Key advice for small business marketing
Whatever sized business you run, marketing should form a core part of it. You might even be doing this without realising. And it is a myth that there is a difference between large and small business marketing – some of the figures and specifics might be different but essentially, small businesses require the same approach, albeit at a level that suits their own objectives and resource structure.
So here is a handful of important points to consider when planning small business marketing. Hopefully, some part of it will provide a nugget of inspiration for you.
Marketing is part of your culture
It's not a separate activity – marketing should be at the heart of what you do if you're a customer focused operation. You want to understand your customers better, find more of them, communicate better to them, manage your reputation with them and your industry as a whole – all marketing. Small businesses might be more simplified in their approach but don't negate the importance of effective marketing.
Do a few things well
Before you worry that you cannot do it all, I would recommend that you look to do a few things well. Spreading yourself and your resources too thinly will significantly reduce your effectiveness. Small business marketing should be keenly focused and prioritised towards what will get you the best results.
Manage your customer data
Too many small businesses ignore this important point. Even if you have 30 customers, set up a basic CRM system to manage this information efficiently. There are many free or low cost tools for small businesses to try online. I like Hubspot and Really Simple Systems. It's important to have a professional approach on the way up and as you grow, your CRM system will soon develop to hold more customers and far more prospects. Fine tune it when it's small and let it support your small business marketing efforts going forward.
“Quick wins” are rare in marketing
Understand that results are not achieved overnight. One-off adverts will have limited effectiveness. A single email will not reap big rewards. You will have heard the comment about it taking seven or even nine points of contact or communication to prompt a prospective customer to act. It's true. As a small business, your marketing needs to gather momentum and work as hard as possible for you over time, in an integrated manner.
Carefully planned marketing is an investment
Even “free” PR activity has a price tag on it in real terms. Time costs money and always has an opportunity cost attached to it. Take it seriously, apply a long term approach and attach a suitable budget to it, even if that budget is really rather modest. Understand the value (and benefit to your business) of carefully planning your marketing and use outside help when you need particular skills or additional resource. Decent small business marketing will add value to your business and we’d be happy to chat through how we might be able to help you with this.