Small business is the main strength of some countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, in terms of their local economies. So, it’s important to pay much attention to key factors that make a business successful. One of these factors is marketing. Whether you provide catering or business consulting services, having good marketing strategies attracts new and repeat customers — ensuring the success of your business. There are thousands of clever marketing plans and ideas to promote your small business. Here are the essentials.
Branding is a set of communication and marketing methods that help to distinguish a company or product from competitors. This process aims to create an indelible impression in the minds of customers. Branding can be applied to the entire corporate identity as well as to individual product and service names.
“Broadly, a product is anything that can be offered to a market to satisfy a want or need, including physical goods, services, experiences, events, persons, places, properties, organisations, information, and ideas” (Kotler & Keller, 2015).
A clear identity is necessary in order to communicate what your company is to your target audience. Think about Nike, Coca-Cola, Apple, and other recognisable brands and how powerful they can be.
Although a brand is more than an imagery, colour, or tagline, creating your own logo or collaborating with a design agency is a great investment. Research shows the average person is exposed to over 5,000 brand logos and messages a day. A well-articulated visual identity connects with people and conveys your purpose and what you can deliver.
Use your logo on advertising, business cards, email signature, and envelopes — basically on anything that will help with visibility and build brand awareness. Make them look professional at all times to improve your branding and have an edge over your competitors.
Know your customers and deliver on your promise
Conducting a market research contributes in developing your marketing plan and strategy. Aside from identifying the market size and competition, this organised effort to gather information provides an insight into customer thinking, buying patterns, and location.
Trying to market and get everyone’s attention is costly. Your target market should have a need and willingness to pay for your product or service. Hence, segmenting potential customers to focus your marketing efforts is best practice.
Audience segmentation is based upon the following criterion: geography, demographics, behaviour, and lifestyle. These details will allow you to develop a more targeted and effective strategy, focusing on the channels most likely to produce better results.
It also doesn’t hurt to nurture your loyal customers. Communicating with them regularly through social media, blogs, or newsletter will keep them informed and familiar with your business.
Leave a stronger impression by going above and beyond to exceed customer expectations. Delivering on your promises of quality products and services builds trust. When you say you are going to do something on promised time, you do it. Even better, if you say you are going to email prices to your customer by tomorrow, do it today.
Keep the customers satisfied with your products and services. If you let one down, he can tell others about his bad experience with your company. Talking about marketing, word of mouth is influential. An unsatisfied customer can dissuade others from doing business with you. You don’t want that!
Remember, customers are always searching the market to find other suppliers who can respond to their enquiry and deliver a lot faster than you! So, deliver on your promise.
A well-designed website, SEO, and social media
Having a website is the key to doing business in the digital age. Your website is a source of information to users about your products and services. A well-designed website is integral to promote a business, drive target customers, and build a brand identity.
A website should be user-friendly. A well thought of web architecture and design will make your visitors navigate through the site easily and make them stay longer, avoiding bounce rate.
A website should also be responsive. Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design that makes web pages render well on a variety of devices and window or screen sizes. It has become more important as the amount of mobile traffic now accounts for more than half of total internet traffic.
As user experience has to be meaningful and relevant, always provide them relevant and fresh content. This ties in with search engine optimisation (SEO). In digital marketing, SEO is a strategy to help increase the visibility of a website on search engine results page (SERP).
A user utilises a search engine, like Google, to search for something. By typing in a keyword, the search engine will produce relevant information on results page in response to a query. If you search for ABN loans in Australia, the search engine will give out results relevant to your query. You want your website to show up on the first page and on top of the SERP.
Google provides data, such as average monthly search for any keyword, which can be implemented on your website to work for your advantage. Utilise these keywords to create content about your products and services. Google also offers tools for keyword research and tracking website traffic to review and monitor your efforts. If you do proper SEO, you’ll rank higher than competition.
Google My Business is a functional tool for local businesses with a local customer base. This is a great way to have your business appear near the top of that search when people in the local area search for the product or service you provide.
When potential customers see your profile and accompanying good reviews at or near the top of the list, your business automatically gains credibility and people will be more willing to trust you.
You can also utilise social media and paid ads. Post updates and interesting facts regularly to keep customers informed and increase social engagement. Google Ads and Facebook Ads are the best ways to reach the maximum number of potential customers. Your advertising can focus on factors such as age, sex, location, interests, online habits, and so on. The systems are easy to use and faster way to market.
Set your goals and budget
Marketing goals will help you define what you want to achieve through your marketing strategies. You should spend between 3% and 5% of your actual or expected annual turnover on marketing.
For small business owners and startups, every dollar counts – and investments need to pay off in real and immediate marketing ROI. If you’re starting a business, you may need to allocate more funds initially to build your business profile.
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