7 Marketing Tactics for Small Businesses

Lindsay Gattis June 15, 2017
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7 Marketing Tactics for Small Businesses

You're a smart, capable business owner. No one is debating that. But for whatever reason, you don't have all the clients or customers that you need. Not only that, but you're feeling frustrated. You have a small business. You've worked your way up the ladder, but simply put, you just don't have the capital to spend thousands of dollars on marketing campaigns. Not yet anyway. 

You think to yourself, "No problem. I've gotten this far on my own, I can certainly figure out my marketing too!" So you sit down and start planning. After many sleepless nights, you might begin to realize that you just aren't sure how to put the pieces together. You're certainly capable of doing many things required for effective marketing. But you just don't know where to start or where to spend your time.

It doesn't have to be this hard.

The problem is not that you aren't capable. Nor is it that you're not "trained" in marketing. The problem isn't even your small budget. So what is it?

The problem is that your brain is only able to hold so much information. 

When you're running a business, you have many, many things on your mind. Accounting, sales, HR, networking, creating a quality product/service, building an audience (and an ENGAGED audience at that), being a secretary, and so on. All of the above are essential. So when it comes time to add something else to your plate (marketing), your brain does the best it can.

Unfortunately, unless you spend time daily just focusing on your marketing efforts, your brain does either one of two things. One, it may shut down completely, leaving you stuck and unable to come up with anything. Or two, you just go with “what everyone else is doing,” and just do that too. More often than not, this creates an ineffective marketing strategy (if there even is a strategy in place)!

So how do small business effectively market themselves?

I'm not going to lie to you…there's no clear cut answer here. There are many options you COULD choose. But whether or not you SHOULD or not is another story. You can take the ideas listed in this post and implement them. Through trial and error, you will find out which ones work for you or don't work for you. And perhaps this list will inspire your mind and you'll come up with other tactics. I'm hoping that's what this post does. But the downside to trial and error is that it takes a lot of time and sometimes a lot of resources without promising much return.

Another option is to have someone like us at Keystone Resources create a step-by-step marketing strategy for you that you just have to implement. While that takes out all the guess work for you, not every small business has room for that in their budget.

A third option is to combine the two options. Bring us in for a consultation. We'll discuss your business with you, listen to your challenges, hear your goals, and then tell you which TYPES of marketing would work best for you. At that point, you can revisit this list or brainstorm additional ideas that fall within those types that will be most effective for you, and then begin your trial and error process for which tactics work best. It's basically a jumpstart for your marketing. We'll point you in the right direction, and then you can take it from there.

Since not everyone will be interested in that option, I won't go into too many details here. I'll just get straight to the point. But you're interested in discussing any of the options listed above, shoot us an email, and I'll be happy to go over things with you.

Marketing Tactics for Small Businesses:

  • First and foremost, KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: It goes without saying that marketing to senior citizens will be vastly different from marketing to teenagers. Get very clear on who you're marketing to.
  • TEXT MARKETING: Find out what your customers want by texting them a question. Then, send them a coupon for a discount on that item. This one's particularly useful for those Gen-X and -Y customers, many of whom don't seem to use email much anymore. Not sure how to set this up? We can set you up on our text marketing platform that allows customers to text a unique word to a number, adding them to your text messaging list. You can then customize responses and automate messages sent out to customers through the platform.
  • DON'T JUST NETWORK - HOST AN EVENT: Hosting an event is a powerful way to get known by a lot of people at once. Why? Everybody comes over to thank the host. Hold the event at your place of business, if you have a physical store, so people learn where you are.
  • CUSTOMER OF THE MONTH: Create a Customer Of The Month promotion. Advertise this on your website and in various other places.
  • LEND OUT YOUR FACILITY: Lend out your facility for meetings and events, if possible. This will help others find out about your business as well.
  • TREASURE HUNT: Have a treasure hunt on your website.
  • HAPPY BIRTHDAY: A great idea that’s easy to execute, too: Get your customers’ birthdays and send limited-time offers to them on their special day.

Now after reading this list, it's quite obvious that not all of these work for every business. So as a bonus, here are four key points to consider that WILL work for every industry.

Four Key Points for Every Industry:

  1. Focus on strategies that create genuine connections between your company and your audience. The more you can genuinely connect with your customers, the more successful you will be.
  2. Remember to add an element of fun and congeniality in your campaigns, but don't forget to offer value. You want your campaigns to go viral for maximum exposure, but just posting a funny cat video will not bring paying clients in the door. Well, perhaps it would if you are in the cat food business…but otherwise, you have to offer value to YOUR clients. Who are they and what do they want?
  3. Think about how you can inspire and motivate them to take action. An engaged audience is incredibly valuable. Not only will you likely see an increase in sales but you will have specific people to bounce ideas off of. Have an idea for a new product, but aren’t sure if it's what your target market wants? Well, if you have an engaged audience, reach out and ask them directly! You'll learn very quickly if a product is worth pursuing or not.
  4. Social media is key. It's free, it's widespread, and it engages people of all ages. Find the platform your customers engage with the most and make sure you're active there!

Basically, what I'm saying here is that marketing is a vast piece of the puzzle. What is effective for one company may or may not be effective for you. And if you're chasing ineffective marketing, you are wasting money, time, and resources on something that will see little to no return in the end.

Break out of that cycle. Use some of the seven marketing tactics for small business that we listed here. Assuming they work for your industry. Or contact us to discuss tactics that will work for you. Either way, effective marketing is the key.

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Have you seen any great marketing campaigns out there recently? Let us know what you loved about them in the comments below!

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