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18 Marketing Activities to Promote Your Small Business

18 Marketing Activities to Promote Your Small Business

How do you promote your small business? Some of the items on this list might seem like no-brainers, while others may be truly enlightening. Even if you already know about these activities, this list is a good reminder of all the ways to drive marketing for small businesses. It’s broken out by category for easier perusing. Enjoy!

Web/SEO

1. Establish a web presence with clear, concise copy. Speak to your target audience and talk about the problems you solve for them.

2. Publish SEO optimized content consistently. For most businesses, this would be in the form of blog posts.

3. Show social proof of the solutions you offer. Publishing testimonials (with permission!) is a great way to do so.

Social Media

4. Develop a content repurposing strategy. Break your long form content into digestible chunks for social posts in various formats.

5. Post consistently. Create a content calendar and use scheduling tools so that you can create content in batches when you have time.

6. Engage, tag, comment, and respond! Social media is just that—social—so you should be engaging with your network.

7. Use video (like Reels) and live feeds to humanize your brand. People like people, so show the faces behind your company’s name.

8. Join groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, then be active. Post your own content, ask questions, and comment on others’ posts.

Email

9. The first step is to actually collect email addresses! Set up ways to obtain this information—new customer forms, surveys, digital giveaways (aka lead magnets), etc.

10. Deploy an email newsletter with helpful content. This should be information of value to your target audience, so minimal selling!

Sales Collateral

11. Print (yes print!) business cards. Include a QR code on them to drive traffic to your website for more information.

12. Create direct mail campaigns to take grab people’s attention. You’ll catch their eye a lot easier in their mailbox than in their inbox, where there is a LOT more competition.

Local Marketing

12. Set up a Google My Business page. Millions of people are searching for your services, so make sure you can be easily found!

13. Be active in your community. Attend local networking events and join the Chamber of Commerce in your area.

14. Support local organizations that align with your brand values and sponsor their events.

Public Relations

15. Create a referral program so that your customers can market for you.

16. Submit guest posts to blogs that your audience reads. Look to partner with other businesses that share your target audience.

17. Appear on a podcast. Again, focus on interviews that your target audience will hear.

Customer Experience

18. Provide expert, white glove service to each customer. Solve any problems quickly and express your gratitude for their support. A happy customer is the best salesperson!

The Secret to Building Customer Loyalty

The Secret to Building Customer Loyalty

How strong is your customer loyalty? Do your customers return to you as soon as they need your services or products? Or do they shop around for the lowest price or most convenient path?

If you know me at all, you know that I am a Coca-Cola fanatic. I will not drink Pepsi. If a restaurant doesn’t serve Coke, I drink water. But a little-known fact about me is that I used to drink Pepsi! When I was in high school, there were only Pepsi machines around the campus and I was fine substituting while on campus.

Since then, I’ve been choosing to drink Coke. I’ve convinced myself that anything less is just worthless (even Coke Zero). Psychologically, I just know that Coke is the best. What led to me becoming so loyal to Coke?

Short answer: consistency.

Using Consistency to Build Customer Loyalty

The secret to building customer loyalty is being consistent. Not just in any one area, but in ALL touchpoints.

1. Visual branding

Coca-Cola was the most common consistency example cited in my printing classes. It’s the brand that was always used to emphasize the importance of reproducing an exact color on any and every substrate. From cardboard boxes to magazine ads to aluminum cans, Coke red is always consistent. They even had their own PMS color created just for them!

Beyond the color, Coke has had the same font for their logo since 1886. It’s been tweaked slightly over the years, but the script has remained largely the same for almost 140 years. This type of consistency means that the image is instantly recognizable to consumers.

2. Brand Reputation and Values

Reputation is difficult to control in a lot of ways. It’s the expression of what a collective thinking is about your brand, and it can be incredibly challenging to change a bad reputation. However, reputation is strongly tied to your brand’s values.

Continuing the Coke example, their values include bringing people together. Ads are always about sharing a Coke with someone and use emotional marketing to resonate with consumers. The name campaign (where they printed names on bottles) was an innovative way to encourage people to buy and share Coke. Yet it fit right into their desire to bring people together.

When people know what you stand for and you’re consistent about representing your brand, they’re more likely to feel good about supporting you.

3. Product or Service Quality

No matter where you travel in the world, you can find a Coke. It’s always refreshing and always delicious!

This is not to say that it’s the same formula everywhere you go. Just like McDonald’s has different menu items to better serve customers in other cultures and countries, Coke has slight differences depending on where you go. (For example, Mexican Coke is renowned for its use of real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.)

But the point remains that, regional differences aside, you always know what to expect. I can buy a Coke at my local grocery store and get the same taste as I’d get from a gas station in Colorado. That’s consistency, and the guarantee of getting what I want every single time has cemented my customer loyalty.

