What are the top 5 Marketing Tips for a small business?
Marketing for a small business can be difficult and not every company has thousands of pounds to pour into Google Ads or into a successful Facebook campaign. But guess what? You don’t need to! Here are my top 5 tips to enhance your marketing strategy, gain more organic customers and grow your uniquely wonderful business.
Large corporations seem to be able to connect with their consumers through natural awareness and general word of mouth. Take a company such as Apple for example. Everybody knows who they are, whether they own an Apple product or completely despise the brand, ultimately, the brand is known by most of the population.
Of course, customer service is important for large corporations, but they don’t particularly need to connect with their customers on a personal level as inevitably, everybody knows them, and they are probably always going to make sales.
In terms of small businesses, I believe that there are three crucial concepts that must be addressed in order to build valuable customer connections – trust, personability and emotion.
Being personable with your current, prospective, and new customers is key. Whether this be on your social media, in networking or even on your website. Show your customers who you are, don’t hide anything from them, if you make a mistake – admit to this and do everything in your power to make this right. Trust builds the foundation for customer relationships and without trust – well, your screwed!
Many businesses underestimate the power of word of mouth, whether it be positive or negative, and this falls down to whether a consumer feels an emotional connection to the business and whether they trust you. This leads me to my next point of referrals.
Without getting too much into the technicalities, referrals are crucial for your business to grow. Ask yourself this question – are you more likely to purchase from a business if your two best friends tell you they love it? If they show you the company’s social media and you feel like you can connect and relate to it? The power of referrals is unexplainable, but many people question how they can get good referrals without feeling awkward or feeling like they need to pressure their customers or bribe them with money or vouchers. There is a concept called ‘PMMFS’ (Please Make Me Feel Special) a simple strategy that has helped numerous businesses to boost their referrals and grow. But how do you make your customers feel special? Here are some of my ideas.
- Listen to them, show you care about them, their opinions, interests or in terms of B2B, their business.
- Send them token gifts. These don’t have to be expensive. They are just something to show you care! Even a personalised, handwritten note with each purchase is a great idea.
- Listen to their feedback and complaints and use this to leverage your business.
- In terms of B2B, support the businesses that you’re working with – like and comment on their social media posts or share their page. They may do the same for you.
Although these tips may not be relevant for every business, by adopting this thought process, I guarantee that you will receive positive word of mouth and gain more referrals without the awkward asks!
3.The importance of your website
Building a generic website can be relatively easy but creating valuable content that your customers are going to be genuinely interested in can sometimes be challenging.
When a customer visits your website, retention is key. If consumers can’t find the information, they are looking for within 2 minutes, it is highly that they will look elsewhere and, perhaps, give their custom to your competition. This leads me back to the concept of trust – tell your customers everything. For example, don’t be afraid to hide your price as you think they may not be happy with it. You don’t know this unless you show them.
A very good way to ensure you answer all your customers’ questions is through blogs – publish blogs on topics or thoughts that you believe your customers are going to want to know. If you give a customer all the information that they need, it is guaranteed that by the time they get in contact with you, they will be 80% through the sales funnel. In his book ‘They Ask You Answer’, Marcus Sheridan discusses this concept in more detail. Read my review of this book here (INSERT LINK).
Below I have generated a checklist of some of the key features that I believe are essential when building a great, informative website. How many do you have on your website?
- Pricing page
- Up to date contact details
- Links to socials (LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc)
- Meet the team
- About us
- Your products/services
4. Understanding your customers and competitors
One of the key factors that I believe is crucial to building a successful business is knowing and understanding your ideal customer. It is so important that you are continually conducting market research, investigating your chosen demographic, and analysing the trends and behaviours of your ideal consumers.
Define who you want to target. Who is your ideal customer? Do you have a specific demographic in mind or is it a niche market? Many businesses fail by trying to please everybody. Although you may initially think that targeting everybody will lead you to more generic sales, this generally is not the case. Linking back to the concept ‘PMMFS’, you cannot be suitable for everybody and that is okay. Do not alter your brand image or your brand personality in the attempt to retain quick sales. Define who you want your target consumer to be and leverage this.
Identifying your Category of 1 is also a crucial concept for small businesses. What makes you niche to other businesses in the market? Identify why your business is different to your competitors and why your customers should choose you.
Don’t follow the pack, enhance your marketing strategy so that you are different to your competitors and watch your sales soar.
In my opinion, networking is one of the most effective ways for small businesses to engage with customers and other like-minded business owners. However, finding a networking event best fit for your company is crucial. Not every event will be suitable or beneficial, and your time is precious. Don’t waste your time attending events that will have no benefit to your business. Ensure you do your research and question whether you think you will be engaging with the correct audiences. In terms of professional service businesses, networking events such as BNI and The Entrepreneurs Circle are great examples.
Investing in attending exhibitions is also a great way to gain exposure for your business but, again, it is about finding an exhibition that is suitable for you and your business. Through engaging with like-minded business owners, you can share strategic ideas, advise each other, and build valuable connections.
Social media is also a great way to grow your small business by expanding your exposure. To learn more about how small businesses can use social media effectively, please read my blog here
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