The thing is, successful small businesses are investing money in marketing. Why? Because it works.
Still don’t believe us? That’s alright. We asked three local businesses, Bootleg Bucha, Lockhouse Distillery, and Rusty Nickel Brewing Co., for their perspectives. Naturally, we created a list summarizing what they had to say.
Photo by Rusty Nickel Brewing Co.
#1: MARKETING GROWS YOUR BUSINESS
As a business owner, your bottom line is important. The results of marketing may not seem tangible or immediate. But in reality, it’s one of the best ways to get new customers in your door.
“I can’t think of a single successful business model that doesn’t benefit from marketing. Unless you don’t want your business to grow, you absolutely need to market,” explained Katie Brown, general manager at Rusty Nickel Brewing Co.
RNBC has been open for four years, but their analytics show that 60% of their customers are still new.
“Without a social media presence, without publishing blogs or articles, without having an updated website…without those opportunities, these people would have never heard of us,” she said.
The bottom line for your bottom line is if you want your business to expand, you need to invest in telling people about it.
#2: GET THE BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
As a small business, you can’t afford to invest your money poorly. Aka spend your marketing dollars wisely. Whether you hire an outside agency, create a marketing position, or manage everything yourself, it needs to make sense.
Make sure they (or you) know what they’re doing or else you’re spending money that could have been put toward more effective means.
Don’t rule out an option just because it’s more expensive. If the ROI is greater, it’s worth it. Katie gave us this example. If spending $1,000 on an ad gets you 450 new customers whereas spending $500 only gets you 35, doubling your budget makes sense.
Regardless of how big or small your budget is, do your research and make it count.
Photo by Lockhouse Distillery
#3: BRANDING IS IMPORTANT. NOT KIDDING.
Determine how your brand resonates with people, and stay true to it.
Take Lockhouse for example. Their brand is fun and jaunty, and they don’t take themselves too seriously. Everyone wants to laugh at themselves. Lockhouse is actually doing it. And that’s exactly what makes their brand so relatable. Consistency is key here.
“All of your content should relate back to your brand identity,” explained Cory Muscato, co-owner of Lockhouse Distillery.
Take one look at any content Lockhouse produces and you’ll realize that they do just that. Each week when they release the latest edition of their Sakura Summer Series, it’s clever and funny. Followers love this kind of content because it’s entertaining and it’s on brand for them.
But your brand is more than your social media and advertisements. Your brand is what sets you apart from your competition no matter where your product is.
When you walk into the grocery store and see all of the different types of kombucha on the shelves, branding is what might make you choose one brand over another.
Bootleg Bucha’s branding is bold, vibrant, and most importantly recognizable. As New York’s largest and original kombucha brewery, they’ve developed a dedicated following over the years. They even have a hashtag for their fans, #BootlegBuchaFam.
Heather Lucas, co-owner of Bootleg Bucha, knows that if her branding isn’t on point, then she’s not going to make the sale, so she makes good branding a priority.
To put it simply, whether you’re investing time or investing money, you need to invest in branding.
#4: SOCIAL MEDIA MATTERS A LOT
Social media is priceless.
Those are Katie’s words, not ours (but we 100% agree).
Simply having social media accounts isn’t enough. You need to post consistently and keep your followers in the loop. This can help grow your audience, aka your customer base, and keep them coming back for more.
“There is no way that we’d be able to grow our business as rapidly as with social media,” says Katie. “Capturing attention from someone you may not have even intended to market to just because they liked your picture, that’s priceless.”
“If you don’t have an active social media presence, people start to mistrust you because they can’t relate to your brand,” says Cory.
Moral of the story? Social media > everything.
Photo by Bootleg Bucha
#5: WEIGH YOUR OPTIONS
Let’s all agree. Every business needs someone to handle marketing. So who is it going to be?
Some businesses handle marketing in-house and others outsource it to pros, like us. When you’re deciding what will be best for you, ask yourself two things 1- is this a smart investment of time and money? 2- will this strategy be effective?
If you have the time to spend researching marketing best practices, taking quality photos, creating content calendars, writing attention-getting posts and blogs, and designing graphics, keep your marketing in-house.
If you don’t, hire someone with the right experience and resources. Trust us, it’s worth it.
Heather hired a marketing company to take over Bootleg Bucha’s marketing and branding in fall of 2018, and hasn’t looked back.
“I think out-of-house is more than we ever could have done ourselves and it just really takes the pressure off us,” said Heather. “That’s the best part of working with a marketing company, it’s stuff we can’t do.”
Marketing is worth the investment. It can help you grow your customer base, boost brand awareness, and ultimately increase your bottom line, so don’t be scared of the initial investment.