Owning a company is a confirmation you did it – all hard work you’ve invested in yourself over the years and all the sacrifices you’ve made have paid off! You own a company! Yet, nothing stops here. If anything, owning an enterprise means you now have to work twice as harder than you did before. And, given you are a small company – you need to keep proving yourself so one day you could sit with the big ones.
Doing proper marketing and PR is half the job done to a firm’s success. If these two aren’t covered properly, there isn’t really much you can do. If you are wondering what it is that you could do to put your company’s name out there – here are some tips you may find helpful:
1. Conquer the internet
The era of the internet made our lives so much easier in so many aspects. In a matter of seconds you can at the same time multitask handling several aspects of your project by just clicking different tabs. Amazing, right? Well, the same functionality is achieved through social networking, blogging and starting up a webpage.
a) Social networking is your best friend. By opening accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and other (depending on the type of work you do) you are buying yourself space where your product can go viral. Through social networks you can announce your product, interact with customers, carve the way to new customers and become reachable for anyone interested in your brand. Research has shown that over 80% of people use social networking as their primary source of information and communication. Use this statistic to your advantage!
b) Starting a blog about your business is an amazing idea. Just look up to Sir Richard Branson – this mogul has a personal blog (probably his assistants are running it) where he shares his ideas, experiences, some professional opinions, etc. This is an amazing way to reach the audience, and make them conscious about you and your brand. Everyone loves a little personal touch.
c) Having a webpage where you present your product, relate to previous successes, products, idea, rewards, etc. is something every business should have – either small or big. Since you are a small business, it’s maybe even more important for you to have one. No one has the time to go through phonebooks – you need to be a click away for anyone to get even interested in your brand.
2. Customer service
Any successful business needs to have a powerful working force behind it, an idea, a goal and – good customer service. For you to keep your current clientele and get a new one, you need to make sure your customers are satisfied with the quality of your product and the quality level of customer – staff interaction. A recently taken poll resulted in some pretty interesting stats. Out of all the people that have taken the poll, 37% said they would give a company another chance if their customer service was bad the first time around, while 59% said they would immediately switch companies. The remaining 4% stayed undecided.
Don’t forget that each customer wants to feel special and important and each and every one of them needs to be served with politeness and efficiency. Amazing products and great customer service are what gets word of mouth marketing started!
Sales and discounts may just as well be every customer’s favorite part of buying any product. For some reason, everyone loves to get something for free or to feel like they’ve saved up on buying the product at a particular time. So – make your customers happy. Offer discounts, bonuses and gifts for your loyal customers. You can even organize a winning game on your Facebook page. For instance – every fifth person who shares your page with a friend, gets a free (insert_the_name_of_the_product_here).
Or, for instance – when launching a new product, you can include your customers by making it a fun and creative competition – a customer whose description of a new product fits product branding best will get to be the proud copywriter of the slogan!
Then, you can set particular months as your reward months when all sorts of discounts and great offers happen! Get creative and find a way to make this whole discount thing work!
4. Promotional products
Promotional products are a must. Even though we’ve moved into the virtual era, people somehow still appreciate the traditional way of branding – a physical reminder you exist.
A rather traditional, “in your face” branding consists of handing out promotional products such as mugs, USB sticks, shirts, pens, key chains… to your customer, with the idea he/she will have a constant reminder of your brand. And there’s nothing wrong with it, really.
However, with all the changes happening in the world of advertising, even printed promotional materials have taken a different spin. Now, the best you can do is give out a promotional item that’s both thoughtful and useful. Our suggestion is to replace fliers with value papers, such as coupons and vouchers.
Research on customers’ response to promotional products says that users of the product are appreciative whenever there’s a discount or a special offer in store. In fact, 79% of users say they are likely to check out a store/service that offered any sort of benefit through the promotional product they handed out. 15% say they wouldn’t while the rest stand undecided.
Put value to marketing materials you distribute, and instead of being thrown away in the first bin, that piece of paper will stay longer in your customer’s hand or pocket. For instance, if that flier says that with one bought product, you are offering a 20% discount on another one, you will most definitely keep your customers’ attention.
Also, don’t forget to print out business cards and pair them up with a free consultation voucher – it will surely be a start of good business.
5. Word of mouth marketing
The best way to get your product out there is for people to start talking about it. Essentially, this is what word of mouth marketing is – a lot of satisfied people, retelling their experience to other potential customers.
To get people talking, there are two basic options:
a) There are agencies that specify in promoting your product through creating artificial audience and users who rave about your product on social networks and spread the word about how amazing your brand is.
b) For starters, rely on your friends and family to start promoting your brand. Since you are a small company, you can’t really afford wasting a lot of money on aggressive and long-lasting marketing campaigns. So, ask those closest to you to start talking about the quality of service you offer, your company’s overall tone, let them express satisfaction with your product, etc.
Good reviews travel fast! It will be a matter of days that you’ll get some new customers if the word of mouth marketing is done
Still don’t know where to start? Use this marketing diagnosis to identify those areas with the greatest growth potential for your business. If you already know where the gap is in your marketing efforts, go straight to the relevant action plan to improve on it.
Damian Wolf is a small business co-owner and writer. His favorite topics include: helping small business owners to grow their business, current trends in marketing and work efficiency. When he’s not writing, Damian is focused on developing modern business alarm monitoring systems and reaching out to new clients.