Marketing is such an important aspect in the potential success of small businesses. The use of a strong marketing strategy can make all the difference when it comes to building a business from the ground up, or further growing a pre-existing company.
Every business owner will need to create a marketing strategy that’s unique to them. No one plan or scheme will work in the same way for multiple companies, this is why being original in your thinking process is essential to market well for a small business that wants to hit the ground running.
The UK-based small business stats
The following statistics were curated by Small Biz Genius:
- The marketing executives of some of the most successful companies spend an average of more than 21% of their marketing budget on advertising.
- 70% of marketers lack an integrated content strategy.
- 72% of consumers who search for local businesses end up visiting stores within five miles.
- Strategic landing pages help 68% of B2B businesses acquire new leads.
- By 2021, global revenue from offline commerce channels will decrease by almost 20%.
- Global digital and alternative media revenues grew an estimated 11.6% in 2018, amounting to $496.08 billion in total.
- In 2017 in the UK, digital advertising overtook all other forms of advertising, reaching a 52% share of total advertising spending.
Sculpt your identity
Identity is everything when it comes to setting up a small business. Consumers need to know exactly what product you sell or what service you supply. They need to know this quickly or they’ll move on to the next business they’ve already created a trusting bond with in the past. This is exactly why it’s so important to market yourself well, making it clear to your customer’s exactly what you are and what you do for them.
Once you’ve decided on what your business represents, it’s time to create a name and a logo that consists of colours and imagery that convey this to your customers. There’s multiple ways in which you can make this easy for yourself. Either hire a freelance creator that can take your tips on board while creating something unique to your business, or use a creative program such as Canva or Photoshop and have a go at making your own. This will include a lot of trial and error so be sure to give yourself enough time to get it right.
When you have your business name and logo, ensure that you are using the branding of it wisely. Put it on everything, including business cards, advertising, emails, envelopes, and any other way you communicate with potential consumers. This will build brand awareness and ultimately make your business more recognisable to members of the public. Being more recognisable is always going to be a main goal of a business owner when considering their marketing strategy.
Your website should be professional and accessible
All small businesses have a website these days, it’s a perfect way of gaining validation from a customer and making your business seem far more verifiable and legitimate. This is the reason why getting your website right, and putting the correct content and imagery on it is fundamental.
Having a poorly designed website will almost certainly put customers off of your website; they won’t see you as a business that can be trusted. So, make your website accessible and user-friendly. Don’t do all the hard work that is getting someone to click on your page and have them turn away from instantly because of the lack of high quality design on show. This is an error that for many small businesses can be extremely common. It’s easily avoidable, so take the time to make your website right before putting out to the world.
SEO SEO SEO
Search engine optimisation is so fundamentally important when running a small business. If you want your company to grow, then you need to make sure people are able to notice it. If your website is coming up on page 5 of a Google search, nobody’s going to find it.
Google often changes its algorithms so it can be increasingly difficult to keep on top of how to give your content the best chance of ranking, but this is where the challenge lies. Keep your keyword optimised to make sure you’re ranking highly in people’s searches.
Appearing on the first page of a Google search will allow you a much bigger chance of customer interaction, which is something you obviously need if you want your consumer base to grow and develop.
Know who exactly you’re marketing your products or services to. If you’re just aiming at everyone you won’t find success. That is not a marketing strategy. Create a profile for your target consumer and list all the things you’ll need to deliver on to get their attention. This will mean looking at your product placement, how you appear across social media websites, and how exactly you’ll be selling products.
Having a profile of potential customers in mind gives you instant background knowledge of who you’ll be selling to. This is research that’s worth conducting because with it you can come up with strategies that will directly relate to your customer-base. For example, if you’re aiming your products at teenagers, you’ll want to utilise modern marketing methods that will connect with them, such as establishing a heavy social media presence.
As you establish your audience further, it’ll help you massively with product development. The more you get to know about the people that interact with your business, the more you can focus your marketing towards them. This is why your target marketing strategy is something that often continues to develop over a series of years.
You’ve got mail
Email has many advantages as a marketing channel. They’re convenient to send, easy to automate, they’re a great method of communication, costs very little, and can reach a large number of potential customers with the highest open rates.
Once you begin to send out emails to customers on your mailing list, be sure to send interesting content that you actually think they’ll want to read. If not you’ll almost definitely find yourself in their spam or junk folders, being constantly ignored.
The main idea is to get people to come back to your website at a later date when they are likely to buy your product. Email leads still have one of the highest conversion rates of marketing techniques.
