What is your biggest obstacle when it comes to marketing your small business? Is it having limited funds or simply knowing which option is best for you?
These are two struggles that I've dealt with personally, and so have some of my clients. Especially with the increasing interest in digital marketing.
Luckily, there are many options for small businesses that cater to their marketing needs. In this article, we will explore all the different options that can be both affordable and practical for marketing in small businesses.
Before we get into the ways you can market, let's first look at the common struggles businesses have when it comes to marketing and discuss ways you can overcome these obstacles so that you can better market your business.
The most common issue that business owners express when it comes to marketing activities is the lack of resources. They do not have enough time, people, or funds to dedicate to marketing. As a result, they do not execute their efforts to the level they desire or they abandon plans halfway through the process.
Another common issue is keeping up with trends or new technology. It feels like there is a new social platform or service every few months, right? Sometimes it is difficult to determine where we should focus our efforts. To overcome this, it is best to know your audience. Look into the demographics and interests of the target audience and meet them there. For example, if you are wishing to target women between the ages of 30 and 49 in the digital sphere, then Facebook is where you will most likely find them (via Sprout Social).
You can keep your ear to the ground for new technology, but sometimes it’s best to stick with the basics. Instead, be on the lookout for tools that will enhance your strategy by automating and optimizing of your current efforts, such as Hootsuite to assist in social postings.
Lastly, an obstacle that small business owners face is increasing visibility. Sometimes it may seem like no matter how much you do, you can’t seem to build the brand awareness that you want. This goes back to meeting your audience where they are. Sometimes we are pursuing the wrong things with marketing and we don’t know that unless we are testing and measuring our results. Not only do you have to know your audience, but you have to be consistent with whatever efforts you pursue. Create a schedule and assign tasks to your team to make sure they are completed regularly. This builds an expectation of your audience and minimizes the chance that you abandon it in the future.
Now let’s talk about ways you can market your small business.
This is a great way to start, and many of you may have already started by creating a Facebook or Instagram page. The truth is that social media reigns supreme in marketing. It is one of the most widely used strategies in the new age.
Pros of Social Media
The challenges that come with social media include creating fresh and unique content that will resonate with prospects and compel them to purchase your product or service. Additionally, find the right tone and language to use in posts to convey your brand and still relate to your audience.
My tip for you is to learn about your audience, their interests, and their language, and carry that over to social media. This will make content creation much easier and streamlined. Also, be aware of the many platforms and how you can use them to cater to your audience. For example, platforms like Facebook and Instagram are great for B2C efforts, while LinkedIn is awesome for B2B activities.
This is a highly effective and cost-effective digital strategy that allows you to send mass communications and updates to your current or prospective customers. You also have a wide range of message types you can send whether it be a newsletter, sales offer, or even a survey to improve your business. The hard part is building your database so that you can easily distribute your message.
Pros of Email
One struggle that comes with email is that everyone is sending emails, so a problem many people have is getting their target audience to open and engage with their email messages. So, it is important to craft the perfect headline to gain attention and to make sure you are giving valuable and relevant content to their inbox.
Just because there is a push in online presence doesn’t mean that traditional media cannot be useful or successful. Advertise your business in magazines, radio, or the newspaper. Or, send a direct mail flyer or postcard. While some outlets cost more, advertising through this method can reach a large group of people and provide maximum returns.
Pros of Traditional Media
Unfortunately, traditional media can be hard to measure. While with digital media you can track open rates and exposure, you can’t really get the same measurement with newspaper, radio, or direct mail.
This is a no-brainer, I know. But rethink how you view or use your business card. It is your company and brand on a 3.5 x 2-inch piece of paper. For many prospective customers, this is their first encounter with your business, so first impressions matter. Update your business cards to have more appeal or charm - include your unique selling proposition or a guarantee to make you stand out - then give them to every prospect you meet. This is an easy way to get your name out there and increases brand recognition.
Pros of Business Cards
Some people may lose or throw away business cards once they receive them, but the impact on buying decisions remains, especially when coupled with human interaction.
Start a Customer Referral Program
Offering some kind of reward to past customers for referring your business to others can significantly increase sales. You can offer something small like a discount on their order or a small gift, to keep costs low. But the return you get through an increase in customers and sales makes it worth it.
Pros of Referral Marketing
Setting up a referral program can take some time to set up depending on how you do it. There are online programs and systems that can help you with this and make automation easier. But you can also keep it as simple as asking new customers how they heard about your business and taking that information to identify your loyal customers.
The Key to Successful Marketing
The most important thing to prioritize in your business is your product and service quality. If your quality is lacking, none of these activities will be of any value to you. They simply won’t work. Also, make sure that your customer service is well-developed because this can also make a difference in how prospective customers will perceive you.
I am a certified Business Coach, providing business help, business advice, business coaching and mentoring services to successful and emerging business owners. I have a passion for helping businesses like yours grow and become profitable, so you, the business owner can enjoy the lifestyle you deserve.
As your Business Coach and advisor, I will help you deliver the results you desire using proven tools, methodologies and systems, tested and perfected over tens of thousands of businesses worldwide for over more than two decades. I will hold you accountable for your results and just like a sports coach, push you to perform at optimal levels. Let's schedule a complimentary Business Coaching session to get started.