Updated: Jun 22
Throw your direct mail campaign and bloated advertising budget in the trash. Learn the secrets to a cost-effective NJ business marketing strategy from a professional who quit the name brands to help New Jersey small business owners win.
My father owned a 3-man NJ construction company his whole life. He woke up every day for 45 years and worked his tail off to feed our family. He fell off ladders. He bled. He sweat, he got dirty, and he never complained — all to make an honest buck. To me, there's nothing more "Jersey" than that.
About six years ago, I looked at my father as he neared retirement. I thought about how hard he worked, and how much a good marketing team could have helped him grow. Then I thought about my fancy boutique marketing gig, and I had an awful realization:
My dad could never be my client. He couldn't afford it.
It's the plight of small business owners across New Jersey. The best digital marketing agency solutions are priced and tailored way out of their budgets. Any marketing effort or branding attempt a NJ small business owner makes can't possibly compete with the big boys…
Or can it?
Yes, small businesses can afford great customized marketing.
If your small NJ business is going to compete — and win — in a way you can afford, you need a marketing strategy custom built for local business. That strategy involves 4 essential elements:
Finding potential customers where others aren't looking.
Turning screen readers and online shoppers into new customers.
An all-in commitment to search engine marketing.
A Jersey-based marketing partner who values small business development over money.
Let's break down each of these elements one at a time. I promise by the end, you'll have a clear vision of your new small business marketing strategy.
Find potential customers where others aren't looking.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer
New Jersey is the most densely-populated state in America. Opportunities to find new customers are everywhere. If you're not finding leads, you're not looking in the right places.
As a NJ small business owner, you can't waste time doing what the competition's doing. Your budget and resources are limited, so why spend them in the same spaces as everyone else?
“Go where they ain't,” as the old adage says.
Start a unique (and inexpensive) marketing effort — join a community group that lacks your industry's presence. If you're a mechanic and your local business alliance has no mechanics as members, join it. (Don't care that others haven't joined. Do care that you get to be the first.)
Find a local event that needs volunteers, and sign up. Good will towards you and your brand is built in immediately. The amount of business card handouts, leads and sales I've cultivated this way is wonderful. If you prove you care about the people in your community, the people in your community will care for you in turn.
That leads me into my next local marketing tip — treat your social media community like the people you meet in person.
Social media ads don't create new customers. Actual posts do.
“Marketers need to build digital relationships and reputation before closing a sale.” – Chris Brogan
Social media marketing is not about ad campaigns. It's about actual engagement.
One massive mistake many small business owners make is dumping money into online advertising instead of actually curating their social media accounts. Your target audience uses an average of 7 social platforms per month. They recognize a marketing campaign when they see one.
And statistics show they don't like it.
The average American sees between 4,000-10,000 ads a day. 96% of people don't trust the ads they see to be factual. Even worse for social media ad campaigns? 74% of people say they're absolutely sick of them.
You can't create new customers on social media if ¾ of them are turned off before they even meet you.
Invest your time in social media instead of your money. Tell that potential customer about your brand with unique, compelling posts instead of groan-worthy sponsored ad placement.
It's a great way to save money and control every aspect of your content — two perks every small business owner wants.
Balance word of mouth with search engine marketing.
"Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first." – Wendy Piersall
Search engine optimization is vital to good small business marketing. I can't (and won't) undersell what good web design, website development and SEO content marketing can do for your business.
But you have to make sure that people love you more than Google does.
New Jersey may be densely populated, but it's a state of close-knit communities. A high rank in Google search results means nothing if local word of mouth is poor. Your marketing plan must account for grassroots efforts that reach into the community you serve.
Forbes calls word of mouth marketing “the most important social media”. 72% of people share news and recommendations based on word of mouth. And unlike a costly email marketing or digital ad campaign, customer referrals are entirely free.
If you operate in NJ, the marketing agency you hire can't just provide digital marketing services. You need a team that puts boots on the ground and reaches directly to the people who live where your business does.
That means you need a NJ business marketing partner who actually cares about your community — and your small business.
Get a partner who cares about small businesses in New Jersey.
"The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world." – Marc Benioff
It astonishes me how many NJ business owners have marketing teams that aren't in New Jersey.
Yes, there are talented marketers everywhere. But a small business has to be sure its content strategy is created by people who understand the community around it.
Simply put — how can you market to Red Bank if you've never been to Red Bank? How is someone from another country going to know what Maria from Pennington needs to hear?
Local business must rely on local marketing professionals. Your content and message mean nothing if they aren't branded for your community and your neighbors.
I've spent 15+ years helping NJ business owners succeed, and I couldn't do it effectively if I didn't live and work here.
NJ business marketing is a journey. Let's take it together.
“You cannot buy engagement. You have to build engagement.” – Tara-Nicholle Nelson
A good small business marketer knows there's no substitute for putting in the work. This is especially true in a state like ours that relies on long hours and developing strong community ties.
I'm so proud of what I'm building at Perk Copywriting. The core of my business is comprised of New Jersey businesses that trust me to deliver a modern blend of digital marketing strategy and community engagement. It's the same balance between technology and Main Street that makes NJ great in the first place.
More important than any of that — I'd like to think my dad would hire me. And that means everything.
I'd love to help you write the next chapter of your New Jersey small business strategy. Whether it's content marketing, copywriting or brand strategy, I'd love to hear about your goals. Let's start a conversation.