While Keith Pabley was working with a wellness physician to improve the doctor’s practice, he discovered the shocking truth about the healthy bars the doctor was selling: They tasted awful! So he decided to develop his own bar that people would actually want to eat. Once he created Good Greens -- a gluten free, dairy free, natural bar available in a variety of flavors -- he stumbled across another challenge: How does a small business garner interest in a new product without a large marketing budget?
Pabley used social media and reached out to bloggers to increase search ranking through product reviews. Through this route he found that it doesn’t take a Clif Bar budget to make his product successful. The result? Sales grew 50 percent in four months, three of Good Greens’ flavors became the top selling bars in Cleveland and his product is now in 1,200 stores.
Today it is easier and more affordable than ever for small businesses to compete with big players for consumers' time and attention. This is where tech changes in marketing have helped the little guys thrive. Below are a few additional examples of how technology has helped small businesses.
Digital menu boards are also popular for in-location marketing. Restaurants can display daily specials or retailers can showcase sales. Companies are also placing digital kiosks in public spaces such as malls or hotels for users to easily browse information.
YouTube and Vine make it easy for businesses to create and distribute videos with a smartphone or tablet in a short time frame. Traditional video advertising still works, although marketers with a smaller budget may want to look past television and focus their efforts online.
Comedian Michael Dublin and businessman Mark Levine partnered up to create DollarShaveClub.com in 2011. The company, which competes against Schick and Gillette, sells unbranded razors online for as little as $1 a month. So how did they achieve 12,000 new customers in only two days? By spending $4,500 on a comedic video that garnered them 9.5 million views, 76,000 Facebook fans and 23,000 followers on Twitter.
Clothing line Diesel recently used quick response, or QR, codes to promote sales and launch a “free” social ad campaign. Shoppers scanned a code from a store display to “like” a product on Facebook in exchange for a discount.
Car dealers are also rapidly adopting the use of QR codes for window displays. The Scan and Drive technology allows the dealership to stay virtually open 24/7. The information provided through the QR code not only allows users to gain access to auto information, but it also shares the top scans, promoting car models and dealerships with one click.
Customers like QR codes because of the ability to share items; businesses love “social shopping” because it can lead to an increase in sales and because generating codes is inexpensive or even free.
As you can see, there are many ways that technology can help your small business. Whether you decide to promote your company onsite with digital display boards or online through social media marketing, take a chance, have some fun with it and you just might see some new customers roll your way.
Tech Changes in Small Business Marketing
- Carrie Cousins