5 TIPS TO HELP MARKET YOUR SMALL BUSINESS
I regularly meet with small business owners, and almost every single one procrastinates in some way when making marketing decisions. Typically, for one of three key reasons:
- They want total assurance that it will work.
- They think they can/want to try to do it by themselves.
- They don’t have the budget, but are keen to invest in it when they do.
I can empathise, on this last point especially, as someone who has worked with some of the world’s largest companies where budgets are often much larger. I can also understand the hesitation for small businesses with small budgets who feel like it’s all very intangible and question whether it will really work and be worth the financial investment.
If you are keen to improve your business’s marketing but feel stuck or unsure of what to do next, keep reading!
Below are 5 tips on how to stand out and be noticed by potential customers and clients.
1 – Have clear objectives… not just that you “want to sell more”.
Small businesses rarely actually know what they want. They want growth and they want more sales.
But what does that actually look like. Be real, I want to sell 10 more of that or I want to make +X in revenue.
Once you clearly know your objectives, it is far easier to assess the value of your proposed marketing initiatives.
And remember, if you have no marketing collateral, no social media presence or have never reached out to your customers before, you have to factor in what I like to call momentum costs. Just like exercising after “letting yourself go” for a bit, the first little while in the gym will be hard and won’t show much result. So be patient. All great things take time!
2 – Add value
Ok, so you are starting to market yourself – awesome! Unfortunately, so many small businesses leave marketing their business until they reach a moment of desperation. The problem here is two-fold:
- If you have not engaged and cultivated your audience before now, then there probably aren’t many people listening. Big businesses can make noise, small businesses rarely can. So don’t leave it until the last minute. It takes time to build an audience, and only then will results be achieved.
- When you are desperate, you head to last resort alternatives like sales. Discounts are often of value in a retail environment but for most businesses I meet, one of my first marketing tips is to look at the product and see where you can increase sale or margin through value-adding… Not only does it potentially mean selling less for the same result, but you don’t undermine the value of your product, or look “desperate”.
3 – Consistently publish great content and maintain your presence
Consistency is key and the concept of an “always on” approach is something often unachievable by small businesses because when you get busy, your marketing falls off the priority list. So, find a partner and outsource it.
Now there is a cost to this, so make sure you understand the genuine value of marketing to your business, and make sure that your marketing costs are factored into your product or service costs.
It would surprise you just how many businesses I meet who don’t factor marketing into their product pricing, and the thought of eating into margin generally sends small business owners into some sort of small seizure! So do the numbers and be realistic!
High quality content will improve your reach and your brand exposure, but beyond this, a solid investment in content speaks volumes to the consumer. It makes your business look more legitimate, which in turn makes the decision-making process for the potential buyer much easier.
Great content also helps with SEO, which means you are getting more bang for your buck.
4 – Reinvent previous content
There is nothing wrong with reusing existing content that has performed well in the past. We do this often – and think about it, it makes total sense! If you invested time or money in good content in the first place, it deserves to be reused. It may be seen by a totally different audience, which means lots of potential new customers!
We have hundreds of articles and some of them are really great (who are we kidding, ALL of them are great), with lots of super insightful information. So, pull out the very best and create small pieces of new content.
5 – Budget
I have worked with lots of of SME’s (all the way up to those with $50 million turnovers), and not many have a realistic budget when it comes to marketing.
Great social media is not free. Nor are great articles, graphics or videos. Yes, there are tonnes of people out there touting cheap or DIY solutions and I am not discouraging them, but believe it or not, marketing is a skill. An agency like ours knows exactly how to deal with all of the marketing challenges your business might stumble across; and we feel pretty confident that we can build you a solid strategy and execute it with more success than you can likely do on your own (no offence)!
You perceive yourself as a highly skilled professional (individual or organisation) of your field, so:
- Focus on doing what you do best. Saving a few dollars on marketing doesn’t make much sense when you should be spending your time in your field of expertise, and improving your craft! Let a marketing expert do their thing, while you do yours!
- If you can recognise your skillset and experience in yourself, make sure you recognise these in your selected marketing partner. Trust that they are skilled (and do your due diligence, of course) and work with them to deliver your objectives.
Make sure you allocate a budget that is realistic to the task. If you want to make $1million in additional revenue, $5K is not a realistic budget (sadly)! If we could all spend just $5K in marketing and make $1M, everyone would be pretty successful!
Don’t get me wrong, you will always hear those sensational stories of people who made millions by investing just $500 in marketing, or who did it all by themselves overnight, etc. etc. , however these are genuinely “right time, right place”, stories. Be realistic!
And finally, budget doesn’t only apply to money. Make sure you are realistic with the time your budget needs for success. Just how making $1M by spending $5K on marketing is probably underdoing it, 5 days to achieve $1M in sales is probably not realistic either. Here at Remember, we tend to work in quarters or six month blocks as for most businesses this is more reflective of the timeline they will require in order to achieve meaningful and measurable goals.
Happy Marketing! Feel free to drop us a line if you think we can help you!