As a small business ourselves, we know that every penny counts. Not every trend that passes through is worth the time or money investment, and as resources are limited, small businesses and nonprofits have to be wise. We understand the dilemma.
But it’s important to distinguish which investments are frivolous and which are essential to growth. Marketing, for instance, is not a luxury- it’s a necessity. Here’s why:
- You can’t sell your product if people don’t know what you sell.
- You can’t provide your service if people don’t know what service you provide.
Now, it can be debated as to whether every type of marketing or media is necessary for your business or organization. Your hand-made jewelry company may not benefit from billboard advertising, for instance, or having a Twitter account for your cake shop may be non-essential.
As we shared in our intro post, marketing isn’t just about the medium. It’s mainly about the messaging. The mode of spreading your message- whether it be through blogging, traditional advertising or social media strategy- can differ from organization to organization. What’s important is that your unique small business or nonprofit tap into the best resources possible so that you can effectively reach the audience that would most benefit from your product or service.
Why isn’t word-of-mouth enough?
Word-of-mouth eventually reaches a “circle wall.” That isn’t a scientific term, but here’s what we mean:
In each community, there are circles of people who mingle or connect in some way. While word-of-mouth is valuable- especially in a small or close-knit town- eventually everyone in your “circle” has been tapped with information about your organization (or at least is already aware you exist), and your circle of verbal advertising hits a wall. Intersecting circles may assist in lengthening your reach, but that wall gets hit soon, too.
While personal connections and relationships do impact your influence and reputation in the community, many times your best (and most recurring) customers are those you tap through effective marketing. And unfortunately, sometimes your personal connections just don’t care about your product (and that’s ok). The key is finding people who are interested in what you have to offer, not forcing interest on your friends just because they know you.
In addition, people can know about you and still forget about you. Social media manages that word of mouth marketing and helps remind them you exist. It also helps potential customers or clients get to know you better.
Quality marketing, whatever the medium, connects you with the correct audience.
Marketing allows you to spread your brand or message so that the right people get a hold of it.
Once you reach the people who will benefit from what you’re offering, then the next step is to cultivate those relationships (through your online presence, involvement in community events, customer service, etc).
Remember, whatever you put into your marketing- both time and money- is what you’ll get out of it.