13 April 2019
There are so many things to consider when you open your doors for business that it can be difficult to know where to start. No matter if you’re a startup, small charity or sole trader- here are our top 10 ‘to dos’ for small business marketing.
Know thyself: On brand, who you are and why it’s important
There are many startups, sole traders and small businesses operating in the B2B space, and starting out in the NFP world that are getting some traction on their own and through word of mouth. Going that next step however, is really about reaching beyond a logo and building a brand that connects with pinpoint accuracy to the people you want to do business with. Clients and customers want to know whom they are dealing with. Identify your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), and build key business messages around this. Once this connection is established you can begin to reinforce it with targeted marketing.
Relatively new NFP publication Otter is a great example. Clear about what they offer as an independent information source to assist consumer choices that are ethical and sustainable; they deliver something unique to the community.
Research your market
Get to know your customer base. Who they are, how they think and what they need. If you can uncover these core characteristics you’ll identify how to grab the attention of your customers.
Going about this requires some thought. Is it qualitative or quantitative research that you’re after? For some, gathering this information can be fairly easy using survey questionnaire tools such as SurveyMonkey, or accessing available data from The Bureau of Statistics or your local council etc. Government organisation Business Victoria offers a 5-step market research approach you might find helpful. Alternatively, depending on your industry you may wish to engage with a professional marketing agency like MIH to undertake more extensive research such as telemarketing.
Build your customer base
Never miss an opportunity to capture a lead! This is fairly self-explanatory here, and definitely one the most powerful actions that you as a business owner can take. Get your customers email address and first name after a sale, upon interaction, or if they visit your website. Build your list and send out your coupons, promotions and latest news. Make sure that you follow all the anti-spam policies, and store the information in a format that is easy to update and maintain.
A word on Strategy
Keeping on top of the aforementioned steps will give you all the information you need to make strategic decisions about your business. You know who you are, whom you’re targeting and will even know where they reside. This is about taking this information and thinking about how you will reach them, and what tactics are going to assist you.
Get online! Build a website that works
Online your website is your business card – something you’ve likely heard before. Visitors to your website will make an assumption of your brand within the first 8-10 seconds! That being said you want it to look right, engage interest and say all of the right things that will get them to interact with your cause. There are some DIY options available out there; but your best-bet is to regard your website as a worthy investment, and acting accordingly.
Finding the happy medium: Direct Marketing? Print? Advertising?
Any strategy for small business marketing should include a proper evaluation of all mediums available (radio, print, online, television). To achieve results that are truly successful, marketing efforts should aim to include cross-promotion between mediums wherever possible. Consider your budget, and what is going to work for you. Email Marketing is an area that has proven to have some great results when done correctly for small businesses in B2B and NFP.
Social Media Marketing Channels
Not every social media medium is going to be right for you. Again, using strategic thinking will help you make the best decisions. Opening a Facebook and Twitter account for your business and using them can be a great move, and help you connect with customers. For others’ in the more ‘serious’ B2B sphere, using something like LinkedIn can really help you grow your contacts, and make valuable business connections.
Online Marketing Opportunities
This is something that many small businesses forget. Online marketing includes things such as SEO – Search Engine Optimisation, which for some organisations requires a little effort to go a long way in terms of search-ability via targeted keywords. A little secret here for small business marketers lies in your ability to harness free local directories such as Yelp, Truelocal, Yellow Pages and Hot Frog. Additionally there are likely to be free listing opportunities within your niche. Make the most of these as they help with your SEO efforts, and can also get you found ahead of your competition.
Network, Connect and Impact your community
Be seen in your community. If you’re offering something unique think about connecting with local media and get a write up in the business section of your local paper. Attend community events. Consider sponsoring a local sports team, writing a post for a local online publication, or attending networking events in your industry and city.
It’s amazing how far ‘who you know’ can get you.
Dust yourself off and try again. Or.. Keep at it!
There have been many a quote uttered from the lips of those who’ve made it in business about persistence and success. Perhaps Steve Jobs is the most quoted, with gems like this:
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
But he’s right. Keep at it, learn from your wins and mistakes – and your efforts in small business marketing will pave an avenue towards growth and success.