Marketing your small business takes a unique approach. Large corporations have a lot of money to throw at advertising spend and tonnes of in house support. As a small business, your resources may be tighter but knowing how to use them effectively will make all the difference. That’s where we come in, this is our speciality. To give you some insight, here are some points to consider when marketing your small business.
One of the most frequent mistakes we see is brands assuming that everyone is their consumer. Your product might be the best out there, but it doesn’t mean that everyone has a need for it. Need more clarity on target markets? Check out our blog post to get started. Target market research is critical but it doesn’t stop there. Once you have the research, it is important that you use it to market well. They say, “the riches are in the niches” for a reason. A niche is where you’ll have the most leverage as a small business. To develop your niche and appeal to buyers within the niche, you must understand their pains, problems, triggering events, and priorities. You need to understand what pushes your target market to their point of purchase.
Start by thinking about your existing customers and potential people you’d like to work with. Then, create a buyer persona to start getting into the head of your ideal client.
Your value proposition is what will allow you to stand out from the crowd. What do you do better than anyone in your industry? Finding this and making it known, is an important step and something to remember because If there’s no difference between you and your competition, there’s no reason why a buyer would be compelled to work with you. Once you know what your value proposition/ Unique selling point is, decide how you will put it across to your audience and allow that to make your case.
It’s tempting to try and do it all, all the avenues, every marketing effort but in an attempt to cover all your bases, it’s all too easy to bite off a bit more than you can chew and miss your goals anyway.
To narrow down your marketing plan and ensure that it is affective, identify where the biggest impact will be. Where is the biggest blind spot in your marketing that’s hindering your growth?
Find that spot and create goals that aim to fix that key area. Focus your resources on the activities and tactics that will achieve that one performance goal. Measure the success of your marketing efforts and adjust them as necessary until you find what works and delivers a return.
Once you have made progress towards achieving the initial goal, start to branch outwards and create more.
Make sure your goals are reasonable, achievable and have a time frame.
As a small business, getting a return on investment is at the top of your to-do list. It’s crucial to keeping the wheels turning and your marketing efforts should work at getting as much return on your investment as possible. Focus on the short term efforts that will bring in the cash, allowing you to make big term plans and allocate more resources to more laborious things that will pay off in the long run.
Things like paid ads on social media of Google are direct ways to drive traffic and sales. Optimised content and SEO will be big players going forward but these are five-day games and you will only see these pay off later down the line. They can be worked on in the background or as a phase two approach.
Once you have your marketing tactics up and running and you’ve experimented with a few things, its time to analyse the data. This lets you know what’s working. As you grow, it’s a good idea to stick to what you know works to maximise revenue and minimise loss. Once your cash flow allows it, experiment, but never make the same mistake twice.
Digital marketing is not only far more accessible but also dynamic, diverse, COVID-19 friendly and cost-effective as a small business in comparison to traditional marketing. Let’s talk about cost; as far as affordability and value for money, digital marketing is your best bet. Things like social media platforms are free to create a profile on. They allow you to set your own, affordable advertising budget and all of your efforts can be tracked to effectively see what is working and what isn’t, so that if your money can be best spent somewhere else, your marketing team can pick it up and adjust your strategy. You can target multiple groups of people in your province, country or even internationally, at a fraction of the cost of print media. It is also less of a risk because it costs less, you can pause your ads if you see that they are not performing and it is far more targeted and traceable than traditional advertising. As a small business, digital is where it’s at right now.
Organic traffic takes a while to build, and as a small business, you want to invest in short-term plays. Google Ads are perfect if you know that your target audience is searching the web for your product or solution. They target those people who are ready to make a purchase and are actively seeking out the product or service. If your market isn’t quite there yet or you need to improve brand awareness or feel that your product may be seen as an impulse purchase that could sway someone scrolling, consider social media ads instead. Individuals on social media have less buying intent, but with highly targeted ads
A 1990 study by Bain & Company and Harvard Business Review, found that it costs, on average, five times more to acquire a new customer than close an existing one. So basically, don’t stop marketing to or loving your existing customers. Identify your opportunities for repeat purchasing, upselling, and cross-selling. Because your existing customers have already made a purchase, they already know, like, and trust you. If you’ve provided a good experience, you’ve given them a reason to do business with you again should the need ever arise.
