Whether you’re self-employed or a small business owner with staff, marketing can help you achieve your goals. You may not have the luxury of outsourcing your marketing needs to professionals, but there are steps you can take that won’t burn through valuable resources.
Start with a plan
Before you dive into printing brochures or building a website, get to know the basics. Government resources provide information and advice to help you identify your goals and the selling points that make your business stand out.
Create local awareness
Start off with some simple do-it-yourself PR by getting coverage in local papers or magazines. Pique an editor’s interest by crafting a pitch about the service your business provides and how it contributes to the local economy.
A website is considered a must-have for business. Depending on your budget, you can hire a professional to design and/or support your site, or you can use inexpensive or free template tools found online.
Free services, such as MailChimp, allow small business owners to send marketing emails, automated messages and targeted campaigns to customers (make sure you clearly understand Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation before sending electronic messages). If you want to get more personal and send one-on-one messages, there are free products, such as SideKick, that automatically notify you when someone opens your email.
Build social buzz
You can also reach customers through social channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Ello, etc. Provide your followers with something that’s useful, interesting and shareable. You can start small by posting a few times a week to learn who your audience is and then ramp up your efforts. This is a great way to generate conversations, attract new clients and get referrals from satisfied clients.
Remember the tried and true methods
Word-of-mouth advertising is one of the most effective tactics, because people trust referrals from friends.
Use business cards, distribute coupons, offer something free, and take advantage of free business listings. Contests are another excellent way to attract attention and get people involved. For example, if you’re a photographer, run a best photo contest.
Finally, get out there, shake some hands and get to know people. A strong network is one of your greatest assets. Attend professional gatherings, join chambers of commerce and sign up for online communities that offer opportunities to interact.
Read more about how you can protect your business.