8 excellent local marketing tips for your small business

Many a local business has thrived by marketing themselves on the internet. Today, a large proportion of customers look up businesses online before they engage them. It’s important to make sure that your small business is leveraging the right kind of exposure online. As it happens, you must start with optimizing your online business content for Google – the world’s leading search engine. But that’s not where it stops. You have to create a solid marketing strategy that puts your business in the right place at the right time.

1.      Google Plus Local

It doesn’t matter whether your business was founded by your great grandfather a hundred years ago. Things have changed, and more customers are relying on technology to find the products and services they need. A presence on Google+ Local is a must-have if you’re serious about increasing your exposure. It’s easy to set up. Google guides you through the verification process (for your business address). Your goal is to make sure that you the information on your page is accurate.

2.      List on local directories

If you think that YellowPages.com and Local.com are obsolete, you’re wrong. There are tons of local listing platforms and directories out there that you can take advantage of. Another good one is InsiderPages.com, which garners millions of visitors each month. Have it in mind that a consistent, accurate presence on these sites will work for the good of your business.

3.      Get reviews

Again, the goal is to make sure that you get the right kind of exposure on the internet. That means you have to attract some positive reviews on Yelp.com and other similar platforms. This doesn’t mean that you should solicit reviews or fake them. Simply send a message to your favorite customers and ask them (in your email signature) to consider leaving public feedback. Positive mentions and reviews add to the credibility of your business.

4.      Do some social media

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last one decade, you should know that social media is an indisputably important marketing tool. A lot of people (including your potential customers) spent a significant chunk of their daily time on social media. Build a following, engage your local customer, answer their questions, and share locally significant information. Make sure that whatever you post is either valuable or entertaining. Don’t result to promoting your wares every other post. Relationships cultivated on social media can graduate into very meaningful and even lifelong business partnerships.

5.      Make friends with local journalists

Of course – this is misleading. Don’t take it at face value. The idea is to focus on doing newsworthy things that journalists care about the most. Maybe you can start by commenting something insightful about the latest story by that upcoming local journalist. Something that can make them think! Maybe you’ll want to organize a local initiative that has the potential to change the community, in whatever way. Doing newsworthy stuff almost always translates into a significant boost for your business.

6.      Work with complimentary firms

It’s tough to pair hands with your competition for purposes of marketing. But you can work with complementary companies to increase your market. For instance, if you make T-Shirts, why not get in touch with a company that offers T-Shirt printing services. Think outside the box. You could give them a discounted price and they could buy in bulk, as well as recommend your product to other vendors. Anything constructive that works for the good of your business is a Go. Have it in mind that positive recommendations go a long way.

7.      Launch a loyalty program

Well-thought-out loyalty programs can spread like bushfire. They are a great way to give a boost to your local marketing efforts. Think about rewarding customers every time they shop at your shop. How can you make the offer sound so sweet without working your way into a loss? Maybe you could implement that mount-watering discount to attract more shoppers. Maybe you could give away a branded mug or something like that to every customer who does business with you on a specific day, a span of days, or week? Think outside the box. You’ll be surprised how much good you can do for your business by just being creative!

8.      Try viral marketing

Welcome to Viral Marketing! This is one of my favorite strategies for marketing a small business locally. Today, the social web is abuzz with a lot of shared content. That’s the keyword – shared content. You probably have watched a couple of great videos that were shared with you by a friend or colleague at work. Instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp make it super easy for you to transmit fascinating content. So if you can create a shareable blog post or video that’s meaningful in the context of your business locality, that’s a great place to start.  Consider reading a few guides on viral content and see how you can implement those tips in your business. I have seen business owners make hundreds of thousands of dollars from 300-dollar cartoon animations of their business or products. It works like magic.

As you engage in steps to market your business and make it outstanding especially when compared to the competition, don’t forget to treat your customers well. Focus on providing the best possible customer care. One company that’s been known to provide steadfast customer care is Java. If you visit with a kid, they’ll bring a coloring chart to keep the young one busy and entertained. They invest a lot of money (and time) to train their employees on elaborate customer care skills – and this works very well for them. So think about how you can make your service the best in the local niche!

8 ingenious steps to stay ahead of your competition

Unless you’re already an established brand or monopoly, your expansion will be limited if you do not come up with a proper strategy to ward off competition. In any industry or niche, business competition is one of the main factors that determine the survivability of firms. In fact, inability to handle competition is one of the top ten reasons why most startups fail. Below are some proved steps and strategies to stay ahead of the competition, regardless your niche or industry.

