Marketing for your small business isn’t always easy. Being able to cut through the noise and find the methods that work for you can be somewhat like finding your way through a minefield. Are you going to hit the right spot, or will everything blow up in front of you and leave you with a bigger problem to sort out?
You’re not alone; around 88% of small businesses don’t get regular leads or sales from their website, according to one survey, while a whopping 76% of small business owners admit to having marketing difficulties and not knowing where to start or what is best for them.
So, what are the best options for your business to avoid the common pitfalls of small business marketing and get the desired results?
Sadly, there is no one-size-fits-all marketing option, nor is there a formula for choosing the right approach.
But these tips can help you determine what you want from your marketing and how to implement a marketing plan that hits the right spot and doesn’t blow up in your face.
What Do You Expect?
Pretty simple, right? If you don’t know what you expect from your marketing efforts, how can you know if it’s working? You need to be able to set goals prior to doing your marketing to allow you to quantify metrics and determine if something is working or not.
It might be that you need to increase sales by 10% in the last quarter, you need to bring in 25 new customers in the next month, or you promote a new product launch to build a buzz around it and have a successful first-day release.
Whatever you want from this campaign, you need to be clear about it, as this will dictate the approach you take and what option will work best for you.
Suppose you are generating a buzz around a new release. In that case, a massive social media campaign can work well for you, as can sending out emails to your subscribers, promo information, or samples in current orders and generally building up FOMO in the months prior to release so you can prime your audience, expand your reach and guarantee that when the new product line drops, people are clamoring at your doors to buy what you’re selling. However, if your efforts are on building long-term relationships that bring in revenue each month, this approach won’t work so well.
Knowing what you want and your expectations before any marketing goes out will serve you well.
What Does the Data Tell You
The statistics around small business data usage aren’t exactly positive, with nearly 40% of people admitting to not having data sources to trust and a massive 70% giving up on converting data because they were simply too overwhelmed.
With the figures showing that only 25% of businesses use data to drive their decisions, you can see why some companies aren’t hitting the mark when it comes to their marketing efforts. You need to be able to interpret the data you hold; in fact, if we wind that back, you need to know where to find the data and how to capture it and then interpret it so you can see exactly what you are working with.
If this seems like something out of your toolbox, then you can use technology or outsourcing partners to do this for you, but getting answers and detailed information from any data you collect could be pivotal in boosting your marketing efforts and getting you the desired results.
The types of information that can be useful include customer data, campaign data, customer satisfaction data, competitor data, marketing data, and sales and purchase data.
Breaking it down into these categories means you can look at what you have collected to tell you the whole story.
Customer data, for example, literally tells you about your customers; you get an insight into their age, location, interests, and pain points, so you can see where you can fit into this story. You can also use data to determine how they are more likely to respond to marketing. Is it social media, search engines, or good old email marketing? Find out how the customers find you to tailor your marketing plan to target the right audience.
Essentially, the more you know about your company, how it’s perceived, your customers, the market for the industry you are in, and, indeed, your competitors, the easier it will be to create a marketing message that works via the right channel for you.
Create A Budget
There is no set amount that you need to spend on marketing. Nor should it be a low amount because you don’t want to pay for it. Experts suggest putting around 1 to 5% of your projected annual turnover towards your marketing budget per year.
But if you cannot afford this, then you need to set a budget you can afford and then look at your options within these limits. Not all marketing needs to be flashy and expensive if you cannot afford it. Some businesses might be able to afford to hire a marketing agency to help them get their campaign off the ground to boost success; others might take care of it in-house or personally and use as many free or low-cost options as possible. Pinning down your budget will allow you to see what options you need to take and what will work for you.
Let’s say you are a small fashion brand with 5 employees who travel from across the local area to work for you, and your marketing budget is tight. You want your employees to have uniforms when working so people can tell they work at your store and know who to go to for help. Having your custom logo printed onto t-shirts or even custom-designed caps from Mato & Hash can be a good form of marketing, especially if your employee wears their uniform when commuting to work or going about their daily business. It might be that they keep their cap on and don’t cover their branded work shirt when heading out to grab lunch. People will then see your brand on these items, and this can be a form of passive marketing where people are drawn to your brand through constant exposure, built through visibility over time.
Stay On Brand
If there is one thing people gravitate towards, it is authenticity. They don’t want to see some fake, over-the-top version of you and your company. They want to see the real version, and brands who don’t show this won’t be able to sustain their fake image to help them create a loyal customer brand.
You need to determine your company values, what image or version of your company you want to be promoted, and what you want people to think of when it comes to your brand. Your brand identity and voice should be intertwined, and both should say the same thing.
You need to be consistent with the message you send out and the values you hold to be able to attract the right customers and retain them. Remember this as you build your marketing campaign and make sure that regardless of how the customer comes across your brand, they get the same message and impression of who you are, what you do, and what to expect when dealing with your company.
Getting your marketing message right means you need to pay attention to the foundation of the campaign, not just rush into throwing any type of marketing out there. Identify your target audience, know your budget, stay authentic, and use the data to help you create a marketing plan that brings in results.