With so many channels and strategies out there, it can be overwhelming and difficult to know where to start.
Luckily, we’ve got you covered. First, we’ll guide you through the steps on how to market a business. Then, we’ll hone in on a couple of proven channels and strategies that will ensure continued online growth.
Seven-Step Guide To Marketing Your Small Business
1. Conduct Market Research
Market research is essential to guide your strategy. It entails collecting information on what your competition is doing, including the market they are targeting.
You also need to research market trends for your business, and what your clients’ needs and wants are. Find out all you can about their demographics and location as well as buying patterns.
Having these facts at hand will enable you to do an initial sales forecast. This will, in turn, help you allocate budget resources for marketing your small business.
2. Identify Your Target Market
A catch-all approach will translate into money wasted. It’s vital you segment your target market so that you can focus on who you want to reach and improve the chances they’ll be interested in your product or service. This will help you measure how your business can meet their needs while identifying new markets.
Segmentation is based on factors such as:
- Level of education
- Personal values
Other important factors are your target customer’s buying habits, what media channels they use, and how often they’re likely to use your product or service.
By really fleshing out your ideal customer, who they are, and what they want, you can better market to them and show how your product or service will bring value to their lives.
3. Define Your USP
A Unique Selling Point (USP) is what makes your product or service unique. It’s what makes you stand out from your competitors.
A USP could be providing exceptional customer service, offering something totally unique, or that is a significant improvement on what is already available in the market.
Use your special skills or knowledge to sell your products and nail down the benefits customers get from buying from you and not Joe down the road.
4. Develop Your Brand
As we say, branding is more than just your logo (although it is the first step to creating your brand story). It’s your voice, your identity, and how buyers react emotionally to your business.
Essential to developing your brand is defining the brand’s personality and reputation, your brand promises, and customer experiences and expectations.
There’s a mantra among marketing professionals known as the ‘rule of seven’. It means potential customers have to see or hear your brand message at least seven times before they will take action. Make this part of your small business marketing strategy!
5. Set Your Goals & Budget
Setting goals helps to support and structure your digital marketing efforts. It clarifies what you want to achieve and by when. These should be SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.
Along with goals comes your budget. The Small Business Development Corporation of Australia says, as a general rule of thumb, you should spend between three and five percent of your actual or expected annual turnover on marketing.
They list the following expenses as part of a digital marketing budget:
- Website development and maintenance
- Search engine optimisation strategy
- Branding design
- Staff to execute marketing activities
6. Nurture Your Customer Relationships
The key to encouraging loyalty among existing customers is to provide exceptional customer service and go the extra mile to exceed expectations.
Communicate with your customers through social media, messenger apps, emails and feedback forms. Listen to them and use their feedback or complaints to improve your service as needed.
Make sure you are easy to get hold of via multiple channels. There are few things more frustrating for customers than a form being the only way to communicate with a business.
Ensure your staff are trained in customer service and are available on social media, email and phone.
7. Review your business marketing efforts
Regularly reviewing and monitoring your digital marketing activities is paramount. Are they achieving your goals, and have they led to business growth? If not, it’s time to rethink your strategy.
Review your small business digital marketing plan every three months until your new business is more established. If you’ve found what works, build on it by introducing new products or services and expanding to other digital platforms.
There are many free analytics tools that can assist you in measuring key metrics on your website. In addition, all major social media platforms have built-in analytics. Make use of them, all the while keeping an eye on your competitors to ensure they don’t bolt ahead of you.
7 Top StrategiesTo Market Your Business
Google My Business Profile
A Google My Business Account is a free Google service that allows small businesses to set up, manage and optimise a Business Profile within the search giant’s architecture. Once created, Google displays the business details in relevant search results pages as well as on Google Maps.
When a customer searches for services or products similar to yours on Search or Maps, your business will show up. A basic listing shows potential customers when, where and how to contact you. It also shows whether you have a physical or web address or both.
Having a website that looks good is only half the battle. The other half is creating a great User Experience (UX). To do this, you need to have logical functionality, intuitive design, cross-device compatibility, and fast load times.
WordPress is one of the world’s most popular Open Source software systems for creating websites and blogs. It is user-intuitive, which makes creating and editing content simple. It also offers many tools to manage not only content but also SEO. As such, it’s a great option for small businesses just starting out.
The rise of social media giants such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube provides an opportunity to grow a small business. It makes it easier to engage with communities of both current and future customers.
Make accounts on the platforms that your target customers use the most. Then, create and share content that will interest them. You don’t want to be too salesly here. Share valuable information and keep up with the latest trends to showcase your brand’s personality and build brand awareness.
You can also join groups, share blogs, collaborate with influencers or other brands - the sky’s the limit!
Offer Coupons or Free Products or Services
Giveaways are a great way to engage with your clients and encourage loyalty. They’re also easy ways to grow your social media following or drive traffic to your website.
Depending on your product or service, these could include discounts, coupons, competitions, free trials or demos. Giveaways and freebies work like a charm on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Incentives are a great way to clear out inventory and attract new customers who just need a little extra push to make a purchase.
Advertising your small business in the digital sphere is essential to get in front of your customers. There are various cost-effective advertising solutions such as Google AdWords, email marketing and referral marketing.
Advertising on social media is also a proven way to drive leads and improve sales and ROI.
Advertising on different platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, enables you to target specific demographics, topics and groups. As such, you can create more targeted ads. These will convert better than general ads that are trying to appeal to everyone.
Start A Business Blog
A business blog with updated original content remains one of the most effective ways to attract traffic to your website. Not only can you repurpose the content for social or other media, but it helps convert traffic into leads.
It also helps with link building and, with the careful use of keywords, increases the chances that Google will rank you higher on SERPs.
One of the most important aspects of blogging is to do it regularly. Nothing puts people off more than a stale blog with old news.
Invest in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Investing in SEO can provide years of revenue growth for your business and deliver a unique competitive advantage.
Because important changes to Google’s search algorithm occur all the time, best practices are forever changing. This means you have to constantly optimise your website to ensure it ranks high in the search results pages. This is not an easy job, which is why it’s a good idea to consult SEO professionals.
If you put the effort into SEO, you will be able to continuously drive organic traffic to your website. In turn, you will see more conversions and online growth.
Digital marketing is both exciting and daunting. It’s a forever-changing landscape with increasing numbers of players entering the field.
With a well-planned digital marketing strategy that keeps abreast of trends, you can get a foot in the door. The trick is to keep it there and to focus on adapting your digital presence to ensure it continues to grow.