Regardless of the category and size of your business, you’ll have a lot of competition and little time to obtain your own share of the market and attract the customers. In that situation, the best thing you can do is to make sure your message is heard and seen all over.
In order to stand out from the competition, you need to think outside the realm of conventional and implement your resources in the most efficient way possible.
You can be the best manufacturer in the world, but you’re gonna go down if no one buys your products. Not because they’re bad (because hypothetically they aren’t), but because they haven’t heard about it.
Therefore, advertising and marketing strategy is a crucial factor in business. But, many small businesses don’t have finances to advertize on popular media, like radio, TV, newspapers and such and they’re doomed to fail because they can’t distinguish among the bigger competition.
However, there are still some small companies that managed to gather enough clients to endure the bumpy beginnings.
Methods they used have been overlooked by most of us, yet they’re so simple that you won’t believe they work so good. Let’s see all the ways to attract people to your trade.
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Word Of The Customers
Ever since the beginning of civilization, the oldest way to advertise your product was the praise of satisfied customers. Although it doesn’t work as fast as TV or radio commercials would, it’s still very effective, and also totally free.
We noticed that people became increasingly suspicious of paid advertising, especially online, so word-of-mouth remains the most reliable advertising methods available.
Satisfied and happy customers naturally tend to spread the word about their experiences among their social circles. That might be colleagues, family, friends, or even strangers.
If your product or service is good enough, your customers will become your best agents, fueled by enthusiasm and will to help their acquaintances. Some very successful businesses rely on word of mouth as their only way of advertising.
A good example of that kind of strategy is network marketing. The best way to grow an army of passionate customers who will advertise your product is to provide a product or service of supreme quality, give people great customer experience and the reason to advertise your business.
The Power of “Free”
It goes without any doubt that everyone likes getting something for free. Very positive and interesting things for your business might be done if you give away some of your products and services free of charge.
The first benefit of that action is letting people be aware of your existence.
The second benefit of the trial period is that gives you an opportunity to prove the quality and the value of your business.
Furthermore, your future customers you can try out your services without the risk of wasting money.
If you prove yourself as worthwhile business, they will gladly pay for your services. The word “free” works like magic because it’s a win-win situation for customers.
If everything is good, they found another good business, and if not, no money is lost. Bear in mind however to make sure you tell people free period won’t last for good.
From the beginning, limit your free services to a certain number of people or days it will work for. Free should be rare, and that’s another great appeal of it.
Make Customers Compete
Except for getting stuff for free, people also love winning. The prize is often the secondary joy factor, the first being the excitement of chance or being better than other people.
You can attribute that to ego and competitive nature of a man, but it works and it’s all that matters. Putting up some exclusive reward as the main prize of your contest will ignite people’s competitive spirit and create a huge buzz among your customers.
You can use the aforementioned world of words to advertise your contest, as well as social media and outdoor flags and banners. Interested customers will spread the word about your contest in direct communication or via social networks, creating a lot of momentum for your business.
Although many of them won’t win the main prize (or any), their reward will be finding out about your business.
However, you have to be careful. When you ask to meet the prizes make sure that you can afford giving out valuable items without damaging your own sale numbers.
The last thing you want is running a contest you cannot cover with the money you’ve made from the sales.
The influence of social media and the internet on business cannot be overstated. Even small businesses have to put up a website, at least a single page one. Thanks to the internet people are now more connected than ever before. The same goes for finding products or services.
Now it is easier and more effective to Google something rather than asking someone to help you.
Having your own site is not an extravagance that only big companies can possess, but commonplace for most of starting businesses. Nowadays you can get a website for free. All you need is a Google account and some goodwill.
Your website can serve as your online billboard, and if you include your contact information you will be able to represent your business very effectively and mostly free. The same goes for social media.
There are several social media platforms across the world with more than a billion people using them. That’s a lot of untapped potential regarding the market.
Facebook, as the most popular social network, became a true mecca for business, so it’s quite recommendable to create your business page there.
Social media also make it easy to engage with your customers and get very quick feedback, so you can change your business strategy accordingly.
Another neglected possibility to enjoy free publicity is doing volunteer work. It’s always a good idea to get involved in some charity work in your community.
You can contribute with the sponsorship, or offer your assistance free of charge. Big companies invented corporate social responsibility (or CSR), as a way to reach out to the customers.
People love to see big companies trying to help the community in some way, although most of them know it is just a publicity stunt. Small companies feel closer to the common people, so seeing them support local initiatives will earn them some major affection from the locals.
To do this you don’t need any big investment but your time, effort and motivation. Just make sure to let people know all the support you’re providing is done in the name of your company, not you personally.
A little care for your neighborhood will get you the long way.
You have seen some of the ways to advertise your business in a way that will bring many people to you, without costing you much money, if any.
Although some of them will not work for every business, you won’t lose anything if you try and find out the best-suited ones for you.
An optimal advertising strategy would be to combine several methods and see which combination brings the most customers. Finding the most effective combination of advertising strategies is a crucial thing for the future success of your business.
Just try to find the way to stand out against the competition and with the right advertising campaign, you will start reaping the fruits of your labor very soon.
Alex is fascinated with “understanding” people. It’s actually what drives everything he does. He believes in a thoughtful exploration of how you shape your thoughts, experience of the world.