I am, like a lot of businesses, a small business owner with a limited budget. Even though I am a marketing guy, I still have marketing needs for my business. My personal strategy is to build business through referrals and networking, however I do integrate some traditional marketing into my strategy.
When you have a limited budget, you aren’t able to compete with the big guys through traditional means. To overcome these challenges my focus for marketing strategies have been unique offerings.
I wanted to share a couple of successful strategies that I have done recently to give your small business some inspiration.
Be a purple cow
In the business world, clean cut and professional is the unspoken status quo. But blending in with the crowd doesn’t get you noticed. Since a majority of my business is developed through networking, it’s important for me to represent what my company means. To express how I see the world differently, think creatively, and am not afraid to buck the norms I grew out a beard.
Now, as many of y’all know this isn’t your typical tidy and well groomed beard. As of this article it’s a 10 month beast with a handlebar mustache that completely covers my mouth. Yes, eating has been a challenge at times – but everyday I can feel confident I am being noticed. Random strangers will comment on the beard and it’s a great opportunity to start a conversation and generate leads.
Because big beards are so unique to the marketing world, I’ve integrated the beard into my marketing strategy. I developed a 11″x17″ poster that highlights my capabilities and integrates the bearded lifestyle. The only downside is the beard has grown quite a bit since I made the poster. The poster is big enough for someone to not want to throw away, yet not too big that people don’t know what to do with it. I got a 40″ press piece poster one time and it’s too big to do anything with other than leave rolled up.
Don’t be afraid to take advantage of a fleeting trend. You should know one when you log into Facebook and all your friends are posting the same thing. An example is the “This is what my ______ thinks I do” theme that was all the rage for 3 days. By being an early adopter, you can garner some attention for your brand or company.
How I did this was with the recent half a billion lottery that everyone was talking about. My friend Jon Reisinger showed me how a radio station purchased lotto tickets a month ago and if people shared the photo and liked the company they would share the winnings. Well, in the Spokane market this had yet to be done and with $20 worth of lotto tickets I was able to take my company’s page from 30 likes to 90 likes.
Don’t be afraid to give something up and ask for something in return. For $20 I was able to get 60 likes from real individuals – I paid $100 for about 10 likes when I was using Facebook’s advertising platform. Maybe for my next idea I will purchase the new iPad and do a drawing for anyone that likes the company and shares the contest information. For $500, I could probably get a few hudred likes.
The key with this strategy is to offer something that people really want and desire. While my business and I are quite awesome, I can’t imagine a rush of shares to win a free hour consultation from me. People realize when you are trying to push something that is normal free, but now all the sudden has a monetary value.
You also have to keep the end in mind with these goals. While these likes are great – they aren’t going to directly lead to any business. But if the goal is to build trust with future prospects by showing an established Facebook Page – it may make sense.
Hire a pro
If these things don’t come naturally to you or people in your business – hire a pro. I am happy to help you, but there are also tons of others out there that do a wonderful job. They all have their specialties and unique business structures – so interview a few of them.
If you need help with your marketing, feel free to reach out to me and I’d be happy to give some free consulting.