Blog banner 7 SIMPLE WAYS TO KEEP YOUR SMALL BUSINESS LOOKING FRESH

So much thought and effort go into getting your business up and running smoothly that when things are ticking along, it’s easy to become complacent. But it’s crucial to keep your business fresh. Luckily, this is easier to do than you might think. Read on for simple ways to boost your business. 

1. Post new content on your website and social media accounts

Many industries struggle with what information is attractive enough to engage people on social media—the design industry is not one of them! It should go without saying that it’s important to post relevant and useful information at regular intervals to both your website and social media accounts. The key here is a focus on quality over quantity, and let’s face it: sometimes it’s hard to keep up. 

While some posts are straightforward thoughts or work-in-progress photos, aim to have as many posts as you can that send people to your website to "read more". Since coming up with content ideas can be a stumbling block, here are a few suggestions for content that will increase customer engagement and strengthen your brand:

Lists and roundups
Blog posts are a great way to present in-depth information that positions you as a leader in your industry, but research and writing all take time. If you’re struggling to keep up with your content schedule, consider interspersing longer posts with lists. They can effectively present top-level content and will prevent your site from being too text-heavy. Roundups are curated content taken (with attribution!) from multiple sources, and like lists, can be an effective way to break up denser content. Depending on length and format, each point in the list might also be repurposed as social media posts.

Tutorials
There’s no better way to show off your expertise than to teach, and an online tutorial can be extremely useful to your visitors. Additionally, in a tutorial, you can showcase your services and any products you wish.

Media coverage

One of the simplest—and easiest to overlook—ways to boost your profile is to share any media coverage about your company on your social media channels and your site. 

2. Enter competitions

Entering your work into industry competitions is a terrific strategy for several reasons. The process keeps you up-to-date with trends and helps you gauge your competition. Additionally, it puts your business name in front of top influencers in your sector. And finally, if you win, you get a boost to your profile, a tidy story for your social media and site, and well-earned accolade. Key events include the DDA Canada competition and the design competition by the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

3. Try a giveaway

Giveaways are effective at increasing your social media following and getting shares of your content. By tying entries to participation, you can increase the visibility of your service offering. Consider a decorative tray, seasonal basket, or other finishings like a throw or collection of vases.

4. Test a direct mail campaign

In an increasingly digital world, a real-life mailer can be very effective. Direct mail can be targeted by postal code or business type (try an addressed mailer if you have a database of addresses). Entice engagement with a promotion, special offer (like a 30-minute consult) or coupon.

5. Hand out promotional items

Though great for boosting visibility, promotional items must be appropriate. Generic choices like pens or key fobs are likely to end up in a drawer but what if you put your logo on a purse-sized measuring tape? Useful, relevant items will go a long way. Segment your contact list and get creative; what could you do for realtors in your area versus builders versus past clients?

6. Update your branding 

Your site, logo, and sales collateral work together to tell your story, and as such should be treated with consistency and forethought. This doesn't mean, however, that it should never be changed. It’s important to modernize every once in a while, so that your look doesn’t become dated, and to ensure that you look and sound different from your direct competitors. "One of the most common pitfalls related to branding is companies often end up looking like, and saying the same things as their competitors," explains Liz Teodorini, marketing consultant for DDA Canada. "What most people don’t realize is this makes the task of comparing and selecting a vendor much more difficult—just like if all the boxes of cereal in the cereal aisle were packaged and labeled the same way. You need to convey why someone should hire you over your competitor, and express your unique personality."

7. Run events

Hosting events is a powerful way to connect with people and stay top of mind. Some of us have showrooms and can do a simple holiday cocktail drop-in for clients, suppliers or both. But events don’t have to happen at your office or follow a party format. Consider inviting a segment of your list to join you at an upcoming home show. You could greet them at the entrance and simply hand them tickets. Someone who would take you up on this offer could be preparing for a renovation. Another event idea is to invite your list to join your team as part of a larger charity event where your company is the 100% sponsor of the team. This type of initiative would align your brand with a cause and the community.

One of our members, Andria Cowan Molyneaux, got a lot of attention in her northern Ontario community of Haliburton when, as part of a city-run winter event, she held an ice fishing hut makeover contest: "The contest was a whacky idea, but we ran with it. Luckily, the community and media loved it, and it generated a lot of buzz. Plus, it gave us a great reason to partner with other community businesses, which we love to do whenever we can. What most surprised us, though, was that the winner of the contest hired us six months later to renovate part of his home. So a contest that cost us $5,000 led to a $175k project! 

As a professional, you know how important it is to be on top of your image. These ideas are easy initiatives to incorporate into your business flow. If you feel squeezed for time, just start with a small one and build from there. Your effort will help you earn (or maintain) a place at the forefront of the industry. 

 

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