Promotion, Marketing & Advertising

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12 Expert Strategies to Market Your Local Business


With the rise of e-commerce and the increased influence of global brands, many local businesses find it challenging to connect with customers even in their own backyard. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Data from Google shows that over 4 out of 5 consumers regularly search online for local services or products, while many customers are happy to pay higher prices to support small business. 

It may be tough to compete with international advertising campaigns, but there are still plenty of marketing strategies that organizations tend to overlook. ePromos reached out to expert marketers and small biz owners alike to get their thoughts and efficient tips that will help level the playing field when it comes to advertising a local business.

1. Yelp Marketing

Rodney YoLocal marketing is pretty much our entire marketing strategy since we cater only to Californians, so we heavily rely on ranking higher for local users. One strategy that has worked well for us is Yelp advertising. The key to succeeding on Yelp is having a complete profile, actively responding to reviews and doing your best to make sure customers are giving you five stars. Once you have that, you’ll start to rank higher organically, and you can pay for Yelp ads in your area. It’s hard to tell the difference between a Yelp ad and a listing which can work to your advantage.

Rodney Yo, Owner – Best Online Traffic School

2. Create a Solid Digital Foundation

Martin Watts

 

Whether you own a physical ‘brick and mortar’ store or are 100% online, there is no point spending precious marketing dollars driving potential customers to a website and digital presence that won’t convert them to a sale.

So, what makes a solid foundation for a local business? Here are my 5 steps.

1. A great website that loads quickly, has a valid SSL certificate and is optimized for mobile. Hire a professional or build your own via some of the major online website builders that take the hassle out of hosting for you.
2. Reviews, reviews and more reviews. To boost your business listing in local searches it’s about quantity. Encourage past and present clients to review your Google My Business listing.
3. A Facebook page that is set up as a ‘local business’. This allows people to tag your business page in the many local Facebook Groups when people are asking for recommendations on a daily basis.
4. Google Search Console & Analytics. Register your site on Google search console and link it up to Google Analytics so that you can fix errors and optimize your website content.

If you do these things, you’ll be setting yourself up for local marketing success and will be way ahead of your competition.

Martin Watts, CEO – 8Cats Automotive

3. Find Local Keywords for SEO

Although SEO is often seen by local business owners as difficult or a waste of time, I’ve found it to be a valuable source of leads (both international and local).

For local businesses, I recommend using a local keyword tool like KWFinder to help you choose keywords that your site can potentially rank for. Then, build a few quality links to your site by listing your business on local directories and guest blogging for local and/or relevant websites. In my industry, it didn’t take a ton of backlinks or content to start seeing results.

Chloe BrittainDon’t focus too much on search volume metrics when your website is still relatively new: You can generate a small but steady stream of leads early on in your campaign if you focus on quality over quantity and target a handful of low-competition keywords, even if the search volume is quite low (even 10 searches per month or less).

Chloe Brittain, Owner – Opal Transcription Services

4. Use Instagram’s Local Features

Use Instagram to do a location-based search on your business. So many brick-and-mortars have been surprised to know that customers – without any prodding from the business – are sharing updates and tagging their location in them. Spencer X SmithBy searching for those tagging your location and simply thanking them, you can show both your customers and potential customers that you’re listening and engaging. For those who respond positively, offer them something to come back so they have more to share on social media.

Spencer X Smith, Founder – AmpliPhi

 

5. Get Involved

Storytelling is more important than ever, as are visuals if you’re using platforms like Instagram. My area of expertise is branding and publicity for authors, professionals and small businesses. I advise clients to find a local nonprofit that’s aligned with their business objectives – or something they’re passionate about – and to get involved. Learning how to fundraise for a nonprofit, and working with others, is a great way to meet people and get exposure for your business. Taking photos or videos at nonprofit events where you’re a participant is free shareable social media content.

Tina KoenigHere are a couple of examples: a moving company helped a local library foundation on the day of its signature event by moving hundreds of silent auction items and decorations to the event venue. Also, an author who wrote a memoir about growing up poor in Guyana organized an international mission trip to provide dental assistance to residents of the town where he grew up. He applied for grants to cover the cost of the trip and a local dental team donated their time and supplies.

Tina Koenig, Literary Consultant & Publicist – https://tinakoenig.com/

6. Invest in Your Reputation

When homeowners in your area are looking for a business nearby, they’re looking for signals that they can trust you. Testimonials from happy customers can go a long way in making people feel comfortable with your company. Online reviews mean a lot. Laura SimisLocal Services by Google (which are ads that now show above regular PPC listings for searches for local services) don’t link users to your website at all – they show your name, phone number, and your star rating on your Google Business page – so it’s important to make sure you’re passing the right message along to potential customers.

Laura Simis, Branding & Communications Manager – Coalmarch

 

7. Be Thorough with Google My Business

Local marketing is all about being found when a potential customer needs your product or services. To that end, it’s imperative that companies establish and verify their Google My Business listing. This listing is responsible for the business showing up on Google Maps as well as in the local pack of a Google search (the top three listings under the map at the top of the search results).

