If you’ve just started a new business – you probably already know how important marketing is going to be to whether you’re a success or failure. You’d be surprised how many small businesses fail because they simply don’t get the word out well enough. What’s also surprising is that many businesses think marketing effectively needs to cost money.
Advertising is important – and if you can afford the right promotion, it could be what you’re business needs to take a step up to the next level. But not all advertising or marketing needs to cost money. There are actually a number of great, organic ways to promote your brand, grow customer loyalty and ultimately make more money – without actually spending anything. We’re going to look at some of them.
Why is word of mouth so important for local businesses?
What people say about your business is so important – especially as a local enterprise. While large multinationals might be able to ignore bad press in certain regions – you can’t afford to if you only operate in one area. Word of mouth spreads quickly – so you need to make sure what people are saying about your business is good.
A good reputation can take years to cultivate
Actually, negative stories about your business will spread much quicker than positive ones. People like to moan, and if they have a bad experience they’ll likely tell more people than if they had a good one. You need to eliminate the opportunities for this sort of chatter.
How can you improve what people say about your business?
Make sure they leave your business happy, every time. If someone has a complaint – you need to go above and beyond in order to win them back around. This might cost money in the short-run, but it could save your business more as it helps you retain customers.
You’ve got a great free marketing tool that it’d be foolish to ignore – and that’s social media. You might think it’s mostly for people to keep in touch with friends, but that’s simply not the case. Social media is huge for any business, especially a local one.
People don’t just want to spend money these days – they want to feel part of something. Social media is a great tool for keeping customers connected to your brand and helping to spread the word. If you’ve got people following your business on social media, you’ve got increased brand loyalty and an eager base of potential repeat customers who’re just waiting for news on your next sale or new big offer.
It used to be hard to get the word out to not only potential customers, but even those who you’ve done business with before. If they’re following you on social media, they just waiting for the chance to do business with you again.
Try growing your social media following by running contests and special offers. Invite all customers to follow you and to spread the word to people they know. Don’t treat social media as an afterthought – stay active and you could reap the rewards.
Friends and family
Some people try and keep their startup a secret or at least downplay it around their friends and family. They might not want to seem like they’re going on about it too much or remove some of the pressure in case the venture fails – but they’re making a huge mistake.
Your friends and family can be great help in spreading the word about your business. Make the most of the opportunities they could bring by making sure they’re kept up-to-date about everything and are all pulling in the right direction to help make your business a success.
Local networking events
If you’ve been avoiding local events in you’re area – you could be missing unrivalled opportunities to market your business without spending a penny. Local events are great – and they don’t just have to be those organised for businesspeople. Charity events, art gallery open evenings. Anything that gets local people mingling could be what you’re business has been looking for.
Make sure you get some professional business cards and hand them out liberally. Local events aren’t just great for spreading the word about your business – but they could help put you in touch with other like-minded businesspeople or even potential employees.