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Small Business Marketing | Caroline Sumners

SMALL BUSINESS MARKETING

AN INTRODUCTORY GUIDE TO MARKETING HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESS

Small Business Marketing: Why you need it.

When you are running a small business, it is easy to think of certain elements of the business as ‘soft’ and ‘nice to have’ rather than essential. Unfortunately, marketing is often on this pile. But be warned, ignoring your marketing is a sure-fire way to choke the life out of your sales funnel, beat-up your brand reputation and lose sight of how your competitors are about to blow you out of the water.

Sure, you may have run your business successfully for years without any set marketing plan or strategy. So why do you suddenly need to start taking it seriously now? Well, with modern business comes digital transformation. We have already seen traditional markets such as hotels and taxi services flipped on their head as a result and it is going to happen to more industries soon…only those that are established in the market will survive.

WIth a well thought out plan your business will benefit from

  • Increased sales: Sales and marketing go hand in hand and a well through through marketing plan will boost sales – no question!
  • Really understand and knowing your customers: A central part of your marketing plan is understanding ane knowing who your customer are. If you need to work on really understanding your customers You can build your personas here with our handy worksheet
  • Consistent and clear brand vision: Lets be frank – there is a reason you buy one brand or service over another. I mean why shop at Starbucks when you could just go to any coffee shop? Most often this is down to their vision and their subsequest brand positioning. Check out this blog for mapping out your vision.
  • An edge over your competition: When you understand you vision and your customers it automatically puts you ahead of your competition and you are no longer working in a vacuum. If you need help with this then check out our blog post on this.
  • Great listening skills:  Once you start marketing on a regular basis you will be much more aware of what is happenning in the market and what your customers might be in search of so you develop your offerings accordingly.

 For the complete blog Check out the full blog post here: 

 Want to know what resources we recommend for helping you build your business? Download our resources checklist? 

Know your why

Question – what do you do as a business?

Maybe you answered “we do Facebook advertising”, “we make really cool socks” or “we clean people’s ovens for them” (awesome business, nobody likes cleaning their oven).

Perhaps you answered “we believe businesses should look the best they can in the digital world”, “we believe men should dress sharp and look cool as an ice cube” or “we believe people should spend more time with their families and less time doing rubbish tasks around the house”.

But why is this so important

  • If you don’t know your why then how will your customers
  • Helps you define who your customers are
  • Allows clear and consistent communication
  • Allows you to stay on a clear path

Read the full blog post on the importance of knowing your why in your business here.

Know your numbers

Seems to be all the big marketing and agencies can talk about these days. What are your analytics saying? What is your engagement rate? What was the CTR of your latest campaign?

You don’t have the time to dive deep into numbers, let alone take the time out to understand all the intricacies of what they mean, do and what they are worth:  So we have created a handy checklist for you.

  • Website Unique Visitors or Traffic: This is the number of unique people that are coming to your website each moth. This is important because the more ( relevent) traffic you have. the more chance you have of getting your business in front of the right people
  • Bounce rate:  This tells you how many people are coming to your website and not interacting in any way before clicking off. This is important as it tells you how well your website is performing at grabbing peoples’ attention.
  • Conversion Rate: Simply put this is the amount of visitors to your website that complete a desired goal (a conversion) out of the total number of visitors. The higher the conversion rate the more  indicative that your wwebsite and messaging is getting to the right people.  This is important because once we know this we can determine how many of the people seeing you. Check out Average Conversion Rates for your industry here
  • Lifetime Value of a customer: Once you have a paying customer howe much are they worth to you over their lifetime as customer. Once we know this we know how many new customers we need to meet your revenue goals

Read the Full blog post about Knowing your Numbers here.

Do I need a marketing budget?

If you have ever been in a meeting with the marketing team of a big business you may have heard them chatting about budget allocations for ‘this project’ or ‘that element of the marketing plan’.But budget allocations aren’t just for the big businesses. Using allocations can help small businesses stay on top of their finances, monitor their spend, highlight their return on investment for marketing activities and ensure that no areas get left out or abused as focus shifts. Here are some things to consider when allocating budgets

  • Understand goals Before you can allocate any budget, you need to understand your goals. This may have been defined during a business planning process, although many small businesses do not do this so will have to understand their goals at the beginning of the budget setting stage
  • Data: We already talked about numbers in the above section but this is where you look at your number data and figure out how many visitors you need to convert to paying customer and at what value. This will then determine how much you can invest to increase these numbers and in doing so will help determine your budget.
  • Define budget:  You can’t allocate your budget until you have a budget. As a general rule and rough guide, allocating 7% to 8% of your revenue to marketing is a reasonable figure. But this of course depends widely on industry accepted norms and the level of competition for your audiences’ attention.

