Using Promotional Items to Grow Your Business

There are different approaches that small businesses can take to grow their business. As a small business owner, you’re probably familiar with most traditional marketing tactics. Still, a strategy you may need to be more familiar with is using promotional items.

Promotional items are branded goods or “swag” as a promotion. The idea is to send the right message to the right person at the right time. For example, let’s say you own a ski resort. A promotional item you may give customers or clients could be branded ski hats with your resort’s logo/art – distributed to promote and grow your business.

Promotional items aren’t just apparel, either. This swag could range from cookies with your small business’ logo to custom bobbleheads.

So, how can your small business use these items to raise brand awareness and expand your reach?

Our recent episode of A Little Marketing discusses how small businesses can use promotional items to grow. In the episode, Kristy Carruthers, owner of Proforma Connect Branded Goods in Kelowna, BC, joins us. Kristy gives us the inside scoop on how to use “swag” to build relationships and grow your business.

The Benefits of Branded Goods

Is giving away promotional items worth it for small business owners? Well, according to Kristy, branded items have a ton of benefits. “There are many ways to incorporate branding tools into your business. Whether it’s reaching new clients, creating awareness, growing sales, retaining clients longer – it’s endless,” Kristy says.

It also has a great ROI. Kristy mentions that if you choose the branded item thoughtfully, it’s one of the lowest-costing advertising mediums. “If you chose [the branded item] well and it’s something that they value, use and keep for a long time . . . they’re seeing your logo, they’re being reminded of your company over and over and over again for that one small initial cost.”

So overall, it’s a great way to get your business’s name out there!

Use Promotional Items to Keep in Touch with Your Customers or Clients

Promotional items not only help to promote your business, but they also promote growth in the relationship between your business and your client or customer base. In addition, taking advantage of promotional items as a small business is something unique that’ll set your business apart. As Kristy mentions, “It’s something you can do as a small business that these large companies aren’t going to be able to do at scale.”

Consider gifting items for your client’s birthday, the anniversary of your business-client relationship, or just because!

“They can hold that item, they can keep that item . . . it creates that goodwill,” says Kristy. It’s a thoughtful and kind way to remind your customers or clients that your business is there.

And a great bonus: Your clients may even post the item on social media or show it to their friends, creating buzz about your business.

Aside from the benefits of promotion and relationship building, promotional items are a great way to make your clients – and you – feel good as small business owners. “At the end of the day, if you get nothing out of it — you’ve made someone’s day. You’ve made them feel good about your company,” says Kristy, “It’s feel-good marketing!”


Learn from our other guest experts from our podcast too!

All About Local Listings Management with Devin Thomas of Uberall

Is your business taking advantage of local listings and the power of a platform like Uberall?

Having a proper local listings management strategy is a little thing that can go a very long way for local business owners. And the potential for such a strategy to make a significant impact is real.

Why? Because local listings sit at the core of a small business’s visibility and can genuinely be one of the most powerful marketing tools when used thoughtfully.

So what exactly is a local listing?

A local listing is a directory where your business can appear. Some of these platforms are well-known and popular, such as Google Business Profile (in other words, Google Maps and Search), Bing, Facebook and Apple Maps. Customers can easily access your business name, address, phone number, photos, social links and other important information when your listing appears in search results.

In a recent episode of A Little Marketing, we spoke with Local Listings expert Devin Thomas. Devin shared his insights into all things local listings, including Google Business Profile Manager (formerly Google My Business), and how innovative software tools can help small business owners efficiently manage their listings.

Our chat with Devin revealed how impactful local listing management is for small businesses. Here’s what he had to say:

Devin Thomas of Uberall discusses the importance of using a local listing management platform.  

The Importance of Local Listings Management

“More than half of searches, in general, are local,” says Devin. “This means that when someone is typing something into the search engine on Google or another search platform, they’re looking for something locally. So local listings are your key to ensuring that you appear in those searches.” Devin says your business visibility increases by 60% when registered with local listing directories.