1.      Know the competition

Any success-minded business should seek to understand how its competitors are really doing, and come up with measures to make its proposition more unique. If you do not know who your competitors are, how do you beat them? Invest the time to dig out as much information as you can about organizations that pose a competitive threat to your business.

2.      Know your customers

Battles between competing businesses are usually won at the consumer level. No matter how much money you have in your marketing budget, you’re not going to be able to compete effectively if you haven’t spent the time to study your customers. Find out what your customers want. Is it a more flexible service? Is it better pricing? Is it better products? Make sure that you revise your sales and marketing strategies accordingly.

3.      Differentiate

It’s important that you give your customers a couple of good reasons to stick to your products. If you’re able to only compete based on the price point, bigger brands will find it easy to shove you out of business. Craft a unique selling point that taps into what customers want. People shouldn’t have a problem figuring out what’s unique and different about your business. This way, they’ll still consider shopping at your place even when your competitors try to undercut you based on the pricing.

Know your Audience

4.      Revamp your image

What is the first thing that comes to your customers’ mind when they step at the front door of your premises? Do they get that idealistic image that bonds them to your business, or do they see ignored outdoors and congested indoors? Simple things such as painting the front of your premises, getting your windows cleaned and putting on better signage can make your business more inviting. Your business cards, stationery, branded packaging, website, clothing and other articles in your business should be equally appealing. In fact, they should represent your unique selling point.

5.      Treat your customers well

Not treating existing customers well is one of the biggest mistakes that businesses make. You might feel compelled to focus on hunting for new customers, but your existing customers are actually more valuable. These are people who have already tested your product or service. They know your strengths, and they are more likely to come back in the future. More importantly, your happy and satisfied customers serve as a source of referrals that can, in turn, boost the profitability of your firm. Focus on providing better customer service than your competition. Become a more responsive business, and fulfill (or exceed) your customers’ expectations. If possible, considering offering extras to your customers, and come up with sustainable loyalty programs to keep people hooked to your firm.

6.      Look for greener pastures

This is another awesome strategy that you can use to beat your competition. Selling to a greater number of not only increases your customer base but also spreads your risk. Think about selling overseas or online (if you don’t already do this). If there’s any likely target group that you haven’t approached before, think about how you can reach out to them. But don’t waste time marketing to groups that have no interest in your products or services.

7.      Empower your employees

You probably already know that the best businesses are the ones that treat their employees well. For instance, think about Google. This is a multinational company that has employed some of the best minds in the tech scene. Their employees are all innovative people that can actually leave anytime and set up their own startups. But Google counters this and motivates its employees by creating an entire ‘life’ inside the company itself. That means freedom, amenities, entertainment, playing grounds for kids, and just about anything else anyone might need outside of work. If you empower your employees, they’re going to treat your customers well, and this is going to result in more profitability for you. So don’t boss people around. Instead, listen to their needs and provide the best working environment that you possibly can.

8.      Think the future

Be a far-sighted business person. You might be doing a pretty good job at beating the competition right now. But are you going to be able to do the same ten years in the future? There’s a new crop of young people who are coming up with innovative business to solve customers’ problems. These are energetic and brilliant individuals who’ve assimilated the realities of the world and want to create a better business future. If you don’t think about how you can pioneer change in your niche or industry, you’ll probably be swept away whenever there’s a wave of change. Keep up with the latest developments in your niche. Follow consumer trends, economic patterns, and invest in new technology. The age of paper accounting is long gone – you can easily (and more so affordably) rely on computer solutions such as QuickBooks to keep your finances in order. Get a clear mental image of where you want to be in the next 3-5 years.

By following these small business tips and strategies, you’ll find it easy to stay ahead of the competition. Strong business leaders don’t wait until it’s too late to define the competition. Be a master of your own game and think about how you can expand your business and compete at a whole new level in the near future! If you have any competitive strategies that you think we left out of this lift, feel welcome to share in the comments section below!

Attract more visitors to your exhibition stand using these sneaky tips

Trade shows and locally organized market events can be a major source of leads and exposure for your business. Like with all other forms of marketing, though, your objective is to get solid results.  So how do you do just that? Attract a massive number of attendees to your stand. This way, you’ll reasonably attract more leads. To get you going on the right note, below are a number of 7 fantastic tips to attract more people to your stand this year.

