So after 16 years of business….I am always looking for the best ways to further my branding reach. I have found ways of marketing my business that have worked (and found several ways that have bombed). In today’s quickly changing and very technical world….I understand that it feels hard to keep up. But I do have some pointers for you to do small business marketing that I think will help you to grow your creative business!
Let’s start with the small business marketing tools that HAVE worked for me:
- You need a business Facebook page- this is a non-negotiable. It is free. It is far reaching. It is easy to set up. It’s a must! If you have a personal Facebook page, you need to go to your business page and recommend it to all of your personal friends. Then post. And post. And post on your business page. So many people set up a business page, then get frustrated with lack of engagement and so quit posting. You can’t do that. You have to continue to figure out what your audience responds to on Facebook and do more posts like that. Keep in mind, Facebook LIVE videos will single handedly grow your page quicker than any other sort of post! You can find my Facebook page here. I also have some HELPFUL tips for using Facebook LIVE to promote your business.
- You need a logo. Logos help develop a brand/name recognition. The logo is for your Facebook page, your business cards, your brochures, your signs, your Pinterest pins and to watermark your photos for your blog. Have someone design a logo for you unless this is something you are really good at. You can always use a service like fiverr.com. I have paid at little as $35 in the past for my logo to be designed. Prices WILL vary. But find a logo that feels like your brand both in color and style! Here is my current logo:
- If you can….get brochures. Again….pictures sell faux/paint work. I bartered the design/printing of my brochures with a friend who wanted his kitchen cabinets painted black. Winner winner chicken dinner! What a great barter!!! Find someone in this field who can help you. Take pictures of your work. Lots of pictures! And fill a brochure with them. I put brochures in all of my model homes. Whenever I meet with a client for the first time, I give them a brochure. I keep them in my car to give to anyone who asks about my work/profession. Often a client will call me for something like say “painting their kitchen walls”. Then they browse my brochure and realize we can also paint that ceiling medallion that they just bought for their dining room, and the dresser they just purchased for their son’s bedroom and their garage doors while we are there. Pictures trigger seeds of planning….especially in the mind’s of women! My brochures are small business marketing tool #2 behind my FB page for selling our work.
- A website is recommended, but a business Facebook page is a necessity. I have over 220K Facebook followers that bring us consistent painting work! Now don’t get me wrong. Website ARE important and in a world of constantly changing social media rules… the only thing you totally control 100% . The downside is that websites have to be continually updated and often times….they take a computer savvy person to set up and manage. Since many people tell me they find us through my website, I know my website is useful. Plus this is how I blog and get Pinterest traffic. But if you are just starting out and have to pick one or the other….start with Facebook and get a web page as soon as you can!
- Until just recently when my social media following got so big, I have had magnetic signs on the side of my truck. Were they pretty? No. But did they get us business? Yes! I have had people run through our school’s parking lot to track me down. I’ve had people write down our number at a stoplight. Signs help with BRAND RECOGNITION. And if you own a small business…you have a brand. The more people hear your company name, the more they will recognize it and eventually look into it.
- Myself and the girls who work for me all have t-shirts with our company name on them. All of us have been asked about our paint covered clothes and what exactly we do. Keep business cards in your purse. Wear your company shirts. Advertise, advertise, advertise. Here is my shirt that I wore for the recent TV segments!
- I have painted several pieces of furniture for silent auctions and other fundraisers. I always do it because I want to….not to get business. But I do always ask if I can send a stack of my brochures with the furniture piece. If I am donating, we may as well have brochures out. It has resulted in great business too!
- In the beginning of starting my small business, I did several small jobs for designers for virtually next to nothing so that they would a) see my work and b) start to refer me. That too worked very well!
Here are a few things that have NOT worked in my small business marketing:
- Advertising in the phone book. No one uses the phone book anymore. Everyone is googling.
- I do not advertise in magazines. It is very expensive. That’s the ONLY reason I haven’t. If I were going to choose a magazine to advertise in, I would be sure it was a local mag in the line of work you are in. You really need to know your clientele! I know my clients are middle to high income women age 30-60. So I need to look at magazines tailored to that clientele also. So for me….I would look at Kansas City Homes and Gardens if I was going to spend the $. Even tho I don’t currently advertise in magazines, I have submitted pictures and article ideas to magazines….and have been featured in several. And that DOES generate business.
- I do not advertise in the local high school yearbooks and other places like that. I’ve done it a time or 2 and felt like it generated no revenue….so decided to put those $’s towards other advertising methods.
- I have not bought any SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which means paying to move up my placement up on the google search. I’m sure it would be beneficial, but the last time I checked…..it was hundreds of dollars a month….and that money in my opinion would be better spent on Facebook ads.
Word of mouth always has been and will always continue to be…..your best advertising too. I try to thank the people who recommend us with a thank you and/or a thank you card with a small gift. I appreciate referrals!!!
I hope you can use some of these tips help with your small business marketing!!!! For more in-depth business and marketing/social media guidance, please visit my Business Training Page. I cover a ton of topics that will help you with your creative business! And, I do have a list of “Business Tools I Love” HERE that you are welcome to check out as my gift to you.
Please pin my small business marketing tips:
These are all wonderful tips–thank you! I love your work and it’s so great that you help others be successful too!!
A magnet on the side of your car can also cause a new friend to run screeching up to you in the middle of the street… LOL xo
“So after 11 years of business….I have found ways of marketing my business that have worked. And found several ways that have bombed.” I actually commend you for that. It only means that you’ve done a whole lot of work and tested numerous strategies to get where you are and to know what you know now. 🙂 Well, what else can I say, all those techniques are indeed worth the try and effort if it comes from somebody who has tried and tested it already.
Unique design with matching shades makes it prominent than others…thumbs up for designer….such plastic business cards leaves impressive impact on clients….
Thank you for sharing! I really appreciate all your advice to those of us who are just starting out. With so many decisions to make, hearing from those who are doing it really does help .
Thanks for all the inspiration!