Most of us start out as Mom and Pop’s, as far as businesses go. One of us has a dream and the other, in their love for us, supports us on our way. We may be simply following a passion or we may be “cereal entrepreneurs”. Either way building a business, a small business by most standards is a ton of work. We have done it several times now, built, sold , built and love building. once you have your idea, product or service the most important thing is to make sure people know you exist. Easier said than done.
With our first business, selling hand made pottery, we started by telling our friends and family. Then we started art shows. We needed more though. This was pre-internet. So we started collecting addresses in a guest book at the shows. The following year we would mail out little post cards (which I printed on card stock myself) with our schedule for the season to all those who came in our booth the year before. This was our first lesson in thinking about the long game. The relationships you build now, whether you sell something or not will only grow stronger over time. Do not underestimate the small interactions you have with everyone. They or a friend of theirs could be your client in the future, near or far.
Then came the internet, we started collecting email addresses and sent out e-newsletters. We still use this method to stay in touch with our clients and keep them up to date with what we are doing. When you have worked with someone, the become part of your team. They will be your best advocates for new clients. Treat them with respect and include them in your process.
Now the internet is swarming with information. As a mom and pop business how do we innovate with our marketing strategies? This can be so stressful. I am watching several people struggle with trying to understand and stay on top of how the market has changed and marketing itself, print ads, radio and magazines, are struggling. None of us are on there. We are all on social media. As a small business owner you should pay attention because it is true “innovate or die” is not just a funny saying.
From our experience as small business owners over the last 20 years the best way to truly innovate with your marketing agency is to get online, stay authentic to who you are, what you sell and how you sell it. True innovation comes from setting yourself apart, allowing yourself room to grow. To get there, do the research, practice posting, do it right and be consistent. To get started steal some ideas that resonate with you. Do you want a more personal profile or do you want a more curated profile. If you don’t have the time, energy and knowledge base to do it yourself, hire a company to do it for you. Interview several. They should give you an audit of your online presence.