Marketing a Small Business
Marketing is vital to any business and can be the difference between succeeding, surviving or failing. Getting it right can make a huge difference to your profits but it can be a daunting area to many small businesses.
Many people think of marketing as ‘advertising’ or ‘promotion’ however it is much more than that. It doesn’t need to be complicated though.
If you search on Google for the definition of marketing, you will find lots of different definitions of marketing out there and there has been many discussion even amongst marketing professionals about what it really entails. However, in essence it is simply the process of understanding customer requirements and addressing them in order to satisfy your customers and then using that to make a profit.
If you are running any business, you should have a business plan – if not, that is the best place to start. During the business planning process you will look in detail at your market place, products/services, customers etc. as well as future plans. By this point you should have a full understanding of who your company is, what you do, who your target market is and why they will buy your product or service from you.
From there, your marketing plan should come together naturally and the most appropriate strategy should become obvious.
The following are a few tips which should help you market your business effectively
Set a budget and stick to it. Even if you can only afford £20 per month, put that in your financial plan so you have allowed for it and don’t be tempted to overspend as not keeping on top of overheads has got many businesses into trouble!
Understand your brand. Whenever branding is mentioned, people immediately think of their logo, website or other physical things. This is only part of an organisation’s brand. Your brand is basically how you want to appear to the
outside world and it encompasses many different elements such as pricing strategy, where you sit in your market place, ethos etc. Your physical branding should convey this but also this should come across in everything you do including your marketing message.
Be where your target audience are. There are so many ways to promote your business such as advertising, networking, social media, websites, print, exhibitions – the list goes on! Make sure you know where your potential customers will be and focus on those areas. There is no point spending lots of money advertising in the local paper if your target market are looking online for example.
Have objectives. Decide what you want to achieve i.e. launching a new product/service, getting more customers or increasing profit margins and then set relevant targets. Monitor your activity each month against your targets to help you keep focused. Just trying to promote your products/services without any objectives will be hit and miss at best!
Analyse your results. ROI (return on investment) is a widely used term for a reason. Marketing should always generate results and if it doesn’t, it isn’t working. Look at the results for every bit of marketing you do so you can tell what works and what doesn’t. If something isn’t working, change it. Try to figure out why it didn’t work and use that to improve what you do for next time.
If you need any help, don’t be afraid to outsource your marketing. Even if you just need a bit of help to establish your strategy, it is too important to get wrong. Spartan Consultants will be happy to discuss your needs and our flexible approach means you can be sure of the right level of help for your specific requirements.
To find out more on marketing a small business feel free to contact us.