Do you own a business where you encourage prospects to physically visit your store? Running a locally owned business can have its rewards. But it doesn’t come without work. Although you may gain a small following in the community who will buy locally just to stick it to the big box stores, it is not enough to open your doors for business and pray for a flood of new customers. The secret to building a constant funnel of leads is a solid, automated marketing system tailored for your small business.
When many of us think of a marketing system, we may associate this with an online business. What you need to remember is that even storefront businesses need to be marketed consistently, day in and day out. If you are running your own storefront business, no matter what you are selling, it is important that your customers first know that you exist. If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. You may have to drag each new prospect through the door. One-off, boring advertising isn’t going to get that cash register ringing. Let’s review some of the more common responses when people think of traditional advertising.
Perhaps one of the best ways to go about marketing your locally owned and operated small business is through television advertising. There is great reach advertising via television. If you have a few local channels, you may want your advertisements aired on those stations. You can target those prospects closest to you and get your message to a lot of people quickly. The major downside is, television advertising can be very expensive. Look at the costs involved versus the revenue it may bring you and weigh your options.
Many businesses still sink their money into the phonebook. If you run local business that people physically walk into, you should have a listing in the local phone book – both in the yellow and white pages. DO NOT PAY FOR THIS! Getting a listing is free. Buying advertising space in the book is more and more a waste of money. The Yellow Pages are dying. Statistics show that each year, the number of business searches online climbs now exponentially. The future is not in print.
Whether you are a strict bricks and mortar business, or even if you already have an online component to your business, you need to have a web presence of some sort. As with your physical location, simply publishing a website is not enough to drive people to your business. You need a system to drive traffic to your site and to your store – a constant lead funnel to feed your growing business. Your options are almost endless here: article marketing, webinar presentations (did you know you can automate these?), pay-per-click marketing, traditional SEO (search engine optimization), joint venture promotions with online or offline partners, banner advertising, email marketing, and the list goes on and on. Every one of these methods can be tested, tracked and rolled out in a big way after you know you have a winner.
The difference between these online methods and the “traditional” methods of small business advertising is that you don’t have to guess if your television or radio ad is going to produce results. You can start small, test, tweak, and improve your ROI. Dump the losers, and then roll out your campaign after you know it’s a winner. Most traditional advertising can’t do that for you.
Want to find out more about small business internet marketing, then visit Reid McCarthy’s site to watch a free video on how you can create these leads for yourself.