Marketing tips for small businesses
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Marketing is essential for the success of any business. It doesn’t matter how great the product or service you are offering is if nobody knows about it. You need to market every strand of your business and that includes yourself.
Businesses are built by people and their success is dependent on the quality of those people. Both you and your employees represent your company so it is essential you think about the image you are projecting. When creating and implementing your marketing plan, it is important to think about your branding and how you want your business to be perceived, both in the short and longer term. Here are my key tips for successfully marketing a Small business.
Know Your Audience
The way you market your business will depend on your sector, customers and service – one size won’t fit all. You need to make sure you are targeting your campaigns, spending time researching your audience and focusing on the message you are trying to communicate.
Make sure your actions are relevant to your target audience and know the best avenues to reach them. There is no point using a marketing channel that your audience won’t see.
Have Clear Objectives
It is important that marketing is not an afterthought. Marketing activity needs to be planned in advance if it is going to yield results, so ensure you have a clear target in mind. Do you want to increase sales, drive traffic to your website or simply raise awareness? Each objective requires different tactics so you need to be very clear from the start. Every marketing action should be measurable, so ensure you have the ability to track all the results.
As a small business you have the added benefit of being more able to react to changing circumstances than larger organisations. The key to successful marketing is flexibility. By monitoring your campaigns from the start you can see if something isn’t working as well as you’d anticipated. If this happens you can end the activity quickly and re-allocate the budget.
Don’t Neglect Your website
Your website is your shop window, so think about what it shows your customers. You should constantly be asking yourself if you have the best shop on the high street. Once people get to your website, you need to keep them engaged. Your site should be aesthetically pleasing while at the same time promoting your unique selling points.
Some small businesses produce a website then forget about it for two or three years, when they should be reviewing it every month. Every month something happens to your business – whether you have hired someone, won an important new client or launched a new product or service. All of this should be visible on your website.
Be Social Media Savvy
When you have a tight budget, be sure to embrace the web and social media as alternatives to traditional marketing tools. Many forms of social media such as Facebook and Twitter don’t charge and a small business would be foolish to miss this opportunity.
Social media allows you to experiment with your message and target it to your audience. An additional benefit of social media is that if it isn’t working you can easily change tack.
Networking is a much underutilised channel, but one of the best forms of marketing. As mentioned earlier, you are part of your company’s marketing strategy and brand. Join local business groups and also ones that are specific to your sector. Word of mouth is still a hugely important tool, and who is better placed to talk about your business than you?
Start Up Loans recipients Orla Bennett and Holly Lander run Atomica Gallery in London’s Covent Garden. Orla has a background in PR so knew how vital it was to have a marketing strategy in place from the outset. Before launching the gallery they spent time considering their brand concept, making sure it was modern, in line with the art they sell, and projected an appropriate image of their business. Social media is a key element of Atomica’s marketing plan. Orla and Holly have used social media to build a strong community of art lovers by keeping them up-to-date with all the gallery’s latest news. From this online community they have discovered that many of their potential customers live outside the UK. Gathering this information has helped them develop and improve their website, which will soon be much more of an online shop and able to export overseas.
Remember, no matter what size your budget is, without a strong marketing strategy in place you won’t be able to reach your potential customers and keep them engaged. There have never been more ways to reach your audience, you just need to be creative. You know how great your product or service is – now is your chance to shout about it to the rest of the world.
Posted on May 17, 2014, in Interesting ideas from the marketing world, Useful Business Tips and tagged Branding, Business, Digital, Facebook, Market, marketing, Networking, Online, Pinterest, Public Relations, Quality, social media, Twitter, Website. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.