Making sense of all the local marketing options available to a small business can be difficult, especially when trying to manage every other aspect of your business. With the unlimited social, mobile and daily deal marketing options that exist today, choosing one that makes the most sense for your business can seem like an extremely cumbersome task. With limited time and strained resources, small business owners just can’t risk a “trial by error” approach to finding the right kind of marketing mix. Below are five things every SMB should consider before designing a marketing plan:
The Shift to Online Marketing: Gone are the days of yellow page advertising. With so many social-media obsessed, smartphone-toting consumers, it’s imperative that businesses of all sizes to have an online presence. Finding free or cheap ways to advertise online through sites like Google Places and Facebook that also complement your existing offline marketing efforts is the best approach for local businesses to take.
All About Hyper Local Mobile: Bringing a business online is the first step to reach a new set of customers that it potentially wouldn’t have reached otherwise. A Hyper Local Mobile strategy takes targeting customers a step further by allowing businesses to geographically and contextually hone in on new customers. Sites like foursquare and Signpost can be used to target mobile customers when they are near your business.
Beware of the Daily Deal Bandwagon: The secret is out – daily deal sites are often more trouble than they’re worth for SMBs due to a combination of “one-and-done” customers, relentless sales pressure and high rates from daily deal vendors (to name a few). However, when used with a tool, like Signpost, that allows businesses to measure conversion from ad spend, they can be a good way to get an accurate measurement for how much it costs to actually get a customer in the door.
Keep Customers Coming Back: Though not a new concept, Loyalty programs are one way to encourage repeat business. There are many online and offline tools available that make it easy for SMBs to create this type of program. Also, maintaining email lists and contacting customers on a regular basis are other great ways to communicate and stay in touch with your customers and keep them coming back.
Social, Social, Social: It may seem obvious, but connecting with your customers on the platforms they’re already on (Facebook, Twitter, etc) is a great way to gather info about individual users and thus, target your ads extremely well. Having a number of targeted ad forms to choose from allows businesses to reach the right kind of customers and target them with the ads that are most relevant for them. That being said, having a social presence isn’t a way to advertise. It should only be looked at as another tool that helps businesses tie in both the offline and online world to engage customers.