You have to wear a thousand hats, doing a thousand things, without any thanks or appreciation.
But you must understand that this is the life of a hero.
Heros don’t get thanked until the day is saved.
Nobody sees what the hero went through beforehand.
As a small business owner, you don’t have the big advertising budget of the big conglomerates, so you have to be a little more creative and do the things the big companies may not want to do.
Where you may lack in funds, you have to make up with hard work.
Being as efficient as possible.
There are generally 2 categories of marketing that apply to a small business.
The two categories that cover all small business marketing is whether a marketing channel occurs offline or online, and sometimes, just sometimes it occurs on both.
There are a plethora of offline and online marketing channels for a small business owner to choose from, with more being created all the time.
Some of these offline and online marketing channels are paid and some are free.
We will list the different channels out below.
Offline Small Business Marketing Channels
I want to start off with the offline marketing methods because these are the more traditional methods that we as small business owners and as consumers, are used to.
They no longer receive all the hype that it used to, and if it does it’s usually something negative.
Like “Radio is dead”, or the “Is the preeminence of TV ads over?”
But if we cast the hyperbole aside, though there can be some relative truth to the above statements.
And a Big Relative.
Traditional small business marketing channels are not dead.
They may not have all the bells and whistles that it’s online cousins have, like targeting or retargeting, but they definitely still do work.
Exterior Signage– the old store sign has probably been put out since the first cave person put out its rock letting everyone know what it was selling.
But it still hasn’t gone out of style.
A great looking sign can boost your customer’s perception of your business, while a bad one will cause your customer to question the quality of everything inside.
Digital Signage– Digital signage does the same as the old school signage just a tad bit better, instead of being stuck with just one sign message you can set multiples messages.
Interactive signs– interactive signs let your customer get involved with your promotions.
Giveaways– the giveaway is getting a little old in the tooth, but it’s a classic and will never go away, because it’s based on pure human psychology. Who doesn’t like free stuff?
Promotions– Promotions work the same as giveaways, they tap into the part of our brains that love getting a deal. Supersize me, please!
Overhead Messaging– overhead messaging is about letting your customers who are. Your customers know about the giveaways and promotions that you are offering.
Nextdoor Ads-Nextdoor is a community engagement app that lets neighbors stay connected and informed of neighborhood issues and situations. But it also can be used to help spread the word of your business. Drawback- there is a slight cost- Benefit- for a local business it’s a highly targeted form of marketing, where you can directly reach the community around you.
Billboards– Billboards can be a little pricey, but they are still effective at bringing in good quality leads, while helping your business’s branding at the same time.
Direct Mail Marketing– everyone thought that direct mail was dead after email came on the scene, but it’s actually been making quite the resurgence.
Print Advertising– as long as people like to read magazines, and like to feel the turn of the paper pages between their fingers than print advertising will never die.
Radio Marketing– Radio is far from dead. Though not for every business type, radio can offer a breadth of exposure that many of the other marketing channels cannot match. Even T.V.
Tv Marketing– TV Marketing was the front runner for the most well-known marketing form for many years. But with the advent of video streaming sites like YouTube, video marketing has exploded and never looked back.
Word of Mouth Marketing– the bread and butter of small business owners, and the ancient cousins of. Viral marketing. However, word of mouth marketing requires high-quality goods and/or services, because there must be something good for people to talk about.
Online Small Business Marketing Channels
Email Marketing-Email marketing in the late 90’s almost killed direct mail marketing. Business owners were finding they could get much more coverage at a much cheaper price with email. Email marketing is still great, though it isn’t as wide open as it was in its Wild West days.
Email marketing still offers great open rates at a relatively cheaper cost.
However great open rates don’t just magically appear.
Consumers have seen all the gimmicks.
So you have to really operate according to the best practices of email marketing to be successful.
And let’s not forget about email marketing Gremlin that comes out when you put water on it, or try to cheat, and that is Spam.
Everybody hates spam, so I can only say don’t do it.
Plus it’s not even effective.
Content Marketing– Content marketing is The Godfather of Free small business marketing.
It has to be done right, and it doesn’t work for all businesses and markets.
To be successful in content marketing takes two things.
Research and Persistence.
You have to research your target market and find out what they are truly desiring, and then you have to add a new and creative spin to it.
And you have to be persistent, because content marketing is a long game.
It takes time, energy, and creativity to work.
You can try taking shortcuts, but you would only be jeopardizing the long term viability of your small business marketing.
It’s just not worth it.
SEO- SEO is the popular cousin of Content Marketing. It’s content marketing on Steroids.
It’s a marketing strategy that explicitly seeks the creation of content that the market is searching for.
No having fun type posts.
Or talking about your feelings.
Seo is about getting strictly down to business.
Social Media Marketing- Social Media Marketing can work extremely well, or it can crash and burn.
More often than not, it crashes and burns.
But if you can make it work, it will Really work.
There are few other options available that offer its scalability at a relatively cheaper price.
Online Public Relations- Every business is in the public, and every business has a public image whether they know it or not.
Smart businesses do not leave that public image to happenstance but are intentional in how they cultivate that image.
Public relations is all about cultivating an image that best promotes the core values of that business.
PPC- When it first came out PPC or Pay for Click was the New Hot Instagram Influencer before there was an Instagram.
It was the hot new thing. PPC is still very effective as a method of advertisement but it’s not as easy as before.
The days of .01 cent clicks spoiled a lot of people, they could post up almost any piece of garbage product and make a hefty profit.
Those days are long gone.
Businesses that do well with PPC these days do so because they have hefty profit margins that can afford it.
Small cheap products don’t do well with PPC, but high margin products can use PPC very effectively and scale.
Viral Marketing- Online companies like Dropbox and Airbnb were able to explode in growth because of their effective use of viral marketing.
Viral marketing can be easy and difficult at the same time.
It’s easy because once it’s up and running, it’s like a self-propelling engine, it basically runs on its own.
It’s hard because it doesn’t work for every product or in every market. Plus it requires the use of certain leverage points to make it work effectively.
I hope this primer on small business marketing will help begin to lead you in the right direction for your small business.