When you think of a local business, whether it is one you love or not, you are likely thinking about their small business marketing efforts. Marketing and advertising have been around for as long as businesses have been a thing, and it is ultimately what is put in front of you first when you are searching for a product or service.
From the classic brick and mortar establishments, to search engine optimization, there is a lot to learn about getting noticed. Especially in a world where technology is becoming more and more prevalent, there is a multitude of marketing knowledge and tools at your disposal. The question is, what are they and how do we use them? Below are some small business marketing tips for beginners.
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What is Small Business Marketing and Why is it Important?
Marketing refers to the process of creating a custom plan and budget to effectively promote an offering (product or service) to consumers. Moreover, the ultimate goal is to narrow down your strategy to appeal to your ideal customer or target demographic.
Marketing and advertising has always been a fundamental part of the growth and success of businesses. Even before technology and the commonly known digital marketing, companies big and small did well to market themselves.
Ever seen a sign on the sidewalk advertising a sale? Walked through a street market? Drove past a sign or flashy billboard? Those are all non-digital forms of marketing. Though those are great methods, there is now an even bigger opportunity to get your business noticed by more people.
Marketing is by no means a one size fits all tool. Depending on your industry, target audience, and your business attributes, there are many different ways to go about using marketing. Here are a handful of the most common ones.
This type of marketing can be accomplished by using keywords on your website to show up when someone inputs a “near me” Google search, but it is equally as beneficial when the locals spread the news about your business. The truth is, people trust the words of their friends and family the most, and word of mouth marketing has consistently proved its value long before the digital age.
As one of the most widely used forms of marketing today, social media has proved to be a versatile tool not only to get noticed, but many businesses use it as an opportunity to build rapport as well. From branding and storytelling, advertising through paid ads and influencers, not to mention the variety of social apps to choose from, social media marketing is here to stay.
SEO has quickly become a highly sought after tool along with social media. In fact, large businesses pay thousands of dollars to agencies with SEO skills just to get their website or blog to rank on the first page on Google. The higher you rank, the more leads and prospects you can reach. But with a little effort and using some online tools you can begin to improve the SEO on your own website without spending a dime.
Using Email for Small Business Marketing
Email marketing is another old school, yet still relevant way to reach customers. It has come a long way from cold emailing random prospects. It has become more modernized and using your own database of email addresses allows you to stay in contact with your customers.
Many businesses use online email marketing apps to announce sales and new product drops, and others use it to reach out to influencers to feature their products.
A strong marketing strategy is typically guided by the 4 P’s of Marketing: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. They facilitate setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals to effectively market a product or service to the ideal customer.
Developing your marketing strategy is an interconnected process and acts as a personal narrative for your business. It begins with creating an executive summary that evaluates various amounts of data and leverages it to solidify marketing campaigns and stay on track with long-term goals. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the steps that follow.
Get clear on what niche your business falls into, and what type of customer would benefit the most from what you offer. To illustrate, let’s say your business sells vegan desserts. Your target customers are those that identify as vegan or have dairy intolerances.
The goal is to get your offering in front of those customers sooner rather than later, as this is the key to growing your business exponentially.
Studying your competitor’s marketing techniques can mean the difference between luring more customers or completely missing the mark. Discover how you can set your business apart from the rest. What will give you a competitive edge? Taking this step provides you with more information about your customers and how you can supply what they are lacking.
Inbound marketing is a strategy that brings the customers to you. Though this can include paying for ad campaigns, it is not the only method. Most businesses also use content marketing (blogs), social media, and SEO to achieve this technique.
When coupled with strong branding, customers will be drawn to your company with a clear message on what sets you apart from the rest.
Along with goal setting, allocating a budget for your marketing plan is important. Ensure that both plan and budget coincide with each other and that you have enough funds to achieve your goals. This will help prevent overspending and keep you on track with your SMART goals.
As an article featuring small business marketing tips for beginners, it is essential for us to note that marketing is an ever-changing component of running a successful business. Establishing a marketing plan and budget is something only you can do for your own business. It requires regular auditing to keep up with volatile market trends. With this in mind, scheduling time to evaluate your marketing plan and it’s effectiveness will keep your business ahead of the game and will guarantee the best possible chance for success.