No aspect of opening and operating a small business is easy. But perhaps one of the most difficult and elusive pieces of this puzzle is how to draw in customers. Marketing one’s small business is nearly a full-time job in itself, but when done well, marketing can bring an entrepreneur great rewards.
One way for entrepreneurs to market their small businesses is to donate products or services to a local charitable event. However, it is important to thoughtfully choose which charity events to work with, since you want to be marketing to people who are likely to become customers. Choose a product or service and offer it up as a door prize or auction item at a fundraiser. The organization raising the funds will benefit from this act of generosity and the business will earn publicity through the event.
Another way to market one’s business is to analyze the marketing tactics of area competitors. If it can be determined where the competition is neglecting to advertise, an entrepreneur can learn the first place to strike to make his business stand out. Here is an example: if an owner of a craft store learns that other local vendors are not on the social networking site Pinterest, which is often used by crafters, that should be one of the first marketing avenues explored. It can be used to link to projects that use products from the store, as well as link back to ideas posted on the store’s own website.
Creating partnerships with other locally owned businesses can be mutually beneficial to both entrepreneurs. By offering a deal or coupon to customers of a nearby establishment for goods or services, a business owner can accomplish many things: drive customers in with the promise of a discount or freebie, build a business relationship that can be used in future endeavors, and possibly boost the business of the partnering establishment enough to earn referrals from that business owner.
One of the most simple and effective ways to market a business is by meeting people face to face and handing them a business card. Make sure to always be well-stocked with business cards, and hand them out to people while running errands or attending meetings. Offer a handshake, make an introduction, and hand them a card. As an extra incentive, write an offer for a free or discounted item or service on the back of the card.
These are just a few of the ways a small business owner can market his or her business. Visit a branch of the Kansas City, Kan., Public Library to find myriad books on marketing strategies, and head online to Entrepreneur.com to review the tactics mentioned here and more.
Emma Claudius is the business librarian for the Main Kansas City, Kan., Public Library.