Competition is everywhere, and if you run a small business, then you need to fight in order to survive against other companies that offer a similar product or service. Whether you win your fight or lose, it will depend on how much time and energy you put into your marketing efforts.
Today, there are more marketing techniques and channels than ever before. From print media through to native ads network, there are plenty of choices out there. There are so many choices that it can make it difficult for business owners to figure out what techniques to try, and when.
So, if you run a small business, how can you tell whether you are doing the right thing in your marketing strategy? In this article, we’ll share a nine step approach to marketing your small business.
9 Step Approach To Marketing Your Small Business
Know Your Audience
When it comes to marketing, the first thing that you need to know is what you are selling and who you are selling it to. Understanding your customer is essential if you want to market your business effectively.
Get to know your audience by answering these 5 starter questions:
- Who is your customer?
- What do they do for a living?
- How old are they?
- What is their gender?
- How much do they earn?
Having a picture of who your primary customer is will allow you to target your marketing directly at them.
You should also look at who you’d like to market your business to. Work out the demographics of any new customer base that you would like to appeal to and market your business toward them.
Focus on Your Value Proposition
What have you got that the other businesses of your type don’t have? Understanding what sets you apart from your major competitors is essential. If you know what sets you apart, you should use this in your marketing. Having a major point of differentiation will add value to all of your marketing campaigns.
Create a Website
These days, it is essential for all businesses to have a website. This may sound simple, yet there are many businesses who are relying on free social media platforms as their website. Your website is your digital storefront. Even if you don’t sell products or services online, you should at least include important information about your business on your website.
You should also see your website as an opportunity to have a 24/7 salesperson working for you. Using automated chatbots, you could handle basic customer service queries. Not only will this help drive customers to your business, but it will also help you to deal with many of the basic queries that your team would otherwise need to help out with.
Use Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (or SEO) is a series of processes that allow you to increase the organic traffic to your website. It looks at improving the position of your website in the search engine results pages. It is a long term strategy that is worth employing to ensure your website is reaching its full potential.
The type of processes involved in SEO includes link building, optimizing the speed of your website, making sure that your site and content is optimized for mobile, and using local SEO practices to promote your business online in your local area.
Look At Short Term Wins When Starting Out
When you’re just starting out marketing your business, you will want to make the fastest gains possible at first. Whether you start of with paid ads, influencer marketing, or something similar, employ tactics that will bring you the greatest return on your investment. This money can then be channeled back into longer-term goals, such as building up your organic searches through SEO.
Use PPC Marketing
Pay per click marketing involves placing ads online that will cost you, depending on the number of people that click on them. For marketers of small businesses like yourself, they offer excellent value. If your campaign is a success, you will get lots of clicks, and you’ll only pay for the visitors you get. If you’ve missed the mark in your campaign, then the hit won’t be as high as if you’d have paid for a certain amount of impressions.
Use Social Media
With over half of the world’s population on social media these days, it seems to be a bit of a no-brainer that you would want to have a social media presence for your business. And yet so many business still don’t use this channel regularly.
If you don’t already have social media profiles for your company, set up accounts with all of the major platforms. Then get to work on building up a following. Don’t just spend your time sharing new products or promoting your services. Nobody wants a 24 hour sales pitch.
Instead, develop a real content strategy that offers a mix of original and curated content. Share articles and videos that add value to your followers. Inspire them and entertain them, you don’t have to just sell to them. All of this will create a stronger brand identity, and it will be one that your customers will attach themselves to.
Engagement is imperative. Be responsive to messages and comments that you receive on your profiles. The more you can interact with users, the better.
Social media is also a great platform for placing very tailored ads. You can really refine the demographic that you’re targeting and retargeting with your ads. This is where it is really important to know your audience.
Use Email Marketing
When you get a visitor to your site, you should do everything possible to make sure that they leave their email address before they go. Offering discounts and/or exclusive content for joining mailing lists are 2 simple ways to find out who your visitors are, as you work to close a sale.
Make sure that you make the most of your email marketing lists. Again, as with social media, don’t just sell in an email. Add value with links to articles and videos that your customers may find relevant and useful.
Retarget Your Leads
How often do you get a visitor to your site that goes through the motions of looking at an item, adding it to their basket and then leaving the site? It probably happens very often. These customers are ideal for retargeting. You can either set up abandoned cart follow up emails if you have them on your email list. Alternatively, you could retarget them with adverts that remind them about the product that they were interested in so that they will return and seal the deal.
These are the nine top ways to market your small business. Whether you employ some or all of these tactics, make sure you use an integrated approach to build a profitable marketing strategy. Then create a step-by-step system execute the tactics so that you can experience wins, measure results, rinse and repeat!