With the New Year in full swing, its time to think about how you currently market and promote your small business offline (and online) to your customers and the community. If you are not doing these 12 things yet, now is a good time to “test them.” If you have done these in the past and just don’t anymore, I recommend you give them another go. Other businesses in your industry are likely focusing on their online tactics. Instead of joining them in the same ole strategies, try these tried-and-true ideas to grow your small business in 2012.
1. Start a Frequent Buyer program to encourage clients and customers to keep coming back. Print a membership or discount card that customers will get excited about and want to show at checkout. Be sure to include your company logo or photo of one of your best sellers. Keeps it top of mind.
2. Host seasonal events. Do it yourself classes, girls night outs, holiday decorating events, a trade fair. Serve food, background music (or a strolling musician) and be sure to offer a discount on a select item or service.
3. Make them an offer they can’t refuse such as a half off coupon at Groupon.com or LivingSocial.com or CrazyGoodDeal.com. It can result in new business and heightened awareness of your business offerings.
4. Give them bargains they are looking for anyway – coupons through your website, in the mail or at your place of business work.
5. Partner with a local company to cross promote. You send their promotional stuff to your customers and they do the same.
6. Create a referral program. Train customers to think of your business when the opportunity to tell others (refer you) presents itself.
7. Promote during lesser-known holidays. For instance today is Take the Cake Day (www.bit.ly/quirky2012) you can thank new customers with a cake today!
8. Send Welcome cards to your new clients and customers each month.
9. Go Direct. Direct mail that is. Create a postcard campaign that is sent automatically each month with a different message. Do this for 6 months to a year.
10. Hold a photo contest or art contest or poster contest. Enlist a local school to participate. Have judges and a prize. Give the school a “reward” for participating such as something they need that is not in their budget or volunteer your time at the school as a way to say thanks.
11. Make your business available for lunchtime networking events for local civic and business groups such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Women’s Groups (depending on the size). A great way to showcase your company.
12. Let the “cat” out of the bag by sending information about your industry to local journalists. Industry secrets, trade news, etc. Things the general public would not necessarily know. Include statistics. Invite them to print as is or call you for an interview or the “rest of the story.”
Do these 12 things consistently and watch your small business grow both offline and online.