As a small business owner, you could have the best product or service on the market, but if nobody knows about it, your business won't grow. Although there are more marketing tools available, people are inundated with messages on a daily basis. Finding the right marketing strategy for your business is essential for building a strong customer base. Try these proven strategies to take your business to new levels.
1. Build Your Network
Social media has become a powerful tool for businesses wishing to reach a wide range of customers. Along with the relatively low costs, these tools offer real-time customer feedback that can be used to improve products and customer service. However, the most successful social media campaigns work by building a community. A blog post by the American Marketing Association's Cincinnati chapter offers advice on building a community. "Engage, engage, engage with your community members, and do it with positive and frequent interactions. Really hear the people in your community, and let them know you're listening. This builds trust, and trust only furthers your community members' affinity for you so they'll advocate to their friends and family for you."
2. Target Your Audience
To successfully market your business, you need to know your audience. There is no single strategy that works for every situation, so knowing your target audience will help the chances of successful marketing. A Forbes.com article titled "Steps to Identify Your Target Market" offers the following advice. "Who is most likely to be interested in the values your product or service offers? … Whatever your product or service, list out the core values that your product offers, and then draw a line (or lines) to the demographic groups that prioritize these values."
3. Build Your Network
Many people don't consider networking when building a marketing strategy, but building connections outside of your industry or your neighborhood can help to expand your reach. The Forum of Private Business offers suggestions for maximizing your success in networking. "Firstly, decide what you want to get out of it… Your reasons for attending should define how you approach the meeting and help you judge whether it has been a success." Networking can help to increase your visibility and find opportunities to build professional contacts to assist you in business.
4. Share Your Expertise
One excellent marketing tool that often goes overlooked is the blog. By posting regular, engaging blogs, business owners can build their credibility with customers, and blogs are an excellent resource for promoting your product or service. To make this strategy more successful, it's important to be consistent. According to the Better Business Bureau, "Once you establish a small business blog, make sure to keep your audience engaged by posting new content on a regular basis."
5. Make A Deal
An easy way to introduce members of the community to your business is to offer a discount or a temporary deal. Handing out coupons throughout the neighborhood, or partnering with discount websites can spread the word about your product or services. But use this tactic sparingly. According to the American Management Association, "Keep in mind that if you offer too many temporary discounts you risk giving customers the impression that your regular prices are too high."
Each small business should approach marketing in a manner that is appropriate for its business model and its customers. Tailoring your strategy to your customers and building a rapport with the community can help your marketing strategies to be more effective.
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