If you've recently made the decision to start your own business providing a needed service to local residents, you're likely feeling excited about what the future may hold—and feeling concerned about your ability to scratch out a living by yourself without the cushion of paid vacation days or employer-sponsored health insurance.
Marketing your business early (and well) can be the key to gaining customers, but in today's tech-savvy market, taking out a newspaper advertisement or listing your business in the yellow pages may not be enough. How can you engage social media and technology to effectively market your service-based business? Read on for several trends and ideas that can help you give your business some staying power in a competitive field.
Offer a price or promotion customers can't refuse
Whether you're building on an existing client base or starting from scratch, many of the most effective ad campaigns seem to always involve the word "free"—and letting people feel they're getting a good deal is often enough to turn them from potential customers to regular or long-term customers once they've discovered your high quality of service, even if the prices you charge are slightly higher than those of surrounding businesses.
By offering an introductory teaser rate (even one that leaves you with only a negligible profit on those deals), you'll be able to reach a much wider audience than you would by keeping your head down and charging your normal rates.
Provide tangible rewards for loyal customers who pass along your name
While giving out coupons or free services in exchange for positive online reviews is questionably ethical at best, you are permitted to reward those who recommend your products or services to a friend or family member who then hires your business. Making these rewards contingent on future purchases (such as offering a $50 credit to reward those who recommend others) can be a sneaky but effective way to sell even more services to a satisfied customer.
Seek out inexpensive community sponsorship opportunities
One of the most cost-effective ways to promote a fledgling business in a relatively close-knit community is to invest your advertising dollars into community youth and sports sponsorship. By sponsoring a T-ball team or gymnastics squad, you'll be able to have your business's name and logo emblazoned on shirts or uniforms viewed by hundreds of parents and spectators. You may also be permitted to hang a banner with your logo at games or performances, and should rate a mention in programs and other promotional materials.
As most of these types of sponsorship are for fairly low dollar amounts, this can be one of the best uses of your advertising dollars during a period of time where every penny spent counts.
Keep data on effective (and not-so-effective) marketing methods
One thing you may want to keep in mind each time you begin a new marketing campaign is including a way to track effectiveness. Something as simple as a "mention this ad for a 10 percent discount!" coupon can let you know who is seeing your advertisements and whether these ads are enticing customers to choose you over a rival business.
Digital marketing services can provide you with more ways to track effectiveness than ever before. With a simple algorithm, you should be able to determine the number of unique views an ad has received, the number of clicks it has garnered, and the number of users who have navigated to your company's website through an outside advertisement. More sophisticated systems can also give you breakdowns of the IP addresses of those viewing your ads and even the number of seconds an ad (or your website) is displayed for each user.
Once you have a few marketing campaigns under your belt, you'll have the necessary data to help guide future campaigns and maximize their effectiveness.
Eight years ago, I made an extremely difficult decision. I voluntarily left a job I loved. After five years of teaching accounting at a regional university, I realized I wasn’t going to advance to a more lucrative position due to my lack of a doctorate degree. After many months of contemplating my future, I decided to launch a home based business. Thanks to the success I’ve achieved so far, I haven’t looked back. Are you considering starting a business? In order to be successful, you will need to acquire a large customer base. To accomplish this task, you should definitely pursue online marketing. On this blog, you will discover the best online marketing strategies to utilize when beginning a business venture. Enjoy!