We’re thrilled to welcome marketing expert, Shona Chambers, to the blog to share 5 effective methods for marketing small businesses.
Shona understands small business struggles well, running one herself, and champions other businesses regularly. Her marketing methods are focused on connection and honesty and they won’t take you a lot of time either!
As a marketing consultant, people often ask me “how exactly should I go about marketing my business?”.
It is a very fair question. You may feel that there are lots of different marketing things you should know about to proceed, which tools to use, which methods etc.
If you are one of the people wondering about this then I really hope the following five tips will be of help to you.
My number one tip especially when starting up your business is to network. This doesn’t have to mean going to networking meetings, especially if you don’t like the idea of that.
Instead, take a look at the connections you already have, whether on Facebook or in your email list and let them know what you are trying to do now. We all know and are connected to other people. It’s tempting to feel that you need a new pool of contacts now you are a business owner, but often you don’t. So start where you are, and get an email out today to anyone who can help you win business.
2. Ask For Recommendations.
Are you more likely to do something if a friend tells you about it? Have you ever bought a book, or watched a movie because someone else told you it was good? Well it works exactly the same when you are a small business owner looking for your next client.
If you have worked with someone and the experience has gone well, ask them whether they know anyone else who you could approach, or better still have them send their contact a message for you.
If you applied this method to every client you work with, you could soon be very busy for work!
3.Communicate a USP.
Look at the big companies out there and you’ll see they are all telling us all the time who they are for, and why.
Think about your own business, when you created it, who did you think you were serving, and what is special about you?
Your USP (unique selling point) needs to be something that people can remember quickly and easily.
Another way to think of it is if you were in a lift with your ideal customer, how would you explain who you are and what you do in those few moments you’d have with them.
One way to implement this tip could be to give yourself a name on social media that reflects who you are. Perhaps you are The Money Coach or The LinkedIn Sales Expert, whatever it is that is a really quick way of getting it over to your potential client.
4. Work With Others.
How do big companies win business? Often because they have a team of experts to bring to the table.
How can we replicate that as small business owners? By collaborating with others that complement what we do.
For example, you are a graphic designer and you get a client asking about copy writing services. Maybe they also want a website. Instead of saying, you can’t help with the other elements, go out and find others who do those things and create a collective.
If you regularly go to networking events, or spend time on Facebook Groups, you will likely come across people doing things that are similar to you but different. Keep this idea in mind and think about recruiting them into your collective. Or if you don’t want to be the one doing all the work, look for openings in existing groups of people who work together.
5. Find the Freebies!
As someone who has had a bricks and mortar business location, and as a business owner with a website, I know a thing or two about finding free promotional opportunities.
If you are a business owner looking for local custom then find places in the area that will allow you to put up a poster or a flyer. Supermarkets are usually great for this, as are smaller shops. We tend to think everyone is busy looking at their phones, and they are, but they do also notice things as they walk about their neighbourhoods.
Identify local magazines, newspapers and bloggers. They all have the audience you are looking for. Find out how you can utilise this, whether it means writing a guest article, being interviewed, or coming up with a newsworthy story.
If your audience is more online, and local reach is not as important then look for relevant free Facebook groups to join, and work out how you can be a part of the community there. Most Facebook groups offer a day per week when you can post about your business. This is a great free source of online promotion.
Thanks for reading I really hope these tips are of use to you
Shona shared even more advice on marketing for small businesses on the podcast.
Shona Chambers (she/her)
Shona Chambers is a freelance marketing consultant with a career spanning over 20 years, working with both large and small companies. Shona has also created her own businesses, including a networking group for the self employed and freelance community, Self Employed Club.
Last year Shona published her first book 100 Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners.