There are a lot of areas of building a strong small business that can be tricky, and learning to market successfully is one of them. Not only is marketing important in general, but it is particularly so when your business is small or new, and you are trying to create a solid customer base. While the task of coming up with a solid marketing strategy and implementing it may seem overwhelming, the reality is that it doesn’t have to be. By taking your time to do your research and making sure that you take advantage of all of the tools available to you, you can develop a strong marketing strategy and create meaningful growth for your business.
Do The Necessary Research
Before you do anything else, you need to make sure that you do the necessary research. The research you do will not only help you understand your product and your business better, but it will also enable you to make better plans for your business and your marketing in the long run as well. One of the primary things you need to research is your product or service.
The more that you know about what you are offering on a deep level, the more that you can market your products effectively. Beyond that, you also need to do plenty of research on the market for your product as well. Whether you’re selling blue light reading glasses or a dog grooming service, you need to know how your business fits into the market that it’s in, and what you’re offering that others are not.
Along with understanding the market you’re in, you also need to take time to understand who your target customer is. This is so important because it can help you immensely with your marketing and save you a lot of time and funds. Some may think that it’s best to cast a wide net and advertise to as many people as they possibly can so that they can generate business for themselves.
While this may be true for some businesses, in many cases it is better to target your advertising to those who are most likely to actually make a purchase from you. Doing research about who your customer is can help you do this. The more that you know who to advertise to, the more that you can tailor your ads to them and the more effective your marketing will be overall.
Make Plans That Will Last
Once you’ve done your research, you need to start making solid plans for your business, and not just formal business plans to obtain loans, but other less formal plans that will help you prepare for your business’s future. Even though some may think that this kind of planning is unnecessary and that they will be just fine making up plans as they go, the truth is that having solid plans in place before your business even gets going can make a big difference.
Planning is essential because it not only provides you with a blueprint for what steps you should take for your business next, but it also can be a great safety net if you are ever stuck or hit unexpected difficulties. When you have a plan it can be much easier to get back on track and on the path that you want to be.
Know When To Hire Professionals
Even with plenty of research and planning, for some it can be a good idea to hire a professional when it comes to their marketing needs. Even with a fair amount of knowledge about marketing, if you want to get good results quickly and still feel unsure of where to start after you have done research and made plans, hiring a professional can be a good option for you. Additionally, while it may seem more expensive to hire a professional in the beginning, the reality is that by having someone else craft a strategy that will work right off the bat, you can actually save money.
Use Social Media Properly
Whether or not you are interested in hiring a professional, there are still many things that you should have a solid understanding of on your own, and one of them is understanding how to use social media correctly. Many make the mistake of viewing social media as a chore or something that they have to do, rather than as a great tool for building their brand visibility and connecting with potential customers. Not only can social media help you to define your brand, but you can also use it to market to both established and new customers.
One of the biggest mistakes that many make with their social media is that they don’t create content that is truly engaging. Some may think that simply posting what is new with their business is enough. However, these kinds of posts can quickly become repetitive, and even boring, which can be a turn off to social media followers, and lead them to quit following you rather than become interested in your business. By keeping posts short and making sure that they are interesting, entertaining or informative you can help ensure that you are engaging your audience properly.
Try New Forms of Technology
Even if your business is small, making use of new forms of technology can be highly beneficial. Whether you start using AI to help you with customer service or you get the newest possible accounting software, using the most up-to-date technology possible can be a good way to streamline processes at your business and ensure that work is getting done both more quickly and more accurately. When the more mundane tasks related to your business are being taken care of with technology, it allows you more time and energy to focus on the projects and tasks that will truly take your business to the next level, like quality marketing. Beyond that, using programs that help you analyze traffic to your website can be great for helping you improve your marketing strategies as well.
Have a Solid Email Marketing Strategy
Something else that is essential if you want to create solid marketing plans is having a good email marketing strategy. Email marketing is so useful, because in this case, if you have someone’s email, then they have already shown some interest in your business and what you offer. All you have to do is turn an interested customer into an actual customer, which can be much easier than gaining someone’s interest from scratch.
When it comes to email marketing, it is important to make sure that your emails are engaging and interesting. Not only should you offer discounts and alert those on your email list of sales and promotions, but you should also send emails that provide useful information about the products that you are offering. While doing this, it is also key to make sure that you are keeping your emails short and to the point. Long emails are tedious to read, and will most likely be ignored.
In addition to paying close attention to how long your emails are, you also need to consider how often you are sending them. Emails that are too frequent may quickly become annoying to your subscribers. However, if you send to few emails they may begin to forget about your business. For many, weekly or daily emails are common choices. If possible, allowing customers to have the option to decide the frequency with which they receive emails can be ideal.
Know That Good Customer Service Is Good Marketing
While many may know that good customer service is important, they may not realize that it is a key part of a quality marketing strategy. In the age of the internet, if a customer has an issue with your business or the service that you provided, they can easily leave reviews not only on your website, but on other websites online as well. For a large corporation, this may not be a huge deal.
However, for smaller businesses this could be harmful and could have a significant negative impact on the amount of business they get. By taking time to address customer issues quickly and by being friendly while you do so, you can help ensure that even if a customer does experience an issue, that you are addressing it correctly and working to build a stronger relationship with that customer, rather than alienating them or giving the a legitimate cause to spread bad word of mouth or leave bad reviews for your business.
Some Last Thoughts
Running a small business can be tricky, and it can come along with a lot of stress. This can be especially true when it comes to developing a strong marketing strategy that will set your business apart from other small businesses and help it grow. The good news is, though, that developing a strong marketing strategy doesn’t have to be difficult, and by doing things like being thorough in your research and planning and offering the best customer service possible, you can help ensure that you’re marketing your business the right way.
Guest Submission by Kevin Faber. Opinions are of the author.