Most for-profit and nonprofit business managers would agree that marketing is the one of the toughest parts of the job. Marketing usually involves paying for something and hoping that it reaches potential customers. If the marketing campaign works, it’s brilliant. If it doesn’t, it’s a bust.
Instead of playing the marketing guessing game, there are plenty of inspired and creative ways to promote your business. Some have a cost attached, but most are minimal.
1. Get busy on social media
Social media is one of the lowest priced marketing tools out there. There can be costs attached, but they are usually minimal, and you get to control how much you choose to spend. Your customers are active on social media, so you should share on a regular basis. And, what you share should have some value to your potential customers. If you have a nonprofit, you might be able to get a “Donate Now” button on your Facebook page.
2. Use holidays to your advantage
Customers love holidays and you can use that to your advantage. Prior to each holiday, you can come up with a special or a special event that will draw customers to your company. If you are running a nonprofit, the holidays could be the perfect time to reach donors. During these holidays, you could give a holiday-themed gift to give to donors. Be sure to share your specials on social media so your customers or donors know what is happening.
3. Create a welcome package
Depending on the size of your community, a welcome package could be the perfect way to get your brand in front of new customers. Welcome packages could be given to people who move into your community or they could be given to new businesses in your community. The welcome package does not need to include items from your business, they can include items from a variety of businesses and organizations. For example, the welcome package could include information about the local libraries, polling locations, and local parks and recreational areas. Business could provide coupons and swag like refrigerator magnets or ink pens. New residents in your community will appreciate the thoughtfulness.
4. Get your brand moving in the community
If you have a community where people are active, you should get your brand where they are. Give your employees and customers swag that you can order here. Items like wearable clothing magnets, customized tees, and car stickers can show off your brand to your community. This type of swag is low-cost and very visual. You’d be surprised how quickly word spreads about your business or nonprofit when your business name is visible in the community.
5. Create useful partnerships
When you partner up with local businesses and nonprofits, you can share costs in several ways, like printing and marketing. But best of all, partnering businesses get to share customers. Partnerships should benefit both organizations. For example, if you run a yoga studio and good partnership would be with a restaurant that offers fresh juices. The two businesses can share marketing and encourage customers to visit both locations. Or if you run a nonprofit, you can partner with a corporation that will automatically deduct donations from employees who elect to donate. The employees get a tax deduction and your organization gets regular funding.
6. Develop stories
Outstanding social media marketing involves telling stories. This can be done on sites like Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. Your story should involve pictures, video, and high-quality writing, too. The brand experience should engage the potential customer and it could even include the experiences of customers that you already have. These stories should be memorable and short enough that potential customers will pay attention without turning away.
7. Create short videos
If the prevalence of YouTube is any indication, people love to watch videos. Your social media posts should regularly include videos and if you aren’t including them, you are losing out on a valuable tool. While professionally created and edited videos might be the gold standard, you can create videos with a mobile phone and a video editing app. Before you shoot videos, come up with a plan so you aren’t just winging it. Consider what and who is in the background and consider how long you want each video to be.
8. Give out awards
Giving awards is a great way to bring customers to you. If you can afford it, you can create a scholarship competition at local high schools. Or, you can create an awards program for your top donors. You could even give out awards to customers who come in on any given day. Maybe you celebrate the Oscars by giving out awards to customers or employees, or you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by giving out awards to people who wear green when they walk through the door.
9. Sponsor an organization
If you want exposure for your brand, you have to get it out in front of people. You have to go where people are. Some brands can success getting out on social media, but others need to get out in the community. Whether you have a nonprofit or a for-profit business, you can sponsor organizations. A great way to get out in front of customers is to sponsor events at local schools or at places where people volunteer regularly, like food pantries or 5K runs. When you sponsor an organization, potential customers see that you care enough to give money and time. Your big heart and pocketbook will make you look good to current and potential customers.
10. Get on local media
People still watch TV and the still listen to local radio. If you have an expertise in something that interests people, you can promote your business or nonprofit on local media channels. Many local news channels are looking for ways to showcase nonprofits, so if you send them a press release, they just might put you on during a segment about nonprofits. Local media often showcase healthcare providers, lawyers, or insurance experts to help residents better understand news events and changes to government policies that might affect them. It’s free advertising and potential customers will appreciate seeing you on TV or listening to you on the radio.