Monday, December 28, 2015

The Small Business Buddy System!

The idea of two companies working together under one marketing plan is not new. It is sometimes referred to as co-branding, which happens when the two products become synonymous with each other. Two great examples are how Dell computes boast Intel processors or how Kellogg's PopTarts uses Smucker's jelly. This strategy adds value to each of the products and also lightens the cost of marketing for each. On the other hand, co-marketing is when two businesses share the marketing and advertising load in order to improve visibility and decrease advertising costs, while retaining their unique identity.

So how can a small business use these tactics? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
  1. Find a Complement. Team up with a business that complements your product or service to share advertising. A pet store teaming with a pet groomer or a spa with a nail salon are more obvious ways to market complementary services, but it can also be accomplished in other creative ways. If you are a small bookseller, ask the local coffee shop two doors down if each can advertise for the other, or run promos for customer referrals. An apparel shop and jewelry store can co-market their products. Even a small butcher shop may do well to pair with the neighboring wine seller. Whether it’s as simple as putting a stack of business cards in each other’s stores, or lending inventory to display – start building up relationships like these.
  2. Market Together. Include your partnered business’s promotional material with yours in direct mailings (and vice versa) – this splits the budget and may bring in a new customer base. You can also try running an online promotion on social media with your newfound partner – to grow followers on both companies’ platforms.
  3. Swap Ads. If you have a website, contact other businesses in your locale with websites to see if you can exchange links or place advertising banners on each other’s sites. Many times, even unrelated business owners are willing to cross-link with other businesses for increased website visibility. I scratch your back, you scratch mine!
In any collaborative marketing effort, it is important to make sure your co-business is reputable and has the same high standards for its customers that your business would have. But well-oiled and well-fed partnerships can take businesses to new levels.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Small Biz Technology: Keeping Up With Big Business

The main goal in retail, or any kind of business, is to keep up with the competition. Small retail chains face much difficulty with this goal due to their small sizes. But that doesn't mean your small retail chain can't compete with the bigger ones. It just means you have to be creative and use technology to your advantage. Below are some technology trends your small business should jump on board with to be able to keep up with big business.
  • Move to the Cloud: According to an article in Entrepreneur, "many small-service companies still juggle a combination of paper, spreadsheets and calendars to stay organized." A lot of businesses are making the move to cloud computing, which allows paper documents and data to be stored electronically. It will make work easier for you and provide good service to your customers. You will also be right in line with your biggest retail competitors.
  • Go Mobile: Mobile technology now allows businesspeople to access their office from anywhere using their phones or tablets. No longer being limited to your brick-and-mortar store opens up new avenues for strengthening your business and reaching out to old and new customers. Mobile apps are a great way to keep in touch with customers as well
  • Start a Customer Loyalty Program: According to Entrepreneur, "in the past, only big corporations had the resources to offer elaborate loyalty rewards programs." However, your small business can offer these programs on a smaller scale, or through new online services that are more cost effective – here is a list to get you started! 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Promotional Strategies to Make 2016 a Success!

How does define “entrepreneur?”
A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.
Entrepreneurs take on a certain amount of risk every day, with every business decision they make. What are some ways to reduce that risk? Smart, cost-effective marketing and promotional strategies to grow the business! Below are some easy, cost-effective promotional and marketing ideas to help you grow your business in 2016, whether you’ve been an entrepreneur for one day or one decade.

1.) Begin a Podcast. Welcome to the era of digital marketing! A podcast is an audio file, usually done in a series, that anyone can download. It could consist of interviews, insight on products, or any idea to help people better understand your company and how it benefits them. Be sure to make it content-driven, not product-driven.

2.) Support a Cause. The old saying, you catch more flies with honey, holds true here. People are easily drawn to kindness. By supporting a cause, you'll spark attention from people with similar beliefs. Include a link to donate in your email marketing campaigns, and include information on how you support the cause on your website, in your emails, or on social media.

3.) Send Targeted Email Campaigns. Similar to the podcast, use your email marketing to get important messages out to your target audience – including deals, giveaways, upcoming events, or important industry topics/news. Again, make sure to mix it up between product/service promotions and interesting content. 

4.) Create giveaways. Who doesn't love free stuff? A friendly competition between customers is a fun way to encourage sales, as such contests spread quickly via word of mouth. Also, people get to try your services risk-free!

5.) Customize Your Packaging. Last but not least, something near and dear to our hearts - a customized packaging program, so people will carry your brand with them wherever they go. Contact us to learn more about how to increase your brand awareness with customized packaging.

What is your biggest business struggle?

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