Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
Marketing is another tool for building your business. It’s a way to reach out to new customers, and keep in touch with ones you already have. Many small business owners consider marketing a low priority with questionable return on investment. But the truth is that marketing doesn’t need to be expensive or take a lot of time. With a little creativity, there are a number of easy and relatively inexpensive ways you can gain valuable exposure for your business. Below we offer some tips to get you started.
Tip #1: Build word of mouth.
For many small businesses, word of mouth is the single greatest source of new customers. While word of mouth is not really a marketing technique (it’s more the result of a job well done) you should take advantage of every opportunity to leverage it. For example, always leave business cards with your customers in case they would like to share them with someone else. You may even consider offering a special discount to customers who refer new business to you.
Tip #2: Set up a web page or small website to build an online presence.
Many people search for contractors online. With this audience, if you have a website you’re immediately at an advantage over competitors who do not. And it doesn’t need to be anything complicated—a small website (or even a single web page) will do. The key information to include is a brief introduction to you or your company, a list of the services you provide, and your contact information. A website is also an ideal place to include pictures of recent projects, before and after photos and customer testimonials. You could even include a blog to talk about current projects (just make sure to update it regularly). There are numerous companies that will host your site at a relatively low annual fee. Many even provide easy-to-use templates to which you simply add your content and click publish to make the site viewable online.
Tip #3: Identify what you do differently or better than your competition.
To generate sales leads and turn prospects into customers, it’s important to set yourself apart. Be able to quickly explain in what way your offering is unique. Perhaps you build the most unique designs or have the fastest time to completion.Perhaps you offer free estimates whereas your competitors do not. Or maybe you have more experience than anyone in your market when it comes to outdoor building projects. Whatever your differentiation strategy, make it a focus of your website and any advertising you do.
Tip #4: Build your brand.
Your brand is like the personality of your business. And whether you’ve thought about it or not, you’re building your brand all the time. The key is to build something positive that will attract new customers and drive repeat business. Your logo, your truck, your website or advertising, what you wear, how you answer the phone and the way you talk to your customers are all part of your brand. Take time to step back and look at your brand objectively. Try to be as consistent in everything you do—from the colors you use in your logo, website and on your truck; to what you say when you answer the phone; to how and when you invoice. Remember, there’s the way you want your customers to see your business, and then there’s the way they actually see it. You want these two things to be one and the same.
Tip #5: Use post cards and flyers to drive awareness.
Post cards and flyers are an easy and inexpensive way to build awareness about your business and get new sales leads. Mail the post cards to potential customers in your target locations, or place flyers at grocery stores and post offices. Be sure to keep the message brief and simple, as this makes it more likely for people to read your offering. And always make it clear how to take action, placing your contact information in a prominent location. If you have a website, include the URL to drive visitors to the site to learn more.
Tip #6: Keep in touch with existing customers to drive repeat business and referrals.
Your customers are your most valuable assets. While it’s great to make new contacts, don’t forget about the ones you already have — they can lead to a lot of new business. Take advantage of reasonable opportunities to reconnect with your customers and maintain relationships. Make a follow-up call after a project to find out how they are enjoying their new deck, for example. Ask if they have any questions. Send a card or postcard over the holidays…maybe it will move them to take action on a project, or mention your name to a friend. Thank them for their business and let them know you’re there if they need you. Remember, a personal touch goes a long way.
Tip #7: Try new approaches and get feedback.
When it comes to marketing, it’s best to try a variety of approaches. This will help you connect with new audiences and measure what tactics are working best. When a new customer contacts you, always find out how they heard about you (online, print advertisement, through a friend, etc.) If you find that one approach isn’t working, stop doing it and try something else.
Tip #8: Associate yourself with a well-known and well-regarded company.
Who you work with says a lot about who you are. From the very beginning, you want your customers to have confidence in the service you provide and the products you use. Associating yourself with a well-known and respected company will help give customers this confidence, and in turn give you an extra edge. That’s what our TrexPro program is all about. Becoming a TrexPro is an opportunity to connect you and your company to a leading brand, and qualifies you to receive benefits designed to help grow your business. Learn more about how to become a TrexPro.