Yes, I call it “must-do” marketing – because if you have a business, marketing is something you must do every day. If you have a business, you must brag. I heard one time that you can have a so-so product or service and thrive with fabulous marketing, or you can have an exceptional product of service and go broke because you have no marketing. I am not sure I totally agree with that statement, but I do agree that if you do not promote your business, you are missing out.
As a business owner, I will often hear business colleagues say that they don’t want to be “pushy” or come across as desperate for business. Keep in mind that there is a difference between being “pushy” and being assertive. We can all learn marketing and if you are a business owner, to survive, you must learn marketing.
Talk about your business! You no doubt are selling a product or a service because you believe it is useful to someone else. Share that information. If you go to a really good movie, you certainly tell your friends about it and maybe even encourage them to go. The same should be true with your business. If you aren’t excited about it, why should your customers be?
Start with the basics. Do you have business cards and do you use them? Business cards are a very inexpensive marketing tool, yet I am surprised at how many times, when I ask someone for a card, the person doesn’t have one. You can leave business cards anywhere. Put them in with your deposits when you go to the bank. Leave them with your tip at a restaurant. Have them at the checkout counter in your store. Use both sides of your business card. On the back side, offer a promotion or a discount if the card is brought into your store in the next 30 days.
Another basic – do you have a Facebook page? Do you keep it updated and encourage customer interaction? The more you can get people involved and keep them engaged, the better. I see Facebook pages that post daily lunch specials, weekly sales, customer incentives and lots of pictures. When I am looking for something in particular, I have learned to go to those Facebook pages to either find it or post a quick question. So that means when I post a quick question, I want a quick response. Be sure to respond to customer questions and comments on your Facebook page.
As a business owner, especially in a small community, you are always “on call” when it comes to promoting your business. Community members notice if you attend local basketball games or school concerts. They notice if you promote and participate in community betterment projects. No matter where you go, you will be associated with your business. Remember that people feed off positive attitudes so there is never a place for negativity. Be willing to listen and to learn from your customers. Building a relationship with your customer will allow them to trust you and to look at you as an expert – the person they turn to when they have questions or believe you can help them find a solution. That solution can be anything from providing a place to purchase a birthday gift for a 6-year-old when the party is tomorrow to replacing tires on the family vehicle before the family leaves on vacation. It all depends on the product or service you provide.
Remember that as a business owner, marketing isn’t something you do when you have time. It is something you “must do” in order to survive.