by Chris Garrett
Building a business from the ground up can be a difficult process, and every entrepreneur knows the importance of marketing. There are many different types of marketing, and it isn’t uncommon for one or more of them to be overlooked by busy business owners. This guide is intended to ensure that your small business doesn’t miss out on any of the customers who can be reached by a thorough marketing campaign:
With all of the different hosting services available online, just about anyone can build a website themselves these days. Building a professional website, user-friendly site is a somewhat more complicated undertaking, but is absolutely crucial for any business wishing to operate in the digital world.
If you choose not to hire a professional web developer for your site design, consider some of the business websites that you have visited as a customer. The best among them will have certain things in common, and these are things that you want to keep in mind when building your own site. They’ll likely be clean and streamlined, without a lot of clutter and unnecessary information. The buttons that customers need should be obvious, and it should be simple and intuitive to get from any page on your website to the product or service you offer, to the checkout page.
Consider also some of the sites you’ve visited that were not well designed. Poorly chosen text colors that make them difficult to read, third party advertisements, and unnecessary graphics that slow down the site and get in the way of the customer should be avoided.
Social media can also be an important and useful part of your marketing campaign, particularly if your business exists only online. For companies without a physical location, social networks are the only place that customers can go to get an idea about you, your business, and your company culture. These factors play a bigger and bigger part in the purchasing decisions made by consumers, and the right personality (corporate or individual) can inspire fierce brand loyalty in these shoppers.
If you spend much time on business blogs and other business related sites, you may begin to feel as though a physical location isn’t important at all. For some businesses this is true, but many customers prefer to make their purchases in person, and some services can’t be performed except face to face. Visually branding your physical location should be one of your top priorities when designing the layout and decorating.
Visual branding can be as simple as displaying your company logo over the register or front desk, but should be much more than that. Your business has target customers and a company culture, and these things should be taken into account when you make your commercial décor choices. Is your ideal customer a young, tech-savvy, early adopter or a busy mother running a home full of kids? Is your company earthy and fair-trade oriented, or a hyper-professional business-to-business operation? These things should be reflected by your physical location, your online presence, and any and all print media, such as business cards and newsprint ads.
Many new business owners fail to realize that they are a marketing asset in themselves. Especially in the case of a small business trying to get off the ground, local customers can make or break a company. Community involvement can be an excellent way to get the name of your business out around the area, and have that name associated immediately with something positive.
Some companies choose to sponsor local festivals and charity events with products or services, financial support, or volunteer hours. In exchange, most of the organizers of these events are happy to feature the company logo and mention the name of the business in press releases. There are few ways to get your company name out there that are less positive than those that begin with ‘We would like to thank for their generous support…’
Most small businesses know that they are dependent on their customers, but a recent episode of Kitchen Nightmares that went viral demonstrated that there are a few out there who need to be reminded. The classic retail wisdom has always suggested that a happy customer will tell three people about their great experience, while an unhappy customer will tell thirty.
The internet has amplified this effect beyond measure, but the principle remains the same. Providing stellar customer service and quality product is absolutely the best way for any business to operate. In today’s business world it can also help to protect you from bad reviews and negative attention, which can impact whether or not a potential customer even sees your website in their search engine results.
Chris Garrett is a freelance writer with many years of experience in small business marketing. He currently writes for the commercial décor experts at Megaprint, who specialize in removable, reusable custom wallpapers.