Even if the need doesn’t arise (in cases where it’s a one-and-done purchase with no upsell opportunities), you should still delight your customers. A thank you for supporting your dream and a good way to let your work advertise itself. Word of mouth is a powerful (and free) promotional tool.
Free marketing tools are your friend. You’re just starting out, you’re not sure what you like and while there are certain things we have learnt are DEFINITELY worth the money, there’s no need to inflate your overheads unnecessarily. Use free marketing tools where possible, and only commit to paid tools if you know they will drastically improve existing operations or performance or once your business expands to a place where you need to use the paid version. Here’s a helpful list of marketing tools (paid and some, ‘freemium’).
Having a professional-looking website is one of the most important assets you will create for your small business. This is where you will show who you are, what you offer, where you are, and how a potential customer can get in touch with you. More than a beautiful portfolio piece, it’s critical to impart a trustworthy image of your business. The first thing a prospective client will most likely do, is Google you. If they’re going to be spending money on your services, they not only want to know what they’re in for but they want to see what you’re about, what you offer and a good track record.
It is a channel you will always own (unlike other platforms which may change policies or go in and out of style), and it has the capability of generating organic traffic in addition to being a place to send traffic from advertising and other marketing initiatives.
Your website isn’t just a simple brochure, either. You have the capability of turning it into a 24-7 salesperson by understanding how to convert traffic and turn them into leads.
Blogging is a great way to improve your website’s SEO, give people informative, useful content and generate organic traffic, particularly for those prospects who have not yet reached the purchasing decision part of the sales funnel. In addition, it can establish credibility in your space and position you as a thought leader.
Once you start writing, you can add a call-to-action on your posts for visitors to purchase, contact you and subscribe to your newsletter. This is a great way to start collecting leads and offering potential customers a way to get information if they aren’t ready to buy anything from you yet.
It’s not just blog posts that can improve your SEO rankings, however. Have you optimised your website content? This can make your website useful and easy to find for your audience, increase your organic traffic and a better user experience, capitalising on existing traffic and pleasing Google.
Social media might seem like it’s just a fun platform for people to socialize and connect, but it’s actually a powerful business tool. Social media can help you increase your brand awareness and domain authority, improve your search engine rankings, and engage with potential customers. Why wouldn’t you want to be seen where your potential customers spend their time?
Be seen enough and you’ll always be in the back of their mind and the first on their lips when they need your services. This is the place where you’ll gain the interest of and interact with your audience.
We’ve been talking a lot about visibility and traffic but haven’t really covered how these will help drive revenue yet. One simple way to start generating leads or customers from your website is to implement a conversion tool, like Hubspot.
Just because you’ve converted website traffic into leads doesn’t mean those leads are ready to buy yet. It’s important to stay top of mind and move them closer to a purchasing decision.
Email marketing is a critical part of your marketing toolkit. According to Hubspot, “73 percent of millennials prefer communications from businesses to come via email.”
This strategy is an easy, free, and scalable way to communicate with both new and existing customers.
Once you have an email marketing tool in place (many are inexpensive or even free), experiment with emailing out newsletters (with your sleek new blog posts), and other promotions to your database. We know small business owners don’t have tons of free time to devote to digital marketing, so consider using automations like abandoned cart mails to make this process even easier for yourself.
Your database is not only a place to store and call on existing client information. This database is a tool and something to leverage in your marketing efforts. Things like email marketing works best when you’re sending personalized, targeted emails. Did you know that you can create social media targeting audiences based on your database to target people with similar behavior to increase your likelihood of conversion? These are just two examples but all benefits begin with a customer database or customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Your CRM stores information about your leads, prospects, and customers so that you can keep track of customer interactions and identify sales opportunities more effectively.
HubSpot has one of the best CRMs (and best of all, it’s totally free).
The little things can have a big impact on your business, primarily in repeat purchases and word of mouth. If you provide a great experience, your customers will be more inclined to leave reviews, give testimonials, and tell their friends about you. Be client-centric, always aiming for excellence and let your customers advertise for you.
Need a hand marketing your small business? We can help you get started. Get in touch!
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a powerful and free tool that helps to improve the visibility and ranking of your website on search engine results