Following is a guest post by Maria Rainier. Maria is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online universities, and what an online degree means in an increasingly technological world. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
As the only employee of an entrepreneur who has recently started renting space for her growing business, I know how important marketing can be. She’s still at the small business stage and wants to keep it that way, but her increased sales can be traced directly to recently implemented marketing strategies that every small business can use. I have been responsible for the majority of the marketing ploys we’ve been using and would like to share the top five with you. Even with a low (or nonexistent) marketing budget, you can still use these tips to generate more sales for your small business.
1. Get a Professional Logo & Letterhead
You might already have a logo in mind, but consulting with a graphic artist is the best way to ensure that you start things off well. You don’t want to use a half-baked logo that ends up being changed a year or two down the road. Commit time and energy to getting the perfect logo and letterhead designs because this decision will pay off for years to come. If you don’t have enough of a marketing budget to hire a graphic designer, try bartering. Talk to friends to see if they know any graphic artists who could use your services in return for theirs. You can even post an ad on Craigslist to see if you get any takers. No matter how you make it happen, having a professional logo and letterhead is an important priority.
2. Start and Regularly Update a Business Blog
A blog is one of the best marketing tools a small business can have, but like most online marketing strategies, it requires regular attention if it’s going to be truly successful. It’s pretty tough to update a blog too often, but many people make the mistake of updating too infrequently. Let your readers know about you, your staff, your business, and even your life philosophy. With small businesses, it’s all about being personable and putting a face (or several faces) on your products and services. Include regular photo updates, write a few survey posts to find out how customers are reacting to your products and services, and request topics from readers so you can write about what they want to know. You’ll be surprised at how well your membership starts to grow.
3. Use Social Media Consistently
Get a Facebook page, start using Twitter, and add yourself to LinkedIn. Spend a few minutes every day on each of these so you can connect with users, let them know that you’re available to answer questions, and update your status or send a quick Tweet to get some attention. Increasing your visibility on these sites can encourage existing customers to interact with you, purchase more products and services, and recommend you to others. It can also attract new customers who search for you on these sites or see your activity on friends’ pages.
4. Send a Monthly Newsletter with Discounts & Special Offers
You can use any email marketing site to do this, but in my experience with Constant Contact, I’ve been impressed with the quantity and quality of newsletters and other emails I can send to customers for a low membership rate. You can try it free of charge for 60 days to see if you think you would use it on a regular basis. If not, there’s no commitment. The most inexpensive plan, which is the one I use, costs $15 per month and lets you send emails to a maximum of 500 contacts. Simply put together a monthly newsletter, preferably with at least one photo and a special offer or coupon code along with an interesting bit of news about your business, then send it to your contacts. To build your contact list, collect email addresses and permission to send a newsletter when customers place orders with you.
5. Synthesize and Brand
Now, connect the dots. Use that logo and letterhead to brand the banner of your blog and website along with the top section of your newsletter. Use the free ColorCop tool to pull the exact colors from your logo so you can use them in HTML for your blog, website, and newsletters. These details really do matter and will increase the likelihood of recognition for your business based on a certain color palette and logo. You should also link to your social media pages from your blog, website, and newsletter so current customers can easily find and “follow” or “like” your business. Finally, create an email signature with links to your social media sites, your website, and your blog. It’s also a good idea to insert a link that takes customers to a sign-up page for your newsletter. These strategies will generate new revenue as well as increased profit from existing customers, so get started today and do something great for your small business.Author: Aruni | Filed under: entrepreneurship, guest post, marketing | Tags: guest post, maria rainier, marketing your small business | 3 Comments »