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Three Small Business Marketing Hacks

Lori Stafford Thomas

As part of their ongoing efforts to stay a step ahead of their competition two streets over, it’s important that small business owners continually try out engaging and creative ways to connect with local consumers. Even though small merchants typically don't have large marketing budgets to fund major campaigns, there are still ways to effectively reach potential customers without breaking the bank - and without diverting too much attention away from daily business operations.

Here are three fast and smart small business marketing hacks you can implement in your marketing strategy:

  1. Create brand ambassadors: A great way to get free marketing is by creating brand ambassadors for your business. Simply put, encourage word-of-mouth marketing by engaging customers with relevant messaging and providing excellent service. If a consumer feels that a company not only treats them well, but makes informed product recommendations, they are more likely to interact with a specific brand. Plus, if a customer is partial to a particular merchant, they may be more likely to recommend that company to a friend or family member. If a business is able to turn a browser into a brand ambassador, they’re likely going to see an influx of business. According to Nielsen research, 92 percent of customer respondents trust recommendations from family and friends over every other form of advertising [1].
  2. Reward your followers with a product giveaway: If you want to establish your brand as an engaging and fun company, try a free merchandise or product giveaway for your social followers. Product giveaways are easy to set up, often requiring some type of positive engagement from the social follower to be eligible to win. Consider rewarding the first X number of customers who interact with one of your posts with a prize or discount. Customers who’ve been rewarded are more likely to become brand advocates by continuing to support your business and by recommending it to family and friends.
  3. Go mobile: An effective way to personally reach out to customers is by sending them a targeted text message. Small businesses using up-to-date payment processors should be able to quickly access their customer contact information. A recent Tatango study found that text message open rates are 99 percent, with 90 percent of those being read within three minutes of receipt [2]. Provided your payment processor stores such customer data, obtaining customer mobile phone numbers won’t cost you a penny. In just a few minutes, you can send out the same or different text messages to various customer subsets, allowing you to tailor the message for maximal impact.

[1] Nielsen, http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2012/consumer-trust-in-online-social-and-mobile-advertising-grows.html, 2012

[2] Tatango, http://www.tatango.com/blog/sms-open-rates-exceed-99/, Apr. 10, 2013

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