Small Business Marketing Tips
Marketing a small business can be a daunting task - trying to generate as many sales as possible at minimum cost. Whilst a small business cannot even attempt to compete with big businesses there are some tips that can lead to marketing success.
Write a Marketing Plan
Before you begin your campaign it is vital that you do your research, write a marketing plan and more importantly stick to it. Successful marketing encompasses many aspects of the marketing mix and it is for this reason that planning is so important. Your plan should include recognising your brand values, competitor research and your marketing delivery methods.
Offer Free Trial
Winning new business in a new marketplace can be very difficult as most people who already use a product / service similar to yours will already have a preferred supplier. Therefore providing a sample of your product /service to show why yours is superior can help you win their custom.
Offer a Discounted Version
This may not be applicable to all businesses but if possible you should offer a discounted version of your product. During these difficult times, you might find that people are interested in your product / service but simply cannot afford it. By offering a cut down version of your product / service at a discounted rate can help increase your revenue stream.
Set Up Strategic Partnerships
Attending local business networking events are a great way to meet other small business owners in your area. Try to find a non-competing business owner in your market and arrange to promote their products to your customers and vice versa. This is a great way to win some extra business with very little expenditure.
Use Your Existing Customer Base
If you already have a customer base then use them to your advantage. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful promotional methods around. So why not offer your customers an incentive for discussing your products / services with their friends and family?
Before you start a mail shot campaign it is important to identify prospects who are likely to purchase your product / service. So for example if you are in the B2C marketplace then you could target addresses in your local area. If you are in the B2B market then you want to target customers who are financially stable and who are likely to pay within your invoice terms. To help you build a list Creditsafe offer UK customers a variety of prospect data and will even give 100 free prospects as a trial. A word of warning however, if you are going to be trading with other businesses it is vital that you credit check them using company credit reports.
Get a Company Website
Cashflow is a constant concern for small business owners however building a company website is a definite must these days. With the Internet being so readily available most people will search online for product / service before purchasing. There are so many web development companies out there that you can have a simple brochureware website built for a few hundred pounds. When looking to purchase a website ensure that you include your company name in the domain name as this will help keep the cost of the domain down and help you rank well in the search engines. It is very important to remember to include in your website a landline telephone number and a contact form which asks for an email address. Building a database of customer email addresses will assist your customer retention later.
Email Marketing is a very cost effective method of marketing, however to make it as effective as possible there are some simple steps you should follow. Firstly think about your subject title – we all receive hundreds of emails a month, so determining which ones are useful can be difficult. A study conducted at Yale University found that the most powerful words in the English language are; You Money, Save, New, Results, Easy, Health, Safety, Love, Discovery, Proven and Guaranteed – try including some of these subject lines, see what happens? Another important point to remember is that customers need to opt in to receive emails, (they also require a method to unsubscribe) as otherwise you run the risk of being reported to your ISP for sending spam emails.
Pay Per Click
Whilst Search Engine Optimisation will provide longer and more stable results a Pay Per Click campaign can be very useful in generating interest in your product / service in a very short period of time. However a tip for operating a PPC campaign would be to avoid the big traffic driving keywords as these will be bid on by the big companies and their marketing budgets will greatly outweigh yours so don’t even attempt to compete with them. Instead go for low traffic keywords as these will be much cheaper to bid on. If your product / service is available locally then you can optimise your PPC campaign so that your adverts only appear to IP addresses in your locality. You can get a free trial worth $75 by following this link – http://goo.gl/ruIwa
And Finally Experiment, Test and Experiment Some More!
Marketing is not a precise science – what may work well for one company may be utterly useless for another so experiment and test. It is a progressive process so keep experimenting and analysing the results and you’ll be sure to be a success!