5 Cost Efficient Ways to Market Any Small Business

By on March 31, 2016

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My plumber came by my house last week to do some work for me. I actually enjoy the time he spends here as we have a great relationship; he fixes my plumbing problems while I ask him an endless amount of questions about his business. This last visit we talked about digital transformation. I wanted to know specifically how he was moving his marketing from the offline world to the digital world. His response took me a little by surprise. He said “Believe it or not, many of my customers still look forward to receiving our monthly mailers and brochures. We have a web site and we’re on Twitter and Facebook, but we still use many of our old-fashion ways.”

I wasn’t sure if his analysis was accurate, that his customers appreciate the direct mail, or if he was simply putting his head in the sand about how everything we do now is moving to the digital space. Either way, I came away from the discussion with a new perspective about marketing for small businesses in the age of Digital Transformation. We need to build a bridge that connects the past to the future.

One company that helps small business owners with their bridge-building is Brother. They have a fabulous Brother CreativeCenter to help business owners create everything from business cards to mailers. I spent some time on their site and came away with five separate ways for business owners to marry old-school marketing with new world communications.   

  • Business Cards – Millions of business owners still hand out business cards as a way for customers and prospects to stay connected with them. Take a look at your business card. Does it have your Twitter or Facebook URL? Add it. In addition, make sure your web site and any other important social media addresses are included.  On Brother’s CreativeCenter web site, you can customize your business card. Think about turning your business card into a coupon. On the back side, offer the bearer a specific discount when they present the card while shopping with you.
  • Brochures – A brochure gives business owners a unique opportunity to tell their story in pictures and words. Let the special qualities of your business pop off the page with brilliant photos and tantalizing descriptions of your beauty salon or restaurant. Done correctly, a brochure makes a prospect want to learn more about your establishment or company. Make sure to add all of your social media accounts and web site addresses and tell the recipients to mention the brochure when connecting with you online.
  • Posters – A well done poster is like a work of art. For consumer brands and retailers, you know that your poster is a home run when customers want copies to hang in their dorms, basements or retail locations. Humor and inspiration/motivation are solid areas to consider when creating a poster for your business or brand. A great visual also helps connect the prospect to your message. Create a special hashtag and put it on your posters (e.g. #YourCompanyTagline). Then, have customers take pictures of the posters and use the hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Pick a randomly-selected winner to receive a weekly or monthly prize from your business for posting the pic.
  • Mailers – The right direct mail piece sent to a vetted target audience can generate an incredible return on investment. For example, a local wine store wants to be top of mind with its customer base for the upcoming holidays. They decide to send out a mailer with all the special wines on sale for the holidays. In addition, they attach a coupon good for 15% off any of their special wines. They write “It’s our way of saying thank you to our best customers.” This allows the wine store to track the number of coupons received vs. the number of mailers sent out to customers. They can also mention the mailer using social media (e.g. “Did you receive our holiday mailer?” on Twitter and Facebook).
  • Newsletters – If your company has a lot of content and regular updates to share with customers, then consider starting a weekly or monthly newsletter to send to them.  A well-written and designed newsletter allows your business to stay on the radar screens of your customers in a non-invasive way. You can also use a newsletter as a VIP tool to share special opportunities or programs with your customer base. The content can also be tweeted and used for social media support messages with links to the newsletters on your web site.

The common thread with the five programs above is interaction. Each program, used correctly, should strengthen your relationship with existing customers while enhancing opportunities with your prospects. Good luck and stay connected!


About Brian Moran

Prior to rejoining the world of entrepreneurship, Brian was the Executive Director of Sales Development at the Wall Street Journal where he oversaw the sales development and marketing programs for the financial and small business categories among the many Journal brands. From 2002-2010, Brian was President of Veracle Media and Moran Media Group.

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