The economy is still sluggish in most industries across multiple parts of the world. Many small and large businesses have seemingly been hit because of it. Small businesses that line main streets in every small town and big city in the world are also feeling the crunch.
Many small businesses are stepping up their marketing efforts with special promotions, partnering with other businesses and shop local campaigns.
Small Business Promotions
There are several promotional ideas that small businesses can implement with little cost and big benefits. For example, many households turn to coupon clipping when money gets tight. Small businesses can benefit by offering coupons for a percentage off or buy one, get one free.
Local restaurants can compete with the big chains by offering to let kids under a certain age eat free with adult meals one night a week.
For service firms, offering free consultations, giving a gas card or coffee card with every contract over a certain dollar amount. The point is to find those value added options that so many other small businesses will appreciate and build them into every contract.
Partnering and collaborating is more important to a small business for long-term survival than ever before.
Finding companies that offer complementary services and then offering a two for one deal for customers can help increase revenue and profit. For example, small landscapers can partner with deck builders or brick layers to offer customers a full service landscape deal.
Pet shop owners can partner with pet groomers or trainers and offer a higher percentage off when buying both services.
Getting involved with local chamber of commerce offices can be highly beneficial. Most chambers offer community events such as job fairs, business expos, lunch events, and plethora of other small business related events.
Shop Local Campaigns
The Wall Street Journal ran a feature in the Small Business section about how small businesses in Independence, Ohio are getting together to implement at 3/50 promotions project.
The local merchants created flyers and brochures encouraging local shoppers to pick three local businesses to spend 50 dollars a month.
Another county in Ohio is doing an ishopstark.com campaign to get people in Stark County, Ohio to keep their shopping in the county. The area merchants partnered to put up billboards, distribute flyers, and implement print advertising.
There are groups that help communities set up a buy local campaign such as the American Independent Business Alliance in Bozeman, Montana.
Out of the box thinking
Be it a coupon promotion or participation in a buy local campaign, small businesses need to keep finding effective and affordable ways to keep promoting.
A slow economy is a time to let the creative ideas take the lead. Take the time to think of ways to promote that may be less traditional than when sales are good. Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith with some ideas and keep in mind to go ahead and try it to get folks to buy it.