At Little Jack, we’re always interested in how local small businesses utilize online marketing to compete in the new global marketplace. To gain further insight, we talked to two local Oak Park and Forest Park businesses to see what online marketing strategies they have had most luck with. Their answers were insightful – to improve their chances of success, small businesses are looking to both improve their local presence by teaming up with their peers, and to extend their global reach through e-commerce platforms.
Embrace Your Local Peers
As the growing phenomenon of “buying local” gives small businesses a new chance to compete with their corporate peers, small business owners are realizing they’re not alone. Choosing to work collectively, small businesses are increasingly cross-promoting products and services with their local peers, to share the marketing load and help each other succeed.
“I am part of an amazing group of women called the Chicago Art Girls, an all-female group of artists and makers that has been getting together socially and doing shows together professionally for over twelve years,” says Kiku Handmade founder Laurie Freivogel. “To capitalize on our marketing efforts, we host two annual art fairs that we call ‘pop-up shops’ – one is coming up in December! We feature many of our group members and a few selected female guest artists. We extensively promote our shows via our Facebook page (ChicagoArtGirls), Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to drive customers to our events, and to our website (chicagoartgirls.com) to find out more about our artist members.”
Use E-Commerce to Go Global
On the other hand, companies whose business model lends itself to selling products online have found that implementing some form of e-commerce on their website can increase their potential customer base ten-fold. Many small businesses are good candidates for this option, but are afraid of the technological hurdles of selling online; those that take the leap (and back it up with a solid marketing strategy) reap the benefits of national exposure.
Yearbook, a Forest Park-based store which “brings nostalgia to individuals through special mementos, objects and furnishings” had been around for two years before it decided to take the leap.
“Our website launched its e-commerce section last November,” says Jef Anderson, Creative Director. “We would really like to drive more business to our e-commerce and get more national exposure.”
Of course, joining the millions of e-retailers also means increased competition. How does Yearbook compete in the marketplace? “Push the brand. Unifying the image of the company/store is important to establish a confident message to the public.”
If you’re a small business is interested in increasing revenue, look to giving one or both of these strategies a try. For additional insights into how these businesses use online marketing for success, read our full interviews with Kiku Handmade and Yearbook.