Small business marketing - taking the first steps without tripping over your wallet
So, you have a business plan (hopefully), are reasonably confident about your target market, have sussed out the competition, developed your point of difference or unique selling proposition and need to begin marketing. But how?
Budget is always a consideration. Never feel bad or disadvantaged about not having enough budget. No one ever has enough money for marketing budgets. As your business grows, you can look to having a marketing budget tied to your growth percentage. For the time being, just make good use of what you have!
Your main priority needs to be creating a business brand – logo, a tagline or slogan and colour scheme - all of which needs to be used consistently throughout your marketing collateral – website, social media, brochures, newsletters, signage, Point of Sale displays, packaging, even invoices!
Don’t try to do this yourself. This really needs to be outsourced to a full-service design or marketing agency, such as Local Area Marketing, who can help you to prioritise your marketing plan implementation as well as identify opportunities you may not have thought of.
While 90 per cent of Australians use Google to search online for products and services, don’t forget that the strongest market for most local businesses is your local area market. An online presence is vital, but so is local area awareness.
Start your marketing with an attractive and flexible website: the centre of the universe for showcasing your brand along with all other marketing collateral and information related to your business. It’s the ultimate platform for educating, informing and interacting with your clients.
When considering the elements you want for your site, think about e-commerce – do you want to sell your products online? Including e-commerce functionality at the beginning of your website project is easier and cheaper than trying to add it later.
Make sure to include a blog on your site. It’s a great way to get your business’s message out and create engagement with your brand.
Remember, content is king! Don’t be afraid to outsource this function if you are unsure about your own writing skills or ability to create engaging copy.
Make sure everything is proofread before it goes live. That mean’s your website content, blogs, brochures – even your business cards to be checked before being printed. It’s expensive if you need to get them re-done! Use someone you know who has not helped you create any of your written material, who has good writing skills or an eye for detail.
Local Area Marketing can help you with blogs, proofreading and all your design needs.
For a small monthly fee, you can have content written, especially for your blog that resonates with your target market and drives conversions to your brand. Best of all it is highly shareable. You can drop those posts onto your LinkedIn profile, add them to your Facebook page, Tweet them and use them in newsletters.
No small business should be without a social media presence. Social media allows you to directly engage with your customers/clients at a level never previously possible.
It can provide instant feedback and is especially useful for influencer marketing. You can set it and maintain it yourself for free. But it does take some work to do it properly and, more importantly, regularly monitor, respond and update it with engaging content.
There are also plenty of tools like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite Everypost and Buffer that can help you to schedule posts across multiple accounts. However, platforms like Facebook prefer original and direct postings rather than automated. Facebook also allows you to schedule your postings ahead to encourage this.
If you are not sure of your skills in this area, or simply don’t have enough time – call out!
Thanks to built-in metrics it’s easy to analyse the who, what, when and how of your social users on Facebook. Google Analytics will keep you updated on what’s happening on your website.
Think about investing in Google Adwords. Get the keywords right and the result will be a boost in your search rankings, which in turn will drive more traffic to your site. For a handful of dollars you can also boost your posts on Facebook to increase the reach of your messaging.
As a start-up or small business, it can be difficult to think about spending your money on advertising but you run some test campaigns with very little money and easily monitor results.
While social is good and inexpensive, don’t let that limit your reach.
A Nielsen consumer survey report on advertising found that catalogues and flyers have the highest impact on people’s buying decisions. A huge 62 per cent of the 9,000 people interviewed rated them as the top effective advertising channel. TV scored 52 per cent, followed by personalised direct print mail (29 per cent).
Again, think local area (not the world) and a lot can be done with a little.
Local Area marketing can help you with your marketing needs and budget planning. We have a wide range of cost effective services designed to supplement your skills, freeing you up to do what you do best - run your business.
Book an obligation free "Discovery Session" with us to help your business reach its potential. Book here or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0404 767 482.