Small business marketing is one of the most crucial, yet often overlooked, aspects of operating a business. Lacklustre marketing can hamper growth, resulting in the ultimate demise of the business. Budget is often a hurdle for most start-ups which means they don’t have access to the same marketing resources as big corporations.
But you can still get your business seen by all the right people. Thankfully technology, and more specifically social media, is giving businesses of all sizes the opportunity to market themselves smartly, with minimum effort and cost. The marketing power of a strong online presence is invaluable to a small business owner.
How small business marketing and your brand image go hand-in-hand
Your small business’s brand image is the soul of your start-up, it defines how, what, where, when and, most importantly, who you want to target with your brand messaging. According to an article by the Entrepreneur on brand strategy, consistent, strategic branding leads to strong brand equity, resulting in added value to your business’ products or services.
The article also lists some helpful and time-tested tips for branding your business:
Design a powerful logo: Use this logo across your entire business and with all external and internal communications.
Write down your brand messaging: Think carefully about what you want your brand to communicate and use clear language to convey this message.
Integrate your brand: Your branding should be included in every single aspect of your business and everyone should know what it is and what the core meaning is.
Create a tone to help communicate your brand: It’s important that all small business marketing communication from visual materials to emails and phone calls use the same tone to ensure brand consistency.
Once you have a clear brand image and you’ve created your logo and established your tone, it’s time to market your small business. As mentioned before, you don’t need an exorbitant budget to ensure you get seen, or target the right consumers. Thanks to good old word-of-mouth and contact marketing, along with the power of social media – you can go along way with little or no marketing budget.
Use your network and peers for contacts and introductions
Networking is one of the easiest and often most successful ways to market your business. The more time you spend at events and gatherings with peers and people from similar industries, the more likely you are to come across qualified leads. In a world driven by online communication, we often forget the power of a simple business card, handshake and face-to-face idea exchange. Always try to branch out to new groups and attend events out of your circle to ensure you widen your marketing net.
Social media platforms that will boost your small business marketing
In the age of the consumer, where reviews are one of the biggest drivers of conversion you can’t afford not to be online. If you don’t have a strong online presence, or people can’t easily find you with a quick Google search – you might as well not exist. Spend time and money on developing a user-friendly and responsive website. Also ensure that you’re active on all of the major social media platforms, with a special focus on your LinkedIn page, and connect with the appropriate groups and people.
Give your customers what they want
There are simply too many brands to choose from for consumers, therefore to stand out your small business needs to:
Provide relevant information: Today’s consumers expect right information at the right time, they don’t want to be bombarded with irrelevant information.
Be real: Customers don’t want a fake interaction, they don’t want to be fed a sales line, they want authenticity.
Give value: You cannot just sell a product and send your customers on their merry way – you need to be able to provide ongoing support when they need it.
Two-way dialogue: Social media platforms have given consumers a big voice and they aren’t afraid to use it. When they interact with your business on social media, they expect a timely response anything short of that and you’re out.
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