Most businesses are classified as small businesses. While seeing the importance of marketing, small businesses have a relatively small promotion budget. Creativity is the key to stretching a promotion budget. In addition to the more traditional forms of advertising such as newspaper and radio, the small business owner should consider the following marketing strategies:

  • PARTICIPATE IN LOCAL EVENTS: Also known as “ambush” or “event” marketing, this will get prime exposure for a business while contributing to the community.
  • PARTICIPATE IN CONTESTS, SPORTING EVENTS, BENEFITS, LECTURES, AND AUCTIONS: In a small business, the owners often are the business. Customers will come to your business because they know and like you.
  • SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE MARKETING: Think about what your firm does better than anyone else, then apply that to a need in the community. Capitalize on the publicity your social responsibility will generate.
  • THANK YOU GESTURES: Don’t neglect to let customers know how much their business is appreciated. Consider handwritten thank you notes.
  • NETWORKING: While not everyone may be a potential customer, everyone knows someone who may be. Focus time and energy on being involved in organizations that contribute to your networking goals.
  • IF POSSIBLE, LET YOUR PROSPECTS SAMPLE YOUR OFFERING: This strategy works for both services and retail. Not only does this demonstrate proficiency (for services), but it also may turn the prospect into a customer.
  • THROW A PARTY: Create a special occasion to build store traffic. Offer sales on hot-selling items. Putting only poor selling merchandise on sale is rarely a successful strategy.
  • FREQUENT BUYER CLUB: Modeled after frequent flier programs, this will encourage customers to make repeat purchases.
  • SIGNAGE (BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE YOUR BUSINESS): Be certain that the signage ties in as directly as possible with the advertising. Research shows that the most persuasive words in the English language are (guarantee, discovery, easy, you, money, results, love, save, new, health, safety, and proven).
  • SEARCH FOR COOPERATIVE ADVERTISING FUNDS: Talk to suppliers and ask them if there are co-op funds available. By mentioning the name and/or using the logo of the national company, small businesses may be eligible for co-op ad funds up to half the cost of the ad.

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