8 Simple Ways to Engage Your Customers with Budget-Friendly Marketing
Did you know 67% of all statistics are made up on the spot? That snakes are the secret rulers of the internet, and that Tegus are trying to take over the world?
Okay, well the statistics and that bit about secret rulers and takeovers are clearly made up in an attempt to get your attention.
Now that I have it, though, let’s talk about ways to grab your audience’s attention.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a huge bank balance to blow through when it comes to marketing your business. There are plenty of things you can do to increase brand awareness on a small marketing budget.
Here are 8 marketing ideas for small shops working with a small budget.
1: Offer Valuable Content
This really shouldn’t be a point that needs to be emphasized so often, but you would be surprised how often business owners forget that quality is much more important than quantity.
Rather than cranking out tons of keyword-stuffed blog posts that don’t really offer any helpful advice, offer content that is value-driven and focused on your customers.
· Top 10 lists (Ex: Top 10 Best Reptiles for Kids)
· Tip collections (Ex: Caring for a Colombian Boa Constrictor)
· Industry practices
· Husbandry techniques
· Instructional videos – tutorials, demos for how to use new products, Q & A sessions, educational videos about different species, etc.
· Create presentations (Canva is great for this!) and share them on SlideShare.
· Infographics – This is also a great way to repurpose older content, and give it some new traffic and exposure. Plus, people love to share them, so you can really ramp up your referral traffic this way.
I offered some tips for marketing on a budget here – Use these tips to raise brand awareness and get your content in front of your target audience.
2: Turn to Reddit
Reddit is a popular social network that is one of the most powerful social media platforms you can use. Well, when used correctly.
You see, Reddit is full of a millennial audience (and other, older tech-savvy people) that completely balks at super obvious marketing tactics and sales pitches. That’swhy you need to know how Reddit really works in order to put it to good use.
You need to create and share truly valuable, truly rad content. Stick to extreme niches, and you will have far better luck. On Reddit, these are found under subcategories (Called ‘subreddits’), which hold content pertaining to the most narrow, most specific interests you will ever find. I mean, there’s a subreddit dedicated to the random thoughts that pop into people’s heads when they shower (/r/showerthoughts).
There’s something for everyone, and there’s definitely something in your niche. All you have do is share value-driven content to that subreddit, and you will slowly start to dominate that category.
3: Don’t Neglect Social Media
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve gone to check out the social media profiles of a great business, only to find they haven’t been updated in months…sometimes even years!
Social media is one of the most – if not the most – powerful tool you have at your disposal. It’s (for the most part) free, interactive, and makes it easy to reach both your target audience and a general audience.
Create accounts on big social media networking sites:
Check out this ultimate cheat sheet on social media marketing for reptile shops. The tips work for any type of business, really.
4: LinkedIn Isn’t Just for People Looking for Jobs
Seriously. LinkedIn is one of the most under-utilized marketing tools out there. Most people just create a profile, add connections, and then don’t do much else. That’s a huge mistake, and those people are missing out on great opportunities.
· Join active groups related to your industry – For example, there’s a group for Reptile Breeders that currently has 611 members. SuperZoo, a “premier pet industry event that brings together buyers and sellers from across the country and every segment of the pet industry” currently has 1,527 members. That’s a lot of prospective customers!
· Engage your connects in conversation
· Share your most recent content
· Leave insightful, valuable comments on the posts of others
· Share the content of others
· Leave testimonials and endorsements
5: Implement a Customer Referral Program
Customer referral programs are great for bringing in more business and word-of-mouth advertising. Give a bit of incentive by offering customers a free product, discount, tickets to a reptile show, or some other reward for referring their friends. I talk about the importance of pushing customer referrals in my post on how to improve sales performance.
6: Use QR Codes to Boost Sales
QR codes build customer relationships by offering valuable product information, giving instant access to reviews, and making it easier to promote your brand. Use QR codes on in-store signage to drive website traffic, add it to your catalog to turn readers into website visitors, and include one on your invoice to keep your customer-brand relationships alive. I wrote about creative ways to use QR codes for business over on BlogHer.
7: Pass out Awesome Business Cards
This really is one of the first things your shop should be doing. Invest in some kickass business cards, then hand them out to your customers. When they have a question, concern, or need to recommend a shop/breeder to a friend, they’ll have all of your information on hand.
You can also hand them out at trade shows, or put them in the raffles many restaurants tend to do. The more people who learn about your shop the better.
Decals, bumper stickers, window stickers, and stationary work the same way and can add a bit of creativity to your marketing strategy. Window stickers are especially helpful, since they are a form of mobile advertising.
8: Teach Your Customers Something New
Plan and host an event, lecture, demonstration, or class. Print out flyers for the event and post them (as permitted) on community boards found in places like coffee shops, libraries, colleges, church lobbies, and more. This is a great way to demonstrate your shop’s value and get raise brand awareness. John Mack of Reptiles by Mack recently wrote about this in an article on how to raise sales during the summer months.
If your event is large enough, you may end up getting some local news coverage!