When starting out as a small business, it can often be difficult obtaining the best marketing information that is relevant to the more modest sized company. Yet, just because your business is small doesn’t mean that you should have to think small regarding your marketing strategy, or even ignore it in its entirety.
In the twenty-first century, hardly any business survives without marketing their name, such is the intensity and overcrowding of the business sector. It is therefore crucial that when you consider forming a small company of your own, one of the first things on the list is indeed marketing. Marketing should be put on a par with financial matters – after all, no marketing means no customers which ultimately equals no profit.
The answer of where to start with your marketing campaign is right at the very beginning.
Create a Small Business Marketing Plan
Before you can begin working on your marketing strategy, you need to write up your marketing plan. This is an essential tool if you are to define and outline the methods and routes you intend to take as a business to reach your desired customer base. By correctly preparing this document you can then work efficiently towards goals and objectives, working to specific targets and areas with an idea of your competitors as you do so.
What are The Marketing Materials You Intend to Work With?
What do you place your name on? Is it business cards, brochures, flyers, packaging or a website? Anything with your business name is what markets your company, and you need to make sure it always looks great and sells your company effectively. Make sure your literature is all written correctly, with all contact information updated and ensure that your website works for your target audience. If you don’t feel as though your current marketing materials are working in your favor, could you design something else that you could offer as promotional items instead?
Do You Take Part in Any Networking?
Though some people choose to bypass networking, believing it to be of little use to the smaller business, it can be one of the most effective marketing techniques for the more modest of companies when used correctly. By getting yourself out there and becoming known, you can introduce your business to other businesses to develop good relationships with the local community or similar industry.
If you know of trade shows or similar local shows where you could find an angle to promote your own business, this could be a significant lead to further new custom. It is also worth looking at joining your local Chamber of Commerce who will have all this type information and much more.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Like it or not, social media plays a massive part in our everyday lives, and as a small business, you really can’t afford not to be visible on it. For the business side, social media can open a whole new way of marketing which could increase your sales more than most traditional methods of marketing.
Consider opening a Facebook Account and a Twitter Account at least and putting somebody in charge of your daily posts. Try to capture what is trending and jump on it immediately, molding it into your own posts. If you can, think about the possibilities of developing your personal company blog.
Advertise, Advertise, Advertise…
You could have the best small business idea in the world. But, if you don’t promote this idea and make people aware of what it is you do, then this great plan will be a complete waste of time as no one will see it. Make people aware of your business in every single way which you can think possible, and all for as little as you can make it. Consider advertising your company on several websites which are relevant to what you have to offer by taking out an online ad.
Spend a bit more money getting yourself a decent sign that tells people what you do and consider wrapping your slogan on a company car or van, so you take your message further afield. Online or offline, whenever you see an area that gains the most interest in its ads, look at the potential of putting your own company there.
What Makes Your Business Stand Out From the Rest?
If you can bring something unique and original to your marketing, the more success you are likely to have in gaining peoples interests and further sustaining their attention. Simple suggestions range from designing your own unique logo and slogan and then promoting it through all the staff wearing a set uniform, to sponsoring a particular charity, perhaps getting your name on a cup in a local coffee shop or even creating your own business mascot. Aim for fun and engaging but original concepts that people can see and instantly link back to your business.
Build Up Your Customer Relationships
Finally, once you gain your new customers, look at ways to hold onto them and keep them as valued paying customers. Make sure you take relevant information about your customers and keep them updated as your products and services progress. Could they fill in a short-devised questionnaire that gives you information on up and coming events in their lives which you could then tailor your communication to them by? For example, can you send them special customer discounts for their birthdays and anniversaries or could you even implement a points card scheme of some kind?
Ultimately, your marketing campaign must be worked on and regularly updated to move with the changing world of business. Keep ahead of the competition by employing somebody who can spend as much time and effort possible on making your marketing techniques a success.
Many small businesses make the mistake of believing that once their initial marketing campaign has been a success, they can then put it to one side. But, if you want to continue to gain new customers, as well as to keep current ones happy, it is vital you keep referring to this document regularly.