Central Coast Small Business Marketing
After the recent Belinda Neal fiasco at Iguana Joes Water Front Bar, that we are all doubtless sick of hearing about, it reminded me of the well known saying “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”. Iguana’s has gained millions of dollars worth of free marketing because one of their patrons, who happened to be a politician, had a few too many drinks and threaten a staff member.
Most of us would not be in a position to get prime-time news coverage but there are many other successful ways to market your Central Coast business for little or no cost.
Word of mouth
“Word of mouth” is the spreading of your business name and reputation through your clients talking about or recommending your services to others. I believe this is one of the most powerful marketing techniques and, from my experience, the most successful. To generate leads through “Word of mouth” is simple … provide a service that people will want to talk about. There is not much more you can do to help “Word of mouth” apart from asking your friends and family to recommend your business services, if the situation arises.
Create a name for yourself
When I say “Create a name for yourself”, what I mean is exposing your business brand in different ways until it becomes a well known name. For instance, if somebody thinks of a Central Coast web designer they may immediately think jWeb or Big Click Studios without searching for any other web design businesses. Creating a name for yourself can be quite time consuming, but if successfully achieved, it is extremely powerful. Once you have a name for yourself, the work will flow in. The skill is then upholding your reputation and maintaining your brand awareness. Brand awareness is the key phrase here … but I think i’ll elaborate on this in another post.
Notice board exposure
There are many notice boards around the Central Coast and alot of them allow businesses to promote their services on them. You can leave business cards, brochures and posters on these but remember to ask the owner before you use it.
Sponsorship and Community Work
Sometimes it pays to give discounted or free work to charities, community organisations, or sporting groups, etc. If your company is seen to be community minded and aware of charities it can benifit your overall business marketing. If you do this, though, make sure you get recognition for your services. This could be a logo or website that is visible to people, e.g. you might see “Sponsored by” logos on the bottom of website.
If signage is used the right way, it can create lots of valuable exposure for your business brand. The obvious form of signage is the shop front sign. Not everyone has a shop front as such, but signage can be displayed in front of your place of business, wherever it is. Even a portable A-board or forecourt sign in front of a market stall is a form of signage and brand exposure.
One effective form of signage for small to medium business is vehicle signage. This can be a simple sticker on the rear window or a total vinyl wrap which covers the whole car. Whenever you go for a drive your business brand is in plain sight of everyone around you.
Search Engine Rankings
Search engine rankings or search engine optimisation (SEO) is a growing trend. More and more small businesses are catching on to the fact that, if they have a website, they can get valuable business leads and brand exposure simply by ranking on Google and other search engines. Quite often, when people are looking for a service or product, they will type a search phrase directly into a search engine and visit the first few search results. The other options are looking in the local newspaper or trawling through your phone directory, which can get quite tedious.
Business directories are a great way to gain exposure. Alot of business directories have a small cost (normally paid annually) but some are free, or have a free basic option. Most business directories are online and are fantastic to be listed on, as these large directory websites have a good search engine ranking and can send people to your business, if they are searching online. Other forms of directories are local newsletters or community magazines that target their local area only.