how to market a small business

No matter what stage your small business is in, marketing is important for every step of the way. These small business marketing ideas can help you promote your business and develop ways to reach new customers and keep your current ones. 

Keep your target audience in mind

If you’ve already created a business marketing plan, you’ll probably have defined your business goals, budget, competitors, and target audience. It’s important when choosing how to market your business and product that you keep in mind which strategies to leverage in appealing to customers. Where are your customers going? What are they interested in? What are their needs? By pinpointing the needs and wants of your audience and making your business visible, they’ll have a better chance of finding your product or service and becoming customers.

Write your value proposition

Your value proposition is what sets your business apart from competitors. Writing one will help you identify what you can give to your customers that your competitors can’t, or what you have that your competitors don’t. Emphasizing your business valuation in your marketing efforts can help potential customers understand why they should choose your business over others within the industry.

If you’re not sure how to write a value proposition, you can start by listing your products or service benefits and comparing them to your customers’ needs. From there you can connect how your business can help solve your customers’ problems, and then outline how your particular product or service differs from those of competitors – what they’ll get from you that they can’t get anywhere else.

Be active in your community

Whether it’s a sporting event, art festival, farmers market, or live performance – they are all great opportunities to spread the word to attract new business. As people attend these events for fun, they give you a chance to tell them more about your business and maybe even give away free items with your logo on them, like pens or bookmarks.

Develop a referral program

Even in an increasingly online world, word of mouth continues to be a driving force in how many people shop. Since 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family, you may find it helpful to offer current or prospective customers an even greater incentive to use your business by setting up a referral program. Some ideas may include giving a customer a free product for referring three friends, or a discount on a service for writing a review.

Offer coupons, discounts, and giveaways

Everyone loves buying things at a price lower than what they’re usually offered. Coupons and discounts are a great way to attract new business, bring in repeat customers, and potentially earn even more. For instance, if you own a pizza parlor, consider offering a deal where customers can purchase one pie and get a second pie half off.

Free trials are also an option to bring in new customers who may want to try before they buy. While offering a free trial may not work for all businesses, it can certainly help give your customers an idea of what you can offer without the pressure of having to make a decision right away.

Apply for business awards

Winning awards can lend credibility to your business and help you stand out against competitors. Winning, or even being nominated, can communicate to your customers that you are a key player in your industry that provides top-level service. Receiving awards to your business’s name can also help increase sales, attract potential job seekers, motivate current employees, and access new opportunities as a result of the recognition.

Attend networking events

Not only can attending networking events can help you build relationships, but it can also help you stay up to date on trends and come up with new business ideas. These types of events are great for getting your name out there. While networking events can be intimidating at first, the possibilities are endless – you may meet your next hire, investor, or major influencer in your industry.

Reward loyal customers

Your customers are what keep your business alive – so be sure to let them know that they are appreciated. By offering exclusive deals, early access to new products, invitations to special events, or even something simple like a birthday coupon will convey to your customers that you value their business and want them to keep coming back. Rewarding your most loyal customers will help them feel a personal connection with business and that it’s not just about profit and sales.

Use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a tool that can help you manage your company’s interactions with new and existing customers. CRM tools can be used to contact customers, track sales, receive customer feedback, analyze data, manage projects, and more. Typically CRM tools will pull data from all outlets where your business interacts with customers and collect them in one place– this includes from your website, social media, phone calls, and email. Being able to keep track of this information can inform business decisions and streamline the customer experience.

Take advantage of digital marketing tools

It’s important to make sure that your business’s online presence is strong and that your customers can find you when they are looking for your business. You’ll want to make sure that you’ve set up a Google My Business account and can be found in local listings, and that you have paid search ads running for terms related to your business.

Make sure that your website is optimized for SEO success and follows best practices so that new and current customers can find you when using search engines. Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that you have social media profiles set up that effectively convey your brand message and offer information that customers need.

Final thoughts

The work is never really done when it comes to marketing your business; it will be a journey to learn new ideas, bring in new business, keep your current customers happy, and drive sales. The Nationwide Business Solutions Center has a variety of resources that can help you grow and improve how your business operates through the entire process.

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The information contained in this blog was obtained from sources believed to be reliable to help users address their own risk management and insurance needs. It does not and is not intended to provide legal advice. Nationwide, its affiliates and employees do not guarantee improved results based upon the information contained herein and assume no liability in connection with the information or the provided suggestions. The recommendations provided are general in nature; unique circumstances may not warrant or require implementation of some or all of the suggestions. Nothing in this brochure is intended to imply a grant of coverage.