This is part two in a two-part series. You can read part one here.
In part one of this two-part series, we discussed how to kick off designing a master marketing plan, but there was a lot that we didn’t have room to mention.
Now that you know who your target market is and what relationships you really should nurture, it’s time to turn your attention to specific marketing techniques. Not every marketing outlet is right for every business, but you should have some idea about which you’re going to give a try before you set your marketing budget.
These common marketing methods can yield valuable leads if they’re approached properly. Choose a couple to start with, then expand your efforts as your company grows:
Print. Print marketing can establish authenticity for your business, especially if you advertise in trusted outlets. Local newspapers, magazines that your audience consumes and even billboards or other signage can grab the local market and hold it tight. However, if you’re trying to reach a wider market, print media may be excessively expensive for its limited scope. On a limited budget you may have better luck sending direct mail to your local market — it’s still a great way to grab attention on a shoestring.
Content marketing. Anyone can set up a website and use it to build authority for very little money. That’s a huge boon to small businesses, especially if they are selling online with a digital shopping cart for eCommerce order management. Adding a blog that discusses topics related to your industry niche can help you establish authority with your visitors and attract new customers as your efforts earn you healthy search engine rankings. Some businesses choose to employ professional bloggers to give their blogs a more polished appearance, this approach can yield even better results.
Email marketing. Email marketing rarely functions well alone, but it’s a great supplement to in-store or online marketing. Unsolicited emails tend to be a waste of time, but if you can collect email addresses of your new or loyal customers, you can use email as a tool to increase visits and purchases. Send out newsletters highlighting your newest products, coupons, special offers or thank yous and birthday wishes to truly delight and engage your audience.
Social media. Most of your customers will expect you have a social media presence, but social media marketing can be complicated and time consuming. Once you have the rest of your marketing established, step slowly into the social media world. Choose a single outlet where you believe your target marketing will be and get rolling. Remember that social media is all about giving and creating conversations – it’s not a place to preach about your product.
Marketing your small business can be a challenge, especially if you’re going at it alone. As your marketing improves, keep in mind that you’ll need customer support to serve the increasing number of customers that are clamoring at your door. If you’re getting behind with shipping orders, it’s time to call in a 3rd party logistics company to help; when your call volume is out of control, an answering service can be your best friend.