Whether they’re introducing a new company or trying to drive new customers to an established business, small business owners face a similar marketing challenge: how to maximize the impact of their campaigns without breaking the bank.
Because small businesses are just that — small — every dollar of the funding they’ve drummed up must be spent wisely. And while studies show that marketing spend among small businesses is up, it’s still necessary to find new and different ways to get across a marketing message outside of the traditional (read: expensive) advertising media.
Time to channel some creativity. Using your wits, word-of-mouth, and the power of the internet, you can achieve major success with minimal costs. Take the example of Toronto waxing salon, Fuzz Wax Bar. This small, single-location business wanted to drum up some new customers and decided on a coupon strategy. Their promotion became a success, however, because of their wildly creative execution.
Their strategy involved one brave man, hundreds of waxing strip coupons, and a great videographer:
Now that you’ve seen that (and can never un-see it), let’s talk about the three steps you can follow to create a successful viral marketing campaign of your own.
1. Start with a great idea. And not just a great idea, but one that’s also appropriate for your business and your brand. The key to the example above is that the tone of the promotion is totally in line with their branding. The salon’s website has a fun and irreverent tone that is well reflected in this idea. Even the colors of the smiley (and not-so-smiley) faces on the coupons match the website’s colors.
2. Execute it flawlessly. No matter how good your initial idea, it will be a flop if it’s not well-planned and executed. Think through the whole process and anticipate any possible speed bumps. If you’re doing a street promotion, make sure you are complying with local regulations. Find a place with a good crowd of people. Then, think about the follow through – do you have the technical capabilities to receive coupons and give discounts? Is everyone on your staff aware and prepared? Have you added any necessary restrictions?). Once these questions are answered, you’re ready to go.
3. Share it with the world. The key to creative marketing campaigns is making sure your strategy is innovative, shocking, or impressive enough that it will reach all three of your potential audiences. These are 1) the people who experience it first-hand, 2) the people they will tell about it for the rest of the day, and 3) the people who will view it on the web. The Fuzz promotion probably reached a couple hundred people on the who now actually have coupons in hand, but then those people probably all told at least one person in the local community about the experience that day. But beyond Toronto’s city limits, the video (and the business’ name and branding) has reached thousands. In just 4 days, its YouTube views are over 26,000 and counting.
For the amount of exposure and brand-building that Fuzz achieved with their promotion is huge compared to the relative cost of this campaign. There were likely some material costs, the male model’s fee, their staff’s time, and things like that. But compared to a print, radio, or TV campaign, these costs are minimal.
Now it’s your turn. What are some creative promotions you’ve run or have considered for your small business? Tell us about them in the comments below!