Product awareness is something any small business owner will forever be wanting to increase. A helpful way of doing this is by sending out free samples of a product you sell, or a free trial to a subscription service that you company offers.
This can’t apply to all small businesses as if you own a company that fits washing machines for example, there’s no way to offer a free taster. But, this is why choosing the right marketing strategy is of the upmost importance and why every company has to come up with techniques that are unique to them.
Social media is a modern method of marketing for businesses of all shapes and sizes. The main reason behind many small businesses setting up social media accounts is simply because it makes you seem more verifiable as a company to the modern day customer when they’re scouring the internet for information about you before making that all-important first purchase.
This leads me onto a mistake many small companies make while setting up their social accounts. They create a set of profiles to keep up appearances, then leave them empty and hollow. If you’re going to use social media as a potential marketing tool for your business, interact with people on it, actively update your company accounts, and make the effort to have a progressive presence on them.
Twitter and Facebook are the two biggest hitters for companies, so they’re an ideal launching pad for your company to make its first social media jump from. Later you can seek out an Instagram account, but you’ll need to get create when it comes to posting as content on there requires a photograph as well as text.
Marketing your way through Covid-19
For businesses all over the world, Coronavirus has brought great difficulties their way in the forms of closures, both temporary and permanent, and an overall decrease in sales, which in some cases has been on a huge scale. If you’re the owner of a business that is holding onto the hope that the roadmap laid out by the UK government recently will be a saving grace for you, there’s still work to be done on your end. Not to mention how confusing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s speech was to the public, we can all appreciate that it’s a process and one that will take time to get right. That is not to say that what he delivered was by any means understandable or effective, it simply wasn’t.
You need to let people know you’re going to be open for business again if all goes to plan, and more importantly what you have to offer them when you finally do re-open. So, you should actively seek out strategies of keeping people in touch with what you actually have going on, as well as what the future may look like from the perspective of your company. Staying in touch with your audience is one of the most effective ways of peeking their interest.
Try utilising your social media pages more frequently than you ever did before. This will help to give your business a boosted online presence and can also act as a great tool for marketing and upping online sales. Building an online following is an essential part of business in the modern world, but it isn’t an easy task. Why not use this time that you’re having to largely spend away from your business venture, and pour it into learning more about the effectiveness of social media and how it helps to build an audience for businesses around the world.
This also helps in mapping out a unique identity for your business. Think of your social media pages as much as a portfolio for sales and new products as they are a communication tool for your customers and clients. You can progress your branding further and even change it completely, developing something new for your business in the process, all through the use of your chosen social media channels.
Your customers are awaiting your return just as much as you are, so don’t let your business escape their minds. Think of the lockdown period as a period of time which has allowed many people to save up money rather than lose it, especially those that have had the opportunity to work from home. They will want to visit your business once the pandemic is over, or at a stage where it is much safer, and will possibly even have some extra funds to come back with. The sales are waiting to be made, so just keep them updated with how you’re getting on as a business.
It is important for any business owner to understand when their business is going through a good patch and when it’s going through a not-so-good patch. This often aligns with the different seasons in any given year. Perhaps your firm makes more money around Christmas time and doesn’t exceed as well in the summer. Regardless of when your business strikes it lucky, there are things you can do to enhance your chances, no matter what time of year it is.
Each different season has the potential to attract tourists, encourage people to generally spend more, or even at times put people off of spending cash at your business. It is simply the way the modern world works. By finding out the best possible way to deal with this will be one of the main keys to success for any small business owner.
It is worth thinking about just how many business owners make the mistake of allowing their more successful seasons to lure them into a false sense of security. This often backfires on them as they do not properly prepare for the lower, and more challenging times of the year which still lie ahead. Don’t fall into this trap and have a plan in place that you can refer to whenever you’re in doubt due to a seasonal change in engagement levels and business success rates.
Planning ahead for when you know you’ll need an extra helping hand in order to turn over a decent level of profit will be half the challenge for small business owners in any given year. Consider your product placement, the level of content on your social media channels, how you’ll continue to interact with your audience, and what is the best way to reach them and keep them connected during your business’ off-seasons.
Visual marketing and why it’s so important
Visual content is of the upmost importance in 2020. The modern day social media user, or online customer/client is searching for visual content, whether they’re aware of it at the time or not. This is because as a culture we expect to be fascinated by impressive, vibrant visuals while browsing the internet.
