Marketing for small business.
Why marketing is important for small business
Marketing and selling are two distinctly different activities. If you do not market your product and create brand awareness you are selling no one will know where you are or what you are offering.
There are many aspects necessary to create a successful marketing campaign, you will need to have a thorough understanding of your company your product and its unique attributes to be able to identify markets and present your product it’s most attractive form.
Many businesses make the mistake and by creating a website sales will follow. This is a long way from reality. The first websites were created by well-known companies, big brands that had spent years building their markets in traditional ways, People knew the brand and what to search for, initial search engines were crude, and the sophistication of search engine algorithms had yet to be invented.
Today’s market has changed drastically, algorithms have become much more sophisticated, tens of millions of websites are generated each year and social media advertising has become and experts’ game. Businesses need to have a marketing strategy before they launch a product for sale and will need to consider the following:
- Does your product have a unique selling proposition?
- Do you understand who your competitors are and their price point?
- Do you understand who is the target market is?
- Do you know who will buy your product?
- How will you raise brand awareness?
- What strategy will you employ for social media promotion?
- Do you need a sales force in place to sell your product or service?
- Do you need to appoint agents to sell your product or service?
These and many more points should become part of your marketing strategy and well thought out before watching your product or service for sale. You may have the best product in the world at the lowest price but if no one knows about it no one will buy it.
How to do online marketing for small business
If you are operating on a tight budget, then you will not be able to throw large amounts of money into advertising. Many businesses make the mistake of setting up a low-cost website and placing ads on social media but still find that their website is not getting many viewers. They find themselves at a loss to be able to understand what is happening and why this strategy is not working.
The answer lies in the ever-changing world of algorithms that are used by Google to rank websites. Google regularly change their algorithms and the general public is unaware of what has changed and how this will impact on their online strategy. When this is combined with the way in which Facebook and others create rules around how ads are managed and who gets to see them then the situation arises where you are spending money but not seeing a return.
It is now estimated that if you have a website and are running a social media campaign then to be effective you will need to spend about 20 hours a week to ensure that it is reaching the right audience.
Website building was once the domain of graphic artists who had some online experience, however, this has all changed and today’s website builder must understand all of the technical elements and techniques that will get a website to prominence on a search, i.e. they need to be an expert in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and understand the interaction with social media platforms.
At this point a small business needs to decide, spend a small amount on a website and place ads on social media or budget $1,000 to $2,000 and engage a professional with a track and sound SEO abilities. The latter is the best approach as your website is much more likely to be found and more easily connected with effective social media.
The piggyback approach for small businesses that operate in a regional market only
If your market is local and you are competing with similar businesses, then another approach might be worth considering.
The old-style of telephone directory where you paid for an ad in print and your contact details were listed has transitioned into online directories operated by the same companies that printed the books as well as new entrants. In many cases these companies will provide a service where, by paying for a listing, your website and contact details will appear on that company’s website search listed under the specific categories of business that you choose. In this way, you can build a cheap website, pay for a listing and have your details and website ranking highly on any search.
For companies that want to sell widely or globally this approach can be expensive and it is recommended that you consider a professionally built and maintained website.
How to improve my marketing for my small business
To improve the quality and reach there are several things you can do:
- Personal marketing – create what is known as an “Elevator Pitch” i.e. a 60 second summary of your company and what it does so that when someone asks you what you do you can quickly present your company. Tip: The first 10 seconds are important, and you will either engage with the person or lose the.
- Use your network of contacts to spread the message.
- Talk to people in business that you know to see if there is common ground that by marketing to each other’s network both you and your business contacts would benefit.
- Attend networking events.
- Accept opportunities to speak in public.
- Use social media to regularly communicate, but, as mentioned earlier, make sure you are communicating effectively, and the message is reaching the target audience.
- Listen to customer feedback, you will find ways in which your business may be able to improve.
- Ask for referrals.
- Collect email addresses and consider an email marketing campaign.
- Launch a Business Page on Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Consider the effectiveness of a free offer that has value that leads to a sale of your product.
- Create a Blog to improve website visibility and interest.
- Make your website an interesting place where potential customers can learn something from articles you post.
- Track your site with analytics tools.
- Research keyword for use on your website.
- Ensure your website is optimised for mobile devices.
- Think about using photo and video content on your website as they are proven to attract more viewers.
- Consider using Landing Pages, Squeeze Pages and Funnels as part of your social media marketing campaign to draw people to your website.
- Consider running a Webinar.
- Create a customer feedback page.
- Install Google Analytics on your website and look at the results. You may need help interpreting the data, but it will give you a much better understanding of what is happening.
Whatever you do and however you go about, establish an online presence make sure you stay up to date with changing technology and talk with people who are knowledgeable in the field to prevent a situation where you are placing ads and wasting money.