In a massively competitive business landscape, small business marketing can be a real struggle for company owners, particularly in the early stages of setting up the business.
Faced with the task of getting the word out on a limited budget, it can be hard to know what the best-value techniques are to grow your client base, increase your exposure and kickstart your sales.
A run of local advertising or promoted post on Facebook may not get quite the results you were hoping for, but it could be that a subsequent exhibition stand or strategic partnership works wonders for your small business marketing.
With digital and traditional methods, and complex new tools for analysing and targeting customers, start-ups can feel overwhelmed.
Firstly, what is marketing?
Eight out of ten start-ups incorrectly define it as advertising or promotion, however, this is less than 15 per cent of what true marketing is really about.
An accurate and modern definition is “Marketing is the process of establishing and maintaining relevance in people’s lives before they are ready and willing to buy what you sell.”
The true purpose of marketing is:
- To create value
And how you do this is:
- Through segmentation, targeting and positioning, supported by sound market research
How much should you spend on your marketing?
The most successful companies invest 5 – 7% of their turnover in marketing, and this is a sound guideline.
Without a concise Marketing Plan for a business, owners tend to focus on reactive tactics or pure promotion, rather than on ‘integrated marketing’ aligned to considered strategy.
So don’t forget to start with market research and ask yourself these key questions:
- Why should a prospect buy a product / service from you rather than someone else?
- How did your prospects hear about you? This tells you what method is working.
- Which prospects are most likely to buy from you? Identify common characteristics and revise this as you build and investigate your customer base. A prospect with a similar profile to an existing customer is eight times more likely to buy from you than a random prospect.
- Based on above profile, identify the most cost-effective way to reach these prospects (what are your competitors are doing?)
- What additional products or services can you up / cross-sell? Through suppliers or third-party partnerships?
The tips below will help you with your small business marketing, however, the above is essential, otherwise you are putting the cart before the horse.
Make sure your website is easy to use and navigate (use Google Analytics to track activity and improve user experience). Ensure it is mobile friendly as more people use their mobile for internet browsing than desktop, and the google algorithm favours mobile-optimised websites.
Check your page-load speed as this is another important factor. In addition, your website should easily link to your chosen social media platforms, and you should register and set-up Google My Business.
If you want to double the time a user spends on your website, try adding a video to the home page (this is a hot trend for 2018!)
Know, like and trust are three key stages of the buying process which content marketing can help you to achieve (both B2C and B2B).
Blogs, videos, infographics, press releases and expert columns on third-party websites is an increasingly popular way of demonstrating authenticity and industry credibility.
A helpful tip is to create a Content Calendar for the year. The advantage of this approach is that you can engage with your customers in a meaningful and timely way rather than just promoting your products / service to them. You should create regular content on your website blog page and drive traffic to your domain via social media and external linking from other websites.
Social Media users believe that they should be able to reach out to brands and get a quick response. If you run on a number of social media platforms, you must ensure you monitor them daily since social media now serves a customer service role, as well as providing a platform to grow and understand your audience. If you can keep your customers happy by feeding them quality content and taking the time to respond to their posts, their trust in you as a business will see them recommend you to others.
Once overlooked as ‘old fashioned’ email marketing is on the comeback. MailChimp is an excellent and cost effective choice for start-ups. The key to success here is creating personalised communications based on the recipient’s interests.
Online advertising provides you with a whole range of options. From ad placement services like Google AdWords, to pay per click on social media sites. A tip to improve your conversion rates is to use landing pages tailored to each ad, and split-test adverts. Linking online ads with your social media feeds can add an interactive element.
Small business owners with a local focus can build their customer base by directly advertising in local publications, try leafleting campaigns, sponsoring events via the local Chamber or other relevant networking outlets. Radio is also an often underestimated and highly cost-effective way to reach a captive audience of commuters.
Exhibitions are another channel to consider, especially for B2B marketing. It establishes your business among your peers, building brand awareness and enables your direct sales team to work their magic. Face-to-face contact with buyers is extremely powerful.
Going with your gut
Successful marketing often requires you to go with your gut. The world has become so data driven but remember, people work with people and people buy from people.
We hope that the above guide has been helpful to your business, but if you don’t physically have the time to implement all of the above yourself, and need some assistance……
…..This is where KG Marketing can help.
We work with small local businesses from a variety of industry sectors and manage their marketing strategies over a variety of platforms. We offer flexible and tailored packages to suit all budgets.
To find out more, contact us at [email protected] or phone 07753425412 for more information.