Grassroots marketing is an effective and affordable way to get your community engaged with your product or service. This is a minimal budget, maximal effort approach. Start by communicating your efforts to your staff and asking for their ideas. Then develop a promotion strategy and look for other businesses to cross-promote with. Check community calendars for events in which you may participate in exchange for exposure. According to the SBA, demonstrations, coupons, speeches and article writing are a few ways that you can give a potential customer information about your company without the pressure of a direct sale. An example is a gym owner who provides warm-up routines for local walks and runs or is featured in a newsletter telling readers how to stick to a New Year’s resolution to lose a few pounds.
Advertising may be costly, but requires minimal effort. Traditional advertising outlets include phone book listings, newspaper ads and television and radio segments. The SBA suggests creating pens, shopping bags, shirts, giveaways and calendars to remind old customers of your products or services. Sponsoring a contest where you advertise in circulars and other media ads helps you to find new customers. For example, a clothing boutique may advertise a $500 shopping spree given to a customer who must be present in the store at the time of the drawing to win.
The most important aspect of successful marketing is your ability to please your customers, explains the SBA. Satisfied customers will service your business with positive word-of-mouth marketing and loyalty. Create a customer list for VIP events and email blasts. Send a handwritten note to an exceptionally pleasant or new customer. Have a “Friends and Family Night” or “Refer a Friend” special. An ice cream shop manager may offer a customer loyalty card that awards a free cone with every nine purchased.
Small Business Association: Market and Price