As an independent retailer in the paint and decorating industry, marketing is as essential for your success as the products you carry and the services you offer. Unlike giant corporations, which can get by on their seemingly unlimited advertising budgets and sheer volume of sales, small businesses are built on reputation and image.
With a limited marketing budget, however, getting your name out there can be difficult. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to get noticed without breaking the bank.
1. Get social. There was a time, not too long ago, when a company’s online presence would only go as far as its website took it. Fortunately, social media marketing has provided countless opportunities for businesses to get their message to the masses and communicate with their customers. While Twitter and Facebook have become essential platforms for most any small business, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram are also worthwhile – especially in an industry as driven by visuals as paint and decorating.
2. Go mobile. According to the PEW research center, more than 60 per cent of Americans own smartphones; of those, more than 75 per cent use their smartphones to find businesses. Just as websites used to be, mobile apps are quickly becoming common calling cards for companies with physical locations. While getting involved in the game of mobile technology requires some creativity and investment, it is surprisingly affordable and has nearly unlimited potential to help reach new customers and grow your business.
3. Network. As a small business owner, it’s important for you to be involved in not only the global community, but also your local one. Attending workshops, joining business groups, volunteering your time, sponsoring worthwhile causes and offering up your expertise are all great ways to meet new people and get noticed. Word of mouth remains one of the best ways to generate new business, and as the brains and face behind your company, who better to help spread the word? Don’t forget your business card!
4. It’s all about the experience. If you’re especially eager to build your business, take networking one step further and host your own event. Whether it’s via partnership with another local organization or on your own, out in the community or in-store, experiential marketing will not only introduce you to new customers, but also keep you at the top of their minds. A big part of marketing is storytelling, and by offering something beyond just a product on a shelf, you’ll have people wanting to read on.
5. Listen, learn and leap. A big part of getting potential customers to know about you is getting to know them. After identifying your audience, listen to what they have to say (think social media, blogs and online forums) and respond accordingly. Instead of simply throwing advertising dollars at mainstream media, try more creative and more intentional strategies. The beauty of social media and experiential marketing is that they’re not only affordable, but also flexible enough to take chances and easy to experiment with. Once you find a winning formula, listen, learn and repeat.