I started Faulhaber Communications on my laptop in my kitchen 19 years ago. It grew mostly from referrals and industry connections, but decisions made in those early days played a pivotal role in getting FAULHABER to where it is today.
I started in retail myself, so I can appreciate inherent difficulties in establishing and growing a small business. The most significant piece of advice I can give? Stay true to your customer base. Stay in touch with your customers -their faces, their hands, their nails. You know their wants and needs up close and personal. You’re the expert in your craft. Turning your passion into profit requires promotion. Twenty-five years of working public relations has led to the following 15 tips and tricks for successfully getting the word out there.
- Determine what you actually need. What is going to move the needle? Do you really need printed business cards? What about an automated email system instead? Or maybe, those beautiful business cards will effectively set you apart from the competition.
- Start with grassroots marketing. Have you told everybody in your personal and professional network what you’re doing? Have you posted it on your Facebook? Does your mom even know? She might have 20 friends!
- Get to know your local business partners. Literally knocking on the door and showing up with a coffee or a sample of your product and shaking the hands of all the business owners in the neighbourhood. They’re all in the same boat as you, so, have you reached out to your local market and just introduced yourself? It’s that easy and it’s free!
- Use social media. If you’re not on Instagram already, and you’re selling something that is attractive, you’re doing something wrong. So, pick a lane, do a bit of an audit and figure out which social platforms are for you. Are you a business owner? Do you have a point of view? Do you have something to say? Well then perhaps, you should be a thought leader on LinkedIn. This is a great way to add professional credibility to your brand. Be an expert in your industry and post thought-provoking content. Are you a retailer? Do you have a beautiful retail space? A spa? Take pictures. You don’t have to invest a lot: iPhone X photos are great! If you do want to kick it up a notch, invest in a professional photoshoot. FAULHABER’s FStop Studio can provide that service for you, and a day’s work can provide you with a month’s worth of quality content.
- Spend time engaging: Once you gain followers, it’s all about engagement. And this takes time. Someone has to do it, and in the early days, it’s often the business owner. Carve out an hour a day to do engagement and talk to people. It’s just as important as it is servicing Mrs. Morris’ blowout.
- Communicate the same message in-person and online. Your website and social media channels are just an online-extension of your brand, whatever you are saying to your customers in person, is the same thing you need to articulate online.
- Be polished. What do you look like? Is there a spelling mistake on your website? What happens when people Google search you? Have you made sure that your website is easily accessible? Polish is one of our key values at Faulhaber Communications. Aim to outshine your competition.
- Don’t be afraid to go old school. Depending on your location and your advertising budget, there are some original advertising methods and platforms that might work for you. Is there a local media publication that you know your customers are reading? Or a billboard or a bus shelter that your clients pass regularly?
- Know your limits. Don’t try and be everywhere. If you don’t have the manpower to keep up a Pinterest, a LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter – then don’t be on them all.
- Do not buy into expensive schemes. Your marketing and ad expenses should commeasure with your sales. If you don’t have any sales, what are you doing spending? Use your elbow grease and pound the pavement.
Read the next FIVE tips, here.
Article originally published on spainc.ca.