Zero Dollar Small Business Marketing 101-Maritime Marzipan

Leveraging social media and media for your business

When you start your own business, first, you focus your efforts on the essentials. Getting your product ready. Selling your product. Often enough physically doing it yourself by attending a market, driving around and talking to stores, leveraging your contacts.

Then comes a time where you want to spread the word, and marketing and media become more interesting, social media included. As a small and new business you probably don’t have big budgets. So get on the free stuff!

Create your business Facebook page, and invite your friends to like it. Run a little page/ post sharing giveaway to widen the circle of Likes beyond your friends. A small reward–such as a bag of free marzipan–often drives people to take action. And then their friends are doing the same, and then…, and…

Open an Instagram account, and start sharing what’s going on with your business visually. Make it interesting: a quote or a pic of something relating to your business and product keep the content going but don’t feel like ‘selling’. A personal touch makes it so much more appealing for your audience to like your page and come back and follow.

Tweet away, snap chat the sh*#$ out of your phone, Pinterest things… You name it! Choose the social media tools that you are comfortable with AND that fit your target group. If you want to educate yourself, there are numerous webinars, YouTube videos and guides out there that can help you improve what you are doing on social media, often for free. Just google it.

In a nutshell, social media marketing is free but it costs your time so spend that wisely and efficiently.

Then print your accounts and pages on your business cards, link them to your website, if you have one, and voila, you are using all the channels to get the word about your business out. Well, all the ones you have power over.

Because then there is media. Print, online, radio, TV–an article about you or an interview with you are such credible ways of telling the story of your business. Because who doesn’t trust their newspaper?!

How do I get on that, you ask? Well, on PEI, we are actually very lucky. The small province craves for news, and you and your business might just be the next big thing. So often enough the opportunity presents itself. As it did for us.

For Maritime Marzipan, it all started with Salty. I mean you are reading this on the Salty website right now. We are so thankful that Salty allows us to blog about our new food business owner experiences here. First, there was a business profile in the print publication though. A great boost to our business launch. Throughout the last couple of months, I even met people who recognized us from that article. Wow! 🙂

When CBC approached us for an online article and radio interview, I couldn’t believe it. The day after the article was published, the interview aired at about 8.20 am on a Monday morning. That’s prime time! I came into work and was stopped at every corner by coworkers who didn’t know I was doing that on the side, or congratulated me. It was quite something. And that was just the reaction from people we know. Imagine how many more people this reached. People we don’t know. People who might now buy our marzipan. No marketing dollar spent on our end. Thanks, CBC.

The biggie in free marketing is word of mouth though. That’s when someone who tried your product recommends it to someone else, or maybe leaves a review on your Facebook page. That happens when people really like your product AND they care. So: a) Make a good product  and b) Treat everyone well. Respond to messages quickly, professionally and with customer service in mind. If you are doing a good job at both, and live on an amazing island with a great community, people will talk about your product and help you sell more. Because who doesn’t trust their friend/ family member/ neighbour/ coworker for their next culinary experience?!

Good luck and happy sharing!

About Jessica Fritz

Jessica is "from away" in the truest sense of its meaning: her roots are in Germany. She immigrated to Toronto, Canada in 2010 and moved to PEI two summers ago. As a passionate home cook Jessica likes to explore different types of cuisines including her native one. "Thinking globally, buying locally" is her foodie mantra, and being able to grow veggies in her own backyard was one of the big drivers for her move to PEI.
Putting words on paper has always been a way to express herself. Hence, writing for Salty combines her love for food and the written word while at the same time discovering PEI's thriving culinary landscape.
And recently, Jessica and her husband launched their own food business: Maritime Marzipan offers hand-made traditional European almond treats inspired by Island living. She is blogging about her adventure here on saltyisland.com or you can find them at maritimemarzipan.com.

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