Most small business owners don’t have the time or desire to create a long-term marketing plan and strategies. In fact, the marketing they do is often the result of a knee-jerk reaction to an offer coming at a moment when they have the time to listen. The start of a new year is the perfect time to be more proactive about your marketing efforts, and here are some strategies to help you get started.

  1. Increase your local visibility.

Regardless of your business base – a storefront or a home office – sometimes you need to go to your potential customers instead of waiting for the phone to ring. One way you can be more visible and create top of mind awareness is by going to local events. Look for opportunities to purchase a booth or table, like flea markets, farmer’s markets, local festivals and fairs, and other special interest events.

If you’re a service provider and don’t have products to sell, you can still use this strategy. Just place your business cards, brochure, and any other information you have about your business on your table, and have something to give away that has your name and email or phone number on it. The idea is to make an impression on the people you talk to and to give them something that will remind them of the conversation.

You can also hold a contest or a drawing for a prize. This enables you to collect emails for future email marketing.

  1. Position yourself as an expert.

You can position yourself as a local expert both online, and offline. If you cringe at the thought of public speaking, then online is the way to go. You’ll need a website, so if you don’t have one, that comes first. If you want results fast and with a minimal investment, a quick and affordable way to have an online presence is to lease a Lead Flow website from Inovail.

Online, you become an expert by creating regular content related to your business and area of expertise. What questions do your customers regularly ask? What problems do they have in common? Look for topics that will resonate with many of your potential customers, and start writing!

If you’re a Type A and someone who has the gift of gab, the offline options may be more appealing.

Look for local interest groups that tie in to your business. For instance, if you do roof installation and repairs, perhaps a local group of insurance adjustors would like to hear your take on questions to ask roofing companies when homeowners have insurable roof damage. Even the local chamber of commerce is a great place to offer yourself as a speaker at events and meetings.

You can also talk to local journalists and offer yourself as an expert for stories that include a perspective related to your business.

  1. Study your competitors and replicate what makes sense.

Since you’re trying to attract the same customers, it makes sense to research what your competitors are doing. If several are advertising on Google or Facebook, perhaps you need to be alongside of them. Likewise, if you see 1 or more with ads in Work and Mother mothers lactation rooms the local newspaper or in Val-Paks, perhaps you need a presence there, as well. Seeing more than one competitor in any medium is a good sign that the tactic is delivering results.

  1. Ask your customers to promote your business through testimonials.

More and more, people rely on the recommendations of others to validate a purchasing decision. You can attract more potential customers if you are serious about getting testimonials from customers who have already worked with you Guard my Practice.

Any project can be easily documented with a smart phone’s camera. Assuming it was a positive experience for the customer, ask at the end of the project if they would agree to going public with their experience. It doesn’t have to be a dissertation … just a few sentences with their full name. The full name part is important. There are too many companies creating bogus customer “quotes” and the full name will make yours stand out as more credible.

There are several places you can use testimonials. Of course, your website … and you might even add a dedicated testimonials page. You can include pictures of the project, a description, and the testimonial. You can also make it possible for customers to add their own reviews to your website, although this comes with some risk.

You can also use your social media pages for customer reviews. Customers can add a review themselves, or you can promote the project with a link back to the information on your websites.  

  1. Get serious about social media.

So, you have a Facebook page, but you only think to post on it every month or so? You’d probably be better off not having one at all. People look to a business social media page as an indication of the company’s responsiveness, friendliness, communication style, and even the company’s values.

If you don’t have time to post regularly on social media, hire someone who will. You can lease an Inovail Lead Flow website package, and social media is included. However you do it, be visible on your social media pages and make sure they are a true reflection of your business.

Don’t forget to keep your account current and updated. If anything about your business changes (address, logo, hours, website, etc.), change it on all your social media pages.

  1. Harness the power of email marketing.

Collecting email addresses as you meet people in your day to day activities should be one of your top priorities. Your email database is a communication line that will keep your company’s name in front of potential customers.

Regardless of the type of business, email marketing is shown to be one of the most cost-effective marketing tactics today. In numerous studie4s, consumers say that email is their preferred channel for business related communications.

You can hire a company to do your email marketing, but it’s easily done by an amateur. There are numerous free email service providers that make email marketing a breeze.

  1. If you don’t already have a website – get one.

This should be number one in this list; but we saved it for last because it’s our opportunity to promote our Lead Flow websites!

Time and cost are no longer excuses for not having a strong online presence. How does it work? A team of professional Internet marketers create a website using their skills and the latest development tools and then they optimize the site, so it performs well in Google search results. The monthly rental fee is usually well within the budget of most small businesses and once the site is rented, all inquiries for the site are funneled directly to the company that is renting. In a matter of days, you could go from being invisible online to having a highly visible website that is attracting potential customers.

If you need help marketing your small business, contact Inovail. We have affordable ways to get your company noticed, online!