When filling out the information on GMB it’s important to be as thorough as possible. Companies need to make sure they select the right categories of business that are in. For instance, our company is in the in self-storage industry. Derek HinesSo, we choose not only “Self-Storage Facility”, but “Storage Facility”, “Moving Supply Store”, “Truck Rental Agency”, and “Packaging Supply Store.” We also put in a description of the business that is keyword optimized for the terms that people are searching for. Lastly, make sure that you verify the business with Google. When you request verification, Google will send the business a postcard with a code on it that must be entered on the GMB page. This signals to Google that the business is legitimate and operational.

Derek Hines, Internet Marketing Specialist – West Coast Self Storage

8. Join Local Organizations

Julia MonahanWhile a Google My Business listing is important, a new business really gets the most value in getting their name in front of the local audiences. Joining the local neighborhood organization will tap you into what the market is looking for and how you can get involved. Through the organization, you can run promotions, be part of their newsletter, get support hosting events, etc. This is really a win-win for everyone involved; more activity makes the community stronger and each activity gets your businesses name out there and raises awareness.

Julie Monahan, Director of Marketing – The Alternative Board

9. Explore Paid Advertising Options

The best way to market a local business is to do so online. With an estimated 46% of all searches having local intent, putting your business in front of users is essential to driving both traffic to your website and revenue for your business.

Audrey Strasenburgh

So how do you market a small business online? When asked this question, I always recommend paid advertising. Starting a paid advertising campaign can help give your website the added online visibility it needs if your organic search traffic is less than stellar. There are dozens of different paid advertising options you can choose from, including Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and even ads on local online directory websites such as Yelp. Paid advertising is a great option because your ad is placed in a strategic location – often above your competitors – on the page. Even if you don’t get clicks, your brand name is front and center and visible to those conducting a local search online.

Audrey Strasenburgh, SEO Strategist – LogoMix

10. Use Word-of-Mouth

I always advise my clientele to market their services exactly the way their huge competitors don’t – locally. They have a knowledge of their geographic prospect marketplace that corporate marketers don’t, so use this vital knowledge to connect with people as if they were actual people – as if the business and the individual prospect could meet face to face one day – because they probably will. Stay in touch with their prospects and give your customers the first opportunity to access special sales, pricing and offers that other prospects won’t get.Steve James

Get your customers to speak to your specific market place as an evangelist for you; these word-of-mouth recommendations are always the gold at the end of the marketing rainbow that you need. You don’t know who they know, but these second-level contacts will like you because their friends do.

Steve James, Freelance Marketing Consultant – SmallBizBigBiz

 

11. Create Seasonal Stories 

One thing that excites local media is to receive fresh story ideas for seasonal topics like summer vacation, back-to-school, spring break, etc. If a small retailer offers a product or service with a connection to a seasonal topic, then a pitch to local news outlets could net a high-profile placement. For instance, in the run-up to peak summer travel season, a local spa or salon that offers skin products could pitch its sun protection and hydration products to educate consumers about the need to keep skin protected from damaging ultraviolet rays with the most appropriate level of SPF.

Julia Angelen Joy, Account Director – Swyft

12. Local Advertising Affordably

Jeff MoriartyWe own a small brick and mortar jewelry store, as well as an online website. One area where we have excelled is through social media. We do Facebook and Instagram advertising for our local store and promote it through geotargeted ads. These ads normally have a special offer, along with pictures of our store and a button for directions. We only advertise 10 miles around our store, which helps with costs and it ensures us that we are going after the right potential customers. This has brought us in 100’s of more followers and dozens of new customers each month to our store. This is something we will continue to do, and we would recommend other small business owners to the same!

Jeff Moriarty, Marketing Manager – Moriarty’s Gem Art

We hope these 12 tips help offer guidance when promoting a local business. It’s important to take full advantage of modern digital marketing strategies, as well as not to forget to be active in the community where your business resides.

For organizations interested in using promotional products to grow their local brand, contact ePromos to speak to one of our brand professionals today.


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When Buying Brand Names Brings the Biggest Benefit


What’s in a name? To some customers – everything. A name-brand promotional product can sometimes be the difference between an item that is tossed and an item that is kept, wariness and trust in your company, potential and acquisition. Sometimes it can be what makes or breaks your promotion… and sometimes the brand alternative can accomplish the same goal.

So how do you know which time it is? How do you choose? When does buying name brands matter?

The Value of Name-Brand Promotional Products

Let’s first explore the value of name-brand promotional products. There is no denying people love what they know. The end-game for most companies is to become a household name themselves, so it makes sense to align your brand with a well-known brand. But going beyond that concept, what makes a well-known brand so desirable?

building trust

For some it may be status. For some, quality. People trust brands they’ve had multiple good experiences with, brands that work to make the world a better place, and brands that demonstrate superior customer service.

Often brand-name items are rivaled by brand alternatives that are competitive in both form and function. In these cases, the only major differences are the price points and the perceived value.

Brand-name items tend to have a higher perceived value. Their prices are often higher. They experience discounts and sales less frequently. Their logos are recognizable… coveted even. This value is not just for the customer, but also for you as the advertiser. Name-brand promos can be great conversation pieces, which will lead to even more exposure for your own brand.

Retail and Promo Worlds Collide

The world of promotional products has come a long way in recent years. In our industry there will always be a place for affordable knock-offs and “tchotchkes,” but retail-inspired offerings are on the rise.

People tend to gravitate toward retail-level quality, and now thanks to the availability of top consumer brands, we finally have the power to deliver the latest trends and give your customers what they truly want.