Essentially, it’s all about consistency. “The more you’re there, it builds that psychological familiarity,” says Devin. “Customers trust consistency. You’re present on apps, maps, social media platforms, and many other online directories when you manage your local listings. So not only are you raising your business’ visibility by being present on these local listing platforms, you’re building up a consistent image for your customers.”

Another critical benefit of local listings: “It generates free and organic traffic to your website.”

Lastly, managing your local listings allows you to create an accurate brand image. If you’re not managing your local listing, your business might still be listed online on different directories but not with correct or accurate information. That’s why it’s crucial to verify your profile and manage your listing to control the narrative of how your business appears in searches.

So how can you manage your business’ local listings properly? Devin gives us an answer: Uberall.

Local Listings Management with Uberall

Uberall is a fantastic tool for local listing management. “There’s an importance of being visible across the board unilaterally; that’s where Uberall comes in,” says Devin, “[Uberall] makes sure that you’re present consistently.”

When you manage your local listings with Uberall, Uberall does the work for you. Have your business information changed, such as hours, address and other little details? Enter them into Uberall’s platform, and all changes get syndicated to all of the directories in your plan. That way, when a customer searches for you on 40-plus business directories, your hours are presented consistently across all of them. Because let’s be honest, there is nothing more frustrating than inaccurate business hours online!

Google Business Optimization

Getting the most out of your local listings is about building consistency across the board. If you want to get the most out of your local listings as a marketing tactic, the best thing you can do as a small business owner is to optimize your Google Business Listing. So why is Google Business optimization so important? “It’s important to stay engaged – an effortless but vital way to impact search rankings and build trust with Google positively,” says Devin.

So how can you do this? Devin says that constantly updating your profile on Google is critical. Add photos, update social links, create Google posts –  anything you can do to boost your engagement. Keep adding new content, and keep engaging with your customers via reviews. Your business’ visibility will thank you.

Local Listings Management Resources

Need help setting up and managing your local listings? Optimize your Google Business Listing with a directory strategy that delivers customers, managed and optimized by our experts. Click here for a 2-month free trial!

Already have your listings set up and curious to know how your local listings compare. Get your free local listings health report here!

For more free information on local listing management and all that it can do for your small business, listen to our episode with Devin here on YouTube!

TikTok Marketing: How to Engage Your Audience and Grow Your Brand

Don’t underestimate the power of TikTok marketing!

Regarding social media, TikTok has one of the biggest influences on its users. The impact that TikTok has on culture is so significant that 43% of TikTok users try something new or go someplace new after seeing it at least once on the app. Brands are certainly taking advantage of this impact too. With 1 billion active monthly users, brands use the app to access a massive pool of consumers.

TikTok marketing is an excellent way for businesses – both big and small – to promote brand awareness. In addition, the platform’s massive impact on users can benefit brands that engage with their audience.

But despite TikTok’s colossal impact now, it’s still a relatively new platform for marketing. As a result, not all businesses are familiar with the app and its use for engagement and growth. That’s why we’re here to help. This guide will take you through all things TikTok marketing so that you can succeed at engaging your audience and growing your brand!

What is TikTok Marketing?

If you’re not already familiar with TikTok, it’s a rapidly growing app where users can create 15-second to three-minute videos. These videos either feature original sound, a trending TikTok sound made by another user, or music. According to their algorithm, these videos appear on other users’ For You Page (FYP). Users can choose to follow creators they enjoy engaging with while still enjoying videos by creators they don’t follow via the FYP.

But the app is not just for creators. TikTok is rapidly growing, with marketers looking to promote their brands to a rapidly growing audience. Brands are hopping on TikTok to promote themselves through organic content or paid TikTok advertising. In addition, brands are creating videos to engage with audiences and boost brand awareness.

A Little Marketing, Episode 14: Growing Your Business with TikTok with Guest Expert Steph Goldman

Watch our TikTok episode where Nikki Gillingham and I discuss TikTok Marketing with guest expert Stephanie Goldman. Known on TikTok as @KimmyToyz, Stephanie has 1 million followers and regularly gets over 1 million views on her videos.

