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Part 5 – Small Business Marketing Ideas You Can Steal Now. A 5 Part Series

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Part 5 – Small Business Marketing Ideas You Can Steal Now. A 5 Part Series


These last five tips should round out some easy to implement, low cost marketing ideas. They are time tested and proven.
As I recently reminded a group of small business owners at a presentation – if you have the greatest product or service in the world and no one knows about it, then you’re like a man in a dark blue suit that has wet himself but no one knows.
Here are the final five (5). Do try.
21. Mine the diamonds in your backyard
The story is told of Geoff, an ambitious and driven man who desired wealth. This desire led him on a journey around the globe in search of a diamond mine for he knew if he found a diamond mine he would surely find riches. Unsuccessful in his attempt to find riches, he died a poor and broken man.
After his death, some property developers bought his condo for development purposes. When they began digging the foundation they happened upon a – you guessed it – a very rich diamond mine! If only Geoff had known.
The moral of the story – look first in your own backyard; chances are you’re sitting on a gold mine of opportunities and possibilities. Small business owners like Geoff, tend to look further a field rather than looking in front of us. Our current and past customers are our very own diamonds. Remember, you’ve already established trust and credibility and mining for future opportunities shouldn’t be that difficult. Mine well, develop lasting relationships, add value and ask for referrals. You’re on your way.
22. Do something outrageous. Pull a stunt
As a small business with limited marketing dollars, thinking outside the box should not be a cliché, it should be a way of doing; a way of being. A well-planned and executed marketing stunt can get you loads of free advertising and a coveted front cover story. Take the case of Half.com, a 1999 start-up online discount retailer in Oregon, USA who struggled to standout from the rapidly growing dot com crowd. To generate buzz and raise brand awareness they approached the city of Halfway, Oregon to change its name to Half.com.
This bold, out the box move, attracted a lot of media attention landing them a spot on the front page of many newspapers. Naturally, traffic to the site spiked and months later eBay bought out the up and comers for a whopping $300 million. How’s that for a marketing stunt?

23. Leave your business cards, flyers and other promo items everywhere you go
Whenever you get the opportunity to leave your collateral material grab it and don’t even think twice. The key is being prepared all the time. For starters, become a mobile office and always keep a stash of your business cards, flyers, discount coupons, current specials, catalogues, freebies whatever you have, handy.
Leave them with bank tellers, cashiers, local stores, laundry mats, daycares, gyms, spas, hair salons, boutiques, restaurants, bars, clubs, churches, wherever. When leaving tips, leave your business cards too (make sure the tip is worthwhile as you don’t want to come across as stingy and someone not to do business with!).
University and college campus student centres are especially good if you’re offering a discount or have a special running that college kids could use. College students are typically on a budget.
Hospitals give out mommy packs, so call your local hospital and see if they’ll accept your freebie, special coupons, catalogue or whatever to include in their packages.
This is only the tip of the ice-berg, there are many other opportunities out there, be on the look out and when you find it, seize the moment.
24. Participate in local fairs and other community events
Local fairs, summer festivals, bridal shows and home and garden shows are relatively inexpensive events you can participate in and get noticed. They typically attract hundreds if not thousands of attendees and could be worthwhile to add to your marketing calendar. Many recognizable brands and names got their start at a local craft fair or festival. If you’re not sure when they happen check the internet or talk to other businesses in the know. Make a calendar of the events you will attend and circulate to your customers and prospects. Broadcast on your website and newsletter as well.
Be sure to do something creative and memorable while you’re at the show. Remember the key is getting noticed; standing out and most of all collecting info you can use later for contact.
25. Out maneuver your competition. Do it better. Think creatively.
Everyday we vie for some kind of prize; it’s inevitable your business will too – new customers, increased sales or simply goodwill. There is no getting away from the competition. While you can’t control what your competitors do, you certainly can minimize the impact on your business and work your hardest to come out ahead.
Without customers you have no business, period. In these times (and as long as you’re in business for that matter) do all you can to create a memorable service experience.
Take a friend of mine, for example, who runs a bridal store in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). There are several other similar shops on the street. She tells me that many of the brides walk into her store and complain about the service (or lack thereof) they receive at the competitors stores nearby. With a welcoming feel and cozy set-up, her boutique has comfy chairs, a bridal room and tea and coffee to boot! Yes, tea and coffee among the bridal gowns. Needless to say, her referral rate is quite high.
With many businesses cutting back on marketing and advertising during this slow period, now is the time to push your marketing forward. Remember that old saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’? It’s true, even for businesses. Your goal is to be top of mind, get noticed and position yourself for the upswing. The rebound will happen. If you do this right and consistently, as sure as night follows day, surely your business will be the first to receive that sales call.
When was the last time you took a careful look at your market? Is there a niche that you or your competitor might have overlooked? Do an assessment and if you find one, move quickly to fill the gap and dominate.
Think differently. How about selling a secondary product or service to sell your primary product or service? Say you are a web hosting company; why not consider offering a website submission service (free or paid). In this way, you’ll be in front of your ideal prospects to sell them your hosting services. You’ve created a way to make contact.

With this series at an end, I’d like to encourage and remind you to keep doing something; keep moving.

Share your ideas and thoughts or maybe other strategies that have worked for you.

By: Dorothy Vernon-Brown

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