A very wise person once said, "Kid, the good news is that you are now a small business owner. The bad news is that you are now a small business owner." Ok, so there probably wasn't a sage sitting atop a mountain, dispensing wisdom to potential entrepreneurs, and yet that little piece of wisdom is as relevant today as it was a hundred years ago and a hundred years before that.
The moment you take the leap of faith to start a small business, you quickly realize you are not only the workforce responsible for getting jobs done right, but you’re also the human resources department, sales department, the accounting and billing departments. And there’s a chance you’re serving as lead secretary answering and returning calls. When you're wearing so many hats as a small business owner, it's easy to forget that you're also the advertising and marketing director.
Advertising and marketing are not the same things, but they are often muddled together. To be clear, advertising is but one tactic employed in an overall marketing strategy. If you don't know what your marketing strategy is, or are unable to implement it, it's going to be very hard to get your business to grow. So let's toss around some ideas to market your business, even if you have little or no money. Although many of the following ideas could be beneficial to any small business, for this exercise, let's concentrate on marketing a kitchen remodeling business.
A Shoe-String Budget Can Still Yield Amazing Results
Where there's a home, there's a kitchen. So theoretically inside every home in America resides a potential customer. But, is that really the case? As you've probably figured out already, that's not reality. Here’s what you need to know to attract customers:
1. Research as Much as You Can
Research is the key to any effective marketing strategy, and the best thing about research is that, for the most part, it's free.
With a little research, you'd know that the kitchen remodeling industry generates about 74 billion dollars in revenue per year. You'd also know that your ideal consumer earns $40,000 per year or more. And, with a little more digging, you'd know that a consumer will spend on average about $22,000 on a kitchen remodeling project in 2018.
Don't be afraid to research your competitors as well. Find out what they're doing right and, more importantly, what they're doing wrong. Leverage the lessons learned from their mistakes to reach your business goals.
2. Turn Your E-mail Into Gold and Make Your Website Rain Diamonds
If you're not using your email lists and website to generate hot leads successfully, you're losing money hand over fist. For every $1 spent on email marketing, the return is about $38! Here are a few things that you can do to stop the bleeding:
- Optimize your website to be found easily by search engines.
- Make your site consumer friendly with important info easily accessible
- Use landing pages to capture important consumer data that can be used later.
- Offer incentives to promote customer sign-ups and customer referrals.
- Invest time in your blog by posting outstanding, evergreen, and image-rich content.
- Issue regular press releases with important news and interesting items about your business.
3. Even After the Wedding, Stay Engaged
Just because the kitchen remodeling project is over, doesn’t mean the job is dnoe. Remember to stay engaged with past customers. Maybe jot out a quick note or send a holiday card. If you're sly enough to capture your customer's birthdate, you can send them a birthday card. Also, send a handwritten thank you note to every customer. In addition to these few tips, try making your business cards and invoices eye-catching. Every business has print material, but a little extra effort will ensure yours stands out in the crowd.
4. Sponsor It and Give It Away For Free
Partnering with other companies is a great way to get your business noticed, and it doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. Likewise, as an active member of your community, being charitable can pay big dividends in the end.
- Cross-market your business with your vendors and other companies in the kitchen remodeling business. Maybe sponsor a contest together and take advantage of the publicity.
- Donate your talent in kitchen remodeling to charity. Remodeling the church or nursing home kitchen for free can create a ton of community goodwill and send customers your way.
- Give or sponsor a free class on kitchen remodeling and share your knowledge.
When it's down to nickels and dimes, sometimes you're going to have to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself.
- Instead of spending money on a telemarketing company, spend a few hours each week and hit the phones to drum up leads.
- Instead of paying postage on direct mail campaigns, pick an area and drive around handing out flyers and business cards. Get out and meet the people that could soon be your customers.
- Take advantage of free social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram to post before and after pictures of every remodeling project, and use them to create a digital portfolio showcasing your talent.
Try these ideas in your business and be amazed by the returns. It may take a little time, but keep at it, and see your business soar to new heights.