How to Succeed on TikTok as a Brand

Curious about how to get in on the action? Here are five tips to help you grow and engage your TikTok audience for brand growth.

1. Finding your voice on TikTok is all about trial and error.

Finding your brand’s voice on TikTok is all about trial and error. You may not get it right in the first 5, 10, 20, or even 100 videos. Instead, it’s all about seeing what type of content connects with audiences. Once you find a groove that works for your business, you’ll be able to engage your audience and see more growth continuously.

TikTok expert Steph Goldman speaks about how she found her voice as a TikTok creator and business owner on A Little Marketing, our podcast. She believes finding your voice on TikTok is all about trial and error.

2. Use the analytics available to you

In our podcast with special guest Steph Goldman, we also discuss how she was able to find out what style of video was performing best among audiences. The answer? Analytics. Analytics is a valuable tool available to marketers and creators on TikTok. And because trends are constantly changing on TikTok, it’s essential to monitor these analytics regularly.

3. Make your contact info accessible

Put your contact info – such as your email – in your TikTok bio. That way, when you start to see growth on TikTok, your audience will be able to engage further with your business.

4. Use popular songs/sounds

Pay attention to what’s trending on TikTok. According to research conducted by TikTok, 68% of users say they remember the brand better when it uses a popular TikTok song. In addition, 58% say they feel a stronger connection to the brand and are more likely to talk about it. And 62% of TikTok users say that popular TikTok songs make them curious to learn about the brand.

5. Embrace your brand’s authenticity

If trends aren’t performing well for your business, don’t be afraid to embrace your brand’s authenticity. 56% of users feel closer to brands that embrace the medium of authenticity on TikTok.

Want to Learn More about How to Grow Your Brand on TikTok?

For more information on this topic, our podcast, A Little Marketing, has an informative episode on how to grow your business with TikTok. You can check it out here! And be sure to subscribe to the podcast to stay up to date on all things marketing for small businesses!

Introducing A Little Marketing, Our New Podcast

10|20 Marketing, in collaboration with Blue Whale Communications in Kelowna, BC, is excited to introduce our new podcast, which we’re calling “A Little Marketing. Small Moves with Big Impact.”

The podcast, hosted by Nikki Gillingham from Blue Whale Communications and Mark Goren at 10|20 Marketing, is designed to provide a little extra marketing support to small businesses. Our passion is using our marketing expertise to make a big difference for small businesses, and that’s what we aim to do with this podcast.

Our Concept For A Little Marketing Is Simple

In each episode, Nikki and Mark introduce simple topics that will help small business owners significantly impact their local market. From tips and tricks to current industry trends, it aims to give marketing insight to small business owners. Because, after all, a little marketing can go a long way!

In our first episode, we discuss Instagram. Instagram has recently made many updates to its app and algorithm. This episode looks at what those changes mean for small business owners.

Episode 1: Instagram Algorithm

Earlier this spring, Instagram reintroduced the chronological feed. When the app was reasonably new, Instagram displayed its feed chronologically. So each time you refreshed the app, you’d first see the most recent posts from people you follow. As the app grew and more users joined, Instagram introduced an algorithm that predicted which content a user might want to see. In addition, the algorithm began introducing users to content they weren’t following. Doing so is similar to other social media algorithms, like Facebook and Twitter.

Recently though, Instagram has reintroduced the option for a chronological feed. They’ve also introduced a “Favorites” feature that allows users to see their favourite accounts. So how does this impact businesses?

In a recent poll by Nikki, she found that only two of her followers who answered used the new chronological/favourites feature. While that may come as a big surprise, it should also be a relief. Instagram is continuously adding updates to its app, but this doesn’t mean how people use it will change overnight. When an update like this comes, you don’t have to worry about changing your business’ social media strategy to work with the app’s update. Like always, however, putting out engaging content will be much more important than rushing to keep up with Instagram’s constant algorithm changes.

For a deeper dive into this topic, be sure to listen to our first episode here.

Subscribe to A Little Marketing on YouTube too. And be sure to check back next week for a brand new episode!