G11 - Small Business Marketing: Tips for Growing Your Business
Using testimonials is a low-cost, high results way to drive sales.
Small Business Marketing: Tips For Growing Your Business
Many entrepreneurs, such as yourself, tend to find small business marketing difficult. You may think you don’t have sufficient budget to support results-oriented marketing programs. And, you may be spending so much time “in” your business that you don’t have time to work “on” your business.
Every business owner must strike the right balance between performing the business‘ core work and marketing its services. Although you may have solid customer relationships now, things change. A customer may go out of business or be bought by another company that uses a different vendor. In either case, you may find this business drying up.
Customers can leave for any number of reasons and at a drop of the hat. Therefore, small business marketing strategies can ensure you maintain a steady stream of customers. The last thing you need as an entrepreneur is to be in crisis mode when a customer leaves.
So how can you develop small business marketing programs without breaking the bank? The following ideas are easy to do, don’t cost an arm and a leg, and can deliver excellent results:
Use Testimonials. Positive references remain a proven way to grow your business. Everyone wants to do business with a company that has a good track record with its customers. If you’ve developed strong relationships and have satisfied customers, use their feedback to help you get additional business.
Testimonials are powerful small business marketing tools because they’re objective, third-party endorsements. Customers get tired of the marketing hype and want to weed through the clutter to determine a vendor’s real capabilities. Testimonials provide the peace-of-mind that the business lives up to its claims.
Here’s how to use testimonials:
Approach your best customers and ask them to write a recommendation for you on their letterhead. First, ask them if they are willing to publicly endorse your company, and second how you can help make the task easy for them.
Depending on your relationship with the customer, you may want to suggest you write the draft for them, based on their feedback. This does not mean you tell them what you want them to say! Instead, you can have them tell you what they want to say and then you can prepare it. Or, you can prepare a draft for them to edit by documenting things they’ve told you or their positive statements made in e-mails.
Once you finalize the testimonials with your customers, you can use them in your shop window if you’re a retail business, on your website, in e-mails, in your blogs or newsletters, in sales presentations, or any other communication vehicles. Another good small business marketing tactic is to use video testimonials on your website. This is probably one of the most impact tools you can use to generate new business.
Increase Word-of-Mouth. This type of advertising is one of the best forms of small business marketing. However, it’s also the most passive. So, to help the process along you can do several things like create a referral program. If customers earn rewards for recommending your business, chances are the word-of-mouth will spread quicker.
In addition, you can use social media to your advantage. Encourage customer comments on Facebook, for example. Social media also helps you stay in touch with your customers so your business will come to mind when they need the services you provide.
It’s easy to create a Facebook page and doesn’t cost anything. It’s a casual tool for connecting and staying in touch with your customers and prospects. Twitter and permission-based e-mail marketing can help as well.
Small business marketing doesn’t have to be overwhelming or require huge budgets. In fact, you can get free help from many online resources. The Small Business Administration has a great website with tons of good information. Your local Chamber of Commerce may have programs to benefit your business as well. Just be sure to spend enough time marketing your business so you’ll enjoy a steady flow of customers and revenues.