Sometimes budget limits small businesses from executing their marketing ideas, but not every successful strategy requires a lot of money. Here are six outside the box ways to market your small business that are both inexpensive and effective.
1. Get personal.
Customers love the opportunity to make something their own. Studies have shown that 56 percent of consumers said receiving a personalized incentive would improve consideration of the brand. Think Personalized M&M’S and Share a Coke. If there’s a way for you to allow customer customization, give it a try and see how your audience responds. Not sure how to add a personal touch to your business? Anything that gets your customer’s name on your product works -- using frosting to write the order name on your donuts, or offering free monograming on your inventory of purses or apparel.
2. Promote customer engagement.
In today’s social world, whatever you can do to make your small business more shareable is good for marketing. What is something you could implement that your customers would find Insta-worthy? Create an opportunity for photo opps and increase your social reach without spending a cent. A “selfie campaign” is a great way to encourage posting and sharing. You can even add a prize component to entice people to use your custom hashtag or tag your business in their posts.
3. Say thanks.
How often do you let your customers know that you appreciate them? You’d be surprised the power a simple “thank you” can have on creating customer loyalty. A study by TD Bank found that 77 percent of consumers like when brands demonstrate their appreciation. While a card can often be effort enough, let’s try to remember that we’re thinking outside the box and go for something bigger. How about hosting a special event where guests can sample new menu items, or showcase the season’s new arrivals with a fashion show? Any event that builds excitement and celebrates the customers will do the job. Try utilizing Meetup.com or another event website that can gain the attention of new customers as well as current ones.
4. Develop a loyalty program.
If you’re losing customers, you need to establish a way to cultivate repeat business. Eighty percent of U.S. Generation Z consumers are willing to sign up for loyalty cards in exchange for deals or discounts Your loyalty program can be as basic as a punch card or as elaborate as a membership that rewards customers based on how often they visit or even how much they spend.
5. Utilize LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is one of the most frequently skipped social media networks for small businesses. But why? While not the most exciting platform, it does provide unique opportunities for marketing your business. Without even spending any money, you can connect with people in your community by creating a group and reaching out to other small business owners and potential customers in your area.
6. Survey your current customers.
If you’re not sure what types of marketing or promotions your customers will respond to best, ask them. A simple survey can provide endless insight into what you’re doing right and wrong, and what you’re not doing that you should be. Include a raffle-like component, where one participant will win a prize (such as a $100 credit to your business) to encourage your audience to take part.