The last few weeks leading to the new year affects businesses everywhere – whether it boosts your revenues due to holiday shopping or slows down sales because your line of business doesn’t complement the season. For small businesses, a drop in sales may mean more serious repercussions compared to big companies.

Whatever the case may be for your small business, you will do well to gear up for 2017 so that the New Year will also bring new clients and better revenues. Luckily, you don’t have to spend thousands of bucks to increase brand awareness and attract more customers.

There are certain marketing strategies specifically designed for small businesses. Before you learn what these tactics are, you first need to consider these guide questions:

  • What is the actual size of my market?
  • When do people buy our products and services? How often?
  • What marketing possibilities does 2017 hold for our company?

Researching and finding the answers to these questions will help you narrow down your target market. Essentially, you will be able to refine details about your prospective customers and customize your tactics through this information.

Here are other details about your target consumers that you should look out for:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geographical location
  • Income level
  • Educational level
  • Type of Occupation

After accumulating this information, you are well on your way to refining your marketing strategies for the New Year.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Share your knowledge and skills with your audience.

As a small or local business, you have a big advantage in audience connection. Unlike big corporations, you don’t have to convince consumers that they can find a connection with you. Consumers tend to feel an instant familiarity with small businesses because they are confident that they can reach you directly. Use this connection to share your knowledge and skills pertaining to your craft. Make video tutorials or web seminars to post on your social profiles or blog. Welcome comments and answer questions from your audience to increase your engagement.

2. Leverage your local connections.

Do you have a bakeshop in your community? Why not volunteer to your local charities and give away cupcakes and bread to the less fortunate? Not only will you help other people, you will also increase brand awareness in your area. You can also contact the local publications and pitch a topic to be published, guest post, or hire their services to feature your business.

3. Optimize local business offers from Google.

Google is all about making the world a local community. This search engine giant offers small businesses a wide array of options to put their company on the digital business landscape.

Once you have setup your own account in Google My Business, you can have an unbiased overview of your company and check details you can improve.

4. Invest in your social profiles.

Social media is practically free advertising for businesses, and any company owner who does not utilize this potential is not worth their salt. However, it is not just enough to create a profile. You must also wield this marketing tool properly.

Are your followers constantly checking in on your local café on Facebook but rarely responding to your Tweets? Prioritize your Facebook account and link your followers to Twitter. Do you have higher user engagement in Instagram than YouTube? Post sneak previews of your videos on Instagram and invite your followers to see the full video on your YouTube channel. The beauty of marketing through social networks is that you can highlight the strengths of your business through different platforms.

5. Publish or improve your blog.

There’s no need to pay thousands of bucks to get a spot on magazines or pay a handsome fee to get a business website. Publish a blog through free blogging platforms, invest in its content, and you will soon attract an audience from your social media followers and actual customers. If you don’t have the time or talent to write, hire a highly skilled writer to provide relevant and interesting articles for your readers. This virtual assistance in maintaining a blog leaves you free to focus on other business matters.

Follow these marketing strategy course especially designed for small businesses, and watch how big of a difference it can make to your new year.

Catherine vanVonnoAuthor: Catherine vanVonno, the author, is the President and Executive Director of 20Four7VA, a global Virtual Assistant (VA) Service Provider. She holds a doctorate degree in Applied Statistics, Research Design and Program Evaluation from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and has over 10 years’ experience in facilitating evidence-based strategic planning, product development, brand management, legislative communications, and medical policy. She is married and has four children. You can reach her at communications@20four7va.com and @20Four7VA.

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