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Small Business Marketing Ideas: What am I forgetting?

As small business owners, we tend to think of marketing in terms of promotional campaigns or other directly sales-oriented activities. We look for small business marketing ideas that can help us reach more of our target audience and so on. But here’s what you might be forgetting: what’s behind all that can make or break your direct sales efforts.

There’s more to your business than whatever it is you sell or do. That means there are small business marketing ideas that can have a tremendous impact on your ability to attract and keep customers, clients or patients even through they don’t seem like “marketing.” They can be easy to overlook.

Customer focus.

You have to be friendly, accommodating, informed and proactively helpful without being pushy. But that’s just the bare minimum. Successful small businesses have to be 100% customer-focused, from the products or service lines you offer to the online content you create to the ways in which you personalize delivery of your marketing messages.

Seriously consider upgrading your website to include responsive design, and make certain it’s optimized for mobile search. You can sell to customers who can’t find you or easily navigate your website. Even if you have a great advertising program such as postcard marketing, you know people will want to check you out online, too.

Small business marketing ideas can be fun, so take customer focus to the next level by getting them actively involved with your business. Not just online or email or in-office “how are we doing” surveys, but having them vote on the accent wall color for your office remodel, or the flavor of your next ice cream recipe.

The power of “thank you.”

Instead of seeing shoppers or patients out the door with the ubiquitous – and now virtually meaningless – “have a nice day,” imagine how amazed and pleased they’ll be to hear you say “thanks for shopping with us.” Or “for choosing us for your dental care…” Never overlook an opportunity to thank people – for their patronage, for their help, just for doing their job.

And, by all means, make sure you have some type of customer loyalty program in place that formally thanks repeat purchasers with periodic discounts, mentions on your Facebook page, exclusive giveaways. Rewards don’t have to be overly generous, they simply have to be relevant and sincere.

Your image.

What kind of first impression does your shop or office make? Is it inviting and interesting – welcoming – or is it just a bit tired or rundown looking? Dirt, dust, debris, peeling or faded paint, dirty windows or stained carpet when patrons step inside all project an image you don’t want. So what if you didn’t drop that piece of trash? Pick it up, and teach your employees to do the same.

Put a pot of flowers by your entry, or set out a little A-frame sign with your quote of the day chalked in. When you make people smile, they’ll remember you, and they’ll want to come back.

Your back story.

Many potential patients want to know who you are, as a company and as a person. What’s your “corporate culture” like? Are you involved in the community, or especially sustainability-conscious?

Telling your story – on your website, in bits and pieces through blog articles or social media posts or with a framed photo and bio in your waiting room can go a long way to personalize your business and give it more depth. The more people can relate to you, the more they want to be part of your world.

No business is too small and no business owner is too busy to overlook the importance of quality and consistency, no matter what small business marketing ideas you adopt. If prospective patrons can’t count on you for that, why would they assume your products or services are worth their time and money?

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