Joanna Dubbeldam, owner of Toronto’s award-winning DAM Squared Marketing, knows what it means to succeed in a difficult climate. She started her boutique agency during the recession in early 2009 and has been flourishing ever since. Joanna attributes her client wins to developing a strong brand, solid customer relationships and an ability to offer clients top notch marketing without having to pay big agency fees.
Three things on Ms. Dubbeldam’s mind about how to market your small business this summer and beyond:
1. Get your Brand “Bikini-ready”: You will always be judged, so you have to look your best. Your company needs to stand out with simple, sharp, relevant and strong creative. The same way you wouldn’t put an unflattering picture of yourself on a dating profile, make sure your website is top notch. Like an overweight personal trainer and a mechanic with a beat-up car, customers may be wary to trust your business if you have an unappealing website. You’ll be shocked how much design can affect your bottom line.
2. Take it Outside: Summer is a great time to get your brand noticed outdoors. People are walking, patio’ing, bbq’ing … so put your messages where they are. Hire a sidewalk artist to sketch something outside your place of business, set up a lemonade stand in your building’s lobby to network with fellow tenants, host a summer client event, run a summer themed contest online, sponsor a local festival or event, partner with a local gelatoria and send customers a coupon for free ice cream, entertain your top suppliers to brainstorm new clients, etc. Whatever you choose to do, never loose touch with where your customers are.
3. Know what’s HOT: Evolve - you need to keep up with the trends. Don’t expect to know them all but make sure you hire a company that does. Trying something new doesn’t mean having to spend a lot of money. Here are a few simple ideas to explore; create a new tagline, mix up your media buy, send out a small but witty teaser campaign, do guerilla marketing at a local patio, make a cool viral video for You Tube, improve your web click-throughs with SEO, consider customer generated content or design a catchy email signature. Effective tactics aren’t always flashy.
Special to The Globe and Mail