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|Megan Rutherford has a diverse background in sales, marketing, and public relations. She has 15+ years of experience in helping small businesses grow their unique markets. Certified as an inbound marketer, Megan specializes in internet & email marketing, search engine optimization, social media, and more. Offline activities include direct mail marketing, public relations, and event planning.|
Core Elements of Small Business Marketing
Small business marketing can encompass a variety of elements and easily be overwhelming to management and owners alike. From pricing, promotions, advertising, social media, branding, and more - marketing options are virtually endless. Marketing a small business is no easy feat, but with a few core elements, success is accomplished at a low cost. Let’s examine some of the top elements that go into successful marketing for a small business:
The old saying goes, fail to plan and plan to fail. Marketing takes planning and forethought and having a marketing roadmap is vital for long-term success. Laying out a business and marketing plan is a beneficial mechanism to not only outline marketing and sales goals, but also to create a detailed budget to achieve those goals. Identifying a target market is advantageous in making sure all messaging resonates with the intended audience. Examining the business’s competitive advantage is useful to further differentiate from the competition within all marketing activities.
Most potential customers turn to the internet first to research a company before ever even reaching out. A website should be mobile-friendly and search engine optimized. Statistics should be tracked to see the effectiveness of pages within the site, and the bounce rate should be analyzed. This can be done through setting up Google Analytics. Additionally, be sure to claim listings that are tied to the business. Google and Yelp remain as popular sites for creating and maintaining listings for businesses.
Having a business page on social media is a must. While Facebook remains the most popular platform for most users, Instagram and other social media networks are also beneficial places on which to have an established presence. Advertising on social media is also an affordable option to quickly reach a specific audience.
Building local awareness for a small business is one of the greatest things that you can do. From joining community groups, helping local non-profits, participating in business associations, and joining the local chamber of commerce, there are numerous opportunities to network with the community and also help community members. Being a good community steward will come back to your business.
A happy customer is the best customer; not only are they more likely to return to the business, but there is also a potential for them to refer your products or services to others. These brand ambassadors are the best form of marketing for your business as they are loyal and potentially useful referral sources. Providing coupons and offering a loyalty reward program are both excellent ways to reward customers for using a small business. Additionally, sales and giveaways are also appealing ways for small businesses to increase revenue.
Email is an affordable method to broadcast a message to the masses, provided a business has an email database. Email marketing is beneficial for segmenting lists and providing immediate communication without the delay that direct mail has between design, printing, and mailing.
While not as popular as it once was, direct mail remains a proven form of marketing at an affordable cost. Building awareness for new products or services is just one of the many ways that direct mail marketing can be useful.
Whether marketing online or doing offline marketing, these cost-effective solutions are available to lead your business to even further success. Keep in mind that every business is different, so what may work well for one company, may not be the best fit for another. Getting your brand in front of the right audience to attract new customers can easily be accomplished with limited marketing dollars and time invested.