No small business owner can afford to neglect marketing. But, deciding what kind of marketing to invest in can prove difficult. Here’s a list of 6 tips to give your small business marketing a competitive edge.

Define Your Elevator Pitch

First and foremost, be sure that you have perfected your elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a short and to the point overview that you use to spark interest in what your organization does. You can also use one to create interest in a project, idea, or product – or in yourself.

It should give the listener a reason to want to hear more. Remember: You only have around 8 seconds to grab someone’s attention. If you pique their interest, you have about another 60 seconds to sell to them.

Secure Reviews and Testimonials

Next, learn how to request online reviews or testimonials from satisfied customers or clients. It can feel a bit awkward or like you’re asking too much from your customers, but people generally love to share their opinions; they just don’t know that the opportunity is there.

There are multiple online review platforms to consider but Google My Business and Facebook should be at the top of the list.

Sometimes asking is all it takes, but incentivizing them to do so with a coupon, or another small reward can pay off.

Ask for Referrals

Third, ask for referrals. Given that there’s often no cost involved this can be one of the most cost-effective tactics to drive new business.

When asking customers to share their contacts with you, remember the essential do’s and don’ts; only ask happy customers to make a referral, provide an incentive to both the referral and the customer who referred them, and make it a regular habit to ask for a referral.

On the other hand, don’t continually ask the same clients for referrals.  And most importantly, don’t let hot leads go cold. Always follow up on the referrals you get right away.

Focus on Retention

Make sure that you focus on customer loyalty as well as new customer acquisition.  The cost of acquiring a new customer could reach as high as 700% compared to retaining an existing one, according to a report by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company:

  • Acquiring a new customer can cost 6 to 7 times more than retaining an existing customer
  • Over a 5-year period customer attrition rates could reach as high as 50%
  • Businesses which boosted customer retention rates by as little as 5% saw increases in their profits ranging from 5% to a whopping 95%.

Leverage Social Media

If you haven’t already, it’s time to join the thousands of small business owners who are using social to build awareness, drive sales, and gain new customers.

When starting out with social media marketing start slowly with accounts on 1-3 platforms that you think you’ll use regularly. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter are usually at the top of the list.

You can recycle content and posts between platforms, but you should also try to mix it up. Repost or share from similar accounts within your industry or items that you think your followers will like to see. Always bear in mind what value you are providing to your network of followers. Try and stick to the 80/20 rule (only 20% of your posts should be about your company and your products or services). Here are some additional tips to get started.

  1. Set goals and objectives for how and why you want to use social media for your business.
  2. Review your social media profiles as well as your competitor’s social media activity as part of a social media audit.
  3. Find inspiration by looking at the content those in your industry are already sharing.
  4. Create a social media calendar.
  5. Test, evaluate, and adjust your strategy.

Test Video Marketing

Video marketing is worth investigating, even for a small business. Cisco estimates that video traffic could make up as much as 80% of all consumer Internet traffic in just four years.  

Video content generates the most shares on Facebook, and tweets with video see 9 times the engagement of basic text tweets. LinkedIn recently introduced their own native video tools which are seeing good response.

Video marketing doesn’t need to be expensive. Platforms like Wistia are making video production a reality for as little as $99USD per month.

The bottom line is that you don’t need to pour a lot of money into marketing campaigns for your business to be successful. All you need to do is test, evaluate and roll-out the tactics that work best for your business.

While marketing is likely to be a cornerstone of your business growth, it’s important not to lose sight of the other nuts and bolts. Business insurance is a good example and it’s worth checking out State Insurance for more information. They have a range of solutions from liability and business interruption insurance to business assets and commercial vehicle insurance.

Start small and branch out as you begin working more tactics into your routine. As you experience success with different mediums and channels, try to change things around and see where you can optimize the results you are getting. This will help you find the sweet spot for your business’ marketing efforts.

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