Products aren’t the only thing that can be consistent. Service providers should also strive for consistent quality through every experience. If your maid service is sometimes fantastic and other times lackluster, you’re more likely to explore other options. But if they’re on top of things every single time they visit, you’ll be so happy that you’ll have no need to see what else is out there.

4. Product Placement

If your company is a B2C business serving consumers, you need to be consistent in where they can find you. I know that I can go into pretty much any retail establishment in the United States and find a Coke. Even if you’re a niche business that crafts vegan hemp dog collars, you should have your product always available where your customers expect you. If you sell on your website, you’d better make sure your site doesn’t go down. If you sell at a retailer, you should have a stocking schedule that allows for representation. Nothing is more disappointing than expecting to get what you want and having it be unavailable.

5. Customer Experience

This is your area to shine! The experience is paramount to building customer loyalty. Consider your buyer’s journey and the decisions they make that lead them to your product or service. Then look at every touchpoint between the decision to purchase and the transaction being complete. Have you provided excellent service? Have you delighted the customer with little details? Do these things every time and for every interaction, and you’ll have a customer for life.

When people know what to expect and know they’ll get it every time, you’ll build a loyal following who call you first when they need you. Better yet, you’re their ONLY call because nothing else compares. Build customer loyalty with consistency and you’ll win every time!

7 Customer Appreciation Tactics to Show Gratitude Year-round

7 Customer Appreciation Tactics to Show Gratitude Year-round

This post was contributed by Sadie Aram for Silverbrook Marketing.

Celebrating gratitude is one of the most fulfilling parts of the holiday season. Although it’s fun giving gifts during the holidays, remember that appreciation should happen year-round—especially when it comes to your customers. After all, they play a crucial role in your company’s success. No matter the size of your business, implementing a strong customer appreciation strategy can set you apart from your competitors.

Think of going the extra mile for your customers like a chain reaction. When you openly recognize a customer’s value, they become more loyal to your business, increasing your customer retention. Loyal customers are also more likely to refer your business to their friends and family (and referrals are also likely to be star customers).

If customer appreciation isn’t on your radar, it could be one reason you’re losing customers. Almost 70% of buyers abandon a company because they believe the company doesn’t care about them, compared to less than 15% of buyers who abandon a company due to product or service dissatisfaction. Fortunately, upgrading your customer appreciation efforts can start with these 7 tips.

1. Handwrite thank you notes.

In a world where commerce is highly digital, showing authentic gratitude can go a long way. Sending a personalized letter is a great approach! It shows your customer that there’s a human behind the company that wants to form a connection. If you’re short on time, try drafting automated emails for specific occasions instead. You could thank customers for recent purchases or even celebrate milestones like their “customer-versary.”

2. Spotlight loyal clients.

Promoting customers or businesses on social media and via email can be equally fun and productive. You do this by posting a customer’s story, highlighting a rave review, or grabbing an existing bio if your clients are other businesses. By consistently featuring supporters, you make customers feel good while also creating content for your company.

3. Give discounts and freebies.

Gifts of any size are sure to flatter your customers. It can be as small as a coupon for their next order, a free sample with their purchase, or branded swag like a t-shirt or a mug. If you’re feeling extra gracious, offer an upgrade to their current service or send them their favorite product free of charge. Remember to be thoughtful; consider sending your handwritten note with the gift to deliver the full package.

4. Build a loyalty program.

Loyalty programs are an effective way to express your gratitude to your most supportive customers. Discounts on future purchases, early access to new products, and other perks are sure to keep your customers happy and coming back for more. Programs can be based on different tiers of membership, points earned from each purchase, or a simple “punch card” approach.

5. Encourage (and reward) referrals.

Incorporating a referral program is one of the most highly praised marketing methods, as it generates several quality leads per customer. Like a loyalty program, a referral program is beneficial to both your customers and your business. As mentioned before, regular clients are likely to recommend your company to others. Since that helps your business, why not reward both parties for it? Cash back and free service offers are foolproof ways to encourage customers to refer a contact to your company.

6. Correct your mistakes.

Since there are humans behind every business, occasional mistakes are inevitable. While you can’t go back in time to prevent the mistake, you can control how you take accountability and apologize. In fact, 78% of customers will forgive a mistake if their customer experience is excellent. You can quickly turn a customer’s poor experience around by promptly fixing the problem and going beyond what was initially asked.

7. Give back to a cause close to your customers.

Free stuff can be the way to some people’s hearts, but customer loyalty runs much deeper to others. Show your consumer base that you care by donating to a charity that aligns with their values. You could even consider making a few small donations in each client’s honor to show that they played a role in the support. Having a consistent corporate social responsibility initiative can also contribute to a strong brand identity.

These tactics are a great way to foster beneficial relationships with your clients, but they’re not a “one-and-done” deal. Practice gratitude frequently and genuinely to send the right message to your customers.