You may have watched some those super-expensive Superbowl ads go viral over the years and lamented your own small (or nonexistent) marketing budget, knowing that kind of exposure is out of reach.
Well, it may not be after all. After this year's Superbowl, the Brewers' Association, an industry group representing the majority of craft brewers in the U.S, snagged the spotlight. Responding to Peyton Manning's allegedly unsolicited repeated mentions of Bud Light during a post-game interview, the Association sent Manning two packages of craft beers, including several made in the Broncos' own Colorado.
The Brewers' Association took advantage of a big business strategy--inserting your brand into a current, and relevant, news story--and,it paid off. USA Today, ESPN, Yahoo and others all covered the letter sent with the beer, while a reporter for NFL.com tweeted it to his almost one million followers. The Association and ten of its brewers got all that press for the price of shipping two boxes of beer. That is one huge marketing win.
Of course, there are important differences between big businesses and small ones, and what works for one often won't help the other. But, as the Brewers' Association example makes clear, there are definitely some big business strategies that smaller businesses can take advantage of. Here are three of them.
Make the most of your social media presence.
Every company needs to be on social media now, but if you're only posting once a month to Facebook or Twitter, you're wasting your valuable time. For social media to have a chance of boosting your bottom line, you need to use it regularly. Buffer has a helpful infographic on how often you should be posting to the social networks. The trick is to do it well without allowing it to consume too much of your time.
I've recommended a lot of things about social media over the years, but here are some basics.
- Automate as much of it as you can.
- Tell your audience about promotions and new products, but don't hammer them over the head with it incessantly.
- Your posts shouldn't be random or salesy.
- Don't latch on to a trend just because it's there.
- Don't post just to have something out there.
- Your posts, whatever channel they're on, need to offer people value.
- The best way to figure out what content your customers want is to ask them directly.
- Spy on competitors to see what works.
Segment the market.
Let's face it, unless you're Coca-Cola, not everyone is a potential customer. Segmenting the market means separating consumers into categories and figuring out which of those categories you should be targeting. And it's something even the big businesses do; it's how Pepsi survived their competition with Coca-Cola.
There are a lot of ways to break down the world's 7 billion possible customers in order to find those likely to become your customers. Geographical location, gender, marital status, age, job, hobbies, education level, even psychological traits like "risk taker," or "early adopter" are all identifiable segments. The better the picture you have of your customers, the easier it will be to learn about them--and target them with your content. Facebook, for example, offers myriad ways of segmenting the market and targeting very specific groups of users.
Maximize the value of your web site.
All of the above doesn't' even matter if people come to your site and can't find what they're looking for. Have you considered what information people are coming to your site to find? Businesses like Target and Amazon always have their current promotions placed high so they're the first thing you see. It's always easy to find the hours and location of the nearest Home Depot or Staples. Don't assume because you're local that customers already know where you are or how late you're open. Can visitors find product information or a menu, if you're a restaurant? Have you linked your site to your Yelp! profile? Never make people hunt for information on your site. It annoys potential customers, and a high bounce rate can lower your search engine ranking.
It's all connected.
None of these points exist in a vacuum. Make sure to use what you've learned from the first two steps to optimize your web site. One idea is to think about who may visit your site and what content they might want to see. Over time, you'll get better at telegraphing and producing more content that may prompt them to share a link to your site. Much of this comes down to a hustler mindset. Dig up ways of encouraging your visitors to interact, and watch as you build your customer base and drive more profit.