Quick tips on marketing your small business
Marketing is one of those activities (a bit like new business development and or getting your accounting admin done) that as small business owners we know we should be doing regularly. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always mean that we actually give it the time and attention it needs and deserves. As small organisations, we have a huge amount of conflicting priorities and pressures (not least, delivering our core product or service) and marketing, all too often, finds itself dropping down the to do list.
Which is a real problem – because without it, it’s unlikely that your small business will thrive over the longer term. So, with all that in mind, here are a just few things that we think that you should consider when you are thinking about marketing your small company.
Set aside regular time to think properly about marketing
This is truly the most important first step you need to take when it comes to marketing your business – actually setting aside the regular time that is required to come up with and deliver an effective marketing strategy. And the key here is that word ‘regular’. Marketing, in our experience, rarely works as a one off. Sure, you can set aside a few hours, come up with something that promotes you and your business in a really effective way and then deliver it to your target audience. The chances are, if you’ve done your research and have used this insight to properly focus your marketing messages, that they will love it.
Here’s the problem with that approach. When thinking about marketing (and delivering it) doesn’t happen as a part of a sustained, thought out strategy, it rarely produces sustained results. People will love what you’ve done, you’ll probably get a few more customers, but it will be nowhere near as effective as a proper, ongoing campaign. So, take the time to regularly review what marketing you are delivering, what you are trying to achieve, how your customers are responding, and what you can do next.
Choosing the right channels is everything
One of the opportunities (and challenges) of the age we live and work in is that we have such an incredible range of marketing possibilities at our disposal. For example, as a small business owner with a LinkedIn Premium account, you can directly message a key person at your target customer in a way that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. You can build networks of fans and win over social media influencers who will be only too happy to promote your products and services if you pitch them right. Which is all fantastic – but it can prove daunting for anyone trying to work out the best marketing channels and strategies for them to use.
The answer to this, as is so often the case in business, lies with your customers. What do you actually know about them? Do they use Instagram? Do they read the ads in the free newspaper on the way to work? Do they listen to podcasts? How much spare time do they have? How do they like to be communicated with – email, text or a letter in the post? This kind of knowledge is absolutely invaluable because it is so easy to be seduced by the myriad channels we have available, and to think that they’re all relevant to your customers. So, know the channels they use, and then use them yourself, regularly, to speak to them in a way that they respond to.
Use the uniqueness of your own team
Our final point comes down to another crucial part of marketing – having a unique voice. Why is this so important? Well, see above: customers today are absolutely bombarded with messages, all the time, from everyone. So what makes you different? Why should they spend any time at all listening to you?
One of the best ways to develop a strong and distinctive voice in marketing terms is to use your own team to manage it. This doesn’t necessarily mean putting their faces on a billboard – rather it is about giving them a bit more responsibility to market your product or service themselves. So, rather than keeping an intensely tight personal control over your marketing materials, it might be a case of letting your team play more of an active role in promoting the business. For example you might let someone who actually talks to your customers on a regular basis (and who might even be the same age and demographic as them) to run your social media accounts for you.
Ultimately, the key, we believe, is about creating content that is relevant and attractive to your customers. It is about delivering it through channels they actually use, and then building up a close, personal and regular connection with them. So, if you haven’t done already, set aside some time to think about your marketing plan – and get ready to reap the rewards.