Marketing Initiatives For Small Businesses
I recently completed a marketing campaign for a small business in Cape Town, in fact a hardware store in the CBD of Cape Town. A reliable, personable "bricks and mortar" store where regulars frequent and customer service is their number one priority. This particular store has been around for almost 30 years and has never had to "market" itself per say, it prides itself on its steadfastness and reliability to its patrons. My thinking was to go back to basics in order to bring this small business (gem) into the new era of marketing and to introduce it to the bustling digital landscape. See a few tips below which is a guide on marketing initiatives to promote small businesses.
Smaller tactical campaigns
Specific to retail marketing, smaller campaigns allow the business to engage its consumers without spending a fortune. Competitions and giveaways in store, flyers and discount campaigns for a limited time are the best way to attract new customers and retain existing customers. The nature of shopping can be daunting and to create a space in which superior customer service and engagement are priorities make shopping in store that much more pleasurable.
Knowing your audience
It really is essential to know your target audience. In the example above, the store was looking at attracting and engaging with a predominantly male audience (gender), between 18-60 years of age. And who are contractors, painters, artisans, builders and DIY experts and hobbyists (profession and interests). The key to enticing this kind of audience is to keep it simple - eg. STAND THE CHANCE TO WIN....and include a prize that the audience would definitely like to win.
The difference between brand, identity and logo: The brand is the perceived emotional image of the business. In the case above, the "reliable and personable hardware store....where everyone knows your name". The identity is the visual elements that form part of the overall brand. And the logo is a visual representation / icon of the overall brand and identity which can include a "pay-off line".
Knowing what your brand represents is more important than the "what your business does". In the case of the hardware store, the brand represents intimate and personable customer service and reliability. This speaks to the identity of the business and by extension the logo. The logo's colouring, imagery and pay-off line would all tie in with the overall brand.
For any small business, a creative and fresh logo is important and consistency in utilising its logo across all its marketing collateral - letterheads, business cards, signage, brochures, stamps, uniforms and website.
Online Presence - website
In today's marketing landscape it is very important for small businesses to have some kind of online presence. Make sure that your website is carefully planned out and easy to navigate.
SEO and Google Adwords
In order to promote your website and increase visitors to your site, you will need to be searchable on google. In order to rank on Google (be listed on their first page) it is important to include keywords, descriptions and tags on the back-end of your website so that Google can find your website when customers / viewers are looking for a business like yours. This is called Search Engine Optimisation.
Email Marketing / CRM
The interesting part of having an online presence is that it enables small businesses to promote their offerings, tips and information to targeted groups and to those who express an interest in their business. The idea of building a customer database and communicating via email is an essential part of driving leads to your website and in turn converting them to purchasing your product/s - via your website or at your business. Email leads still have one of the highest conversion rates of all marketing channels. CRM is customer relationship management and very often refers to email marketing.
Email marketing is very cost effective and can reach many prospective customers.