With big box stores such as Toys “R” Us, Brookstone and Sears closing their doors, it’s clear that retail as a whole is evolving. Brands are looking for new ways to market themselves, and the promo industry is the way to go. The brands we all love are learning that we can work together to further success. This natural alliance between promotional products and name-brands allows those brands to live on and extend their reach while allowing us to offer recognizable retail-inspired items your customers will want to keep.

How to Choose Between Brand-Name and Brand-Alternative Promos

To buy, or not to buy, that is the question. Here are some guidelines to help you with that decision:

Set Goals: Before shopping for any promotional products or creating a marketing plan, you have to set goals. Is your goal to reach as many people as possible? How are you defining that reach? Sometimes less is more. Look to your own budget to determine if you can realistically afford to reach your marketing goals with a name-brand promotional item. If you can accomplish the same reach with a high-quality, lower-cost brand alternative, it may be worth your while.

Consider Cost: There are clear benefits to buying brand-names, but the biggest deterrent is almost always cost. Typically speaking, brand-name promotional products incur higher prices than brand-alternative products. Is it because the quality of the product is actually greater? Sometimes. But more often than not, it is simply due to the fact that it is a well-known brand and therefore has a higher perceived value.

Know Your Industry & Audience: Where and to whom you distribute your promos is a huge factor in deciding the type of promo that is most appropriate. If you intend to hand out items at a trade show or as a gift with purchase, you will get a bigger bang for your buck by shopping brand alternatives. If you intend your branded items as reward incentives, name-brands offer much more value. Even among the name-brand items, it’s important to look at demographics like age; younger audiences will value different brands than older audiences especially when it comes to apparel. It’s also important to know the expectations of customers within your industry. For example, clients of businesses like law firms and banks may be more brand-conscious than other industries. Know where you come from, and know where you’re going.

Understand Limitations: Some name-brand promotional products are limited in what they can offer in terms of imprinting. These brands may be new to the industry or simply don’t want to distract from their own logos. Whatever the case may be, you can often find more opportunity for multiple or larger imprint areas in brand-alternative products. It’s important to weigh your options and decide if the name or if the imprint will further your success based on the other factors above.

brand name versus brand alternative

It’s not always an easy or clear-cut decision to buy brand-name or brand-alternative promotional products, but we are here to help you make the right choice for your particular needs. Let us share some of our insight into the worlds of retail and promo with side-by-side comparisons and our vast knowledge of the pros and cons of each. Get in touch today!


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Fresh Ideas to Improve Your Mobile Marketing Strategy


Most marketing experts agree that if you aren’t engaging customers through a strong mobile marketing strategy, you’re falling behind the times. It’s estimated that about 36% of the world’s population uses a smartphone, and a whopping 77% of Americans use one. In countries like Mexico, India, and Indonesia, smartphone ownership outweighs desktop ownership by as much as four times. What’s all this mean? If you want to reach an audience on a broad scale, you must meet them where they are, and based on the above stats, it couldn’t be clearer—they’re on their smartphones.

Mobile MarketingMobile marketing is exactly what it sounds like—marketing to potential customers through mobile devices including smartphones and tablets. Ads reach customers on these devices through websites, email, social media, apps, and push notifications. If this is unfamiliar territory to you, perhaps you’re wondering what the big stink is—why does it need to be mobile specific if you’re already targeting customers online, for instance? It all comes down to optimization. Optimizing your ads for mobile devices means, in simple terms, that they’ll work better on a smartphone or tablet, helping to ensure maximum engagement.

Like we said, if you aren’t already running a mobile marketing strategy, you’re lagging. Keep reading for our top 5 tips to get you started:

Mobile Marketing Tips and Fresh Ideas for Your Mobile Marketing Strategy

1: Create a Site that’s both Mobile Friendly and Mobile Optimized

Having a mobile friendly site means that your website is displayed correctly (and is fully functional) on a mobile device. Ensuring that your website is mobile friendly is considered a best practice by search engines. In today’s mobile-expanding world, it’d be foolish not to do it. For more information on mobile friendliness, Check out these tips.

Yes, there’s a difference between being mobile friendly and mobile optimized. While being mobile friendly is considered essential nowadays, it’s also pretty much the bare minimum one should do. Creating an optimized site is the next step up—but what’s the difference? Being optimized means your site goes under (varying degrees of) redesign to best fit a mobile application—this is more sophisticated than simply shrinking down your current website to be mobile friendly. Some of the key differences include navigation that is “finger friendly” and downsizing graphics so they don’t end up taking up the whole screen.

2: Create a Responsive Design

A third option for ensuring your site will display and function correctly on a mobile device is to have it be created with “responsive design site”. It might sound complicated, but the heart of this type of design simply means that the website will reformat/design itself based on the screen size of the device being used. It’s extremely flexible, smart, and covers all the bases—you have a single website that’s smart enough to adapt based on users’ devices.

3: Track Mobile Website Data and Mobile Campaigns

Getting your site mobile-ready is no small feat. If you don’t have an in-house team of software engineers busy working on it, you’ve likely teamed up with a vendor to do the heavy lifting (and we can bet it’s not been cheap). With all that effort to arrive on mobile platforms, surely, you’ll want to monitor how your website/campaigns are faring. Further, you will likely want to make changes/updates to the site based on the data you’re getting back, which can include demographics, volume, and buying patterns.

