Small businesses are often faster moving and have easier to adapt to change, but are small businesses equal to smart business? Generally speaking I would say no, since the small business often lack experience, knowledge and personal resources that the bigger company has access to. With this said, the small, smart business has the best position to be a fast(er) growing company than its competitors since they have the speed and ability to adjust to the market needs, to communicate in new ways with customer and to test and use new unproven marketing techniques. So let´s list a few things you can try to improve your marketing:
1. Make an inventory of news within your business that might be interesting to the public, such as; expanding when the economy is slow (recruiting, starting new offices etc.); increase focus on environmental issues (great thing to do when the economy is slow and there might be some employees with more time available); new cooperation partners that have a social purpose beside the business one (environmental organization, work environment organizations etc.); new big customers; increased profit; or any other news that might be of local, regional or national interest. Then find out what papers you would like to be seen in and mount a strategy to present the most relevant new to the right journalist. With the right approach you might build a great relationship with the media during times of little positive news, and have an advantage when the economy starts growing again. Why not create a press section on your webpage with some basic information about the company, some pictures, your logo, articles and quotes that are free to use by newspapers as long as they mention the source.
2. Listen to your customer and hear what they have to say about your company, ask them how you could improve your product range, customer service or if there are any other things that they like you to do. Building your trust and confident with customer when they are not doing business with you at the moment is a great investment for the future when they want something that you offer.
3. Make a statement and invite key people and the press to a workshop where you discuss a problem for the industry, a problem for your clients or something else that show that you are thinking proactively about issues that matters. The worst that can happen is that you get better relations and contacts with the group you invite and the best case is that you will get some action points that will help your industry/clients and if you do things right you might even get free marketing in the form of articles, blog posts etc.
4. Show your references to your potential clients. Nothing proves your skills and professionalism as good as references, still there are so many companies (especially small ones) that do not take the time to describe the projects and clients they have been working with. Describe the mission, the outcome and the client as well as ask for a quote and if you can publish contact information. Put in your marketing material and on your website.
5. Make your competence a marketing tool by writing articles and guides for your industry. Don´t be afraid of someone stealing your material. If they are that cheap they would probably not hired you anyways. If you do a workshop, present the main points and why they are so important.
– Ola Rynge
The Rynge Group