If we are met with a page of nothing but text, many of us will steer away from this and go to the next thing that catches our attention in a more immediate manner. Is this a good thing for humanity and the way we think as a race? Well, we’re not sure, it probably means our attention spans are getting shorter at the very least. Though, all that matters to us in this instance is marketing, particularly how the visualisation of it can have extraordinary impacts on the way we get to interact with customers and clients.
Why your business needs the perfect logo
Branding and imaging surrounding a business is of great importance in 2020, as it has been for such a long time now. The appearance of your company is likely to be the first thing your customer sees of it, from the front of your shop entrance area, to the design of your logo. How these things look will create an instant impact on your customer, as they’ll make a mental judgement almost straight away on whether or not they want to shop with your business.
One thing both a physical and online business presence will have in common is the logo of your company. This will be at the head of your branding and marketing and work as the recognisable image of your business. If your company’s logo fails to look professional, or fails to represent the products you sell to a high, easily understandable level, there’s no point in having it. Your business needs a logo that gets the right image across to your customers right off the bat, so here’s a few helpful tips and tricks that’ll help you to make the perfect logo.
- Remember your logo will be everywhere
It is important to be aware that the one main running theme throughout the entirety of your branding will be your company logo. This is the sole reason why it’s so important you get it right. A redesign can’t happen any time soon because it’ll throw your customers off and create a confusing image of your brand.
Your logo is the face of your company, so naturally it’ll be everywhere. If your companies name pops up, so will the image of your logo. It’ll be locked onto your social media accounts, website headers and store fronts. You need to be happy with the design of your logo before you start printing it on t shirts.
- Define your brand identity
Your logo needs to convey to the audience exactly what the business is about. After all, the logo will be a representation of your brand, it’ll be the face of any marketing campaigns you run, so it’ll definitely help if it gives off some indication of what your company is or how it’ll serve your potential audience.
If your logo is confusing to your audience, they’ll immediately turn away from it, therefore you need to ensure that it not only looks good, but it also makes sense. It needs to click with the audience immediately, or they’ll lose attention. Bright, vibrant colouring can help to catch someone’s’ attention, but the actual imaging needs to fill in the rest of the blanks they may have about your company.
- Look at what your competitors are doing
If your direct competition has large audience, perhaps it’s down to their branding and marketing skills, so be aware of any and all techniques they’re using effectively. Do you like their logos? Then inject what you like into from theirs into yours, but don’t forget to add your own personal touch too. Besides, your company will have differences to others, so show off that level of uniqueness in your design.
This is where it gets important that you understand the difference between inspiration and copying. Don’t create a direct rip off from your competition, just understand what makes their logo so powerful and take inspiration that can be applied to your own. This way you allow your own competitors to give you a boost forward. This is a great thing to do if you don’t have much design experience, or if you’re brand new to the concept all together.
- Choose a style and stick to it
Your company logo should directly influence the rest of your branding, so acknowledge the fact that whatever look you give off here will have to continue into the remainder of your marketing. It would be nonsensical otherwise and create a jaded image within your business’ look.
If you have gone for a crisp modern look, you’ll need to make sure the website for your business matches this, whereas if you have gone for something a little more retro, you’ll need to be firmly aware that your products should represent that imagery also.
The statistics you need to be aware of
Visual marketing strategies of all different kinds take up such a large portion of the customer experience today. If you want customers and clients to become truly excited about interacting with your business on any level, you need to excite them and keep them intrigued. This is no easy task and it’ll take time to wrap your head around if you’re new to the world of marketing, but you shouldn’t shy away from being adventurous or creative.
The following statistics were gathered by Hub Spot and give you some added insight into the world of visual marketing, as well as the importance of visualisation in an online space.
- 70% of companies invest in content marketing, which could include visual marketing strategies.
- The primary form of media used in content marketing is video.
- One fourth of marketers are investing in content marketing related to product promotions while just over 20% of investing in branded storytelling specifically.
You should obviously be making the effort to create videos, as well as designing original images for your company that won’t be found elsewhere. Not only will this give your marketing scheme some much needed variety, but it’ll also allow you to become more creative. Showing off your individuality is what will make your business different from your competitors, so be sure to let that seep through into your marketing, it’s sure to be beneficial to you in the long run.
If you’ve learnt anything from this article, it should be that you need to develop a unique way of marketing your company and the products it sells. Don’t directly copy a huge company and believe it’ll end in the same result, because it likely won’t. Have faith in your small business and give it a great chance of growing by marketing it in the right way, and to the right people.