Small business marketing – how to get more bang for your buck
Investment in marketing for any small business is a big deal. So, when it comes to boosting your brand, it’s crucial you feel confident in the methods you choose, understand how to measure results and know what outcomes to expect. Here are some tips to get you started.
Start with the end in mind
Marketing – it’s something you have to just do, right? Well, yes – as long as you know what you want to achieve out of it. Do you want more social followers? Why? Or do you want to sell more of a specific product? Ultimately, you want it to improve your business and bottom line. So, set yourself a measurable target of what you want to achieve, and make sure you know the why.
Write it down
A simple marketing plan will help keep you on track and ensure you retain focus. Write down the what, why and how; when and what you’re going to measure; and what the dollar value you want to put behind it is. Whether you use a fancy spreadsheet or scribble it on the back of an envelope and pin it near your computer is irrelevant – just do it!
Pick one thing – and do it well
The trap many small business owners fall into is trying to do everything at once. And more often than not, those many things are started… just not very well. So, if you want to kickstart your marketing, focus on one activity. It could be Facebook, it could be a local flyer drop. It is far more manageable, and can be easier to understand what’s working, if you implement one marketing activity at a time. Monitor, refine and evolve; learn what works; and then move onto the next one.
Social media is a good place to start
Depending on your industry, consider establishing and maintaining a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest or Instagram, and build your audience from there by following fans, responding to customer questions and posting important news. Choosing which platforms will yield the best results for you and your brand comes down to identifying where your customers are and how they like to be approached.
Measuring your social media results can be broken down into volume (number of followers / likes / weekly reach) and engagement (replies / retweets / comments / shares). A share of voice metric is another good way to understand how well you’re doing. It will allow you to see how conversations about your brand compare to your competitors’ and determine what percentage of the overall conversation about your industry is focused on your brand.
A good test of your social media effectiveness is a ‘mention this’ campaign. Invite your audience to ‘mention this’ post when they are in-store, or they call or email you, in exchange for a small freebie or discount.
Never underestimate the power of good content. Its key goal is to offer your customers something of real value in order to build trust. Whether that comes in the form of regular blog posts, infographics, enewsletters, video tutorials, whitepapers or webinars, it depends on what you believe will resonate best with your target customers.
But, the fact of the matter is, research shows 70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles than an advert and it can cost up to 62% less than traditional marketing. When it comes to measuring its success, content can be tracked via the number of social shares, views, greater brand visibility and boosted engagement across social media channels.
Measure, measure, measure
Marketing cannot be a luxury to any business, which means you need to be confident it’s bringing in a return. So, ensure you know how you’re going to measure the outcome of your marketing efforts. Make it part of your weekly schedule to delve into your analytics dashboards, or review data you’ve collected from customers, to ensure what you’re doing is working – and evolve it if not.
A good way to think about marketing ROI (return on investment) is what you’d expect to pay a business development employee – and what you’d expect them to generate. Of course, good marketing has additional longer-term brand building benefit. However, any investment you make in marketing (your time as well as direct costs), should be returned back to the business – with interest.
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Mary Read, founder of Reads in Sydney’s Woollahra, has experienced the highs and lows of Australia’s fashion retail industry up close.View more
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