Many busy small businesses treat marketing and advertising as something they do when they have time, but relationship marketing in its truest incarnation is going to be a long game.
The Small Business Association recommends 7-8% of revenue be spent on marketing but this can be a large sum for some retailers. We spend around 4-5% but include photography in that number.
Planning ahead for steady and consistent execution, targeted content and finding ways to present the unique voice of your brand is worth finding the dedicated time and budget to implement a solid plan for the rest of 2021 and moving into 2022.
I love marketing with our own assets in creative and fun ways. Content marketing is meaningful content directed at consumers but in a casual storytelling method. You can use reviews, make Pinterest pins that promote an element of your business in a creative manner, create your own magazine and so much more with a little planning and photo editing. This is our top method of getting our messaging to consumers.
Many small businesses get too busy to update their site and it ends up looking very tired when competitors enter into your market with a fresh look. Ask others their honest opinion on how it looks and the vibe it gives off. Is this still consistent with your brand messaging?
Do you have a brand video? Whether a designer or a retailer, your customers want to know you. They need to know you. This is pretty important in today’s chaotic, noisy world. People still want to do business with those they feel they know.
Google My Business
There is no denying this is a power marketing vehicle. Like it or not, your customers are going to be spending time on Google. Keeping up on SEO is important, but simply posting on Google My Business can get you discovered pretty quickly. We post many photos of design work and our shop and repurpose content marketing that we might use on social media. Even Instagram stories can be saved and reused to post here. We have had great success with Google Ad Words for direct advertising for our key words. You can set spending limits so is an affordable allocation.
I think many of us wait too long to capitalize on all the good things you are doing. A good PR firm is an investment in the longevity and reputation of your business.
What works best for you really depends on you and your willingness to spend time on the channel. It is a tiring process and I only do what I enjoy doing and keep a presence on the rest. It is important to be there but I think you have to spend money promoting to actually make a lot of headway, although if the content is useful you can gain many more eyeballs on your message. We find Facebook targeted ads work well for traffic building and when we have special in-store events.
Promotional Marketing and In-Store Events
Competitions, contests and charitable giveaways are examples of promotional marketing that can pay off in great publicity for your store. We rarely turn down opportunities for charitable giving. In-store events can bring great traffic, especially if you partner with another retailer to cross-promote. We have done pop-up yoga events and book signings. All of these events pay off but it is one piece of the marketing pie.
One of my favorite aspects of marketing is to do things someone else in my market may not be doing. What about your own digital catalog? These take time but the upside is once you do it, it is easy to change out the items offered. We do a form of this but in a magazine format showcasing our design work as well as pages of “ads” with shoppable links inside. Anything that is out of the ordinary and at a grass roots level is guerrilla to me—and does not have to be expensive.
Successful and continuous marketing requires dedicated attention and these days everyone is pulling long hours just to keep our heads above water. But even when busy, consistent marketing is essential to continue to build on the momentum. Hire this element out if you are too busy for it in-house. This is one of those tasks that can be outsourced easily and free up precious time.