4: Monitor Site Speed and Compress Images

“A picture is worth a thousand words” which is why they’re a key ingredient in creating smart, visually stimulating and engaging websites. That said, all those graphics can seriously drag down speed, ruining a customer experience. For example, perhaps they popped on your site for an impulse purchase, but the images are taking forever to download. What happens next? The customer likely backs out of your site and moves on. Maybe not a huge deal for him or her, but you’ve just lost a sale (or worse, a potential customer). Therefore it’s essential for you to monitor your site speed and make sure things run smoothly on the customer’s end.
For a more exhaustive explanation, check out this article, which includes suggestions for ways to speed up image-heavy sites.

5: Promote Your Social Presence with Examples of User-Generated Content

Our PopSockets Diamond Aluminum PopSockets Custom Cell Phone Stand & GripUser-generated content has long been deemed more influential than brand content. Plus, you can usually nab it for free simply by asking customers for reviews or running a social media campaign (hashtag in hand). For example, try bridging your website with your Instagram account. It’s a great way to pull in real-life examples that makes your site/product/content more trustworthy.
If you really want to engage customers, create incentives for them to write reviews, enter your Instagram campaign, etc. This could be a point system that equates to gift cards for merchandise or freebies, or a prize awarded at the end of a big online campaign. Freebies could include useful cell phone accessories, Bluetooth headphones and popsockets.

6: Brainstorm Interesting and Engaging Ways to Use Push Notifications

In theory, Push notifications are fantastic. They jump front and center to catch a customer’s attention by essentially interrupting their viewing. The downside? That can be both intrusive and annoying! If you’re going to interrupt your customer’s experience, this article advises that it should be timely, personal, and actionable. For instance, if a customer is looking at an item to buy, now is a perfect time to have a notification pop up that offers 15% off a purchase in exchange for signing up for your email list. If a discount doesn’t quite fit the bill, consider something a customer might find interesting or funny, but make sure it relates to your brand.

7: Be Micro-Moment ready

The expanse of the world wide web can be quickly overwhelming to customers, which is why many brands are turning to “micro moments”. These are bite-sized pieces of information created to specifically and quickly answer what the customer seeks. Again, lots of mobile surfing/purchasing is impulse-based. If you don’t show up in that single moment, you risk losing the customer. In order to do this, you need to anticipate what your customer is going to need, and have it ready in a quick, easy package for when they come asking. This article explains micro-moments in more detail and why you need to pay attention to these opportunities.

8: Get Creative with Email

Most people check emails on their phones. If you’re going to utilize an email list, make sure you churn something out that’s worth reading. Offer a coupon, special VIP code, or other tempting discount to encourage customers to jump over to your site (via link in said-email) to take advantage of the savings. Or, send out a monthly newsletter that appeals to your customer base with helpful or interesting information. For example, if you’re a swimwear company, instead of just showing your product month after month, write up a short piece on a hidden Costa Rican beach gem, a sustainability effort being done in the tropics, or a humanitarian campaign to clean up remaining hurricane disasters in the Caribbean. If you can pique customers’ interests on multiple levels, you may not only gain a sale, but the blessed forward to a friend – your future customer.

And there you have it, our best tips and ideas for getting started on your mobile marketing strategy. While it’s certainly a big task, we hope that we’ve helped communicate the importance—and benefits—you stand to win by fully utilizing mobile. Smartphones are like a third arm these days; make sure to offer something worth holding on to.

Love the idea of the Popsocket giveaway? Share these Top 10 Hacks for Popsockets.


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Research Says These are the Best Promotional Giveaway Items


We’ve all received promotional products—pens, magnets, branded calendars. But as we travel deeper into the digital world with marketing and advertising following suit, these simple but useful giveaways are being forgotten by marketers. Research still supports that promotional giveaways are an effective way to entice and engage customers. Not convinced? The New York Times spoke to a professor of psychology and advertising, who explained that humans are wired to respond when given something. It’s just part of our cultural make-up and norms—we’re trained to reciprocate when given something. What does that mean for your company? When you give something to a customer, you’re increasing the likelihood of getting something in response, like signing up for your mailing list, or even purchasing a product you’re selling.People Happy After Receiving A Gift

This 2016 study does an amazing job outlining some of the most popular giveaways by asking U.S. consumers which products they currently owned, broken down by gender, location and more. Highlighted promotional products included writing instruments, which are owned by 50% of U.S. consumers, and drinkware, which are owned by 53%! Below, we dive into the research to give you the 5 best promotional items to consider for your next giveaway.

1. USB Flash Drives

45% of U.S. Consumers own a promotional USB drive. Even more impressive? A whopping 91% of users say that they keep them because of their usefulness in their daily lives. For a brand looking to make an impact, what more could you really ask for in a promotional product? The dream is that potential customers keep your giveaway around long enough to not only leave an impression on them, but perhaps those around them. With that in mind, think about the utility of a USB—it’s a great way to transfer digital information. So, while some folks will use it as their personal backup, others will use it to hand off information to someone else, like a colleague or friend, thereby transferring knowledge of your brand forward. USB drives are a perfect item for a corporate-oriented giveaway, including conferences and job fairs.

