimes fumble the ball in terms of promotions (in my opinion, at least), I believe there is a significant opportunity for the business that exploits the part of the model that is dedicated to name recognition.