Small business owners are always on the lookout for that one big marketing idea that will catapult their business into the stratosphere. What I’ve found, however, is that it isn’t just one marketing idea but many marketing ideas, implemented strategically and consistently over time that reap the best results. Here are nine of my favorite marketing ideas. I know there are hundreds more. Please share them in the comments along with the link to your business.
If I’ve written it once, I’ve written it at least a hundred times. Blogging is the foundation of all of your marketing activity. Blogging is a great way to offer potential clients and customers a broader view of who you are and what you do. It’s “the” place where you can begin to establish yourself as an expert in your industry. So if you implement only one “new” marketing activity this year, I recommend you start a blog.
Have you ever driven to a restaurant and seeing that there were no cars in the parking lot decided to go somewhere else to eat? This illustrates the concept of social proof. People want to know that they are making the right decision and they do that by seeing if others have made the same decision too. Give people the proof they need to make their decision to do business with you through the use of testimonials. The best way to get testimonials is to ask your raving fans to give them to you! Use them on your blog, on your brochure, online or anywhere! (Make sure you get permission to use them first!)
Love it or hate it, if you have a brick and mortar business that requires customers to go to your location to do business with you, Yelp is a must. That’s because the popular iPhone application Siri, uses Yelp reviews to recommend businesses close to you. Businesses with more positive testimonials have more appeal to users, so while you’re at it, make sure you have plenty of good reviews on Yelp.
4. Stake Your Claim
Claim each and every listing for your business across all the different online business listing sites like Google Places, Yellow Pages.com, Manta, etc. Many of these sites are populating their contents from info across the web anyway and you may be already listed. Take the time to make sure your listing is correct and optimized meaning that you have taken advantage of every place possible in the listing to fill it up with information about your business.
5. Give Thanks
One of the most important things that you can do as a business owner is to say thank you. There are many opportunities to do this; when you get a positive review online, after a sale, or just because. Set yourself apart from the crowd by taking a minute to make your customers feel important, appreciated, and special, and you’ll inspire loyalty and create a relationship that will drive future sales and referrals.
6. Be Visible
“Visibility + Credibility= Profitability.” This quote from Ivan Misner, the Founder of Business Networking International (BNI) should be hanging on the wall of every business. It’s not only about who you know, it’s about who knows you. To sell more you’ve got to be known by everybody. This is the concept behind advertising of course, because it’s simply foolish to think that if you “build it they will come.” So work to establish visibility for your business by becoming well and favorably known everywhere.
7. Get Social
Speaking of visibility, one of the best ways to gain visibility is to be social. Join networking groups, professional development groups, and professional associations and get out there and get your face, your business and your brand known. You can do this on social media including Facebook and Twitter too, but there’s nothing like meeting people face to face. Go out and get connected.
8. Be a Winner
Ever go to a movie just because it was starting an “Academy Award” winning actor? The idea was that if the actor had won awards, therefore becoming known as one of the best, certainly the movie they were in would be a “best” movie too. The same concept can be transferred to your business. Apply for and win awards and establish yourself as “the best” in your industry or community. There are hundreds of awards you can apply for including the “Best of” awards run by your local newspaper.
9. Be the Best
In fact, if you’re going to win awards, you might as well make sure that regardless of what you sell that yours is the best that anybody’s ever had. Only then will you be able to guarantee that they will keep coming back for more.
Of course, there are many more big marketing ideas out there that will make a big difference in your business. I would love to hear yours!!