2. Drinkware

Drinkware includes a variety of potential items, like mugs (great for keeping on an office desk), or to-go tumblers (perfect for traveling business folks and busy parents alike). ASI’s 2016 study found that half of U.S. owners of branded drinkware use it several times every week. That is a ton of opportunity for them to not only use the product, but have your brand become ingrained in memory. If you opt for drinkware are your promotional item, quality should be an important consideration. As the research above points out, people will keep their drinkware around for a while In fact, According to a study by the British Promotional Merchandise Association, 87% of participants who received a free promotional product kept it for over a year, Drinkware is a perfect item to give away when promoting a food or drink product, as well as at sporting (water bottles) or business events (everyone needs a good office mug).

3. T-shirtsT-Shirts Are Loved By Everyone

Ah, the almighty branded t-shirt, owned and loved by 58% of the U.S. population. In fact, every age group studied clocked in at over half (56%-60%) owning logoed t-shirts. Having your brand on a t-shirt is a great way to start conversations, get noticed and make some noise. As promotional giveaways, t-shirts are versatile and work at almost any event you’d like to commemorate including festivals, tech conferences, and more.

4. Bags

In the U.S., branded bags create the most impressions of all promotional products. There are a few reasons to explain this. Unlike a mug or pen, bags are used when out and about to carry items in high-trafficked places. This gives them a fantastic opportunity to be seen, which serves to expand your brand reach. For this reason, it’s especially worth investing in a catchy design and easily recognizable logo to make sure your bag stands out when in a crowd. As for when to hand them out, they work great at conferences and trade shows (perfect option for attendees to carry all the other items they collect while traveling from booth to booth).

5. Lip Balm

Our Full Color Lip Balm Tub - 100 piecesIn the bottom of every purse lays a lip balm—or commonly, a handful of them. The popularity of this simple beauty product has surged over the past few years. In fact, a Marie Claire survey found that half of their readers considered lip balm an essential office item, and the number two item they’d pick for a desert island. That’s some serious lip balm love—making it a perfect promotional product. Like a USB drive, lip balm is small—easily fitting in a pocket or handbag, its unisex, and it’s a $660 million industry. Lip balm is a perfect giveaway item for a convention, as planes are known to cause dry skin for travelers.

When you invest in promotional products, you want to be sure it’s going to be a success with consumers. By choosing one of the best promotional giveaway items listed in this piece, you can feel confident you’ll not only entice potential customers but have a wider reach by using some of the most popular items available. As discussed, each of these products has real staying power, creating value for both the consumer and your brand. And, circling back to the top, offering useful and helpful products to prospective customers means a higher chance for positive brand engagement.


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10 Fresh Ideas for Marketing to Moms


Moms have major spending power— an estimated $2.4 trillion. If you’re not marketing to them, your business is missing out. Moms make 85% of household purchases even when 50% of these products are marketed to males. However according to moms, many of the marketing strategies aimed at them aren’t getting it right.

10 Ideas When Marketing to Moms As highlighted above, getting it right with this audience has giant return on investment potential – and not just on Mother’s Day. Moms make these purchases year-round. Don’t make the mistake of pigeonholing your campaign around a single day once a year.

This amazing infographic does a phenomenal job explaining everything marketers are getting wrong when marketing to moms, while offering solutions to better engage this powerful audience. In summary? Moms (as they view themselves) are exhausted, flawed, social media savvy, and frankly, find motherhood emotionally complex. Painting them as the saint, hardest worker in the world, or being blatantly sexist isn’t reaching them. And frankly, it could be turning them away from your brand.

Below, we offer 10 fresh ideas for capturing this large audience, including both in-person and online. Whichever you choose, we caution you to really take in the infographic mentioned above, so that you don’t miss the mark with moms. Your campaign needs to be genuine, showing that your brand really gets the ups and downs, trials and tribulations, and of course, the joy of modern motherhood.
 

Marketing to Moms In-Person

 

Idea #1: Offer a Free Bonus Add-On

Consider offering a mini chair massage or small gift as a thank you for their purchase. This could be for spending a certain dollar amount over a set amount of time (for example, $100 over the course of a month), or simply as a “mom appreciation” day. Moms are constantly doing for others—namely their children. Offering them a reprieve, no matter how small, won’t go unnoticed. And hey, it just may push them to spend a bit more.

Idea #2: Give Out Branded and Reusable Grocery Bags

Our Shopping Promo Tote BagMoms are forever carrying things – diapers, wipes, snacks, sippy cups, extra clothes, blankets…the list goes on. While reusable grocery bags have surged in popularity for many shoppers, moms can always use the extra space. In the meantime, your brand is hitching a ride on someone pretty much constantly on the go.

Idea #3: Offer Kid-Friendly Deals or Promotions

Some examples could be a “kids eat free” lunch or dinner special, free kids nail painting when mom gets a manicure, or even a kid-friendly happy hour shopping deal, complete with juice and snacks to occupy them while mom shops. Regardless of the type of business you have, if you want to pull the moms in, don’t forget about their little loves, who are likely trailing behind them. Including them in your marketing strategy is a great way to appeal to moms—and hopefully win them over.

