Small business marketing can be a daunting task if it’s is not your forte. Most small businesses don’t have a dedicated marketing department and employing an agency can be beyond budget, so you may find you need to do the marketing yourself.
Before you delve in, there are several dos and don’ts to consider.
Do: Think Creatively
You’re not restricted to traditional media (newspapers, radio) or new media (the internet, social media). Local businesses may find noticeboards at supermarkets and community centres an effective – and often free – way to advertise. If you sell particular kinds of products, a stall at a local market could be a great way to raise awareness.
You can also offer current customers incentives to refer their friends to you. A small gesture, such as 10% off a future purchase, can be enough to entice a paying customer to get their friends to buy products or use your services.
Do: Measure Results
Social media can be vital for small businesses, as it gives you grassroots access to customers and also instant feedback (through clicks, likes and comments) about whether people are noticing. Tracking this information is vital, as social media is time-consuming and time is money. While it might seem ‘free’ to tweet your promotion or write a blog post for Facebook, it’s important the effort is justified.
Social media platforms have also lowered the organic reach of most posts, so if you don’t have the budget to do paid amplification online, you might not be reaching a wide audience. Keeping tabs on engagement on social channels can help you have a clear picture of your success.
Do: Track Your Competitors
Keep a good eye on what your competitors are doing with their marketing. If they keep repeating a tactic, like a regular mail drop, it’s probably working. If they do something once but never again, for example a radio ad, then it probably flopped. Learn from their successes and mistakes.
Marketing can be effective even on a small budget, if you get it right. Have a clear plan with a defined goal and if you’re not reaching it, make adjustments or write a new plan.
Don’t: Be like Everyone Else
Have a USP – unique selling proposition. Ensure there’s something about your business that’s different from everyone else’s (at least in your local area). This assists with marketing your business, because you can promote your key difference. Perhaps that’s having the fastest service, home delivery or an exclusive product range.
Don’t: Ignore Your Target Market
It sounds obvious, but many businesses develop products and promotions without a clear idea of their target customer. It’s vital to understand who is likely to buy your products, and also what their budget is. That way you can target the right people with the right messages.
Don’t: Shoot into the Dark
Do you know where your target customers are? Not just where they live but also what messaging they’re likely to see? If you don’t know what media they consume and what websites they use, you could be throwing time and money down the drain.