Every small business begins as a dream for its owner. This is best illustrated in the theme for this year's National Small Business Week, "Dream Big, Start Small" - something many small-business owners have in common.
With the U.S. Small Business Administration commemorating National Small Business Week, business owners can celebrate by taking the initiative to improve their marketing campaigns, raising their companies up on a more visible stage. Like the week's theme suggests, while you may have humble beginnings now, you have huge potential to grow your business by reaching the customers you're targeting.
Here are five ways to take this year's theme to heart with your marketing:
1. Build a Social Media Community
Social media is an often popular yet, at the same time, underutilized tool for small businesses. A report from research company BIA/Kelsey revealed three-fourths of businesses with 100 or fewer workers used social media in 2014 to advertise their products and services or promote their company. However, social media isn't simply made for posting updates about products and services and waiting for likes. Rather than passively waiting for followers, take initiative to actively generate interest in your business.
You're essentially building a social media community where conversation about your business happens organically. Ask questions, set up polls, hold contests and more. With a crowd behind you, your business could sustain its financial gains for the long term. If you already have some success with your current social media page, determine whether you can add to your network if you join another site.
2. Make Room for Growth in Your Marketing Strategy
While you've got a solid plan for increasing traffic to your brick-and-mortar store or website, your audience - and their tastes and preferences - will change, and your marketing strategy has to shift along with them. If you've focused mainly on expanding your brand visibility in a local market, it's time to look at other sales territories. You should also take into account changes to your budget and whether you need to allocate more funds toward promoting in new markets.
3. Improve Your Content and Posting Frequency
How often do you update a blog, social media page or newsletter? If it's less than once a week, you may quickly lose the interest of your audience. Plan to support your marketing efforts by displaying engaging content that is posted on a regular basis. Don't stop at only blogs, however. Branch out through infographics, video demos and more - any content that makes users stop and stay on your website or social media page.
4. Start Up Promotions and Contests
A great promotion generates leads, spreads to others' social networks and incentivizes current customers to stay with the company. Take advantage of word of mouth about your business through promotions and contests. Offer a discount on a new product or service, or hold a contest on social media. Rewarding leads and existing customers who follow your social media page or other advertising channels could increase brand loyalty.
5. Launch an Email Newsletter
Some business owners believe they don't have enough time or resources to maintain an email newsletter. However, news blasts about your company and any promotions you may have are integral to staying in contact with your audience. According to a survey by business management software provider Sage, the No. 1 most popular way small businesses market their company is through direct mail and email. About 31 percent of businesses use this marketing method, and 57 percent said it is the most effective for promotion.
Think about starting an email newsletter to grow your online presence. Once you've launched the newsletter, begin sharing blog posts, company updates and product promotions to effectively interact with leads and customers.