Small business marketing strategies will always have two things in common – you as the marketer and the customer. What is most important in terms of coming up with a marketing strategy for your small business is not what you do, but how you do it. Any successful business will operate with a goal of win/win for both the business operator and the customer. That is, if someone is not happy with the interaction then there's been a failure and lessons must be learned.
The same concept applies in the process of developing marketing strategies for your small business as in the retail store serving customers. Essentially what you are doing when you're looking at forming a marketing strategy is the beginning of building a relationship with your customer. If you are honest with your customers then they will appreciate it. If you are not, then they won't.
Small Business Marketing Strategies That Work: Honesty in advertising
This is something that's always perplexed me a bit really – not the honesty side of it, but why companies would want to lie to their customers. If there's one thing I know it's that the most successful, vibrant and long lived companies are honest with themselves and their customers. This is what you should strive for. If you run a café for example and put up a sign on a chalkboard claiming to have the best coffee in the state – would that be truthful? Probably not. But if you put up a sign that said "We want to make the best coffee in the state – tell us how we're going" you'd not only be telling the truth, you'll be creating a relationship with your customers right at the outset.
The example above is part of the win/win. The customer wins because not only do they get a coffee, but they actually get to tell the café what they honestly thought of it! The business wins because they've invited people into the café and initiated a relationship – the customer is part of something. If the sign had promised the best coffee in the state and failed to deliver I can guarantee that a lot of people would not be back again – but what about the other scenario?
Small Business Marketing Strategies That Work: Word of mouth wins hands down
Any contest between marketing methods for businesses big or small will always be dominated by word of mouth. This is not just true of very good experiences, but especially true of poor experiences. Even more so really. If you have a negative experience at a restaurant, you'd be likely to be telling your friends, family, acquaintances and colleagues about it wouldn't you… So remember that when you are dealing with a customer in your small business you're not just dealing with them, you're dealing with all the people they will be talking to about you and your business. Think of each customer as a mystery shopper and you'll be on the road to success.
Small business marketing strategies always begin with the relationship between the customer and the business, and that relationship can be built before the two even meet – by advertising and by word of mouth. Remember that high expectations cannot always be satisfied, and you shouldn't make claims you cannot back up. Honesty will take you a long way in business – it's always the best policy, even in marketing your small business. Enjoy!