by Marc Karasu,
You can give your small business marketing a spring cleaning and burnish your brand without having to spend much money.Leverage the following marketing tactics to raise the profile of your small business, stay a step ahead of your competition and increase revenue:
1. Social networking Many of your customers of all ages are using social networking sites. You don’t need to be a computer expert to use them and for a few minutes investment you can learn how to create a company presence on them that benefits you for years to come with little further effort other then maintenance.
Facebook: Go to www.facebook.com and build a “company” page.
Twitter: Go to www.Twitter.com and make a page for your company.
Share your new online presence with your customers with counter cards at the register or signs in store windows.
2. Customer service As the boss, you see your employees only on their best behavior. In today’s economy, no single thing matters as much for your sales as building a great customer service brand. Whether you already have a good reputation or need to build one, these simple steps can get you on your way fast.
Call your company Anonymously, call your business at several different times of the day and ask some hard customer questions to see how your employees react and interact with a customer. This will allow you to identify problem areas with your customer service and address them with training.
Returns Have a friend try to return something and document the experience to help identify areas of strength and weakness.
Online reputation and reviews You have likely come across some negative reviews about your company on a search engine. Many current and potential customers use search engines to help guide their online research in deciding where to buy. You can leverage the world of online reviews in your favor by asking your customers to review you on customer service sites like ours or business sites like Yelp.com.
By confidently asking customers for customer service reviews, you will in no time have dozens of complimentary reviews of your company online. These will help negate any bad reviews and potential customers will be able to find and trust you when researching online.
3. TV Google.com now offers small businesses the opportunity to produce a TV commercial and buy targeted TV on which to run your ad inexpensively. You could produce your ad for as little as a $250. For a few hundred dollars a week, you could run your new TV commercial in your local market or region on the networks you feel best target your customers.
Smart companies are using TV to build their brand and beat competitors.
Go to www.Google.com/TVads to learn more.
4. Email Start collecting email addresses of every customer. Request their email address politely and explain you will never share it and would like to keep them updated on specials, useful info and new products.
Tell them you will email them once a month and that they can opt out at any time. Explain that this is for special customers and that you will be distributing exclusive promotions through your company email newsletter.
Starting and maintaining a company email newsletter costs almost nothing and allows you to keep track of your customers and build a database. Not every customer will want to give you an email address but many are happy to.
Go to www.verticalresponse.com and start a newsletter today.
5. PR You have more to say about your business then you realize. Regular press releases about important company events, news or upgrades will help local media keep up to date on your business and will often lead to journalists calling you for quotes or more info that can lead to inclusion in articles.
These help raise your company’s credibility, build your reputation and keep your brand in front of customers. Once you get some articles written, you can use those publications logos on your website or on in-store signage, further building you company’s profile.
Go to www.marketwire.com to learn more about creating press releases.
With these five easy and inexpensive marketing tips you can quickly start to raise your small businesses profile, increase sales and build your online reputation while further distancing yourself from your competitors at a fraction of the marketing spend.