Learn more about your marketing budget planning here:

Resourcing your marketing

When running and growing a small business you will inevitably come across a challenge around whether to outsource your marketing efforts or employ someone in-house to take control of marketing and do the majority of work for you. There are pros and cons of both these options:

  • Cost: Possibly the biggest consideration.  Outsourcing ma seem more expensive but the commitment to inhouse is large and should not be understestimated
  • Expertise: In house Marketers often have to be have a large knowledge of a cross section of activities and sometimes you just may need s specialist. Consider on an adhoc basis
  • Training: Freelance and outsourced marketers are used to picking up quicky the nuances of a business. However it may be worth ensuring that you choose someone who speciliases in your niche to ensure that you get someone who knows your industry. It’s a double whammy that way!
  • Flexibility: The beauty of a freelance or outsourced teams is that you have flexibility built in and you can flex the team with workload.

Want to learn how to resource your marketing here.

Sales V Marketing

It is an age-old battle. Sales v marketing. Who benefits the business the most? Who is really responsible for the businesses income? Who has the best moves at the staff party? But in reality in todays world of Inbound marketing let’s get one thing straight.

SALES AND MARKETING SHOULD BE WORKING TOWARDS ONE CLEAR AND CONCISE GOALS – GROWTH.

So how do you get them working toegther? 

  • Transfer of knowledge: 
  • Everyone understanding their Value
  • A well thought through sales process

 For the full blog post on Sales V Marketing read more

The Role of Social Media

Understanding the true reason why businesses should use social media will give you a much better grip on how you should be using it as well as acting as a motivating factor to ensure that your social channels are kept up to date with all the latest from your brand. As well as making sure you are using it as a powerful marketing tool to increase your brand value you should also consider the following:

  • Conversations with your customers: Social media has completely changed the marketing landscape. In years past, marketing was all about broadcasting messages and simply hoping that your potential and current customers both see it and understand what you are trying to tell them.  What is clear is that you shouldnt just use social for broadcasting your content but also engageing and having conversations with your clients
  • Increasing your Reach:  The new 2018 Global Digital suite of reports from We Are Social and Hootsuitereveals that there are now more than 4 billion people around the world using the internet and more than 3 billion people around the world now use social media each month, with 9 in 10 of those users accessing their chosen platforms via mobile devices. This is something you cannot Ignore.
  • Free marketing?  Ok, let’s not be silly. We all know nothing in life is free. Social media marketing is going to cost you really. But fundamentally, social media can be used by businesses that have no or very little marketing budget, such as small and start-up businesses.

Want help understanding Social Media for your business. Check the full blog post here.

Consistent Communications

“If we build it they will come”

Who remembers this from Field of Dreams. Sadly this is not true.

We all know that communication is what helps us builds long lasting and powerful relationships, and just because you have built a product or service it doesnt mean that customers are just going to show up.  But often our schedules get so crazy with admin, meetings, sales and marketing stuff that ‘soft’ things like keeping consistent comms with others slowly slips to the bottom of the pile.

But this is such an important part of your marketing plan. Becuase you can be certain if you are not communicating with your customers then your competitors might be.

Not only will you be adding value and acting as a powerful reminder of your services but you will also be maintaining relationships too.

So think about ways to maintain consistent communication with your potential  clients and do it over and over again.

  • Social media
  • Regular Email and newsletters
  • Phone calls
  • Events and seminars
  • Networking
  • Blogs and other content

The full How to be consistent blog can be found here.

Lead generation, Inbound and your sales funnel

Without sales, your business would be nothing. No matter how awesome your products or services are, how incredible your customer service is, how clever you are at cutting costs and accounting…if you don’t make sales, you don’t make money and without money your business will suffocate and die.

As you know we are huge proponents of Inbound Marketing and this has always been an important part of generating sales. However, as data protection continues to become tighter and new laws are continuously being released to limit the use of outbound sales, inbound marketing will become an ever more important part of lead generation.

Filling your sales funnel with inbound marketing will mean focusing on one thing – value. By creating value for your potential customers with the likes of insightful blog posts, social

Ultimatley all the steps we have mentioned above are the core elements of inbound marketing. With a combination of Growing traffic to your website through.

Read the full blog post here

Download the blog series as a PDF and get the bonus resources checklist!