Effective marketing is a key growth driver in your small business. If you think you don’t have to understand marketing – think again. Everyone in your small business is responsible for marketing – from the receptionist to those in the accounts department. If you don’t buy in to that principle, be sure that good brands build wealth and equity – and make your company more valuable. So each time you market you are increasing the value of you and your small business.
Here are 9 key tips to maximise your marketing results.
1. Work out what you want to achieve
You can’t hit the bullseye if you can’t see it. It will slow you down if you can’t define the target. If you had a clear idea of your aims and goals when you started your business, review them again now. Put a stake in the ground now and define where you want to be in 12 months time. Having a clear business strategy in place from day one with measurable goals means both you and your team remain focused on achievement. Or at least your team can know what success looks like.
2. Know your market
Finger in the wind decisions aren’t good enough. Make sure you and your team have a thorough understanding of your industry, target audience and competitors. Take time to look at your customer base and segment it (divide it) into groups by size, spend, geography and industry. Researching your target customers and understanding their needs and behaviours (by asking them!) will ensure you have a better chance of fulfilling their needs.
3. Database is my biggest bug bear
If nothing else, work your database – it is sacred. Make sure you keep an up to date database of customers, suppliers and prospects. Being organised with your database enables you to keep track of correspondence with current customers, keep in touch with potential prospects and take responsibility for potential leads. Don’t miss out on opportunities to make your business grow further by simply not monitoring and maintaining your database. This is all about you and your brand ‘being seen’. Referrals or third party endorsements are usually spontaneous, objective, honest and importantly free!
4. Motivate yourself and your staff
Engage with your team on a regular basis, once a week for longer meetings and daily for a few minutes to keep the communication channels open at all times. This means everyone in the team should have a clear view of priorities and you can track quality, morale, customer service and get to tremors before they become volcano eruptions. It also reveals the need to assist each other and pull together when resources are maxed.
5. Be recognisable as a brand
Ensure your collateral, your logo, brochures, website and any other additional marketing material is conveying the correct message. A strong brand is vital in order for customers to identify and distinguish your business. So if you lay your collateral out on the table it should look uniform and from the same family. Use the positives in your business to create a strong image that is instantly recognisable, will engage customers and draw people back to you for more.
6. Make your website a gem
In today’s world a website is your window to the world. It plays a vital part in any business. Ensure your website immediately gives the visitor a clear overview of the company and the services you offer – tell it how it is – target the people you want to do business with. Use the website to communicate to visitors and ensure regular updates are made to the website to encourage visitors to stick around.
7. Keep your message consistent
Make it easy for people to understand what you do – so test it on customers, prospects and you family! Then check it’s easy to buy from you! It is vital you implement a tried and tested way to keep evaluating your brand. Measuring the effectiveness and financial return of what you do in terms of marketing enables you to assess what methods are effective for your business as well as which areas could be improved.
8. Stand out from the crowd!
Walk the talk, make it bold, honest, genuine and stand out from your competition. As a small business owner you should continually be looking at ways to update and improve your small business’ offering and the skills in your business. Don’t be afraid to be daring and try something different for a continually fresh outlook. Continually look at adding value.
9. Regular positive media presence
Find out what your customers and prospects read and make it your job to speak to the editor with interesting market news. Give back to the industry and educate! Whether you are a sole owner, or you have a small or medium sized business, you should have the knowledge to enable you to be a spokesperson in the press. The first step is getting to know your local rag, there are many business opportunities to be had from appearing in your local paper.
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