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Starting a new business can be exciting! But it can also be quite challenging. Businesses need to think about how to get noticed and to let their customers know what exactly it is they offer. Once the business is up and running, the most important way to compete with other companies is through marketing.

Strategic marketing is knowing who your customers are, where you may find them and the best way to communicate your brand or message to them. Here are some basic marketing tools and promotional ideas to help bring in more customers:

1. Direct Advertising. Cater to a broader audience and cover all bases. A lot of businesses engage with their audience by strategically promoting their brand in an outdoor environment, ideally in a space that will be seen by a lot of people such as public transport areas, shopping centres and sporting events. You can connect with your potential customers by handing out pamphlets, letterbox or windshield fliers, post cards, business cards and promoting your brand and services on posters, banners and eye-catching billboards.

2. Digital Marketing. In this day and age, the Internet is a great place to advertise your product. Everyone is online using search and social media so it makes sense that creating an online presence will definitely expose your business to those looking for your products or services. The best way to approach digital marketing is to focus on delivering good content or products that match the user’s search query.

This can involve posting and adding a hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or Pinterest, creating or featuring a blog site, posting memes, sending out newsletters and EDMs to your followers and marketing with online banners. For Social Media channels, it’s also a good idea to use humour to inject a bit of your company’s personality into your content and to humanize your business, generate interest and appeal to your audience.

3. Sales and Discounts. Everyone loves a great value offer! Promotions are a great way to drives sales. Hold seasonal sales with generous discounts twice a year.

4. Run a Contest. Offer your customers the chance to win something associated to your product. An exciting challenge will generate interest and activity. Reward your customers for participating in getting your brand and presence out there.

5. Offer ‘Free’ Giveaways. ‘Free’, everyone’s favourite word. Use the free giveaway offers as lure to generate leads. A free trial of a new product could also be a good idea to get feedback.

6. Loyalty Programs. A sure way to generate more future sales is by focusing on rewarding current customers for spending. You can offer your customer memberships and loyalty programs using points based system and reward them actions you wish to promote. For example, visiting your store, liking your social media page, purchasing a specific product or just being a long term customer!

7. Publicity. Showcase your business through the media with adverts in newspapers and magazines or even filming a short TV commercial with a catchy jingle. If you are on a lower budget, try YouTube as a video channel to advertise in.

8. Host an Event. Invite new potential customers to explore your place of business, product or service. Once at the event, you can conducts demos of your products, hand out free giveaways, talk with guests and build a relationship.

9. Merchandising. Brand awareness can be achieved through promotional items that reinforce your brand. Create custom t-shirts for your staff to wear or bumper stickers for their cars to passively promote your company everywhere they go. Or give away branded pens and post it notes to new and potential customers who have ordered from you or visited your stand at an expo.

10. Give Back to the Community. Volunteering or sponsoring a non-for-profit organisation or event could help your brand equity and even reach out to new customers. It’s a warm gesture and shows your support for an important cause. This will not only enhance your company’s image but also cement a great relationship between you and your community. Generating good word of mouth and a positive reputation will assist your brand acceptance.

At BannerSHOP, we pride ourselves in providing businesses with the right promotional items they need to assist with their sales.