Top Tips for Marketing a Small Business
TOP TIPS FOR MARKETING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS
There’s never been a better time to market a small business. The advent of an ever-growing number of digital marketing platforms has created numerous ways for smaller businesses to promote themselves cost effectively.
The following top tips will help you market your business and successfully compete with even your biggest competitors.
1 Remember the Basics
The purpose of marketing is to create demand for your products and services in order to help you achieve your business goals. So, before you start any marketing activity, be clear about:
Your business goals in terms of sales and profits
Your target customers – who they are and how you can best reach them
Your points of difference - why your customers should choose you ahead of your competitors
2 Be Easy to Find
There are lots of people looking for the products and services you offer. But, can they find you? Firstly, make sure your website is optimised for search. A professional audit of the site (which isn’t expensive) will highlight necessary actions. Also, ensure that you are listed in all relevant directories.
3 Offer Solutions
There are lots of people who need your products and services but may not realise it yet. Make sure your marketing communications highlight the benefits people get by choosing your business. Remember, no-one wants a nail, they want a picture hung on a wall.
4 Presentation Counts
Every part of your marketing portfolio from websites to leaflets to Twitter pages should be professionally and consistently presented. Quality is much more important than quantity. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Employing the services of a graphic designer or copywriter allows you to produce professional quality material quickly and easily and saves hours of your time.
5 Get Social
Social media allows you to engage with customers in a friendly, informal environment and in doing so, project the ‘personality’ of your business. You don’t have to be on everything, but it is important to be on the channels that your customers use. As a rule of thumb, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are good for reaching consumers, whilst Twitter and LinkedIn are best for businesses. A presence on Google Plus will help your search performance. Interesting, relevant and wherever possible, visual content is crucial – remember, it’s called ‘social media’ not ‘selling media’.
6 You’ve Got Mail
Numerous surveys of small businesses highlight the importance of email as a cost-effective marketing tool. Build databases of customers and prospects and use low cost, easy-to-use professional platforms like Mailchimp and Constant Contact to broadcast regular newsletters. Limit the newsletter content to a maximum of 4 items and link content back to your website.
7 Video Niceties
Short, informative video content (e.g. demonstrations, testimonials and site tours) that can be quickly accessed and viewed on all devices is an excellent way to promote your business. Create a YouTube channel (linked to your website) to host your videos. As Google own YouTube, doing this is likely to enhance your website search rating.
8 The Power of Print
Even in an age of instant digital communication, people love print. Be it magazines, leaflets or brochures people love reading, touching, keeping and referring to printed communication. Content should be well written and well designed. Investing in professional help will usually reap rewards.
9 Your Secret Salesforce
You can’t beat personal recommendation, that’s why your customers are your secret salesforce. Encourage and incentivize your customers to recommend you and share your content. Add ‘share’ buttons to your website and e-newsletters. Ask for testimonials on Google, Facebook and LinkedIn. Use customer case studies on your websites.
Sometimes existing and potential customers need a gentle nudge. Don’t be afraid to use ‘clinchers’ like introductory or added value offers to convert interest into action. However, try to avoid price discounting if possible, as this can devalue the perception of your brand and make customers reluctant to pay the full price in the future.