Running a small business requires skills and knowledge of a variety of areas. One of them being marketing. Without it, you’ll struggle to generate interest in your business, attract new customers and develop your brand.
If you’re ready to launch your business with a solid campaign, we have a simple four-step approach that can get your marketing off the ground!
1. Conduct Market Research
You can’t maximize the marketing campaign of your business without having the research to back it up. It’s an essential part of your strategy and provides you with an important insight into your customers’ thinking, buying patterns and opinions. Below are some tips you can use to maximize your market research:
- Create a customer ‘bio’ based on their experience, income, location and lifestyle
- Understand how your customer targets like to be approached (e.g. mass media, social media, internet searching)
- Analyze the response of clients to your product or service
- Understand any potential ‘gaps’ in your product or service and how you can improve them in the future
- Identify how your business is different from the competition, highlighting your key selling points and strengths
2. Develop Your Brand
From the mega-tycoons to the local guy, every business needs to brand their business to establish themselves. Remember that a brand is more than a logo and some snappy tagline. It’s about a message: who you are, what you do and how you can help your customers.
Finding what makes your brand stand out (the market research) should help and build on it. Here are some tips to maximize your branding:
- Focus on your differences and how you stand out from the competition (yes, we’ve mentioned this before, but it is important to know!)
- Ensure the logo, tagline, slogan and colour scheme of your business are reflected in all materials. Consistency with brands wins every time
- Create a narrative behind your brand. Having a story that relates to customers can form a strong bond between both of you
3. Budget Your Marketing
Without the funds behind you, your business can’t be marketed correctly. We understand that not all individuals have the finances to organize large campaigns, but having a baseline in which you can invest in marketing is crucial.
The best way to sort this problem is to understand what marketing is going to cost you. Consider the following factors when organizing your budget:
- The website design and maintenance
- The branding costs
- Marketing avenues (online or traditional advertising)
- Donations and sponsorships
- Printing of promotional material
If you are struggling with marketing your business, you can always procure additional funds. Your options include obtaining a loan from the bank, asking investors or partners, or agreeing to a marketing/venture partnership where an agency does the marketing for you in return for a slice of the profits (https://growmemarketing.ca/venture-capital-calgary/).
4. Nurture Your Customers
While marketing can get your customers through the door, your customer service keeps them coming back. Nurturing your customers and keeping them happy works effectively alongside marketing.
The added emphasis on customer service and satisfaction means your customers will speak positively about your business. And word of mouth still remains a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal but can’t be used without you nurturing them. Here is how you can build loyal from your customers:
- Communicate regularly with your customers
- Provide after-sale advice and support
- Deliver on your promises
- Get them to know them on a personal level
- Go the extra mile when needed
- Use feedback and advice to improve your services or products
Remember that it is important to regularly monitor and review your marketing activities to determine whether they achieve the desired outcome. A three-month review, followed by a bi-annual and finally yearly review, can ensure you have information and scope to determine what worked and what didn’t. This will help you make changes to your marketing campaign that will benefit your business.