Starting a small business doesn’t stop at obtaining the funding you need to open your doors. Without taking the time to market your new business the right way, you could lack the customers you need to turn a profit. Fortunately, the Small Business Administration, or SBA, is in business to help businesses. This government agency wants to see you succeed and offers some great tips for marketing your new business.
•Market Research – Before you start paying for advertising, conduct a little market research to find out more about your target customers. Start by determining the primary demographics that will visit your business. BY understanding the ages, spending habits and needs of your customers, you can focus your marketing techniques toward those customers and potentially save money on advertising.
•Test – Once you are ready to start an advertising campaign, test first. So many small business owners jump the gun and use their entire marketing budgets at once, only to find flaws in the advertising plan. Instead, start with just a small portion of your overall budget and run some test ad campaigns. Track your responses to determine what works and what doesn’t. Then, repeat what works over and over again.
•Court Your Customers – Getting new customers in the door is only half of the equation. Once you have them there, continue to market to your new customers to get them to return. Repeat business is the best type of business, and it has the potential to turn a curious visitor into a loyal customer. Try offering incentives for your first time customers to return. For example, if you have a restaurant, try offering a complimentary dessert on the next visit.
•Do Not Ignore Existing Customers – Be sure to work to keep your current customers happy. Although you will always be looking to expand your customer base, keep in contact with your existing customers through email and social media campaigns. Reward them for their loyalty.
•Update Your Marketing Plan – Once you have a marketing plan in place, do not rely on it to work the same five years from now as it does today. The Small Business Administration recommends analyzing your marketing plan at least once per year and updating it to reflect current trends and changes in your business plan.