Small businesses often consider their marketing efforts to be more important than those of their big business counterparts. While national chains often have large customer bases to fall back on if an advertising campaign or promotional idea fails to work out, small businesses need to carefully deploy their resources or risk financial ruin.
The new year can be a good time for small businesses to prepare for the days to come. Look forward to the possibilities that 2012 brings while at the same time, create a plan to deal with as many different scenarios as possible. Planning ahead is a great way to know what you're dealing with and provides plenty of opportunities to fine tune your marketing strategies.
Stronger online presence
For the new year, consider delving more deeply into online marketing. While the big companies can afford a strong online presence, it can be difficult for a small business to properly use the internet for marketing purposes. They can make up for this lack of funds and possible lack of time with the right direction.
Big business marketing is like a shotgun. It scatters information everywhere and in the hopes that the right people see it. Small business marketing tends absolutely must be much more targeted. Smaller businesses don't have the resources to miss their target audience.
The internet can be a great tool for targeting that information. Gain access to the types of websites that your intended customer base has a tendency to visit and draw inspiration from them to help focus your campaigns. Use the comment system to plug your product to those who are involved in online discussions. Be sure to be upfront about who you are, as there are few things more frustrating for members of these online communities than a company trying to fool and spam them. Instead, positively contribute to the discussion and mention your product only if appropriate.
While mobile marketing may sound intrusive, the goal isn't to cold call potential customers on their cell phones. Instead, take advantage of the many smartphones consumers are using in ever-greater numbers. A QR code is a type of barcode that can be scanned by a mobile device to instantly lead a consumer to the website of a marketer's choice. This helps companies connect to their customers very quickly and ensures that they won't forget to log on the next time they're at a computer.
Similarly, many apps are made free due to the addition of advertisements within. Consider investing in one of these ads for a local app that is popular with your customer base. There are also many apps that can tie into your business. A scavenger hunt app is a great way to be involved in social smartphone usage by sponsoring a hunt, with a prize to the winner and coupons to participants.
Don't be too hasty
Don't be too quick to expand your company after a strong holiday season. The holiday rush for products can be tricky and make you believe that you've improved your income, but in reality the numbers gained over the end of 2011 may prove to be unsustainable in the coming months.
Similarly, don't be so quick to jump on every strategy your advertising team comes up with. Instead, continue successful campaigns from the past year for a few months while you whittle down the list to the best few ideas. Then spend a lot of time researching and developing those ideas. It's better to have a strong showing later in the year than many quick ones all at once, especially when you can draw from previously successful choices.