I founded my network, Canadian Small Business Women in 2013 with the hopes of helping other women entrepreneurs successfully navigate the tricky waters of owning and running a company in a male-dominated landscape. The reality is that compared to male-owned businesses, women-owned businesses are younger, have fewer years or management or ownership experience compared with male business owners. They don’t make as much money and are less likely to engage in international trade.
Here are a few marketing ideas for you to try out. You don’t need to try each one, experiment and see what works for you.
1) Communication: Startup as many social media sites appropriate for your business; LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, blog site, and live chat through your business website and a toll-free phone number. Make sure your content is customized for the audience on each platform.
2) Business cards: Leave them everywhere and hand them out to everyone!
3) E-mail newsletters: Collect e-mails and send out weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly newsletters informing customers about upcoming promotions or events.
4) Business webpage: Keep your website and social media pages fresh and up-to-date. Your clients need to see that you are active within your business.
5) YouTube: Create a video of your product or service, post the YouTube link on your social media accounts and on both your blog and business site.
6) Stay connected: Keep in touch with your clients by sending them a handwritten thank you card and attach a coupon.
7) Loyalty: Reward your loyal customers with, for example, a 20 % off discount on their next purchase. Do not assume customers will keep coming back, acknowledge them, and show them that you value their commitment to your business.
8) Go old school: Print out pamphlets, brochures or flyers, and go door-to-door in your community handing them out. You could also leave them on the windshield of cars in a full parking lot at a local mall.
9) Get listed on directories: Both Google and Bing offer free listings for local businesses.
10) Vendors: Speak with the vendors from whom you buy products or services from and ask them if they know of any other businesses that could use your products or services. Also, check to see if they have a bulletin board where you can display your business card and ask to place yours up!
11) Offer to be a speaker: Often volunteer organizations, industry conferences, and local business groups are looking for guest speakers for their meetings. This will help you and your business gain contacts, name recognition and publicity.
12) Product or services: It does not matter what you are trying to sell, get out there, hand out sample size products and show off your work. This will help potential customers get a feel for your company and give them a chance to see what you have to offer.
13) On-the-go marketing: If you use a car or truck for your business ensure that your business name, logo and contact information are painted on the vehicle. For a cheaper alternative use magnetic signs and place them on the vehicle.
14) Contest: Run a contest through your business website or on Facebook. Ensure the prize is desirable and that it relates to your business. Example: a coupon offering 40% off a service from your business or a gift bag full of sample-size products. This will also create traffic on your business website and social media sites, along with helping you gain more followers
15) Community events: During a fundraiser, festival or even a family day event, ensure you get out there and offer or donate your services/products to events within your community. This is a great way to get your brand out there and help you better connect with potential clients/customers in your area.
This blog is reprinted with permission. Dwania Peele is the Owner and Executive Director of Canadian Small Business Women (CSBW). A chemist by training and education, and an entrepreneur at heart, Dwania has launched two successful businesses in seven years. Through e-courses, blogs, online chats, seminars and expos, she helps entrepreneurs showcase their expertise. Dwania is a frequent guest speaker at entrepreneur events and at panels across the GTA where she provides valuable business insight. The views expressed here don’t necessarily reflect the views members of the Zonta eClub of Canada1 or Zonta International.