Most articles talking about marketing techniques focus on social media. It’s true, social media is one of the best marketing tools available to small businesses. It’s free and easy to use. It is also time-consuming. For some small businesses, social media campaigns can become a time suck that creates too much extra work. Really, the best marketing plan uses different strategies and doesn’t focus on social media platforms as exclusive options. Let’s look at some great tools that you can do without logging onto the computer.
Clients Love Rewards
Your customers love to know they are special and a rewards program is a perfect tool to convey that message. Take a look at bookstores, grocery stores, and even gas stations. Reward cards are everywhere and people love to sign up. Any business can create a rewards program. You can offer a percentage discount after so many qualifying purchases (some set a minimum of $10-$25 purchase). Service-based businesses can reward for referrals with free services.
Host Anniversary Parties
When your business reaches a milestone, such as your opening date or when you made your first profit, have a party. Send invitations to your email/address list. Provide discounts and fun things to do in your small business. Play games or host a raffle. One business would pull out a wheel of “fortune” that they created on their own. Everyone had to do a small task (sing a song, answer trivia, etc) in exchange for a coupon for a free item. People love parties and discounts and will bring friends who don’t know your business with them. That introduces you to new potential clientele.
Host Your Giveaways In Person
Even though people love giveaways on social media, you can also do them in your brick and mortar store. One business has one for every holiday in the calendar year. Their vendors will donate an item and the store will take something from the clearance shelves to include in the basket. People come into the shop to fill out a paper with their name and phone number for a chance to win. This can be adjusted for those that also have a service business.
Create an Event With A Local Business
While other businesses are your competitors, come of them can be complementary. Consider a special event working with another company. Pizza companies may want to team up with a beer and wine company. A local women’s shoe store might want to have a wine and cheese party with another business. Be creative and look to another company that can help boost your connections. It can also be beneficial if they use a lot of social media to advertise the event.
Support Local Non-Profits
All cities and towns have non-profits who work hard at raising funds and awareness for social issues. Find one or two that is an important one for your business and find ways to support them. This may mean that you are advertised on walk-a-thon or 5K t-shirts. You provide coupons for services or items for a swag bag. You provide space for their informational material in your brick and mortar store. You financially support their efforts annually or for specific fund drives.
It doesn’t have to be just a social issue either. Some businesses will support local sports teams in their neighborhoods. Some will work with local boys/girls scouting troops or fund raise with a house of worship. There are a lot of ways to support your local community while getting an advertisement in return.
Reach Out To New Neighbors
Welcome Wagons were a big deal way back in the day. People would create welcome baskets for people who were new to the neighborhood as a welcoming gesture. Very few towns do that and when they do, it’s up to the individual to request the Welcome Wagon. You can choose to be a part of a Welcome Wagon if it exists or you can take it into your own hands. A nice card with a discount coupon is a great way to welcome a new neighbor and garner interest in your business. It’s a personal touch and that can go a long way.
Personalized Business Mail
Personalized business mail might sound like an oxymoron but it’s a great way to be personable with your clientele. Consider sending holiday cards to your loyal customers. You do not have to include any discount or sales ads, just the card. In this day and age, it’s not too often that mail is personable. We send e-cards, emails, and a card is more intimate. When we receive a card, we feel that the other person (or business) really values us. You can also take it a step further with condolence, birthday, congratulations, or anniversary cards. Your customers are another type of family and those who nurture it are the most successful.
Connect With Brand Ambassadors
There are ways to get your business known on social media by allowing others to talk about you. Brand Ambassadors are common on Instagram but can be an asset on any social media platform. They can be a “face” of your company or review your products/services to the masses. You can partner with them on
marketing campaigns to bring new customers to your events. They can help advertise your giveaways, contests, or rewards programs online for you. Just be sure you are in compliance with FCC and TOS agreements on social media platforms regarding advertising and transparency.
Jump On The Podcast Train
Podcasts do use social media, but you can do this one regardless of your platform. Connect with folks who have local podcasts or to podcasts related to your niche. You “appear” in a studio or through a phone call. Some podcasts are filmed for cross-posting to YouTube or Facebook, but many are recorded for various podcast platforms. It gives you an opportunity to talk about your business. It can be about exciting new changes happening, events, grand openings, sales, or discussing your involvement with the community.
Social media is helpful, but there are so many other ways to keep your business relevant. A good marketing plan has a variety of techniques that work. Use what you can, dismiss what doesn’t work, and be flexible.