Marketing your small business

Reaching out to customers can be done in a wide variety of ways, as small business owners found out at a recent meeting of the Cayman Islands Small Business Association.

Suppliers of services to small businesses were recently given the opportunity to showcase how they could work with business owners to improve their bottom line through more effective marketing, at a CISBA event held at the Mary Miller Hall.

Traditional vehicles, such as print and TV were highlighted, as well as online marketing techniques, all geared towards bringing more custom to local small businesses.

Jason Kennedy from the TV station Cayman 27 said they were there to dispel the myths often associated with TV advertising, and in particular that it was too expensive for ordinary business owners.

“There has been an apprehensive approach to TV advertising in the past,” Kennedy said. “But we can customise our service to fit most budgets.”

“People also worry that ads on TV become too diluted and as such their ad might be lost,” he added. “However we have 28 cable networks on which we can insert ads and so we’ve got the ability to tailor an ad schedule to reach out to the customers you specifically want to reach.”

Kennedy said that targeted marketing could include shortening an advertising campaign to perhaps two weeks verses four, thus ramping up the intensity of the ad showings in that reduced time period.

Individuals had also worried about the production costs with producing a TV commercial, which can run into the thousands of dollars.

“So long as a customer shows a commitment to a long term relationship with us we can give discounts on production costs or even give it to the customer for free, but we do need commitment and an advertising plan, going forward,” he said.

That said, Kennedy explained that the TV station could make a good quality ad simply by using still photography, at a much lower cost to the customer. Graphics could be manipulated and couple with voice overs to produce a top notch ad, he said.

Kennedy confirmed they could produce a good quality add for as little as just a couple of hundred dollars and that most expectations could be met.

Getting an appearance on TV shows such as Daybreak was another great way to reach out to customers, they said.

Most businesses have websites and Finlay Joseph from www.ineed.ky said his website would ensure that his clients’ businesses were a step ahead of the competition.

“It’s the place to be if you are good at what you do,” he confirmed.

www.ineed.ky is a website that houses a collection of businesses, all of which have initially been vetted by Joseph and his team to ensure that they really are top notch businesses. The public can log on to the website and then choose the local business or service that they require.

“It’s a great platform for reaching out to customers,” he confirmed. “Potential customers are safe in the knowledge that all listed businesses are under the umbrella of www.ineed.ky’s confirmation that they are awesome companies with which to do business.”

Joseph said that his team were not just swayed by a business simply requesting that they be listed (for which the business pays a fee) and that each new listing is carefully vetted first before they are accepted. Mechanisms are also in place on the website to allow for the public to comment about their experience with a particular business.

“We create the handshake between the vendor and the public, permitting the contact that business owners are looking for,” Joseph said.

Moving back to traditional media sources, Gary Mills from the Cayman Free Press telephone directory, Cayman Buzz, said that directories themselves were nothing new and that everyone had one.

“They sit there waiting for you to use them,” he said. “Whenever you need something you know it will always be in there.”

Cayman Buzz was a particularly good source of information because it was not affiliated with just one telecommunications provider and that as such it was able to list telephone numbers from all the major providers – i.e. LIME, Digicel, Logic and TeleCayman.

The beauty of the Cayman Buzz was that it was also online and constantly updated, he added.

Out annually, in January, Gary said the Cayman Buzz was incorporating some exciting new sections this year, including a new dining section and a hurricane awareness section.

“People tend to use the telephone directory for a number of reasons,” Mills confirmed, “when sourcing new business, for emergencies, when people are unhappy with work undertaken by regular service providers and for infrequent purchases.”

Advertising in such a format made sense because it helped businesses protect their continuing business, giving access to new and former customers alike, he confirmed.

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