Idea #4: Offer Baby-Sitting

This is like the holy grail of sweet deals for any mom. Children are a wonder, but they’re also exhausting. Offering a short reprieve so mom can shop uninterrupted is HUGE. Ikea is a great example of this strategy in action with their Smaland, which essentially offers free babysitting while parents shop. This concept also works well in gyms and spas. If you can’t offer something as sweet as Smaland, you can still use the concept of occupying the children so mom can shop by having a “kiddie corner” space with cartoons, a comfy rug with large pillows for sitting on, snacks, and toys. Another idea? Host a weekly/monthly kiddie corner storytelling hour or craft. Same concept—mom shops, kids are occupied. Everyone’s happy.

Idea #5: Give Out Branded To-Go Tumblers and Travel MugsOur Triple Insulated Stainless Steel Custom Tumbler

Moms really can’t have too much coffee due to the combination of a busy life and little sleep. Coffee is basically a Moms lifeblood. Endear your brand to them by providing a container that not only lets them take it to-go but keeps it warm (or cold) while bouncing between work, playdates, school drop-offs, and ballet practice.
 

Marketing to Moms Online

 

Idea #1: Market to Moms on Facebook

Moms have a huge presence on social media and especially Facebook. BUT, your brand needs to be there for a reason, otherwise you’ll be ignored. Offer them something—a discount, a contest, an exclusive something they can’t get or find elsewhere. If you are asking them to buy something, make sure they can do it easily and quickly right from your ad or post, otherwise they’ll likely move on (remember, free time for a mom is usually limited).

Idea #2: Offer Free Shipping or Giftwrapping.

Everyone loves free shipping but remember, moms in-particular are buying a ton of stuff, on top of their already brimming lives. Ordering online is a huge timesaver—tack on a mom-discount in the way of free shipping and you’ll get their attention. Add free giftwrapping for moms (who are buying birthday gifts, holiday presents, teacher appreciation tokens, and more to earn a repeat customer.

Idea #3: Generate Buzz with a Social Media Campaign

Moms love sharing pictures and funny stories of their babes. Combine that with their use of social media and you’re onto something. Create a contest that relates to your product and let moms generate painfully cute content for you by using your unique hashtag. Highlight a picture (Instagram) or story (Facebook) every few days to keep momentum going over the course of the campaign, all of which (could) accumulate to a prize at the end of it (again, in-line with your product/service). Here are some great Instagram-specific ideas for a social media content campaign.

Idea #4: Build Trust from Moms

Create a marketing campaign geared at collecting recommendations and referrals. Moms trust other moms most. This is key to understand, because it means that regardless of how brilliant and convincing your campaign may be, it’s not going to compare to “real stories”. Use this to your benefit by inviting those in and making them part of your strategy. Create a point system with rewards for each review or referral. For instance, Albee Baby has a great reward program that credits purchases, reviews, and referrals.

Idea #5: Host a Contest

There are a ton of benefits to holding contests for your brand, like engaging prospective customers, and building your email marketing lists. What’s in it for the mom? A prize. Obviously, the greater the prize, the more eager moms will be to join in on the fun. Run a travel agency? A free vacation will have them practically salivating. Launching a beauty product? A gift basket of goodies for the overworked momma will be hugely appreciated. Contests can be part of Idea #3 (hashtag social media campaign) and Idea #4 (collecting recommendations and referrals). The good news—they can be done entirely online, expanding your audience across the nation, or even globally.

How moms do it all may forever remain a mystery (even to themselves), but it doesn’t mean they’re a complete enigma. Going after the mom audience has major potential due to their buying power but be sure you do so from a place of sincere care and understanding for their hectic lives. Offer solutions to their most common problems (Too much to do! Not enough me time!) and attract them with something that makes life easier for them, even if just for a few minutes.


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Expert Tips: 20 Small Business Marketing Ideas


With tight budgets and limited resources, growing a small business can be a challenge. At ePromos, we specialize in providing custom printed promotional products for small businesses that are perfect for giveaways at trade shows, conventions and community events.

However, we wanted to hear from the experts, so we have assembled 20 of our favorite small business marketing ideas from professionals in the industry. Here are some tips with proven success for expanding the reach of your brand both digitally and locally.

 

1. Team Up with Businesses in Your Community

One thing I recommend for a new business is to get out there and do some cross-promotions with other small businesses in your area. This can be sponsoring a charity event, a concert, or a community festival. This is a great way for other people in the community to see your brand and get to know what your business is all about.

Matt Ruley, Owner, WFHOffice

 

2. Get the Most Out of Your Social Media Pages

Many people think of social media for socializing, and search engines for searching.

Jason Lavis, Managing Director, Out of the Box InnovationsThe search boxes inside social media websites and apps get a considerable number of searches. For example, more people search on YouTube than both Yahoo and Bing. Your company’s community and business pages will get discovered by people searching for the products and services you offer. With limited space in the title, bio and about sections, focus on adding the buyer keywords that your customers are likely to be typing. Use fewer generic words like ‘professional’, ‘dynamic’ and ‘quality’. Use more keywords like ‘kids parties’, ‘best moisturizer’, gardening supplies’ or whatever you’re selling.

Jason Lavis, Managing Director, Out of the Box Innovations

 

3. Local Events with Branded Displays

Melissa Stern, Executive Director, Comprehensive Cranium CareAs a new online small business, we found it challenging to get in front of new customers. One of our most successful early efforts was participating in local street festivals. The opportunity to have one-to-one conversations with new and potential customers is invaluable, particularly if you have a unique product and a niche market as we do. It’s also worth investing in branded assets for these events, as the visibility and brand recognition provided by having a high-quality branded setup for these events is worth the initial cost. We continue to see value from the initial investment in our setup and can use it for years to come.

