How do you get people in the door when you open? As a new business, the plethora of advertising and marketing opportunities will amaze you. Advertising is everywhere. There are two strategies you’ll be focusing on:
As a new business, you’ll likely have a small budget for advertising so it is especially important you use those dollars wisely. In my opinion, most traditional forms of advertising won’t give you as good of a return on investment. TV, newspaper, and magazine ads are costly – skip these in the early stages. I’d recommend you focus your advertising on three areas:
1) Online. I have had success purchasing advertising from Google and Facebook. They are pay per click – so you only pay if someone actually clicks on your ad and views your website. For a new business, this is perfect because you only pay for people that actually look at your ad and are interested enough to click on it to see your website. Google is much more expensive than Facebook – but for a reason. You can use Google to purchase advertising so that anytime someone types the key works you select your ad will come up in the sidebar or the top of the page. You can also put caps on how much you spend, so once you hit your budget maximum they just stop showing your ad. With The Woof Room we did this when we first opened, we wanted our ad (we had a coupon in our ad) to come up for anyone searching things like “dog boarding,” “dog daycare,” etc.
2) Related venues. Advertise in targeted locations. For example, we bought dog poop bags with our information on them and put them at all the local dog parks. Know your market and target it directly for advertising.
3) Daily deal site. Groupon, Crowdcut, LivingSocial, etc are all options for getting new clients.
Word of mouth and customer referrals will be one of the most important – and sustainable ways to advertise your business. There are two ways you can build referrals to your business:
1) Customer referral program. Customers that love your business will tell others about your services/products. Oftentimes though, people don’t even think about it until they are asked. Turn your customers into proactive referrers by creating a customer incentive program. Give them a reward – and the person they refer a reward – once that person has purchased anything. We created a referral program at The Woof Room and it has been helpful in bringing in new clients.
2) Partnerships. Create partnerships with similar businesses and nonprofits. Help them whenever possible. With Deckci Decor we have several partnerships with event venues where they refer us to their clients and have us listed on their website. At The Woof Room, we partner with several local rescues and provide free daycare and boarding for dogs without a home.
Photo Credit: Mark Smickilas