Marketing can be a beast, especially when it isn’t your forte. Add to that ALL the things that fall under the marketing umbrella: social media, in-store traffic, events, website, SEO, blogging, customer engagement…the list goes on (and on)!
With years of communications under my belt, I’ve been fortunate enough to learn many aspects of marketing, public relations and social media. It helps equip me to serve YOU – the woman business owner that wants to rock marketing but doesn’t exactly know how to be successful at it.
First things first – you need to know that marketing is one big experiment. What has worked for me with one company (or even campaign) doesn’t always work for another. The key is to test, test, test and then analyze. If you’re not tracking your results, you have a major disconnect happening.
For the purposes of today, I want to share some ideas to jump start your marketing efforts. Some of these will work – some of these will rock your business – and some you may not be ready for yet. Save this post and come back to it to make sure you are hitting several marketing avenues!
20 marketing tips every boutique and business owner should be doing RIGHT NOW:
1. Engage with your customers and potential customers on social media
This seems like a no-brainer, but I cannot tell you how many business owners miss this. Engaging is more than liking someone’s comment on your post. Engaging is commenting back, liking their posts, commenting on their posts and being authentically interested in them. Treat those strangers online just like you would someone who walks in your shop.
2. Create a month’s worth of social media content and schedule it out
I know this sounds really overwhelming. Start a week at a time, with the goal to build this out. By creating content ahead of time you always stay ahead of the game and keep your head above water. I personally find it much easier and less time consuming to batch create my content – I will sit down for an hour and knock out at least 2 weeks of copy. I work on my photos all at one time. And I do my scheduling when I have the above two complete. For me and my business, I schedule my social media weekly. However, I have content written for months on end (I’m always writing down my ideas!).
3. Tag vendors and create community with them
Keep this relationship going, online and off! When you show your vendors love online, they will most likely do the same. One of my coaching clients has a great relationship with one of her vendors and they constantly give her items for free for giveaways! I encourage you to always flourish all of your business relationships.
4. Use video to create content
Don’t skip this one, no matter how anxious it makes you feel! I have a whole post dedicated to creating simple videos: 26 Instagram & Facebook video ideas for boutiques, and how important it is for your small business!
5. Use Instagram and Facebook stories
How would you like an easy, free and fun way to reach new audiences and engage your current customers? There ya have it folks, use the Stories feature on Facebook and Instagram! Don’t forget to incorporate stickers, such as polls, questions and more. This will get those people in your inbox and interacting with you personally!
6. Go live! Share your expertise and serve your audience.
And when you’re ready to be extra brave (I promise, it is NOT that hard), go LIVE! This is the No. 1 way to engage your followers and draw in new people. We love to get to know people we buy from, and it adds a big trust factor that is a huge plus for repeat customers. Give it a try!
7. Re-purpose all your social media posts (rinse & repeat!)
This is one of the easiest social media hacks you’ll ever have up your sleeve! Here’s an example of an Instagram Story I edited and used as a Facebook video post. I do this with my copy too – I revise it and use different photos between FB and IG. My audience is different, plus I wait weeks or months to re-purpose the content so different eyes will see it.
8. Network in Facebook and LinkedIn Groups
This does not mean be spammy. DON’T promote your business (unless they allow it on a particular thread/day). DO be helpful, supportive and serve the people of the group. Lend your expertise, cheer people on and just be a friendly neighbor in the space. And the bonus is by being helpful, people will check out your profile which should be linked to your business. I have gotten many leads this way just by serving FB groups where my ideal customer is hanging out.
Website / SEO / Blog:
9. Create a blog and write frequent blog posts with fresh content.
Take advantage of your full social media marketing mix with this one! Create pins to share and drive traffic back. Maximize your SEO (Yoast SEO is a great place to start and has a free WordPress plugin) and build on those keywords.
10. Add reviews to your website
I’m the kind of girl that loves Amazon, but will also check Amazon while shopping at Target because of the reviews. Reviews, and especially pictures of women in outfits I want to buy, play a huge part in my purchasing decisions. Don’t miss this opportunity to showcase how real people love your items!
11. Don’t forget product photos!
Seeing real women in the clothes I want to buy makes a huge difference in my decisions. Spend time nurturing those customer relationships so women want to share their product photos. Encourage shares on social media using your business hashtag and re-purpose those on your website (don’t forget to ask for permission!).
12. Offer special promotions for followers or email subscribers only
You should always value your email subscribers (we don’t like giving out email address to just anyone!) and your followers. Offer them special promotions, discounts and gifts. Special sneak peaks, behind-the-scenes and even personal info no one else may see. Give them value and always remember repeat customers make the best customers!
13. Collect email addresses to build your audience
Even if you do not have an email system in place yet, always ask for their email addresses! When you’re ready to launch your emails, you will have a list in place. And you want to nurture your list – keep customers engaged and coming back in-store or to your website.
14. Host in-store events such as Sip & Shops and holiday events
Create a welcoming environment, promote the heck out of it, personally invite your top customers (or all customers!) and offer special promotions. I love boutiques that host events, and always make an effort to attend. It is a great way to get people in the door.
15. Sponsor a local event or charity
Find events that cater to your ideal customer and events to benefit a nonprofit that you truly believe in. By aligning with these types of sponsored events, you give back to your community and your company can become more well known in town.
16. Offer raffle or silent auction items at local events
If a sponsorship is out of your budget, consider donating raffle items and silent auction items. This should be something added to your marketing plans and budget right away! It is a great way to get your name out there.
17. Attend networking events
Whether the local chamber or a small networking group, I highly recommend you get out there! We love doing business with people we know, and getting out there is the first step to it. Remember referrals and word-of-mouth are significant for local businesses.
Public Relations / Media
18. Find media opportunities to make your brand known
Without an agency, there are a few easy ways to seek out media opportunities. First thing, introduce yourself to your local news stations and lifestyle newspaper reporters. For more on this, check out How to get media coverage for your boutique.
19. Submit articles to large media outlets for publication
Don’t be afraid to do this! When I owned my pet party planning business, we were featured in the national publication, Kiwi Magazine. Many reporters are looking for experts in certain areas (fashion boutiques on style, home stores on home decor tips, etc) and you are just the person they need on speed dial! Keep an eye out online and in their print publications for these opportunities.
20. Offer yourself up as a style/home/gift/etc expert
In addition to media, by become a known expert by speaking at events, being interviewed on podcasts and joining webinars where your ideal customers is hanging out.
I’m all about bonuses, so here are a few more tips that don’t fall into your marketing mix but should still take priority! …
1. Keep brain dumping and always have a list of your ideas
2. Ask fellow business owners what their favorite business books are and start reading
3. Thank your customers always – smaller businesses can send thank you notes, and larger businesses can create special email automation to get those thank you’s out.
There ya have it! 20 of my own favorite, tried-and-true marketing tips for your small business. If you have questions about any of these, feel free to drop it in the comments below!