6 Creative Marketing Ideas to Boost Your Business
by Dee-Dee Gee and Lisa Parker, Cox Media
If you own or run a business, you already know marketing and advertising are key elements to ensuring potential customers know who you are. What you may not know is how critical this is to your bottom line.
Trying to identify the right marketing balance and spending level can be perplexing. It’s a double-edged sword because you need money to run your business, but need to invest in your business to make it grow. Knowing your audience can help narrow your focus and point you in the right direction.
Think creatively to maximize your budget and get the most out of your marketing efforts. You may wonder how successful companies determine the right marketing mix. It may appear to be luck, but most of the time there is a real strategy behind the process.
Here are some creative ways to market your business and translate that into sales growth:
1. Maximize social media – If your business currently has no presence on social media, you should evaluate the options and dive in. Social media is where people share information and their opinions on food, business, and life in general.
It’s a great space in which to connect with your customers. For example, if you create a Facebook account, you can invite your customers to join, offer discounts, feature new products/services, test the waters with new ideas, create videos, monitor competitors, and ultimately create a dialogue with a community of interested followers. Visuals are a must for attracting new followers. When you devote the time to make regular posts and respond promptly your audience will likely remain engaged with your business.
Perhaps you submit the article to a local business publication or break the content up into smaller portions to post on social or your company website. This spreads information to a wide-range of audiences, and positions you as a “thought leader” in your industry.
Advertising (TV, Print, Online, Mobile, Social) – Many businesses advertise in some form. If you’re a small business with a limited marketing budget, consider less-expensive advertising options such as online, social or mobile. You will reach fewer people, but that narrower group could contain your target customer.
Develop a strong consistent message with a clear and direct call to action. Once you determine your audience you’ll have a better idea of which medium to use. If you’re new to advertising, test one, or two media. Then build on your success. And most importantly, work with knowledgeable sales representatives to guide you with expert consultation.
Contests – Contests partnered with social media can quickly and exponentially build and engage your audience. Try something simple to draw interest from your target audiences.
Typically, offering a prize can entice potential customers to share a treasure trove of information with you. This data can help you learn more about the habits and interests of your desired audience. Tie the contest to a giveaway or free item that will encourage customers to come into your storefront or visit your website.
Sponsorships – Consider sponsoring a group or organization that you and/or your employees are passionate about. It helps to project an image that your business is friendly and relatable. Besides, it gets your logo visible in the marketplace. You don’t always have to play it safe in the sponsorship arena either. Step outside the traditional choices and sponsor something that can be uniquely yours. Typically, a business’ sponsorship is tied to their individual passion or perhaps their corporate social responsibility. It’s a special way to market your business and make a big impact in your community.
Website – A strong website is your strongest marketing tool. If you’re going to spend marketing dollars on anything, make sure you spend it on your website. It’s the first impression of your business for many potential customers.
Your website doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles, but it should be clean, updated regularly, and have all the pertinent information a customer would need to engage with you. Ensure it’s mobile-friendly because more people now access the web via a mobile device than a home computer.
Additionally, you should have great visuals. For example, if you’re a cupcake company, make sure you invest in good photography because you want your customers to drool when they see your delicious cupcakes.
Visuals are more than just photographs. They can be infographics, slideshow, graphs, charts, videos, podcasts, testimonials, or comparison guides. Look at websites from other industries for appealing element ideas. The goal should be to have a visually-appealing site with great and engaging content.
As you can see, developing the ideal mix of marketing for your business is an ongoing exercise to match of the needs of your audience with your product or service. The more you know about your audience, the easier it is to serve them, and grow your business at the same time.