• shops and stores
  • individuals
  • ebayers
  • market traders

Target Your Customers

Target Your Customers

When you’re starting up your small business – in fact even if you have been going for a while – you may find it difficult to make people aware of who you are, what you do, what you sell or what products or service you offer. With the best of intentions you may then decide to advertise in a newspaper, or on Facebook and before you know it you’ve parted with a great deal of money and you’re not at all sure whether you’ve had any return on it.

The thing is, with a small business, where every penny counts, it is really important that you let people know about you or your branding so advertising really matters. It doesn’t matter if you have the cheapest products, or the best quality – if no-one knows about you then you aren’t going to be doing very good business.

So you need to pay attention to advertising and consider a marketing strategy and factor in the costs to your business.

A Business Card!

A Business Card!

The first rule of thumb when it comes to smart advertising is not to put all of your eggs into one basket. What I mean by that is that you want to target a wide ranging and yet specific audience. That sounds daft, doesn’t it? But think about it. If you sell, let’s say, toys – you aren’t selling specifically to children unless you do that on a physical premises. Toys will sell to children in a shop thanks to pester power. If you’re selling online you’re unlikely to be able to target children so you need to go after their parents … and their grandparents. So you have three potential audiences to cater for when you’re advertising, right there.

Think also about how innovative you are. I say this over and over – how are you going to make sure you stand out from the crowd? What will draw the eye? What will make people interested enough to click through to your website?

Clever and innovative

Clever and innovative

Press Release

Send out a press release to your local paper. Tell them what you have and what makes it unique. You can send this to as many newspapers, websites, magazines and radio as you like. You never know – if they have a slow news day you might be on to a winner and they’ll do you proud!

Another business card. Could be rude ...

Another business card. Could be rude …

Business Cards

Have a fun or innovative business card – something that really stands out. You could offer a discount on the back and then hand them out with every sale, including any you make online. Send a few – get people to give them to their friends. There are places online that allow you to design your own card at very reasonable prices. Alternatively if you look for a freelance website such as People per hour, you can find people who will expertly design a business card for you for a small fee.

Facebook

Be proactive on Facebook. Design a page for your business and upload material daily. This material can take the form of status updates – e.g. “Just had some amazing new stock in from Wholesale Clearance. Check it out now, it won’t be here for long” or it could be jokes that you find on other pages and you “share” to your own, or it can be photos of stock. Here at Wholesale Clearance, we run a fun Friday Quiz/Competition every week and that always goes down well.

Pretty but memorable for the right kind of business

Pretty but memorable for the right kind of business

Use Twitter

Similarly, use Twitter and let people know where your stall is located for example, or all about your new products. Offer flash discounts, or tweet every time you have something you want to sell off. Followers = business opportunities!

Positivity

In all of your dealings – be this with suppliers, customers, the postal workers – whomever, be positive! You want to be the person people remember as that great girl or guy. You don’t want to be the one people say “s/he’s a right bloomin’ misery!” It sounds obvious – but people will spread the word about you if they like you. If they don’t like you they’ll tell people that too and people have a long memory!

I'm not sure whether this is a business card or a nit comb

I’m not sure whether this is a business card or a nit comb

Set up your website

You have to have a website these days, there really is no way to get around it. If you’re thinking of trying out a business one of the first things people do is Google it. So make sure you have a really attractive website – that is professional and that actually works. If you’re not internet savvy, hire someone who is. Make the most of your online presence and take advice wherever you can get it.

Add a blog to your website

Another way to drum up interest is to start a blog and write interesting and relevant articles *cough* just like this one *cough*. If you’re an expert in something, people are always going to want to get some tips off you. Hopefully people will engage with your blogs and that way they’ll take more interest in your business. If you’re not a writer, hire a freelancer to write something for you weekly.

Have guest blogs

Ask real experts to write something on your blog. If you can local business leaders, councillors, the Chamber of Commerce, celebrities – Richard Branson (hey, aim high!) to write on your blog you’ll really get customers interested in your business.

mmmm a business card you can eat! Genius!

mmmm a business card you can eat! Genius!

Offer Discounts

Many café’s and coffee shops give customers a card and stamp them with every purchase. Well regardless of what you sell, if there’s a chance that people are coming back, you could do that too. If you sell mixed items then after 10 stamps maybe the customer gets 10 or 20% discount. If you sell similar items – say T shirts – then after 10 they get a free t shirt or one that’s half price? It’s a simple way to encourage customer loyalty.

Competition Time

Run a competition. This is very effective on Facebook. You can’t ask people to SHARE as a condition of entry, merely to like or comment, but even so, a fun competition with a good prize is always a great way to get your business noticed.

Brilliant! Lego business cards!

Brilliant! Lego business cards!

What do you think?

So we haven’t recommended anything that will cost you an arm and a leg (besides a website design perhaps!) but these are all ways you can advertise and attract more customers to your business. You’re in this for the long haul so you don’t have to do this all at once, but you do have to keep on top of it. Newspaper and magazine advertising is expensive and is questionable whether it translates into sales when you’re a small business. Facebook advertising can be useful but again it can work out expensive at price per click!

What works for you? Let us know below or come and chat on our Facebook page (see what we did there) and have a go at our Friday competition (oop we’re at it again!) 😉

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