Melissa Stern, Executive Director, Comprehensive Cranium Care

 

4. Get Found in Local Search

One of the best (and free!) ways to promote your small business is through local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – meaning, ranking in the “unpaid” search results that appear below the map of your local area.

Zack Reboletti, Owner & SEO Consultant, Web FocusedTo get started, create or verify your business with Google My Business, making sure to select the most relevant/specific business category and complete all available fields. Next, make sure the Title Tags on your main website pages contain 1 – 2 key phrases specific to each page, followed by your city (e.g. Dry-Cleaning Services – Chicago, IL). Lastly, get 3 – 5 relevant websites to link to your website. Quick wins often come from reaching out to organizations, associations, and any other local business entities you’re affiliated with.

Zack Reboletti, Owner & SEO Consultant, Web Focused

 

5. Don’t Overlook Direct Marketing

Jon Nastor, Creator & Host, Hack the EntrepreneurOne excellent offline strategy for small businesses is door-to-door flyers. They are simple, easy to test, and cost-effective, making it accessible for most. Direct marketing has produced billions of dollars in sales for companies – because it works. In recent years, its effectiveness has increased as more companies overlook this simple marketing method. To get the most bang for your buck, keep your ad focused on your product or service’s benefit to the customer, and test paper color, offer, and the neighborhood of distribution.

Jon Nastor, Creator & Host, Hack the Entrepreneur

 

6. Network at Coworking Spaces

Paul Davis, Owner, Paul Davis Solutions

A local coworking spot is always one of the first places I connect with other businesses. As a marketer, these B2B relationships are ideal for leads and referrals. Even a B2C business can still benefit from growing their local network.

Paul Davis, Owner, Paul Davis Solutions

 

7. Host Your Own Event

Rodger Roeser, CEO, The Eisen AgencyOne of the simplest and smartest use of limited resources is a combination networking/letter writing program. Find groups or organizations that most closely align with the types of clients or customers you are seeking and get involved. Attend the networking events, gather business cards and regularly send out direct letters to those folks to invite them to an event or some type of program you are hosting at your space – and make it something fun but related to what you do – for example, a tea, a business roundtable, a beer tasting or whatever. These direct and purposeful networking/follow up programs create a sense of trust with potential clients and not only build leads, but also build your credibility and your brand.

Rodger Roeser, CEO, The Eisen Agency

 

8. Leverage Pinterest for Your Brand

Even on a tight budget, a small business can take full advantage of social platforms, especially Pinterest.

Arya Bina, CEO, Kobe DigitalPinterest is second only to Facebook as the most popular social media platform when it comes to influencing buyers. This makes perfect sense as Pinterest users go on the platform to get inspired by items they want to buy. Once an account is set up and a business has chosen which products they wish to promote, the next step is to market their brand by creating a “board” and adding “pins”. An important step to remember is to include simple keywords, clear descriptions, and stunning images to optimize your marketing on Pinterest.

Arya Bina, CEO, Kobe Digital

 

9. Encourage Online Reviews

For a small or local business, being found online is critical to survive. Potential customers are looking for what other people are saying about your brand. That’s where online reviews come in. Not only do consumers actively seek out reviews, but because of this, Google rewards businesses with reviews with higher rankings in local search results.

Studies show that having more reviews means more leads and more sales. So how do you get online reviews? It’s not as hard as you think (and it’s cheap). All you must do is ask. The best time to do this is right after the sale. When thanking the customer for their business take the opportunity to also ask them to leave a review on Google or Yelp. You won’t get a review from everyone you ask, but over time, you will see an increase in the number of reviews.

Matt Stone, Founder, Review Ignite

 

10. Schedule Social Media Posts in Advance

A great way to marketing your small business with a limited budget is social media. You can reach thousands of people if you are using social media properly. One tool that is very helpful for social media tracking and posting is called Buffer. It is a free tool you can use to post social media posts in advance, as well as see how your posts are doing.

Samantha Walls, Inbound Marketing Manager, InTouch MarketingYou will want to spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour a day focusing on social media and deciding which social media posts are resonating with your followers and planning out your future social media posts. Make sure that when you are posting on social media you are not only talking about yourself and your company. You want to be a thought leader for your industry and post helpful articles, infographics and news to help your followers.

 

Samantha Walls, Inbound Marketing Manager, InTouch Marketing

 

11. Find Your Happy Customers

Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporationWord of mouth is one of the best forms of increasing your sales and it’s all free! You should already be identifying customers that have had good experiences with your business and trying to learn what made the experience so positive for them, but if you’re not, a quick customer satisfaction survey is convenient to institute and very beneficial for you. Out of these responses, find the people who really had the best experience (9 or 10 rankings on a 1-10 scale) and target them as your advocates. These people will be the most beneficial for you and are typically the most inclined to pass on good comments. Then, take your targets and encourage them to tell customers about your business.

Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation

 

12. Try Bing for Budget-Friendly Ads

Craig De Borba, Digital Marketing Specialist, Onpoint Internet MarketingThe real challenge for a small business online is getting visitors to your website or offer on a small budget. This can be best achieved by utilizing the lower cost Bing PPC (Pay Per Click) ads and bidding on very specific phrases and exact match keywords. Paid ads are the fastest way to get visitors to a website and while most organizations are focusing on Google, small businesses take advantage of the much lower costs available to them on Bing to drive more traffic for less money.

