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Marketing for Small Businesses

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Even though, you have already started your business, and it seems to develop gradually, you still have a lot to do to strengthen its positions in the market and win recognition from your customers. There are several things you always have to remember before your business becomes a large-scale manufacturer or service provider. Your business has to cut the costs as much as possible because it is more difficult to attract investments, and there is always a risk to lose the market positions as the majority of small businesses become bankrupts in the first years of activity. In spite of this, we firmly believe that your business is going to be successful, and there are several tips for you to keep in mind, so as to ensure that you beat up all your competitors, either small or large ones. Any manager has to remember that world-known corporations used to start as small businesses, and chances to succeed grow if a range of guidelines is followed. Small business managers should not spend as much in funds as well-known corporations. Surely, name recognition and popularity are considerable advantages for any business, but heavy advertising is mostly intended to generate future sales. Brand recognition is what can be achieved, but such advertising can become a costly expense that small companies simply cannot afford. Instead, a small business advertisement should be oriented on creating sales right now. All your ads should include a promising offer, and this will attract customers with additional benefits.

There is always a part of customers who are not satisfied with the price level offered by the company, and the other part is more likely to choose a lower price over better quality. That is why it is necessary to develop a cheaper version of the product that is more affordable but somewhat limited in quality or functions. Nevertheless, not every customer searches for a cheaper product especially if it implies a worse level of quality. Those customers who have higher income would rather choose reliability and functionality over any other factor. The product developers need to work on a premium quality product that targets this certain customer group. If it is difficult to enhance the existing product, just combine several products in a powerful package; that will also make it exquisite and appealing.

A small business that is going to leave its competitors behind always needs to figure out new, unique and extraordinary marketing tools, which their competitors missed in their plans. Such discoveries may help the business become irreplaceable in the eyes of clients;  therefore, competition will not be a challenging danger anymore. For instance, you can use postcards as a platform for your best ads that are easy to distribute and usable by customers. It would be the best decision to place your website at the postcard as while it travels through the post system many people will see it.

It is also essential to be reasonable in the ad size, i.e., the quantity, since it is an essential issue in small businesses. The same applies to textual information - customers look at street, newspaper or online advertisements because of boredom and curiosity, so the marketing specialists have to make sure that the advertisement is eye-catching, bright, positive, easy to comprehend, not overwhelming and intriguing at the same time. Small businesses need to help each other in case they deal with the same customers but do not compete. For example, ice cream companies can unite with soft drinks providers for promotional campaigns. Each company can advertise the products of the other company and can be advertised in exchange, too. This is double attraction. In general terms, this measure can generate enormous volume of sales at no cost.

One of the best ways to increase sales and profitability is to concentrate on the customers, which have already tried your product or service and built some trust to your company. Taking advantage of your existing customers is a truly essential element of extending your business. Market specialists should introduce unique offers, discounts and sales for existing customers. Inform loyal customers about your new, upcoming products and services before the rest of the market hears about it. The network of customers is more effective than usual advertising because personal connections and experience are perceived as trustworthy factors. You may offer discounts for bringing 10 friends in case they are not particularly active. However, this will increase your sales tremendously at extremely low costs.

Promotional gifts take a truly remarkable place in small business marketing. They can serve more functions than it seems at first glance. Apart from increased customer attraction you can make your clients your free advertisers, with the use of promotional gifts. Everything starting with small objects like pens and finishing with camping equipment will work out significantly. Promotional gifts can become the key to your customers' hearts. The sales increase achieved with the help of promotional gifts is not an illusion but a fact that is proven. By the way, it is not difficult to calculate the exact financial indicators change unlike in any other types of advertising. For instance, if you use an ordinary pen as a promotional gift it is still highly effective. If it is of appropriate quality, your client or partner is likely to use it in his daily life because stationary is functional and easy to use in various life spheres. Moreover, his workplace colleagues, family members, friends and other individuals may see your brand, logo and website on the pen. Even, if they do not decide to check out your webpage at once, they have the picture of your brand name and logo in their mind, and when they have to select between your company and competitors most likely they will pick up you. It is an extremely cost-effective instrument of advertising.

It is necessary to give out promotional gifts, which are likely to be seen by other people for a long time because, in this case, promotional gifts serve their role as free advertising platforms, to the full extent. The most popular promotional gifts include office accessories, clothes (mostly T-Shirts and hoodies), clocks, stickers, notebooks, personal organizers, phone books, clippers, holders, magnets and diaries. Your brand name can be printed all over the promotional gift, but you have to make sure it can be functional and comfortable to use for your customers.