  • Get in touch with publications – in the lead up to a trade show, local or industry trade publications are a great way of promoting your businesses. So before the show, make sure that you contact these and furnish them with any information that they could be interested in. Anything newsworthy will work great. Many journalists are responsive to interesting content. And if you have some extra cash, don’t shy away from booking some little column space to promote your brand.
  • Get the right look and feel – have it in mind that your stand is your shop window. You want to cultivate a look and feel that directly invites customers to ‘come on in!’ This is very important. Invest some time and effort to make sure that you choose the right signage, posters, and products to display the kind of image that you’re looking for.
  • Beat the competition – it’s natural that there are going to be a lot of your competitors competing for the same audience that you’re looking for. So how do you beat them? By being small and personal! Before you even design your own exhibition stand, look up your competitors on social media to see what they had for the last exhibition. Was their stand impressive? Was it large? Was it small but approachable? Think above the cut, and focus on what your competitors aren’t already doing.
  • Run a contest – when most people hear the phrase ‘trade show promotion’, the first thing that comes to mind is freebies. True to that, most businesses give away a lot of merchandise branded with their logo to people who visit their booth. This is actually a good strategy, but people will get the freebies and leave. So how do you get to engage them more deeply? Run a contest! Quizzes and raffles require that attendees converse with your sales team and leave their information for an opportunity to win a prize. The prize could be a gift voucher, free samples, or anything else that’s valuable enough to attract people. So make sure that you create a reasonable challenge with a fun quiz. This way, you’ll most likely have no problem attracting more people to your marketing booth.
  • Find out whether it’s worth it – trade shows are great, but let’s face it – not all of them are worth it! You don’t want to spend your money and time for insignificant results. So before you decide to attend a niche or industry market event, make sure to visit in advance to see if they’re actually worth it. Attend at a guest and mingle with the crowd. See what attracts your target audience and learn from that. This way, you’ll be able to prepare better for your own attendance.
  • Give your attendees a place to recharge – trade shows can be exhausting for both attendees and exhibitors. There’s a lot of walking around, talking and interacting taking place. This leaves the average attending feeling very tired. Instead of being just another exhibition stand that people want to walk past when they’re exhausted, provide a little place to relax. You can easily do this by setting up a comfortable sofa or armchair where people can rest while they chat with your sales team. You could even provide free Wi-Fi and coffee.
  • Contact online influencers – trade publications are the gold medal when looking for beneficial coverage for your business, but bloggers and online influencers can be very lucrative. They are more publicly accessible. Be sure to contact them a few weeks or days before the trade show and let them know that you’re been attending. Furnish them with some details about what’ll be going on at your stand, and make it interesting. Like journalists, bloggers can be very responsive too!

Have you ever been to a trade or market even before? Did you use any of the strategies that we have listed in this blog post? Let us know what worked best for your audience…

Guerilla marketing ideas for market shows

A properly cultivated presence at a market show can add a lot of positive value to your business. But what happens when you’re on a limited budget? There are various guerilla marketing techniques that can come to your aid. Guerilla marketing has everything to do with creative, low-budget strategies that have the potential to make a big impact. Below are a few essential tips to get you started:

A.     Before the show

Before the actual market show, be keen to use humor to surprise people and break their expectations. Send an email to your existing audience to let you know that you’ll be attending and that you’ll be having a lot of cool stuff that they should want to take a look at. Customize your postcards with a sneaky but creative quote that’s specifically tailored to your brand. Another ingenious strategy involves handing out a key to your customers and leaving them to wonder where it opens. Also, do a professional press release at a local newspaper or niche blogs and highlight the upcoming story for your market show. Social media should also be adequately used to create a buzz around your event. You want to create anticipation so that more people can attend.

B.     At the show

Separating yourself from the competition is one great way to make sure that you attract a bigger audience to your market show stand. So how do you do this? Create a wireless charging station and make visitors wait at your booth while charging their devices. During this time, your sales team should be busy engaging them in business-beneficial chit-chat to present your brand at its best. Holding a contest is a particularly clever strategy. Most people expect that they’ll get freebies when they come to your stand. So after they get them, they just leave. Hosting a contest such as raffles or puzzles is a way to make sure that you capture your attendees’ information for future marketing purposes. You could promise free samples, free gifts, shopping vouchers, etc for the winner. An additional tip is to make people tweet or post photos to Instagram, Facebook or other social networks with your amazing show display. Of course, you should encourage them to use relevant hashtags. These seemingly simple things can go a long way towards making your market show a success.

C.      After the show

Now that the show is over, you want to continue getting more leads to your online business page. Consider making a funny (or entertaining) slideshow video using photos that you captured during the event. Make sure to ask people for permission to be included in the video to make sure that you don’t’ get in trouble with the law. Publish a blog post about how the event was and encourage your customers to read and share it. Give the contest that you organized a few more weeks to mature and encourage people who missed the show to actually participate online. This way, you’ll be sure to reap more leads!

