Marketing a small business is a whole business in itself. Whether you’re trying to market your business on your own or you’re going to hire a marketing team or limited marketing support, it’s a good idea to have a plan of attack for your yearly marketing strategy. But first, you need to know exactly what kind of marketing you need for a business of your size and industry.

Marketing Everyone Needs

ID-100332806To get started, you should be sure that you are meeting these minimum requirements for marketing that everyone needs to meet in order to be at a basic marketing level.

  • Figure out what your company personality is. What are your values as a business? As an employer? What do you like best about your customers? You should come up with some specific company values and then hire a designer on a contract basis to help you design a logo and slogan. The designer should also be able to help you develop attractive materials for distribution including printed materials like presentation folders and business cards.
  • Build a secure website. Today, every business needs a website. Whether or not you will pull in business through the Internet, once people hear of your company, they will likely check your website. You need to have a website that is secure, attractive, and functional in order to ensure that you are a quality operation. It’s worth hiring a designer and developer on a custom project basis to develop a really strong website for you at this stage. You will also want to make sure that your website is secure by installing the SiteLock web application firewall. Online attacks can be a very serious threat for a small website, so be sure you are taking security very seriously starting from the beginning stages of website development. Make sure your website reflects your business design efforts and the printed materials you’ve already developed. If you anticipate needing newsletters or other web-based advertising, write this into your contract for web development to ensure consistency in web marketing materials.
  • Get active on social media. You need robust profiles on every social media channel including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Yelp, YellowPages, and depending on your business, Pinterest and Instagram.

Local Marketing

As a small business, you are more likely to target a local marketplace than in a national one. Consider some of these marketing techniques that will work best for a local business.

  • Advertise in local platforms including magazines, newspapers, radio, local church and school flyers, and TV stations. You should plan to come up with an advertising platform that is specific to your local area. For example, you could feature a local celebrity or offer a discount based on a local event or interest. For example, if the town Mardi Gras parade is coming up, offer a discount to anyone who comes in wearing Mardi Gras beads.
  • Buy advertising space or a booth at local venues like concert arenas, sports arenas, the local mall, etc. Hang up flyers and signs or set up a booth to give away samples of your product. If you sell a food or drink item, you could also set up a booth to sell your product. Otherwise, you could sponsor an event or day, for example at the sports arena, so that the giveaway items bear your business’s logo. If your potential audience has momentos to remember your company by, they will likely become customers.
  • Donate goods and services to local charity events. For example, if you are a baker, donate a coupon for one free box of specialty items or a cake for an event to a local fundraiser for a cause.
  • Host your own fundraiser for a cause. For example, ask customers to round up their purchases to the nearest whole dollar for a benefit. Ask them to write their names on paper hands or other cut out shapes to tape around your location. This kind of activity can really develop your good reputation among customers and can contribute towards your becoming a community staple.
  • Support a local school or sports team. For example, you could invite a local high school to host a car wash in your parking lot.

Considering More Intensive Campaigns

There are certainly other types of marketing you can consider like SEO development and opening new locations in different cities. Whether or not you are ready to consider measures like these depends on your budget and on how you intend to grow your business as some of these measures are better for businesses interested in national or multi-regional appeal. For the time being, you would be best served by really perfecting the art of your local marketing. Once you’ve cornered this market, you’ll be ready to consider growth for your business that might have been impossible before.

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