As a small business owner, it’s highly doubtful that you have an extensive marketing budget at your disposal, no glamourous TV campaigns, sponsorship programmes or grand outdoor advertising initiatives. However, when it comes to small business marketing, even though we don’t have the resources (yet!) to match the likes of Google, Microsoft or Apple to promote our brands, it’s still important to effectively market your business; to get your message out there, enhance brand awareness and generate sales enquiries.
It’s because of the smaller budget that marketing for the small to medium business requires more skill in a way, making what you do have to spend go that extra mile for your business and generate the right returns. Before I look at specific marketing tactics it’s worth highlighting that it’s crucial the relevant research and planning is undertaken. Key areas to look at include:
- Objectives – What you want to achieve.
- Target Audience – Who are they? Where are they and what are their primary needs and wants?
- Competitors – Again, who are they and what do they offer the market?
- Value Proposition – What do you offer your audience that adds value. E.g. why should they buy from you? This can also be referred to as your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), you must differentiate your business from the competition.
Prior to any marketing campaign, research should be conducted and continue on an ongoing basis to ascertain and gain a good understand of the above points – Know your Market.
With the rise of various digital and online marketing techniques, the small business owner can implement a range of different tactics that can prove effective and fall within budget. It’s also worth remembering that certain OFFLINE activities can still prove just as effective. These are nine tactics I feel prove the most cost effective for the small business owner:
- Social Media Marketing: Producing regular, relevant content AND advertising on specific social media channels, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.
- E-marketing: Sending relevant emails (e-shots) to existing and potential customers informing on latest news, developments and special offers. Please do take into consideration the latest GDPR legislation that takes effect this May 2018.
- Blogs: Write regular, informative blogs about key issues that affect your industry. Add to your website and distribute to your target audience.
- Networking: Visit any local networking groups where you can meet and connect with fellow business owners within your area.
- Telesales: There’s still some mileage in picking up the phone and speaking to prospects, start by asking questions, get to know if they have any problems or issues with their current suppliers.
- Exhibitions: Exhibiting can prove expensive at the main exhibition venues but there are usually some very cost effective local business events that you can exhibit at to highlight your brand.
- Seminars: Attend any relevant industry seminars, another good networking opportunity. There could even be good speaking opportunities to further enhance your profile and credibility.
- PR: Write regular articles and press releases for local and national relevant publications; magazines, newspapers, etc.
- Video: A hugely effective online medium to get your content across of how you add value and help your customers, start a YouTube channel.
Ultimately, we’re all looking to increase sales leads and gain more customers but it does take time; to build your awareness, reputation, credibility to educate your market, it’s an ongoing process. There are of course other marketing activities that can be looked at such as SEO and online advertising / PPC but there are usually more financial resources required for these techniques. So, for now I haven’t concentrated on them but with the right budget and implemented properly they can prove highly effective and yield excellent results.
Ensure you do the research about your target market before implementing the RIGHT tactics for your business.
I hope you found this post informative and useful, as always your feedback and comments are always more than welcome.
Marketing Consultant – Elite Marketing Services
Measurable Marketing. Results That Exceed Expectation