Patricia Norins, publisher and CEO of Pinnacle Publishing Group, Inc., prefers employing marketing tactics that maintain visibility within the marketplace and do so on a modest budget. She stresses the importance of incorporating marketing into your business plan and presented 50 Low-Cost Marketing Ideas to Boost Your Bottom Line at the January Market. Having and implementing a smart marketing plan results in increased sales because it keeps your business “top of mind” while building strong relationships with customers to create a larger sense of community.
Since marketing as a whole can be somewhat abstract and overwhelming, Patricia recommends business owners write a brief marketing plan and spend more energy on implementation. Her formula for a six-sentence plan is as follows
- 1st sentence: State your purpose (To motivate people to visit and buy from my store and website).
- 2nd sentence: Emphasize your primary competitive advantage (I carry the widest selection of eco-friendly gifts).
- 3rd sentence: Describe your target audience (men, women and children ages 2-100).
- 4th sentence: List the marketing tools you’ll use to implement your plan.
- 5th sentence: Identify your niche and what you really stand for (quality gifts from around the world).
- 6th sentence: Provide your marketing budget. Patricia recommends this be 10% of your store’s budget.
Patricia suggests incorporating some of the following tools into your marketing strategy. List them in your 4th sentence.
- Patricia notes that 80% of sales usually come from the top 30% of buyers. Motivate your current customers to buy from you through referral programs, frequent buyer cards, money-back guarantees and personal contact, such as hand-written thank-you notes. Ask your customers to engage through surveys, polling, testimonials and reviews.
- Establish a social media presence; add fresh content frequently; and interact with your customers through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to create a sense of familiarity and community. Maximize your reach by using Facebook and Google advertising.
- Increase your email marketing by improving your email list, sending information on a regular schedule with call to action points and tracking your results. She suggests learning the CAN-Spam Act guidelines to make certain you are in compliance with the law.
- Improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) by investing in your website and online presence. Add useful content to your website and update it regularly, blog frequently and link it to your website. Make certain your business is listed on websites like Google Maps and Yelp.
- Host events to offer customers a reason to come into your store to shop and tie in themes like a sale or charitable benefit. Partner with other businesses in the area to co-op marketing and advertising efforts and expenses. Create a newsworthy angle for the event and promote it to your local media through a press release.