How to create an awesome brand

When you put those sketch ideas into motion and get your brand in motion, you have to make sure that it’ll stick. It won’t make any difference if your customers forget about it after a couple of weeks, and it almost feels like you’re starting from scratch every time you pitch to a group of prospects. Effective branding moves customers. It makes them start to speak about the brand and the popular products associated with it. To make sure that you go about your branding the right way, below are some essential tips.

Create a memorable logo

It’s no surprise. Most probably, you have seen (or heard of) businesses that spent tens of thousands of dollars on the logo. These are firms that understand the importance of this small design product. A successful brand will introduce a logo that helps customers identify it. Think simple and clean, clearly displaying it’s intent and purpose to the world. The color choice matters a lot too (read about color psychology in branding). Focus on one or two colors that establish an emotional connection to the customer. Before you settle on a logo, make sure that’s going to work for your branding ten years from now.

Create a connection

This is another instrumental branding tip that’s been used by dozens of very successful companies today. Doesn’t matter whether you’re a local business or a multinational, but associating a brand with a well-known person or celebrity creates a connection between that name or brand. It also makes for memorable marketing. When a well-known person in the community endorses a product, people will see it as a superior product.

Keep the naming simple

‘I Love New York’ – that’s a simple slogan that was created over 4 decades earlier. It had the heart symbol instead of the word ‘Love’. Today, it’s still insanely popular. This is an excellent example of how something simplistic can have a massive impact and still be eternally relevant. Think about using a simple logo, and a pretty simple brand name and/or slogan. It could make a lot of difference.

Local involvement

Local communities often associate brands with major local events. If a tragedy happens in your local community, be ready and willing to help. Locals will remember what a brand did to help. If the news gets national or even global, that’s a lot of unsolicited exposure for your brand.

Build an online presence

A lot of people spend a lot of time online nowadays. You need some form of proper online representation. Build a website or blog where you can publish information related to your brand and its products. Make sure to create social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, as well as YouTube. You want to use these platforms to pass the word out there. To make sure that your brand stands out in the online world, be authentic, and have a unique voice. Build a memorable design and post things that empower your customers.

These seemingly simple tips can go a long way towards increasing the punch of your brand. If there are any other tips that you think we left out, feel welcome to share in the comments section below.

Some Background on the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market

The main goal of the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market is to support local vendors, artists, makers and artisans. While there are a number of markets and locations in this area, Deep Ellum Outdoor Market offers something unique, this calls to those who enjoy this type of shopping experience. There is definitely more than a few markets in the DFW area, but once you visit the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market, it is likely going to become one of your favorite places to go.

Located at 2636 Main Street, in Dallas, Texas, The Deep Ellum Outdoor Market, commonly just referred to as (DEOM) is open every third Saturday from the hours of 11AM to 5PM. DEOMís founder and director is Brandon Castillo, who lived in Spain for a period of two years teaching English while often visiting the nearby El Rastro Market, which was opened on a weekly basis. This is the inspiration for DEOM. With an idea and the desire to contribute to the DFW community, Brandon returned to Dallas to begin the process of creating this unique market/shopping experience. Deep Ellum already had a strong history of being a type of cultural mecca for the arts and it was obvious to him that this was the ideal location to execute his new dream.

According to a website dedicated to the history of Deep Ellum in Dallas, it first began to form and develop during the latter part of the 1800s as both a commercial and residential neighborhood found on the eastern side of Dallas. As the years passed, it became known for a number of different things. Deep Ellum has gone through a number of re-branding periods in more recent years. Right now, many would say it is going through a bit of a facelift, with more people and businesses moving up to the location.

When you visit, you can see local art from local artists linking the galleries on Main Street. Another must-see area is the Crowdus and Commerce Street. The Deep Ellum Outdoor Market appears once monthly and draws in a crowd from nearby towns and even different states. The fact is, the entire goal that Brandon had for DEOM was to create an accessible and meaningful public space in the city. This market represents a sustainable way to do just that on a monthly basis. They create an environment that allows creative use of the public areas and streetscape and offers new possibilities for new, emerging artists to reach a diverse and large audience.

While the vendors may be different from month to month, there are a few things you can count on if you plan to attend the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market. For example, there is always local music to enjoy and quite a few different food trucks. In fact, regardless of your tastes or preferences, you are likely going to find a food truck that ìhits the spot.î They typically post the lineup for the upcoming month early so you will know what to expect, as well.