Craig De Borba, Digital Marketing Specialist, Onpoint Internet Marketing

 

13. Partner with Relevant Businesses

Alicia Ward, Digital Marketing Strategist, FlaukLook for other businesses who target the same customers but aren’t a direct competitor and approach them for a partnership. By pooling resources such as social followings, email lists, offerings and budgets, you can create some great campaigns. Or, host events where both businesses can benefit and expose your company to a new audience. Just make sure to do your research and make sure your potential business partner is trustworthy!

Alicia Ward, Digital Marketing Strategist, Flauk

 

14. Establish Trust with Testimonials

James Feldstein, Owner, Audio DenIf your company doesn’t have an established brand, it can be challenging to get your name out there. It’s a good idea to include client testimonials or product reviews on your website. People trust the advice of your past customers. If your customers have good things to say, it’s usually a good sign. Testimonials, case studies, and reviews serve as powerful social proof that can help you attract new business and establish credibility.

James Feldstein, Owner, Audio Den

 

15. Optimize Your Blogging Strategy

One of the best ways to increase online visibility is blogging for search engine optimization (SEO). This strategy has worked well for my small business, plus I’ve seen it work well for clients that invested long term.

Erika Taylor Montgomery, CEO, Three Girls Media
Publish posts regularly: Search engines monitor websites for new content; the more you update, the more often they’ll come back and index your posts. Even publishing once a week, on the same day and at the same time, can greatly benefit your SEO.
Focus on longer articles: Many top performing posts on Google are 1,000 words or more.
Use keywords strategically: Sprinkle them throughout your post and make sure you include them in your headline, introduction, subheads, conclusion, image captions and meta description.
Publicize your posts: Share your content via social media and e-newsletters. If you have the budget for it, consider running social media ads around them.

Erika Taylor Montgomery, CEO, Three Girls Media

 

16. Share Your Quality Content on Reddit

Leverage Reddit, the bare-bones social network, for a powerful yet low-budget way to drive traffic to your small business website. Reddit has been known to jumpstart the careers of small business owners and entrepreneurs, but it must be used strategically.

Juuso Lyytikkä, Head of Growth, Funnel.ioThe social network is made up of a community of very tech-savvy readers who condemn all obvious marketing tactics. To win at Reddit, you must only share truly awesome content in small, hyper-focused subcategories (referred to as subreddits). Any attempts at overtly promotional sales tactics will likely result in negative comments and a possible ban. The key is to find your niche and dominate it with useful content that interests readers in that community.

Juuso Lyytikkä, Head of Growth, Funnel.io

 

17. Social Media Ads Are Effective and Affordable

Tracy Julien, VP of Marketing, GuidedChoiceAdvertising across the main social media platforms is a great tool you should be utilizing in your current marketing campaign. These ads are cheap and can get your business in front of the right set of eyes. The best part about social media ads is the outstanding metrics that you can use to track if your current campaign is successful or not. Also, being able to target specific people, locations, products, etc. is a great asset. Test out which platform you deem is best for your business and set a plan to execute!

Tracy Julien, VP of Marketing, GuidedChoice

 

18. Build a Referral Network

The key to building a successful referral network is to be super clear on who you work with and how you can help them. The people in your network need to be able to talk to someone and IMMEDIATELY think of you as the solution to their problem.

Shannon Howard, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist, Overit MediaI helped a local gym get clear that their market was injured athletes – often from CrossFit-type gyms. That opened the door to make strategic partnerships with local sports medicine practitioners, chiropractors, physical therapists, and athletic coaches in the area, all with a clear message: We help injured athletes recover faster in a safe, fun environment.

Shannon Howard, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist, Overit Media

 

19. Make Use of Relevant Facebook Groups

Gregory Golinski, Head of Digital Marketing, YourParkingSpaceJoin as many Facebook groups as possible, as long as they are related to your industry. Publish links to your blog posts on these groups, without spamming them. If the content brings added value to the community, it will bring traffic from Facebook group users to your website.

Gregory Golinski, Head of Digital Marketing, YourParkingSpace

 

20. Pre-Screen Customer Reviews

If the customer is king, then customer reviews are royal pronouncements from on high…usually either “off with your head!” or “I hereby knight thee!”

Chas Cooper, CEO, Rising Star ReviewsSmall business owners deserve credit for happy customers. They can get it by pre-screening customers, then asking for reviews. The idea is simple and timeless: First, ask a customer for honest feedback. Then, encourage happy customers to share their experience in a review on a major review site. For customers who aren’t quite happy enough yet, get more details about what improvements could make them (and customers like them) happy in the future. This way, you win no matter what the customer says when you pre-screen them. You either get public credit for a job well done, or you get valuable feedback to help you keep doing a better job in the future.

Chas Cooper, CEO, Rising Star Reviews

 


These 20 budget-friendly marketing strategies for small businesses can attract new customers, improve the credibility of your brand and help you make valuable partnerships in your industry. Regardless of which ideas you choose, keep in mind that one of the keys to a successful marketing campaign is evaluating the results and fine-tuning your approach.

For those interested in growing their brand with custom printing, check out our Top 100 promotional items or talk to one of our branding experts today.