Marketing a small business comes with many challenges. As a small business owner, you often juggle multiple ‘hats’ at once. From being the team leader, accountant, marketer and sales manager. That’s why finding time to market your small business can often be a struggle with limited time, budget and expertise. The success of your business depends on your ability to wear the multiple hats needed to keep the wheels of your business turning. Here at Business Beetle, we’ve outreached to local and national experts to get their insight into how best to market your small business; saving you valuable time and energy. Read on to find out what they say…
Focus on Social
Beth, at Little Beauty Blog, says: “My best tip for marketing a small business would be to utilise social media, particularly Twitter and Instagram. Both platforms are free to use and are easy to gain engagement via.
Use hashtags, join relevant Twitter chats, engage with your audience, and ensure that you are not only regularly sharing content, but also that you mix things up and share different types of content, from blog posts and infographics to photos and videos. Ensure your content is interesting, eye-catching and has a ‘click-sexy’ title or caption.”
Similarly, Tim Hughes of Social-experts.net said to “Get on social. Any business today can soon punch above their weight and go global by using social techniques and social selling. We are a great example of how a small business can scale quickly using social.”
Just getting started with Social Media? Get even more advice here.
Focus on Your Foundations
Craig Campbell who has his own SEO Training & Consultancy business, says: “I’ve helped many small businesses over the years with marketing and many are overeager to beat the world, but I would always recommend getting your foundations right, make sure you have a nice clean fast loading website with some decent content and do some basic SEO and rank well locally.
Always remember to spread your marketing focus across multiple channels too, social media, paid search and any other areas that work well for your business and dominate the market locally and build things up properly. I’ve seen a number of small business chop and change their approach and never really get the basics done right and that is more common than you think.
Basic fundamentals include a basic working website, local map listing, social media set up, analytics and search console set up and analyse what your competitors are doing and replicate any of the good stuff they are doing and you will be well on your way to marketing your business well. ”
Minal Patel from Marketing by Minal says: “Spend time on planning your marketing. Work out what you want to achieve, set a quantifiable goal and a date by which you want to achieve it. Without this foundation, your marketing won’t bring you results. You’ll waste time and money, neither of which any small business owner has!”
Don’t Forget Your Content!
Darren, at Small Biz Geek suggested: “Create useful, in-depth, informative content for your website, whether it be text, audio or video. In other words, make the effort to stand out without being that annoying salesperson.”
Muffin Marketing also pushed a focus on your content: “Content marketing is one of the very best methods of promoting your small business. Writing high quality content that offers value to your readers not only sets you apart from the competition, but it allows you to rank on search engines like Google and drive free, organic traffic back to your website. You don’t have to be an expert to write an engaging blog post – give it a go and see what happens!”
Want to make sure that your content is optimised to its full potential? Read our Three Top Tips for Optimising your Blogs for SEO.
Do Thorough Market Research
Allen Ruddock of Linked Business, says that it’s important to “really know who your target customer is so you can make your marketing message super relevant to them. The tighter the niche, the better the message.”
Lisa-Marie Miller of No Fluff Communications says: “My advice would be always have your customer front of mind – remember WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) Focus on how you can solve their problems & build your relationship & sales will naturally follow.”
Sebastian Kull, Head of Online Marketing at a Berlin based Digital Brand Performance Agency, said: “Do things that don’t scale & focus on customer life time value! – As a small business owner, you mostly operate out of cash flow & most likely you focus on a local area or a small niche.
That means do not try to copy the marketing tactics of companies with massive budgets. Focus on direct response techniques & direct communication with your clients. Think what products or services you can offer to existing customers to keep them buying from you over and over again. Remember it is much cheaper to upsell an existing customer than acquiring a new one & word of mouth is the most powerful marketing in the world… of course there are digital marketing channels & tactics that help you amplify this method.”
Build Your Brand
Jessica Alex at Jessica Alex Marketing, says: “A small business should also think big and long term with their marketing. A very important component of a small business’s marketing is their branding. Build a strong brand that tells amazing stories, solves problems, and turns customers into ambassadors (so that they can spread the news about your awesome service and/or products).
Once you know what your brand is, be consistent with your brand message whether it be through social media, advertising, customer service, packaging etc. Remember: your brand isn’t just about your logo design, but how you are perceived – and how the public perceives you is vital to the growth of your business. A quote that I love, and that I believe small businesses should remember is: “Define what your brand stands for, its core values and tone of voice, and then communicate consistently in those terms.” – Simon Mainwaring. Build a solid foundation and grow from there!”
Kevin Bulmer, a Small Business Marketing & Mindset Coach, Consultant & Speaker said: “My tip would be to ensure they have a brand and marketing strategy in place and decide on what performance metrics they expect for each channel so that they know how to measure what is working and what isn’t. That way they can apply their resources more effectively.
The best way to differentiate yourself is to be yourself. Stop copying, comparing & competing with others and just be real; be human and tell your own story your own way. Stop trying to look and sound like you’re “advertising” and start telling your own story. Stop trying to buy “awareness” and trying to capture “everyone” and start connecting, interacting and engaging with the people that you are uniquely equipped to serve. Let the others go. It’s simple, but the great irony is that most won’t do it because they’re afraid. They’re afraid of standing out, of looking or sounding different from the rest. Which is completely contradictory to the point of marketing in the first place. But it can’t be a gimmick. You have to know yourself and have the courage to communicate your unique voice in your own way. Do that, and you’ll separate yourself from the rest. Quickly.”
Read more on The Importance of Professional Branding for Start-Ups.
Don’t Treat Marketing as an Afterthought
Jo Lyn Deal at myMarketing Café says: “Don’t treat marketing as an afterthought. Opening a business is a huge investment of time and money and building an audience of fans will help keep your doors open for many years to come.
The best option for small businesses is digital marketing. Tools like Spyfu.com, Google Keyword Planner, and Moz.com provide great insight into what your competitors are doing with their digital marketing and how their efforts are performing for them. Use these tools to learn what is working and build your own successful digital marketing strategy.”
The world around us is constantly changing and evolving, so it’s important for businesses to make sure that they are up to date with what’s current. Read the 5 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018 to get started!