Any sound small business marketing strategy for growing your company should establish an online and offline presence. This article provides some marketing strategies for you to use.
Offline Attraction Strategies
Local community involvement – Make sure you know the people in town. Can you help them solve their problems better? It’s important to make a name for yourself by giving things away, volunteering, and associating yourself with other companies to get more attention locally. You can basically try anything to be well known and liked in your community.
Media strategies – Many local media (tv, print media and even local news sites) face strong competition from the new media and many are willing to accept your contributions if they are free. If you write a helpful and authoritative article on your topic, people will appreciate it. It’s better not to write articles as if they were long ads, just keep it educational and mention your brand or your business one or two times.
Online Attraction Strategies
Run a great website – What usually works best, is running a keyword rich content website, meaning lots of great information for your customers. This way, you will turn up high in the search engines for information searches, which is a great way to get your solutions before the eyes of potential customers.
Social media – People love small local businesses that go the extra mile, and will easily become a fan of you on Facebook or Twitter. Your fans will write about you, they may tell their friends, and your client base will grow steadily.
But of course, it’s not only about attracting new customers but also about defending your business against negative attacks from competitors. Here are some ways you can do this.
Offline Defense Strategies
Keep in touch – Never let your relations with other local businesses sour, even when your business is thriving. Always remember you are part of a local community and the people you relied on in earlier times will be your strong allies when the competition gets fiercer.
Treat competitors as allies – When you’re in a small business startup, it works well to be friends with the big established companies in your niche. Introduce yourself, buy business owners dinner, and offer them to take over smaller clients if they can’t handle them due to their size. You will get new customers and other businesses will remember you in a good way, even when you get larger and become their competitors.
Online Defense Strategies
Keep producing positive content – Things often don’t last very long on the internet. That’s why you have to keep writing on your website or social media pages. If a competitor posts a negative article about you, best respond with a series of positive pieces to keep the momentum on your side. Besides, people don’t like slander from other businesses who have vested interests in taking you down.
Start email newsletters – Your competitors will try to convince their customers subtly or less subtly that their brand is preferable over yours. Publishing a newsletter is one way to combat this. Don’t fill it with ads, but try to write stories and pass information that creates relationships with your customers. People like to buy from those they like and trust. It is a low-cost and high-value strategy, though it takes some discipline.
Starting a new business isn’t easy. On every part of the road, there will be hurdles. The good news is, you’d be surprised to see how many of your competitors don’t really know what they are doing, and nowhere else this is clearer than on the internet. So, take the above tips, get out there and play ball!