Giving out promotional presents can be connected with other promotional events, such as regional product exhibitions that demonstrate your product and welcome numerous potential customers to whom you can offer gifts, and promotional calendars that inform people about your campaigns. You can also establish new business relationships with your potential partners, by giving promotional gifts and presents. Firstly, it is a terrific way for pleasing your partners and inspire them to work with you, as you show your deep appreciation with a gift. Secondly, you can demonstrate the prestige and status of your company with a gift. However, you should be careful: do not purchase gifts that are too expensive, do not correspond with your company’s real status and the status of partner company.

It makes sense examine deeper into different groups of business process participants and their possible reactions to the promotional gifts, which your company offers. Existing customers take gifts as a sign of the company's gratitude for their loyalty. In return, they get increasingly prepared to building long-term and trustful relations with the company because they feel desired and respected. If you give promotional presents to your clients-to-be, you can expect them to pay more attention to your product from now on and even favour it among that of competitors. Promotional gifts are indispensable not only for your clients but also for your employees: wearing T-shirts with company symbols and strategy mottos will contribute to team building immensely, even if the business does not have many employees. Your subordinates feel appreciated, needed and more self-confident, which is reflected in better performance. The customers that used to purchase your product but for some reason stopped can return, as soon as you send them a promotional gift. The brand name will appear in their memory once again, and if their experience is quite positive, the customers are extremely likely to become loyal again.

As for UK, it is quite typical to present promotional gifts for different occasions, but you have to know that each gift has its peculiar meaning and can be presented only on a suitable occasion. Giving out your promotional gifts should be successful because, at times, it is costly and time-consuming. Although it may sound strange that your gift presenting may turn out unsuccessful, you need to keep in mind that promotional and business gifts, which are intended to improve your positions in the market, serve many more functions than just an ordinary demonstration of gratitude or appreciation. Promotional gifts are truly essential links between you, your customers, your employees and your potential partners, and those links have to be reliable. That is the reason why each gift should become a result of deep and thoughtful work of marketing specialists, who are keen on what each target group may need, want and expect. In the majority of business situations, there is no need to buy luxurious gifts or souvenirs. As a matter of rule, an accessible and functional present will be enough, especially in the casual conditions. For example, at your product exhibitions the project manager needs to give out multiple gifts to potential clients, investors and partners to get them intrigued and attracted to the product. Therefore, the company has to work out a balanced gift that is not too expensive but offers an appropriate level of quality. If your business is small, it is not reasonable to give out everyone an iPad as a promotional present because, first, it may give a wrong impression of your company, and second, it is not something you can afford. Therefore, the iPad can be undoubtedly replaced with a T-Shirt with bright print and your company’s name, since that will be more effective and convenient. In a different situation when you have five key investors coming for your company’s visit, you may think of a more expensive present that reflects their position and status in terms of your company. The present should be exquisite and go beyond a regular T-Shirt, if you chose to surprise your guests. With restaurant gift cards, make sure it is a premium restaurant with a high level of quality and prices.

If you are going to present promotional gifts to your foreign partners, it is particularly beneficial to learn more about their cultural backgrounds. In some cultures, they would expect gifts as a sign of respect and the company's prestige while other cultures take it as a bribe and insult. The time you send a gift – before or after the contract is signed – is also an essential factor. Paraguayans and Malaysians can accept your gift only after some trust is built. In the US, the gift should not be highly expensive. However, Japanese, Philippines and Indonesian partners will be insulted if no gift is presented to them because this tradition is ancient and respected until now. You have to get familiar with the ritual of giving gifts in these countries as it is particularly valuable for your partners too. In Asian countries, your partners may refuse several times, but you should insist on giving them a gift in a polite way. Religion also plays a significant role: Jewish or Muslim partners will be insulted if you give them a restaurant gift card where only pork is served. You also shouldn’t give gifts that use pigskin leather and surely no cow skin leather for Indian clients.  Alcoholic beverages will not work for those who come from a Muslim country. Europeans, Latin Americans, and Asians expect their gifts at the first and sometimes second meeting. Americans, Australians, and Scandinavians are more careful with giving and accepting business gifts.

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