Effective marketing is a key driver of growth for your small business. Good brands online build wealth and equity. Each time you market you are increasing the value of your small business and going digital is one of the best ways to achieve this. It goes without saying that the success of your small business relies on a strong brand and online presence. But if you do not have a background in marketing, where do you start?
We have provided some “small business marketing 101’s” which may help and motivate you to get the ball rolling:
1-GAIN KNOWLEDGE THROUGH RESEARCH
Prior to developing your marketing strategy, the first preliminary step is to conduct market research. It’s important to gain as much information and insight as possible into your customers’ buying patterns as well as their drivers. Market research is also the best way to monitor market trends and be one step ahead of your competitors by ensuring you are observing their activities and learning from their mistakes.
2-DEFINE YOUR MARKET
Once you have conducted your research make sure you have a solid understanding of the demographic and psychographic profile of your target market actually and an understanding of their needs, behaviours, drivers and blockers. This can be achieved through online analytics, surveys, social media patterns and of course, by asking them.
3-DETERMINE WHAT MAKES YOUR BUSINESS UNIQUE
The key to effective sales and marketing is to define and promote your USPs – “Unique Selling Points”.
Unless you can clarify and articulate what makes your business unique amongst your competitors, it’s hard to stand out as the preferred option and to reel in your audience successfully.
USPs may require fresh ideas and thinking outside the box – it isn’t always as simple as unquantified metrics such as ‘better customer service’ or ‘better product’. The trick to choosing USPs that will clearly differentiate your offering is to ensure they are relevant, desirable and genuinely meet the needs of your target market.
Once your USPs are established, find a clear and simple way to communicate them to your prospects. Consistency is key – ensure your core USPs are splashed all over your marketing, as a creed to live by.
With repetition comes memorability and as a result, your target audience will always associate you with the promises you are making. The most important aspect of developing your USPs is to ensure they are deliverable. Trust is everything in small business.
4-UNDERSTAND DIGITAL MARKETING OR HIRE A PROFESSIONAL TO NAIL IT FOR YOU!
You won’t regret it! Digital marketing is now the most popular and successful way small businesses can promote their products or services. It is highly measurable, enabling you to track your ROI and brand awareness as well as delivering higher conversion rates than via many other media.
Many small business owners and business managers perceive digital marketing as too complicated and time consuming. However, there are many courses that can assist you by providing the kick start you may require to set up a professional presence on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you need assistance in optimising your results, professionals in the digital marketing space can help you reach a wider audience of qualified prospects through pixel campaigns, remarketing and retargeting as well as creating engaging and relevant content.
Before you jump into content creation however, you should develop an effective digital marketing strategy that will lay the foundations for your targeting, messaging, scheduling and creative execution to enable you to benefit from the power of social media networking platforms to support and grow your business.
5-GET REPEAT BUSINESS THROUGH NURTURING TACTICS.
Keeping your current clientele happy and onboard is key to building “word or mouth” leads and repeat business. This requires nurturing and relationship building as opposed to overt sales tactics.
Don’t focus all your communications with a client on promoting your products or services. Share relevant and valuable information with them without asking for anything in return. Request their feedback and input on decisions you are making. Consider keeping information about birthdays and other occasions in order to surprise them by sending e-cards and vouchers.
Keeping in touch with your customers through social media, blogs, newsletters, email and SMS will show you are active, listening and willing to reach out regularly.
Most importantly, always listen to your customers’ needs and expectations and never fail to deliver on your promises. If you unwittingly do drop the ball, be honest and fix the issue immediately, transparently and empathetically. The way you address failings can turn a disengaged client into one who will be loyal for the long term.
6-CONTINUOUSLY MONITOR YOUR STRATEGY AND REVIEW RESULTS
In order to determine what is and isn’t working, regular monitoring of your marketing activities is required. Have your objectives been met? Are your activities supporting your marketing strategy? Is your messaging on track?
There are various analytics tools available such as Hootsuite, Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, SproutSocial, BuzzSumo and Hotjar that can help you to analyse the results of your social media activities, digital marketing and website campaigns to determine what is working, what can be improved and which avenue is more effective.
All in all, the success of a small business depends on the business owner’s willingness and ability to market their products and services effectively. Any successful entrepreneur will tell you, good marketing leads to sales which is essential for your business to thrive.